Reposted from my blog from two years ago:

Ahh, November mornings nipping naughtily at my nape; my bare fingertips and gossamer stockinged toes tingling in anticipation of icier days ahead. The late autumn evenings indelibly redolent with the heady potion of woodsy spices and fresh herbs wafting seductively through curtain flaps of kitchens in fastidious preparation for this Thursday’s tables of bounty. Stacked mixing bowls, ivory casserole vessels and hefty roasting pans paired with whisks, ricers and basters in dutiful rotation on countertops, stove burners and the typically under-utilized oven.  The floodgate of holiday flavors rapidly transported from television food programs and the slick pages of magazines directly to sensory salivary glands.

Forgoing the virtual aspect, this past Saturday, we had a dress rehearsal of the holiday season to come.  An annual tradition amongst our Fullerton cohorts, it is aptly dubbed Friendsgiving: “It’s that time of year again to be grateful for our awesome friends…and eat”.  Aside from the requisite potluck offerings of candied yams, stuffing (of which there was a multitude of variations!), corn bread, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and steamed veggies that accompanied the majestic bird, there was a small segment of non-traditional sides: a warm creamy crab dip, an Indian savory spinach sautee, a rice cheesy broccoli divan and a token tofurkey loaf.  Dessert was well represented with pecan pie, apple pie, Rice Krispy treats, spice cake and pumpkin pecan praline cheesecake (my contribution).   This glutton’s fête all downed with copious bottles of ale and mugs from an industrial cauldron of hot apple-cranberry-orange-whiskey cider, its billowy, spiked smoke interwoven with the cobalt night as we circled ’round like a post-Halloween coven of witches and warlocks, and the night was complete.

One more day until the real deal. Time to tie my apron strings and roll up my sleeves. Time to relieve the cupboard of its burgeoning commissary of Thanksgiving Day requisitions. Time to take the yearly gamble of whether the turkey graces the cover of Gourmet in heaven and tastes like the sands of Sahara/appears severely anemic in need of a blood transfusion yet oozing profusely of it from the inside/attains resplendently golden, succulent, thoroughly cooked culinary nirvana.

And of course, there is loads of baking to be done.  Already, I’ve heard amongst certain inner circles of cookie assembly lines, so I too must get the dough rolling.  My foil encased ball of previously made pastry dough needs to be defrosted, carved out and fruit filled for tarts.  And I mustn’t forget the pumpkin bread and pumpkin banana muffins to be mixed from leftover cans of purée that I overzealously hoarded as a result of news bulletins that this year’s crops were destroyed by an unfortunate deluge and a shortage would surely cripple this year’s festivities (yes Mortimer, straight out of the movie Trading Places).  My reserve pumpkin cheesecakes stored in the freezer must be thawed, bedazzled with pecan praline and dolloped with fresh whipped cream.  And last, but not least, I will be hollowing out the should have been third Jack O’ Lantern and ladling it with steaming harvest pumpkin soup.

I think the only thing lacking here is a long dining table to accommodate tomorrow’s spread. One of the items topping my wish list for 2010 is one with extra leaves to seat 6-8 people. Naturally, chairs to go along with it would be nice too. Any info leading to an affordable set that can readily be schlepped would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!

Despite the still struggling economy, there is much that I am grateful for, really: more test kitchen recipes, generally good health, new friends abounding and a very lovely, engaging and often puerile extended family.

Now, let’s eat!

Pumpkin Bread/Muffins

  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin purée
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 1/2 c canola oil
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 c white sugar
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 c flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 mashed banana (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Butter two 7 x 3 loaf pans or two 12 cup muffin tins.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.

In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin purée, eggs, oil, water and white & brown sugar (and mashed banana if desired).

Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the buttered pans.

Bake for about 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Corky Nepomuceno

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Corky Nepomuceno has 64 post(s) on Fullerton Foundry