Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I Am Thankful...

Happy Belated Thanksgiving, everyone.

It has been a busy weekend/week for me.  I accomplished quite a lot with my extended weekend, albeit obviously not in terms of blogging.  And not in terms of work, either, which means I was completely burred when I got back.  Hence my not writing until a full week after Thanksgiving.

I am thankful for words like hence and albeit.  They are fun and make me happy.

I did have a food filled Thanksgiving.  I didn't get to cook, so it wasn't all local, but it was made by friends and family which makes it good.  I didn't make that much, and didn't stress myself out, and did all my cooking thanksgiving morning during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  And the start of the dog show afterwards.

I am thankful for the dog show, because I always try to pick out the kinds of dogs that my mutt is made up of.  I'm less thankful when my husband turns off the dog show to put on football, especially because neither of us really likes football.

I also did a little bit of black Friday shopping.  No, I am not a crazy person.  I firmly believe that Midnight is a time for getting ready for bed (or getting another round), not a time to start shopping.  I don't believe I actually ever left my house on Black Friday.  I may not have ever even put on real pants.  But I still got in just a smidg of shopping.  Only a present for me... but a really good present.

I bought a chest freezer!

I am thankful for my chest freezer, even if I don't have it yet.

I also spent the good part of Sunday cleaning my basement to make room for the chest freezer.  I am less thankful for that.

It doesn't get delivered until 12/10, but I am anxiously waiting.  I'm already making a list in my head of all the things I am going to buy/make to put in it.  My freezer has been so full that I haven't had room to make ice cream, and I LOVE making ice cream.  I'm thinking cranberry ice cream to start... 

For Thanksgiving, I made a cranberry apple chutney, and a sweet potato goat cheese dip.  Both were excellent, easy, and quick - which is important in a holiday food.  One of my biggest pet peeves is going to someone else's house for a food related gathering, and then having to beg for room in the oven or on the stove or whatever to finish up my food.  Worse is when people come to my house and do that, because I always have my oven space carefully planned out and I feel like I have to give it up to them or be a bad friend.

Remember that, people who come to my house for food.  If you need oven space, ask me for it ahead of time so I can plan!

Cranberry Apple Chutney
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 bay leafs
  • 2 stick cinnamon
  • 1 cup honey
  • 4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup dried apricots, diced
  • 1 cup apricot nectar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large apples, peeled, cored, and cut in 1/2-inch dice
Melt butter in a large sauce pan, and add onions, ginger, allspice, bay leaf, and cinnamon.  Cook over low heat, until onions are translucent and soft - about 10 to 15 minutes. 

Stir in honey, cranberries, apricots, nectar, lemon zest and juice, salt, and pepper. Stir mixture to combine well, then bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 25 minutes. Stir in apples. Continue to simmer 10 to 15 minutes longer, stirring once or twice, or until apples are tender yet still hold their shape.

Remove from heat and transfer to a serving bowl. Cover surface of chutney with plastic wrap. Cool at room temperature 30 minutes, then refrigerate several hours until well chilled and chutney has set up. (Chutney can be made up to 3 days before serving and stored in the refrigerator.)

 Sweet Potato and Goat Cheese Dip
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 whole head garlic
  • 4 cups sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 (11 ounce) log goat cheese
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • honey to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the top off of the garlic head and place on a square of aluminum foil.  Drizzle the olive oil over the garlic, and season well with salt and pepper.  Wrap the aluminum foil around the garlic and seal tightly.  Bake the garlic for about 45 minutes, or until soft.  Allow to cool, and then pop each garlic clove out of it's little garlic pocket.

Steam sweet potatoes until soft.  Place in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, and beat until whipped.  Add goat cheese, lemon, and spices.  Beat again until well combined.  Taste, and season with salt, pepper, and honey as desired.

I served this both with pretzel chips, and homemade graham crackers (recipe to come!)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Spaghetti Two Ways

Happy almost Thanksgiving blog friends!

Not sure if I will have time/will/desire to post tomorrow whilst in the depths of my food coma, but I wanted to take a moment to wish you all a happy Thanksgiving.  Strangely, Thanksgiving is not one of my favorite holidays.  I do adore eating, but I also love cooking and Thanksgiving is all about the cooking.  I have been watching cooking specials on Food Network almost non-stop since last weekend (Thanksgiving Live, Good Eats Thanksgiving Specials, Iron Chef: Challenge Thanksgiving...), which really makes me want to cook up a bird of my own.

The problem?  My house holds MAYBE 12 people.  My kitchen table holds 6.  I don't have a dining room - just an eat in kitchen... Not so much a good spot for a family gathering.  I would love to have a turkey related dinner party but, again, not so much room.  Also, between my husband and my busy schedule, the next weekend day we have free is after New Years.

So I have to sit, and pout, and not be the highly praised Thanksgiving mastermind that I know I could be if given the chance.

Oh well.  The next house will have a formal dining room.  And a butler's pantry.  And a library room with one of those slide-y ladders to hold all my cookbooks that I love to collect but never use because it's so much easier to just find things on the internet!

I am bringing a sweet potato/butternut squash cheese dip and a cranberry and apple chutney to Thanksgiving this year.  Or at least I plan to.  Hmmm... now if I screw it up and it's inedible (or if it's so delicious I eat it by myself in the corner) there's evidence.

Anyway, so I've been trying to make non-Thanksgiving dinner-ish food, like Spaghetti.  I also made my famous green pork chili, which BTW won my place of employment's Annual Chili Cook-Off.  Go team me!

Spaghetti is, in my mind, one of those quintessential fall/winter meals.  I never make it in the summer, I think because it's a good place to put vegetables that are about to go.  I used a can of my chunky tomato sauce, but also threw in some additional items (all of these are local).  I started by chopping up a medium yellow onion, and mincing 3 or 4 cloves of garlic.  I cooked the onion over medium low heat for about 10 minutes, then  added the garlic and cooked for two more minutes before turning the heat up to medium high.  I added a pound of ground beef, seasoned the whole thing with salt and pepper, and cooked - stirring regularly and breaking up the beef - until the beef was browned.  Then, I added about 1/2 lb of wild mushrooms, and seasoned again with salt and pepper.  I added the can of spaghetti sauce, along with about 2 cups of chopped tomatoes that were at the end of their useful life, a chopped green bell pepper that was about two days from going into the compost pile, and two chopped anduille sausage links that I was sick of staring at in the freezer.

Cover, and let the whole thing cook for at least an hour.  The longer it cooks, the better it tastes!

I also have just about mastered my pasta making.  I use one cup of flour per egg, a pinch of salt, and a drizzle of olive oil.  I put the whole thing in my stand mixer with the dough hook attachment and let it kneed on a low setting for about 30 minutes, taking it out every ten minutes or so to kneed by hand.  Depending on the size of the eggs, I sometimes need to drizzle in a little water to get the dough to come together into a ball, and I sometimes need to add a little more flour to keep the dough from being tacky.  After it's well kneeded, I let it rest for about 10 minutes before rolling into pasta.

Or, you could just buy pasta.  You know, if you're feeling lazy.

The above recipe made a whole bunch of spaghetti.  Way more than two people's worth.  We had dinner and lunches, and I froze some, but I also got to make one of my favorite leftover meals.

Spaghetti Frittata.

Spaghetti = awesome.  Frittata = awesome.  Spaghetti Frittata = one of the best foods ever invented.

I was actually getting my hair done the other day, and was telling my stylist about the joys of breakfast for dinner.  My favorite part of breakfast for dinner is how well eggs pair with a nice red wine.  She was not convinced.  This might be a good starter recipe for those of you who fear eggs for dinner, since spaghetti is clearly a dinner food.  But, I kid you not, there is nothing better than a nice over-medium egg, some bacon, some pancakes with REAL maple syrup, and a nice spicy Zinfandel.

Spaghetti Frittata uses all of your leftover spaghetti ingredients.

Spaghetti Frittata:
  • About 2 cups leftover spaghetti sauce - with or without meat depending on your preference
  • About 8 oz cooked spaghetti noodles (about one normal to small sized serving)
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk, half and half, or heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large, flat sided frying pan, warm spaghetti sauce.  Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, milk, cheese, salt, and pepper.  Once the sauce is warm, remove from heat and stir in the noodles. Pour the egg mixture into the pan with the spaghetti sauce and pasta, and stir to combine.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until just set in the center.

Spaghetti and Sauce in pan

Egg mixture
Everything together in the pan before baking
I served this with a salad, which I topped with some of my pickled beets.  I thought the beets were great.  Jeff was not totally convinced:

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Plethora of Pumpkin, Part 4

On a Plethora of Pumpkin, Part 3, I received the following comment from 'Amateur Chef':  "No more pumpkin, please.  I'll puke."

To that, I have only one response:

Though I pity your predicament, pumpkin provides the perfect possibility for a pretty pop when peckish.  Plus, not my problem pal.

So, this post is totally dedicated to "Amateur Chef."  Because of the above, and also because he/she told me that I couldn't make a "real meal" in a crock pot only.

I don't just write a food blog.  I also like to read food blogs.  They're interesting, and educational, and a good way to steal recipes (...I mean... use recipes for which I totally give the original party credit...)

One of the blogs that I find myself on a lot is "A Year of Slow Cooking."  This girl knows what she's doing.  Some of the recipes are completely nonsensical and ridiculous, but if I'm looking for how long to slow cook anything, I'm pretty sure I can find it there.  That is an important step in learning how to cook: Even if a recipe isn't the recipe that you're making, it can teach you important things about your recipe.  A pork loin, for example, cooks for the same amount of time in a crock pot (or on a grill, or in an oven, or whatever), no matter what else is in there with it.

This recipe uses the leftovers of my pumpkin dip, specifically the top of the pumpkin itself.

Disregard the big chunk of pumpkin in the front.  We're just
using the lid here.

I had another commenter (I love comments, btw.  Thanks, Shannon!), say that a "one pot meal is called a casserole."  That's true, and casserole is delicious, but it's November in Wisconsin, and I prefer a stew.  Plus, I'm not sure how casserole works in a crock pot.  A stew, on the other hand, is just as filling, just as delicious, and just as "one pot-y."

I feel like there really was nothing missing here.  Meat, carbs, green leafy vegetables.  It was warm, and had good flavor, and heated up well.  I will be making this one again.

A perfect one pot fall meal.  Nothing else needed.  If you want to, you can add more meat to this, but I felt like the mix was perfect.  Jeff, on the other hand, was picking meat out and leaving behind just the other stuff.  So, if you want, add more meat.  Three pounds would probably be the "norm."

Beef and Pumpkin Stew:
(modified from The New Slow-Cooker)

  • 1 lb beef stew meat (L)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped (L)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme (L*)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (L)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/3 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tbsp plus 1 tsp red wine vinegar 
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks (L)
  • 3-4 large red tomatoes, diced (L)
  • 1 lb wild mushrooms, sliced (L)
  • 1/3 cup beef, chicken or vegetable stock - I actually used the cooking liquid from the spinach from the pumpkin dip (L)
  • 1 lb pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks (L)
  • 1 lb celery root, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks (L)
  • 1/2 lb kale (L)
Season beef with salt and pepper.  Heat olive oil, in a crock pot with a "brown" setting, or in a pan over medium high heat.  Brown in batches to avoid overcrowding, and saute until golden brown on all sides.  Remove to a plate.

Pour off any extra fat from the slow cooker and return to medium high eat.  Add the onion, thyme sprig, and pay leaves, and saute until onion starts to brown - about 6 minutes.  Add the garlic and cinnamon, and cook for 1 minute more.  Pour in the wine and vinegar, and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add carrots, tomato, mushrooms, and stock.  Add beef, cover, and cook on the low setting for 6 hours.

Add the pumpkin, celery root, and kale.  Continue to cook for 4 additional hours.  The beef and pumkin should be very tender.

Remove thyme sprigs, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf before serving.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Plethora of Pumpkin, Part 3

This is one of those recipes I almost don't want to share.  It has all the components of a great recipe: It's addictingly delicious, it's visually stunning and impressive, and it is EMBARRASSINGLY easy.  Seriously.  It's made slightly more difficult by the fact that I need to be an over achiever and use only fresh, local ingredients, but if you don't share my crazy you don't have to do that.  Or you could.  It's still pretty damn easy.

Recently, I assisted my dad in cooking a dinner for some "fancy" people.  Now, I'm pretty fancy as it is (I tried to find a link to Jona Hill's Saturday Night Live Monologue, but there doesn't seem to be one in existence... for those of you who saw/remember that episode, I'm fancy just like he is!) but when you're having a dinner party with your father you need to really cook to impress, right?

So, of course, I busted out the fanciest recipe I know.  Doesn't hurt that it also fits right into the fall pumpkin theme.

This was so beautiful looking, it started getting eaten
BEFORE I could get a picture!

Really, this is just a baked pumpkin, filled with hot cheese dip.  You wouldn't need the pumpkin for this dish, and you could absolutely use a pumpkin in this way to serve all sorts of dip.  I personally think that the pumpkin is a perfect addition to heavy, cheesy dips.  It helps break up the richness of the cheese, and it adds to the illusion that you're eating something healthy.  And, it looks fancy and fall like.  It's a great option for impressing people at a Thanksgiving dinner, for example.

(Side note to anyone in my family reading this.  If I bring something that looks remarkably like this to Thanksgiving dinner, it is totally NOT this recipe.  It was a way, super hard recipe, that I slaved over for HOURS.  Because I love you that much.)

First off, the pumpkin.  I used a standard "pie" pumpkin - not sure what kind exactly - that I picked up when Jeff and I purchased our Jack-o-Lantern pumpkins.  A pumpkin pie is usually small, and not quite as orange as a "regular" pumpkin.  I've also found that they tend to have slightly thinner flesh, which is good for something like this because it means you'll have lots of room inside your pumpkin to stuff your dip.

The first step is to cut the top off of the pumpkin.  This is, on it's own, a leap of faith.  You want the pumpkin "bowl" to be the right size to hold all of your dip, without looking empty, but at the same time you don't know how thick the walls are going to be, and therefore how big the cavity will be.  So, you just sort of cut the top off.  I amazingly guessed exactly right, and saved the top of this pumpkin for my pumpkin stew... to be seen in a Plethora of Pumpkin part 4!

Once the pumpkin is cut, and the seeds and guts are all cleaned out, season the inside generously with salt and pepper.  Place the pumpkin in a baking pan big enough to hold it, and add about an inch of water to the bottom of the pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour to an hour and a half (depending on the size), until the pumpkin is soft.  A good test is to stick a fork in the top of the pumpkin near an inside edge, and see how easy to flake away little bits of pumpkin.  It should be very easy!

Meanwhile, make whatever dip you want to put inside the pumpkin.  I used a goat cheese and spinach cheese dip.  This is an incredibly versatile dip, and you can really use any kind of cheese you want:

Goat Cheese and Spinach Cheese Dip

  • 10 oz fresh spinach (L)
  • 8 oz soft cheese (I used a herbed goat cheese, but you could use cream cheese or any cheese of a similar consistancy) (L)
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used one cup white cheddar, one cup Romano, but you could use any kind of cheese you want.  A mozzarella would make it really melty and gooey!) (L)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (be careful with salt, if you're using a salty cheese)
This is the "base" of the recipe, and is really all you need.  From here, you can add any seasoning you want.  This is what I used:
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced (L)
  • 1 shallot, minced (L)
  • 1/4 tsp mustard powder
  • 4 dashes Tabasco hot sauce (I used the habanero)
Cut spinach into bite size pieces, and place into a pot large enough to hold it all.  Add about a cup and a half of water, and cook covered, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is soft and cooked through.  Drain the water and squeeze as much water as you possibly can out of the spinach (let it cool first.)  If you want to (I do), save the cooking water to cook with later.  This is full of all sorts of great vitamins.  You could even throw some of it into a smoothy if you're into that sort of thing.

As an alternative/even easier option, use 10 oz of frozen spinach, thawed, drained, and all water squeezed out.

(When I was explaining this recipe to a friend, I told her it needed 10 oz of cooked spinach.  "10 oz cooked!" She exclaimed.  "What is that, like 3 pounds fresh?!?"  No, dummy.  10 oz of spinach is 10 oz of spinach.  It just takes up a bunch more room when it's fresh.)

Combine all ingredients, including cooked spinach, in a glass bowl and microwave on high for about 3 minutes, stirring after each minute.  You want the dip to be hot and soft, but not to separate.  You could easily pull this dip out of the microwave and put it right on the table in the glass bowl. 

Once the dip is done, scoop the cheese into the pumpkin and serve with bread or crackers.  I like to stick a cheese knife right into the flesh of the pumpkin and flake a little bit off, so that people get the idea that they are supposed to eat the pumpkin right along with the cheese as a part of the dip.  

It's another vegetable, which means this massive quantity of melty cheese is healthy, right?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Plethora of Pumpkin, Part 2!

This post is a continuation of "A Plethora of Pumpkin, Part 1, posted yesterday.  If you haven't read that yet, you should probably start here.

When I chopped up and baked my pumpkin, you may have noticed, I had quite a bit leftover.  What to do with it?  Pumpkin soup!

I actually made this soup while I was making the pasta dish, and then heated it up the next day.  It was super quick, super easy, and amazing.  Best of all, it kept well.  I made this on Sunday, had it for dinner Monday, and have been eating it for lunch every day since.

I was surprised, because even Jeff liked it, and he generally does not care for soups without "stuff" in them.  He's a stew kind of guy, and there are few of this style of soup that will appease his manly appetite.  But this he seemed to really like.

I agree.  This soup may not have any "stuff" in it, but it's still very thick and filling.  In fact, I've been surprised at how little I need to take to work for lunch in order to get full (especially if I drop a few fancy mushrooms in it!).  I would have loved to have had this recipe at this time last year, since it's a smooth soup and feels like a real meal!!

(For those of you who don't know me personally, last winter I had jaw surgery.  I wasn't able to eat any solid food for 6 weeks.  I lost 15 lbs.  I also watched a lot of Food Network/Travel Channel and spent many a lazy afternoon on the couch shouting violent, albeit muffled curses at Adam Richmond through a wired shut jaw!  Man vs. Food is not the best TV programing choice when you are starving...)

This is not a lunch portion, nor is it a mushroomed portion.  I did
cut up a few sage leaves and sprinkle them on top, which added a
nice additional layer of flavor.  The sage was from my windowsill
spice garden. 

Curried Pumpkin Soup
  •  4 Tbsp butter (L)
  • 2 medium onions, minced (L)
  • 4 cloves minced garlic (L)
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander 
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 6 cups chopped, seasoned, roasted pumpkin (See recipe here), pureed (L)
  • 5 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth (L)
  • 2 cups milk (L)
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat honey (L)
  • Up to 1/2 cup heavy cream, as needed (L)
 Melt butter in a 4 quart saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes.  Add spices and stir for one additional minute.

Add pumpkin and chicken broth and blend well.  At this point you could transfer to a blender or use a immersion blender to blend up the onion pieces and get a completely smooth soup.  I chopped mine small enough that I wasn't worried about it and skipped this step.

With the soup over low heat, add honey and mix.  Slowly add milk while stirring to incorporate.  Taste, and if the soup is too spicy for your taste, add cream to reduce the heat. 

You could top this with toasted pumpkin seeds, sage, sour cream, a sprinkle of nutmeg, or any other number of things.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Plethora of Pumpkin, Part 1

Pumpkin: It's not just for pies and Jack-o-Lanterns!


I like looking at the recipe slide shows and featured recipes on sites like epicurious.com and foodnetwork.com.  Recently, obviously, they've been featuring a lot of fall foods and flavors.  Like squash.  I am a fan of squash in all of its forms, so I am not complaining, but I was surprised at how few recipes there are for pumpkin that aren't dessert recipes.  Pumpkin is just a kind of squash.  It is not sweet on its own and, in my mind, is not any more suited for pie than any other squash.

Okay, I take that back.  I guess it's a little less stringy than some other squashes, so maybe it's a consistency thing.  I guess a spaghetti squash pie might be kind of disgusting.  Or excellent.  If it were a savory pie...

That's a try for another day!

Anyway, my point is, pumpkin is good for anything that you might use another kind of squash in.  Pumpkins themselves also have kinds - just ask anyone who has ever made a pumpkin pie from scratch.  You don't want to cook with the same kind of pumpkin that you make a jack-o-lantern with.

I believe this is either a Blue Lakota pumpkin, or a Jarrahdale pumpkin.  I'm not in any way positive about either, but it matches both of the descriptions I found online.  The shape leads me to think it's a Jarrahdale, because the Blue Lakota are supposed to be pear shaped, however the Jarradales are grown in Australia, and the Blue Lakota's are supposed to be grown in the Midwest...

Either way, this pumpkin is excellent.  The thick flesh means that you get more to work with, and it's smoother than the Jack-o-Lantern pumpkins.  It also has an exceptionally thick skin, which means they should keep well in storage.  This was my only one, so I'm going to see if I can find another one (and maybe find out for reals what it was).

This is a Jack-o-Lantern.  These kinds of pumpkins have names too, but I don't know what I had.  Big orange.  I made a Cylon from BSG because I'm a big nerd:

Anyway, so I cut up the peeled and chopped up the pumpkin (the blue one, not the Cylon) into 1 inch cubes, and coated the cubes with salt, white pepper, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon.  I also tossed in a full head of garlic, separated into its individual cloves, peeled, and slightly crushed.  I then baked it for 30 minutes, until the pumpkin was nice and soft.  In theory, you could easily just eat the pumpkin like this as a side dish.  If I was doing that, I probably would have added a bit more salt at the time of roasting.

But instead, I decided I wanted to make a pasta sauce.  I took six cups of the pumpkin and threw it in the food processor, and turned it into a puree. It was really good at this point, too. Kind of like smooth mashed potato pumpkin.  I added 1/2 of a container of mascarpone cheese, and blended that all together.

For the record, this was way too much for two people.  If I made this pasta again, I would probably use half as much or even less.  However, I did save the pumpkin/mascarpone mixture that I didn't use, and do have a plan for it if I get to it before it goes bad.

Meanwhile I made up some pasta, and chopped up some chanterelle and shitake mushrooms and sauteed them in butter.  I also chopped up a bunch of kale and steamed it.  Once everything was done, I added the pasta and sauce to a big frying pan, and stirred until the pasta was well coated.  It was a little thick, so I ended up adding a few splashes of half and half as well.  I stirred in the kale and mushrooms, and when it was all mixed together I topped the whole thing with a few nice sized flakes of smoked trout from Rushing Rivers.

Overall, 100% local, except the spices.

I absolutely loved this, and thought it was even better heated up the next day which is rare for pasta.  Jeff, however, did not care for it at all.  Because of this, I had more leftover than I could eat on my own before it went bad, so I picked out all of the mushrooms (I'm not letting chanterelles go to waste!) and added them to my pumpkin soup.

What's that?  Pumpkin soup you say?  Better wait for "A Plethora of Pumpkin, Part 2!"

According to my friend/co-worker who is sitting behind me and reading over my shoulder, this should have been actual pumpkin pasta, not a pumpkin pasta sauce.  Direct quote: "uh, I want to be eating that, so you should probably get on it right now."  Check.  Don't make her angry!

That will have to be a "Plethora of Pumpkin Part X."