Life Cycle of a Pumpkin, or How I Ate Audrey’s Last Baby for Breakfast

It wasn’t too long ago that my favorite Uncle Fred was puzzling his FaceBook followers with photos of a mysterious volunteer plant on his compost pile.  What was first speculated to be a sweet potato plant or a weed, turned out to be a pumpkin vine.

But not just any pumpkin vine… a monstrous, overlord-of-the-neighborhood kind of vine that was quickly dubbed “Audrey”.  You know, “Feed me, Seymour!”

Most of us chuckled as the Accidental Gardener kept us updated on the illegal growth of the plant that soon covered at least 100 square feet.  Audrey’s “children” were given away one by one, until finally, I was awarded the last of her progeny – a good-sized pumpkin I could just get my arms around.

I buckled Junior into the backseat and away we went, destined for many slices of spicy, whipped-topped goodness ahead of us.  A day or two gracing my countertop – and more than a few amused smirks from my husband – had me rethinking exactly how many pies I thought I could eat.

So what do you do with an excess of fruit or vegetables?  You can it, of course!  I didn’t want just plain pumpkin puree, so I found a tasty-sounding recipe for pumpkin butter – which has a lot of uses in other recipes.  And now I can spend the rest of the year nibbling on pumpkin butter pie, pumpkin butter bread, or just pumpkin butter on my morning toast.

   
 Scooped Out Pumpkin  Baked, Peeled, & Quartered  Spiced & Simmered!
   
Finished Jars ofPumpkin Butter Nothing Goes to Waste…Spiced Pumpkin Juice!

Thanks to Audrey, and Uncle Fred, for a project that went from volunteer plant to Autumn harvest in a pint-size jar!

Back To School… In the Kitchen

The latest edition of The Ozarks Mountaineer Magazine has hit the stands – and subscriber mailboxes!  Check out my Cookery Column inside for great tips on cooking for kids as they head back to school.  My personal favorite?  Try the Waffle Grills…amazing, fast, and flexible (and I may not even save them for the kids!).   The recipe is below:

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Waffle Grills

   4 teaspoons butter

   4 frozen waffles, thawed

   4 slices American cheese

   1 medium tart apple, thinly sliced

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  Add two waffles; top each with one cheese slice, apple slices, and remaining cheese and waffles.  When bottom is lightly browned, flip and cook on the other side.  Cook until waffles are lightly toasted and cheese is melted.

These can also be cooked in a Panini maker or grill press.  Cut in halves or fourths when cooled for a palm-sized treat!  (Serve with syrup, or make a pizza version and have fun dipping in marinara!)

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Now We’re Cookin’

Now We’re Cookin’

I’m so excited to be the new Ozarks’ Cookery columnist for The Ozarks Mountaineer Magazine!  Starting in the May/June edition, yours truly will be sharing some of the delectable delights that Ozark food enthusiasts enjoy.  Many thanks to the fabulous Faye Pfister for blazing a buttery trail of goodness these past several years!

English: Kitchen Euskara: Sukaldea

In the months to come, I’d be thrilled to get your column theme suggestions, recipe ideas, and recommendations for new cookery- and food-related books published by authors in the Ozarks.  (You can email me by clicking on the link to the right.)

Until the first column goes to print, however, let’s take a look at one of my personal favorites…

Idaho Baked Potato Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 bacon strips, diced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 large baked Idaho potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup half-and-half cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Minced fresh parsley
 Directions
  1. In a large saucepan, cook bacon until crisp. Drain, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings. Set bacon aside. Saute onion and garlic in the drippings until tender. Stir in flour, salt, basil and pepper; mix well. Gradually add broth. Bring to boil; boil and stir for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes, cream and hot pepper sauce; heat through but do not boil. Garnish with bacon, cheese and parsley.

Serves: 4-6         Prep Time: 30 minutes      Cook Time: 30 minutes

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Find more Ozarks’ Cookery articles at The Ozarks Mountaineer Magazine