Pumpkin Bread

I’m still not sure what to call these little cakes. Thanksgiving cakes or muffins? Or Thanks for giving cakes? I have been making pumpkin bread for the past month and a half now, I’ve went through enough roasted pumpkin, maple syrup and almond flour to feed an army. That army is 3 people, Joe, Jeff and I. Ugh, please lets take a step and get past the Pumpkin moment, please.

I just moved here to Texas last June 2012. I moved here from Italy were I lived most of my life, 27 years. I had lived in the same town for 27 years and worked in the same shop for 27 years. The thought that I would ever be able to find a job here in the US and fit in was worrisome. I did find employment right away and I learned a lot. I hadn’t spoken English on a 24/7 basis is years and the lifestyle is so different than Italy’s. Italy’s pumpkin is different too, but that’s another post….

I am so Thankful for where I am. For the people around me. For their patience and support. I am in a moment that in the past I dared not imagine being but for a moment; would I, could I….pretty much a dream.

I wanted to make something for the ladies in my office to show my appreciation, to say Thank you and “Happy Thanksgiving!” Something joyful and yes, Pumpkin. You know, the American autumny Pumpkin spice tradition. I tried so many different recipes adjusting and adding my own touches but I didn’t find one that said “this is it!”  So, I made my own. And, “this is it!”:

  • 1 cup Almond flour
  • 1 cup Hazelnut flour
  • 1/2 cup white Rice flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp Baking soda
  • 2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups roasted sweetie pie Pumkin
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 13 Medjool dates (*depitted and soaked in warm water)
  • 1/3 cup Butter, (melted but not hot)

Grease a muffin or loaf pan with Ghee, Butter or Evo.

This recipe made 12 cakes or square muffins and a 1 small loaf .

Mix the first 6 ingredients, the dry ingredients, in a bowl and set aside.

*Pit the dates and add them to a food processor with a few tablespoons of hot water. Let them soak a few minutes. (The longer they soak the smoother they will get when processed.) I didn’t soak them long for this recipe.

Meanwhile the dates are soaking add the remaining 4 ingredients in a larger bowl and mix well. Add the Date puree to this mixture.

Using a wooden spoon mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, a little at a time, until completely incorporated.

IMG_6805

Streusel Topping:

  • 1 tbsp Almond flour
  • 2 tbsp Butter (room temp)
  • 4 tbsp Rapadura (organic evaporated cane sugar)
  • 1 tbsp Cinnamon
  •  1/3 cup chopped Nuts, I used walnuts, pecans & pine nuts

Mix all ingredients with fingertips and apply generously to the cakes.

Bake the muffins/cakes in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 16 mins or until toothpick comes out clean. The mini loaf took 30 minutes +/-.

Happy Thanksgiving Ladies!IMG_6819

Minestrone

Minestrone comes from the “cucina povera” or “poor kitchen”. Created and elaborated from it’s own ingredients, a mix of leftover or fresh, slightly wilted or oven roasted vegetables or dried legumes possibly simmering with meat broths or bones, cheese crusts and  dry bread crusts. Or like mine, without the elaboration of the last 4 listed but with a touch of dried herbs. Some omit the starches, the beans, potatoes and some add rice, barley or pasta. Minestrone can be what you want it to be, a soup, a “zuppa” (a stew-like consistency) or even a puree’. And deliciously decorated with grated cheeses, crispy bacon or like me, with my favorite olive oil and a grind of fresh pepper or like Joe, pureed and topped with crispy bacon and fresh bread (below).

passata

But if you are like me, you use what you have including half of a roasted sweet pumpkin and rejoice from the grande finale of the composed “Minestrone”.

My Composition:

I sautéed 1 chopped onion and 3 cloves garlic in a couple tbsp. Evo in an 8 qt. pot.

I added:

  • 2 roma Tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 medium sizes Carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks of Celery, chopped
  • 1 large red Potato, chopped
  • 4 handfuls of fresh Spinach
  • 4 Broccoli florets
  • 4 Cauliflower florets
  • 1/2 cup sliced Mushrooms
  • 1 *handful of the following: dried chick peas, dried peas, dried cannellini beans & lentils (soaked for 4 hrs)

*1 handful = 1/4 cup

pot of minestrone

I sautéed all the ingredients for a few mins then added 1/2 gallon of Spring Water.

I added 1/4 tsp of:

  • maggiorana, thyme, oregano, dill weed,
  • 2 bay leaves and 3 tsps sea salt.

I let boil then simmer for an hour + and then added:

  • 1/2 roasted sweetie pie Pumpkin, cut in large pieces (approx. 2 cups)

I added another 4-6 cups Spring water as needed and let simmer until all the dried legumes were soft and to just the right consistancy.

Buon Appetito to Joe and I!

Joe