Saturday, October 29, 2011

Stealing Innovation or How I Learned My Oven is an Evil Little Devil Out to Ruin My Bread

I haven't been doing too much food innovating lately,  but I have been trying out a bunch of new recipes, some with more success than others.

A few weeks ago at the Farmer's Market I encountered a cushaw pumpkin for the first time. The woman at the farm stand told me they were similar in taste to pumpkin once cooked, only sweeter. It is traditional in Louisiana to use them in place of pumpkin and sweet potatoes. After purchasing a giant one ($2) I took it home with the intention of making a pie with it. Somewhere along the way I found myself drifting towards bread recipes, and then next thing I knew I was making this Good Housekeeping pumpkin bread recipe, substituting baked and mashed cushaw for the pumpkin.
Couldn't resist a bite before the photo
The bread turned out well and I recommend the recipe, even if you are just using plain old pumpkin. The yogurt was a really nice addition - I think it kept the bread extremely moist.

My next new discovery was a recipe I found browsing around the food section of the New York Times. If you haven't ever given their recipes a look I highly suggest it. In particular the Recipes for Health section is a goldmine of great ideas. The Indian Style Roast Beets were well received by both Erik and me - we left out the cilantro (gross) and pomegranate seeds. I'm very interested in learning to cook Indian food that is a tad more complicated than my standard "indian vegetable curry/dal" fare but I am often intimidated by overly complicated recipes. This dish was totally feasible. Now on to making homemade paneer?

With my attempt at Chatapi - fail :(
Erik's parents were here for a weekend and we ate at some lovely restaurants with them. Dick & Jenny's and Brigsten's were particularly good. When they left Erik's mom gave him directions on how to make a delicious meal and he very successfully prepared an awesome dinner for me.
Notice our fancy paper towel napkins
Next up: Harvest Apple Challah bread from a King Arthur recipe. Now I suspect this would have been good if it weren't for my errors.
Looks good but sadly overcooked 
First I broke one of my own whole wheat baking rules. I was too ambitious with my substituting. Of the 4 cups of flour the recipe called for I used whole wheat flour for 3. My next mistake was really due to my unfortunate oven circumstances. My oven is pretty old and there seems to be no actual relation between what the temperature is set at and what temperature it choses to cook at. I thought I had figured out that it cooks about 50 degrees warmer than the dial is set for, but after ruining this bread I am pretty sure it just does whatever the heck it wants. I am in serious need of an oven thermometer.
Tonight we are carving pumpkins and I am excited to roast the seeds. Next week I will show you all (not quite ready for y'alls yet) how to make your own granola bars with them! Anyone have pumpkin carving ideas? Also, when did "halloween lights" become a thing - was it when I was living in the saddest place in Boston aka Dorchester?


  1. Notice that Ellen's plate (the one on the left) got all the tomatoes...

  2. That apple bread looks so delish! I wish it didn't get burned. Another idea for pumpkin that I had at a restaurant once was in stuffed ravioli with the pumpkin seeds on top. It was really good. Making pasta seems like too much work for me though.
    P.S. Everyone loves the Halloween lights on my street. My neighbors have a giant light up spider that is perched on their roof.