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~CUCURBITA TECUM~ (c)

Does your heart light up when you see a pumpkin? Does your pulse quicken when you see pumpkin foods? Do you love pumpkins? www.ilovepumpkins.com is for you!

Improving On Martha Stewart’s Bad Example

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on September 28, 2011

Fresh Interpretation of Pumpkin Pecan Pie

Fresh Interpretation of Pumpkin Pecan Pie

Publishing is hard work. Surely you’ve noticed? After one whole entire committed pumpkin season of dedicated blogging, I semi-retired from my website in 2009.

But yesterday’s New York Times article about Martha Stewart inspired me with a new idea. Why create new content if I can just repurpose the archive I wrote a while back? Ha ha! Well, it turns out that Martha Stewart has been reprinting the same content in her magazine for years, without notifying readers. She was charging them for articles they’d already paid for! Martha’s historical behavior appears to be a good indicator of future behavior, in other words… she’s a crook!

Well, dear readers, I respect you and my blog too much to consider such shenanigans. Besides, my content is free and I would never overcharge you for anything. Instead, I have conscientiously selected some of my favorite articles from www.ilovepumpkins.com which I’d openly like to repurpose. Please visit, revisit, and enjoy!

Hit Over the Head with Gingerbread

Ben & Jerry’s Pumpkin Ice Cream

Pause on Death Row for Lobsters

Hello, Little Truffle!

Shit, I like them all even those not listed!! The blog stil amazes me to this day. Until I re-read some of my own articles, I forget that I even wrote them!

OK, ready for a random curiosity? Martha Stewart borrowed my very own Samsung Galaxy Tablet 10.1 during pre-release to see how her digital editions would look on Android. The Motorola Xoom was so awful that she’d written off Android entirely until she could see a better tablet than iOS. Thought you might like to know!

Cute Pumpkin Cupcake

Cute Pumpkin Cupcake

The Evolution of the Pumpkin Martini

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on September 26, 2011

Welcome Autumn with a Pumpkin Martini!

Welcome Autumn with a Pumpkin Martini!

Pumpkin Martinis helped inaugurate the first-ever International Pumpkin Day in 2004. Back then, pumpkin schnapps wasn’t readily available to consumers and even bars, so very few bars offered this drink as a result. But Lola’s in Los Angeles certainly did, so the inaugural members of International Pumpkin Club celebrated the first ever Pumpkin Day at Lola’s.

However, since the popularity of pumpkin foods has skyrocketed in recent years, so has the availability of Pumpkin Schnapps, which is the most common ingredient used to make Pumpkin Martinis. So it’s very likely that you can now find Pumpkin Schnapps at a liquor distributor or grocery store near you!

When shaken correctly, the Pumpkin Martini can even *stir* up the likes of this guy...

When shaken correctly, the Pumpkin Martini can even *stir* up the likes of this guy...

In the food industry, certain companies specialize in making flavors and fragrances for food. It’s a niche with several publicly-traded and many private companies. In recent years, these flavor houses have responded to consumers’ taste for Pumpkin foods by creating artificial flavors for products which can’t feasibly use real pumpkin, just like Pumpkin Schnapps. More and more flavor houses are developing artificial pumpkin flavors to keep up with growing consumer demand.

Makes for a very, very orange Pumpkin Martini.

Makes for a very, very orange Pumpkin Martini.

Today, one the most loyal fans of www.ilovepumpkins.com, remowned B&B owner Tania, sent through this fantastic recipe for a creamy Pumpkin Martini.

Ingredients:

2 ounces pumpkin liqueur or pumpkin-flavored syrup

2 ounces vanilla vodka

1 ounce Sylk cream liqueur

Directions:

1. Dip the rim of a chilled martini glass into the pumpkin liqueur, then place the glass rim-down into the cinnamon until the rim is coated.

2. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the vanilla vodka, cream liqueur, and pumpkin liqueur or syrup, then shake vigorously for 15 to 20 seconds.

3. Strain into the rimmed glass and serve.

Mmmm... Mmmmakes me feel aliiive!

Mmmm... Mmmmakes me feel aliiive!

Muffin In The Pumpkin City

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on October 20, 2010

Muffins are nothing but an excuse to eat cake for breakfast in order to pretend to be healthy. This Low Fat Pumpkin Muffin from Café Angélique on Grove Street in New York’s West Village is a prime example. It is very light and airy with an extremely fine flour texture. Such a delicate consistency can only be achieved with cake flour, which produces a refined taste.

Cafe Angelique Pumpkin Muffin

Cafe Angelique Pumpkin Muffin - Hiding To The Left

Of course, if you’re a person who enjoy muffins for breakfast, you won’t mind at all that the muffin is nutritionally void. Most of them are!

Chewy Muffin Top Starts Coming Off

Chewy Muffin Top Starts Coming Off

The outside of the muffin was perfect, which a slightly gummy, chewy consistency which revealed a smooth contrast inside when uncapped. Yes, the muffin was very cakelike and not heavy at all. Some muffins are as heavy as doorstops, but this one by contrast is just a fluffy little pumpkin cake!

Pumpkin Tortelloni in a New York Heat Wave

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on September 25, 2010

Pumpkin Tortelloni at Russo's

Pumpkin Tortelloni at Russo's

Pumpkin Tortelloni at Russo’s in Park Slope are stored in a refrigerator that’s stacked full of options. Many flavors of tortellini, tortell-O-ni and ravioli, fresh cut pasta and stuffed ravioli of all kinds await you! But naturally you’ll want to try the Punpkin Tortelloni first. I didn’t buy any for tonight, since my hosts are making a fantastic Lebanese pasta dinner for us, so you’ll have to make them for yourself and let me know how it goes!

Scooping up the pumpkin tortelloni....

Scooping up the pumpkin tortelloni....

Like the woman shown here in the freezer, you’ll use a big metal scoop to get them out into a plastic bag, but please don’t spill them all over the place like she did!! They fell into the bin containing the mushroom tortelloni but didn’t tell anyone. So the mushroom people are gonna be surprised.

How To Beat The Stock Market

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on March 10, 2009

Since my last blog entry, I’ve been busy studying the important correlation between stock market returns between the years 1969 – 1983 and pumpkins.
Understanding Pumpkins Will Help You Beat The Stock Market
I’ve discovered that stock market seasonality is directly related to the availability of pumpkins! Indeed, stock market returns go up as soon as pumpkin foods become broadly available in the Fall.

Thank you for the avalanche of emails you sent during my research sabbatical. Your patience and support over the last three months was invaluable to me while I undertook this important study. In these tough economic times, our society needs trustworthy, high-quality information, and I am so proud that the pumpkin community is playing a central role in the economic recovery that must unfold slowly over the next several years.

Safeway Select Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on December 26, 2008

A seasonal kind of breakfast.

A seasonal kind of breakfast.

Earthy, deep and not too sweet. This ice cream almost feels healthy, the way a bran muffin feels deceptively healthy. It would be good for breakfast. Let me rephrase that… it WAS good for breakfast. Sugar + pumpkin + milk = the next superfood?

The color is dark and rich like a moody pumpkin. The texture produces an airy mouthful. No aftertaste. Feels light. Not too sugary. Like I said, it tastes almost healthy and it’s definitely pumpkinacious.

Safeway’s Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream isn’t perfect, though. The label tells you to expect “crunchy pie crust pieces” but the pie crust is pale and not nearly crispy enough. That’s in sharp contrast to the impossibly crunchy gingersnap crust you’ll find in Ben & Jerry’s Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream. You get the feeling that Safeway’s crust just wasn’t fully baked. And the bright orange “spiced pumpkin swirl” in here is a little disturbing. But overall it’s a very satisfying ice cream.

Merry Christmas and stuff.

Merry Christmas and stuff.

By the way, Safeway loves pumpkins. This year they made Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese, Pumpkin Spice Eggnog, and of course this Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream. Safeway also won an award for the best store-bought Pumpkin Pie and is also the flagship sponsor of the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival. Be sure to check out all the reviews. I Love Pumpkins loves Safeway!

Waste Not

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on December 22, 2008

Paper, plastic, paint, aluminum, coffee.

Paper, plastic, paint, aluminum, coffee.

Pumpkin friends… if you’re living in a dream world where you don’t mind creating a lot of litter every time you drink a cup of coffee, this one might be for you. I’ve never tasted it because I don’t have one of those single-serving coffee makers. The coffee might be good but must life really be so modular? If you’ve tried this one let me know if it’s any good. But please think about how much trash you’re creating with every single-serving cup! 

Even as I offer my coaching above, I recognize that I create a lot of waste myself. When taking out my recycling, I’m amazed it was all created by a single individual.

Premium price on you, premium price on the environment.

GREEN? Premium price on you, premium price on the environment.

Sometimes I even wonder if blogging is a destructive habit. It’s creative and fun and allows us to interact with ideas… yet the constant need to produce information by me, other bloggers, news agencies small and large, good and bad… it’s a form of madness. Like the Pumpkin Tickle-Me-Elmo they’re planning to make next year.

Pumpkin Shiitake Miso Soup by Alive!

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on December 21, 2008

Cheap ingredients, expensive soup.

Cheap ingredients, expensive soup.

Pumpkin devotees are familiar with my dilemma. Most pumpkin foods are desserts. So it was a nice change seeing the Pumpkin Shiitake Miso Soup at the Ferry Building this morning, created by the raw food restaurant “Alive!”. I was relieved that I wouldn’t have to do extra sit-ups or skip another meal just to keep my blog from making me fat, which is what I typically do.

Recipe analysis suggests that most pumpkin foods are desserts.

My recipe analysis suggests that most pumpkin foods are desserts.

Their miso soup contained chunks of fresh pumpkin, carrots and shiitake mushrooms and well… it wasn’t actually raw but that’s ok, because raw pumpkin might give you a tummy ache. By the way, the “!” is part of their name. Hopefully Alive! won’t share the fate of some other “!” companies out there.

The two employees working Alive!’s stand looked pretty damn healthy. I suppose a diet of raw uncooked vegetables keeps you lean. But do they have any fun? I guess so. Their website is promoting a Winter Solstice Party tomorrow night. For $25 you can eat raw vegetables… all night long.

Sounds like... FUN ???

Sounds like... FUN ???

They probably won’t serve alcohol. Even though some raw foodists consider wine and champagne to be raw, drinking booze is a topic of philosophical ambiguity in their community. So with all due respect, tomorrow night while the veggies rock out at their party, I’ll be spending my $25 on a couple of single malt scotches, ice on the side, wondering if I should resolve to go raw in 2009. I’ll let you know what I conclude, dear readers. Even though my decadent nature may be a walking advertisement for raw foodism, I’m too attached to exit Samsara!

Miniature Pumpkin Pies

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on December 21, 2008

Enjoying the aegis of an evergreen tree.

Enjoying the aegis of an evergreen tree.

The Christmas Party of All Christmas Parties last Saturday was dressed to the nines. The Christmas tree was PHAT. The bar was stocked. And the food was incredible. Beyond the delicious crab cakes, crispy egg rolls, Hawaiian puffies, steamed gyoza with dipping sauce, roast ham, rounds of grilled sirloin steak… miniature  pumpkin pies sealed the deal! This was a great entertaining idea. The pumpkin filling was delicious, and these were so fun to eat. One single pop delivered complete fulfillment: buttery crust, classic filling, heaven.

Baby it's cold outside...

Baby it's cold outside....

Tools and technique? Homemade or store bought pie crust, a mini muffin pan, and your favorite pumpkin pie filling. I encourage you to find a recipe that suits you out there, whether indie or mass!

This typewriter encouraged us to discover the history of @.

This typewriter encouraged us to discover the history of @... standard since the 1940's!

Pumpkin Cocoa Nib Crème Brulée with Candied Hazelnuts at Epic Roasthouse

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on December 16, 2008

Pumpkin Cocoa Nib Crème Brulee with Candied Hazelnuts

Pumpkin Cocoa Nib Crème Brulée with Candied Hazelnuts

Ingredients! Technique! Artistry! Jan Birnbaum is now my favorite chef. Not only has he assembled a delicious menu of steaks, salads and unique entrees like his molasses-glazed pork.. he’s got an amazing Pumpkin Crème Brulée that (hat-tip to his New Orleans inspired cuisine) will rock you like a hurricane.

On Sunday night Chudi N. and I treated ourselves to dinner at Jan’s restaurant Epic Roasthouse. It’s my favorite place to dine in the city, and I’ve been there five times now. Their prices are also close to ”epic” so that’s a lot of times! But the experience is worth the money: tall ceilings yet cozy atmosphere, the best aged and fresh meats and seafoods, plus elegant pumpkin desserts and great views!

After oysters, spinach salad, filet and porterhouse and a fun conversation with our neighbors from Dallas (“Fuck it… Merry Christmas!” I proclaimed to their delight) we enjoyed a complimentary dessert, on the house from Epic Roasthouse to I Love Pumpkins!

The Masters of Pumpkin Creme Brulee

Behind the Scenes with The Master

Our waitress Rachel even took photos from behind-the-scenes in the kitchen. Could this be Jan himself, shown above, doing up the dessert for us? Wow!! Jan and Rachel are totaly getting their own special-edition I Love Pumpkins t-shirts from T-Critic (which are in production… keep an eye out!).

Behind the Scenes at the Creme Brulee Foundry!

Not just a steak house... it's a Crème Brulée Foundry!

Using a crème brulée torch, Jan created a gorgeously thin, delicious caramel crust across the top of the dessert. It was like some dreamy pumpkin ice rink. The garnish decorating the top was lovely. The big chewy roasted hand made marshmallow was fun, the winter berries added dimension and some tartness, and the candied roasted hazelnuts dusted with powdered sugar piqued your interest and added variety. 

The Work of Art

The Work of Art

The Pumpkin Crème Brulée itself was consistent and creamy, without a single deviation in texture. That’s not easy to do! It tasted fresh and natural, and the pumpkin flavor was thorough without being too obvious. 

Thanks Jan, Rachel and the team at Epic for a delicious dinner at my favorite restaurant.

House-Made Pumpkin Pie at Grubstake

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on December 14, 2008

Heidi skipped the crust, but not because she didn't like it!

Heidi skipped the crust, but not because she didn't like it!

Do you need a little Christmas? Right this very minute? Try Grubstake, an urban diner that’s decorated to the hilt for the holidays. They make their own pumpkin pie. What a charm! They call it “house-made” and for $4.25 the pie is pretty damn good.

Santas galore.

Santas galore.

Grubstake must be the cutest diner West of New Jersey, especially at Christmas time. So many lights! So many Santas! While I didn’t actually count them, I’m guessing they’ve got at least 20 different *dancing* Santas at this Portuguese diner. Last year at Christmas was my first time at Grubstake. Now it’s going to become one of my Christmas traditions!

Now there's a sincere-looking home-made pumpkin pie!

Now there's a sincere-looking, home-made pumpkin pie!

Portuguese diner? Yes! The menu features both traditional American diner food like omelettes and burgers, as well as a “Portuguese Corner” on their menu with dishes like Bacalhau à Gomes de Sà which is codfish. Santos, the owner, will take excellent care of you. When you see him, tell him that I Love Pumpkins says hello!

Goldy’s Spiced Pumpkin Cheese Spread

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on December 12, 2008

A decoy hanging with the big cheeses.

A decoy hanging with the big cheeses.

Light, puffy, fluffy and sweet.

The sweetness was a personal disappointment. All of Goldy’s other cheeses are savory, and their Pumpkin Cheese hangs out in the fridge with the Gorgonzolas and Manchegos, like they were all part of the same gang. This made me think “Wow! A salty pumpkin cheese!” Alas, it’s like a Crip got mixed up with the Bloods. Confusing.

Once I got over my missed expectations however, I recognized that for a sweet cream cheese, this one is really pretty yummy. It’s whipped and fluffy, unlike Safeway’s delicious Lucerne Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese which we reviewed earlier this year. It’s also more expensive and more fattening per ounce, but it holds its own. 

Goldy’s Spiced Pumpkin Cheese Spread would be a nice accompaniment to breakfast on Christmas morning or for a Hanukkah brunch. The packaging is also more sophisticated than Lucerne’s, so you could bring it to a party with a bag of bagels and show up looking pretty classy.

I'd like to be "Cheese of the Month" someday.

I'd like to be "Cheese of the Month" someday.

Muirhead Pumpkin Pecan Butter

Posted By Jura on December 12, 2008

SPICE UP YOUR BAGEL! The best pumpkin butter on the market!  Really!  Available at the Williams-Sonoma store and online at www.muirheadfoods.com.  On the website you’ll find other delicious butters, dressings, and sauces.

Pumpkin Pecan Pie Made With Muirhead Butter

Pumpkin Pecan Pie Made With Muirhead Butter

Muirhead of Ringoes, New Jersey, a producer of specialty foods makes a prize-winning Pecan Pumpkin Butter that melts in your mouth and bursts into unbelievably fabulous flavor!  

Is this pumpkin or something from another planet?  The texture of the butter is very nice with just barely some pieces of pecans interspersed through the butter – not huge chunks of pecans, just some grains that meld into the butter.  It is a perfect spread on bagels, toast, pancakes and as a filling for pies. 

The butter is all natural: just pumpkin, pecans, lemon juice, spices, and sugar.  No fillers.   Recipes for pumpkin pie are included on the lid of the jar.  The pumpkin pies listed “look” delicious.  This butter is a very good filling for the pie, but you will need 2 jars of the butter for them. 

Ringoes' Star

Ringoes' Star

Fruit butter is a very American invention, whereas marmalade and jam have been made in Europe for hundreds of years. The butter is made from cooked fruits (or vegetables) which are heated and sieved to a fine pulp, then cooked on high heat again to a consistency of soft butter.  Pumpkin is especially good for this process because the pumpkin meat cooks into a consistency that is perfect for butter. This is one reason that pumpkin pie became an American staple with the pilgrims.

So – go ahead – try it on your toast or bagel and you’ll be back at the store for more! Bon Appetit!

Tastykake Pumpkin Pie

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on December 8, 2008

Fresh From Philly!

Fresh From Philly!

Gentleman \Gen”tle*man\, n. [OE. Gentilman nobleman; cf. F. gentilhomme.]
1. A man well born; one of good family; one above the condition of a yeoman.
2. One of gentle or refined manners; a well-bred man.
3. One who brings back four Tastykake Pumpkin Pies from Philadelphia for www.ilovepumpkins.com.

A buddy smuggled four Tastykake Pumpkin Pies, completely intact, back into California for me. What a gent!

Tastykake’s Pumpkin Pie is just as well-born as our hero. The dry flaky crust is deliciously salty, and there’s lots of it. Inside this wrapping is a moist, classic pumpkin pie filling. The taste is honest and direct, perhaps explained by the first four ingredients: flour, water, pumpkin, sugar… Tastykake’s got their priorities straight!

"Let me introduce myself..."

For ultimate happiness warm it up, ideally in your oven or worst case your microwave. Got whipped cream? Come on over! No, seriously though, if you do have whipped cream or ice cream, try it out on your warmed up little pie. I’m sure it will rock, even though I enjoyed mine “sans.”

An East Coast classic since 1914, Tastykake has evolved with the times. Their website offers a mail-order catalog, Corporate Gifts (!!), and branded merchandise like Krimpet-shaped rafts for the ocean or the pool.

Tasty Tasty

Tasty Tasty

NOTE: Additional props to Master Brewer Grodo Grassi. He mailed me a Tastykake Pumpkin Pie as part of a Halloween care package. However, yours truly ate it up for breakfast on All Saint’s Day after partying all night… and never got around to reviewing it. It just goes to show, dear readers, don’t always trust the narrator!

Kabocha Korokke? Hai!

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on December 7, 2008

Oishisou.
Oishisou.

Kabocha Korokke is Japanese pumpkin croquette. Master P and I say, HAI!

Itadakimasu.

Itadakimasu.

It’s like a Japanese mashed-potato pancake, but with kabocha instead of spuds. Amazingly, the delicious fried flavor isn’t oily at all. We figured this is probably because of it’s coated with panko, a unique version of Japanese bread crumbs in the form of crispy, flavorful flakes.

In our collaborative tasting, we microwaved it, and it still retained its crispness! According to Master P, Kabocha Korokke tasted even better when he baked the other two. We purchased ours in Japantown in San Francisco at Nijiya Market, whose website also features a unique recipe for kabocha ice cream dessert.

“Merii Kurisumasu!”

"Merii Kurisumasu."