Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pumpkin recipes modified

I feel compelled to follow up on the recipes I posted last Sunday, in case anybody ever decides to make them. In doing so, I'll be posting a Thanksgiving-related topic for the fourth consecutive day. So I hope you have enjoyed this weekend's veritable cornucopia of Thanksgiving goodness.

First, the Cream of Spiced Pumpkin Soup. The recipe was a good jumping-off point to instruct me on how to create a creamy pumpkin soup base from scratch. But when I had finished adding the requisite ingredients from the recipe, the soup was very bland and boring. Somewhere along the line I have developed an ability to distinguish individual flavors within recipes, and I can imagine interesting taste and seasoning combinations, which makes cooking without recipes a lot of fun. But it also makes me very discerning of good flavors and textures in food: a "food snob" as Gary lovingly calls me.

Thanks to my excellent chefery skillz, I was able to add a lot more of this and a few dashes of that, and the pumpkin soup turned out SO delicious. Well, in my opinion anyway. It wasn't a huge hit on Thanksgiving, but I honestly didn't expect it to be. Amidst so many luxurious, calorific options, who who would salivate over soup? I started my meal off with a little plate of strawberry-poppyseed green salad and a bowl of my soup. It was perfect to have those mild flavors before diving in to the bold, heavier dishes. Then yesterday I ate some of my pumpkin soup along with Thanksgiving leftovers. It was at that time I realized that if anyone took a bite of the soup after eating either of the VERY rich and totally drool-worthy sweet potato dishes that were served, the soup didn't stand a chance. By itself, or with a nice crusty bread, the soup had a perfect, sweet flavor. But it was completely blown away by the maple-infused sweet potatoes and marshmallow-topped candied yams/apples dishes. Oh well, that just means I got to keep all the leftovers. Suckers!

I didn't measure anything, but here is my best recollection of what I added to the soup after following the original recipe (now I can look it back up if I ever want to try and duplicate it):
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 tsp curry powder
2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice

...or something like that.

Next, the Pumpkin Cream Sandwich Cookies. I had to doctor these up as well, but that is primarily because I tried using my cooked fresh pumpkin instead of canned, as the recipe instructed. The cooked pumpkin was of a much thinner consistency, so I ended up with cake batter instead of cookie dough. My first batch of cookies were large and flat, not like the ones pictured. So I added more flour to thicken the dough. That basically worked, except that now they tasted too flour-y, so I added more pumpkin pie spice. The cookies ended up having a very soft, fluffy texture, kind of like a mini-cake rather than a typical cookie. So they didn't quite look like the photos, but tasted okay.

Once again, my salvaged pumpkin cookie sandwiches couldn't quite hold their own against the Costco pies and chocolate fudge cake. I was only surprised a little that they weren't more popular with the younger set. I know pumpkin spice isn't usually a kid-favorite, but I figured they might find amusement in the whole "cookie-sandwich" novelty. I even spotted one cookie with a bite missing placed audaciously back on the platter. It was probably (hopefully?) one of the forgivable children, but still.

We got together the following night with my brother's family that wasn't able to join us on Thanksgiving, and he really liked the cookies! Bryan would never pretend to like something to avoid hurting my feelings, especially something as gay as a pumpkin cream sandwich cookie. So I sent almost all of the leftovers home with him, feeling very proud that they went to an appreciative home.

Remind me that next Thanksgiving, I ought to just volunteer to bring the canned cranberry jelly.

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