Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Pumpkin Craze

It seems like there has been a relatively recent craze for pumpkin.  Pumpkin cookies. Pumpkin muffins. Pumpkin bread. Pumpkin bagels. Pumpkin cream cheese. Pumpkin cheesecake. Even Pumpkin soup. Growing up, the only pumpkin-flavored food we ate was pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  My obsession with pumpkin food started in college.  Right on campus there is an Einstein Bagels.  In the fall, they have pumpkin bagels with pumpkin cream cheese.  This was my first taste of pumpkin outside of pie, and I loved it.  Recently I've hopped on the pumpkin band wagon, and started making more and more adventurous pumpkin recipes.

This all started when my boyfriend decided that he wanted to make a pumpkin pie from an actual pumpkin last Thanksgiving.  The tradition has continued, and we made another homemade pumpkin pie this year (check out that blog post below).

This fall, I also made pumpkin bread and muffins.  I used the recipe in the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. This recipe is excellent.  It is easy to follow, and the product turns out moist and delicious.  The only drawback--if you can consider it that--is that it makes a ton of food.  I've recently discovered that you can freeze muffins, breads, and even cupcakes without a problem.  Bring on the baked goods!

My next pumpkin recipe attempt occurred when I went home for Thanksgiving. I decided that instead of having pumpkin pie at our family Thanksgiving, we should have a pumpkin cheesecake.  I used the leftover pumpkin puree from the pumpkin pie we made for first Thanksgiving.  The cheesecake that I made tasted like cheesecake (always a good thing), but not so much like pumpkin.  It was a little disappointing.  I don't think I added quite enough pumpkin puree.  But that's okay...there's always next year.

Finally, this weekend I had my most adventurous pumpkin cooking experience yet: pumpkin bean soup. I had half of a can of pumpkin left over from my most recent round of making pumpkin muffins, and I couldn't let it go to waste. So, I googled pumpkin soups and came across this southwest-style variety.  It includes pumpkin, black beans, corn, bell pepper, tomato sauce, onion, garlic, olive oil, and chicken broth (though vegetable could very easily be substituted for any vegetarians or vegans out there) and is simply seasoned with garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper.  This soup turned out amazingly creamy.  I think it would be great for anyone who cannot eat dairy but is craving a creamy, hearty soup.

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