18 October 2009

Pumpkin, Times 3

I dedicated my cooking experimentation to finding delicious ways to use up more of the pumpkin puree made the other day. I've been dying to make Pumpkin Waffles (from Isa's Vegan with a Vengeance, of course), which sounded divine and like the perfect thing to start my day of pumpkin-themed gastronomy. And, like any good waffle recipe, it looked effortless--a definite plus, considering I also planned to cook a huge batch of time-consuming breakfast (or "square," as my family calls it) potatoes to add a savory element to my morning. So after I returned from my morning jog, I was both energized and hungry for a carb-heavy meal.
The waffles were good. Really good, actually. I held back on the ginger and nutmeg, because I find they can overpower food sometimes, and the waffles turned out exactly how I had hoped: not too sweet, but definitely not bland, with the pumpkin pie spice aroma and taste that warm you right up. Topped with a few sugared pecans and pure maple syrup made these waffles the best vegan version I can recall--seriously. They remind me of my month studying abroad in Vienna two summers ago, when there were a few days midway through the trip during which some of the other students continually professed a craving for waffles, and even began a sincere hunt for waffle purveyors. Honestly, with all of the wonderful pastries, bread, and confections offered up by way of Vienna's awesome cafe culture, I could let the waffles wait for me back home, preferring to try new things at the source while I still could. Ah, memories. But back to present-day pumpkin...

Later this afternoon, a good hankerin' for cookies and a friend's approval encouraged me to try the recipe for Susan's Pumpkin Cookies (but not the fat-free version) over at Fatfree Vegan Kitchen. The only adjustments made--I have this compulsion to not follow recipes exactly as written--were to cut back a bit on the ginger and nutmeg and replace the okara with firm tofu (actually suggested in the recipe itself). That holiday season aroma wafting around the kitchen while the cookies baked was just so comforting, and I had a good feeling that these were going to be just as good as they smelled. And yes, they were. The cookies were soft and sweet. They don't need icing, but I don't think a little drizzle could hurt at all, and it would be oh-so-pretty.
To end my day's pumpkin-themed kitchen experience, I took a more savory approach. After all, I couldn't just eat sweets all day. (Or could I?) I didn't see myself trying to get too creative, so for the pumpkin element of dinner, I decided upon trying to make some sort of flatbread, in the style of a chapati or whole wheat tortilla, from which I would make a sandwich wrap with the hummus I made a few days back. I used stone-ground whole wheat flour, pumpkin puree, salt, a pinch of ground ginger, green onion, and just enough hot water to form it all into a workable dough. After letting the dough ball rest, I divided it up and rolled each piece out into a thin disc, cooking them over a comal. Hurray, pumpkin-green onion flatbread!To make the wrap, I slathered hummus on one side of a flatbread disc, topped one half with sauteed chard, Bosc pear slices, and grilled marinated tofu, and folded the unadorned side over to sandwich the contents. The wrap was sweet, savory, and very filling. The flatbread alone unfortunately didn't taste distinctly of pumpkin or even ginger, probably due to the pungent flavor of the green onion, but it wasn't bad and worked as a suitable sandwich base. So my "wing-it" attempt at pumpkin flatbread didn't turn out quite as hoped, but at least the pumpkin lent some distinctive softness to the bread, if not a standout flavor. I liked it, in any case, and that's good enough to close out my pumpkin-themed experimentation...for now.

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