Tuesday, September 25, 2007

More Pumpkin!

Somehow I'm fully in fall mode with my cooking and baking, maybe it's because I'm pretty much housebound. But the knee is getting better as a result, I get physical therapy in just 2 weeks and can walk normally again soon (I hope)! Anyway, we picked up another pumpkin on the weekend, and because I'm turning orange from all the pumpkin soup lately, I tried something new: Pumpkin Bread.

1 1/2 cups (210g) flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (1/4 L) pumpkin purée
1/2 cup (1 dL) olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup (1 dL) chopped walnuts

(metric measurements in parentheses)

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Sift together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda. Mix the pumpkin, oil, eggs, 1/4 cup of water, and spices together, then combine with the dry ingredients, but do not mix too thoroughly. Stir in the nuts. Pour into a well-buttered 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Bake 50-60 minutes until a straw poked in the very center of the loaf comes out clean. Turn out of the pan and let cool on a rack.

Makes one loaf.

I also found this recipe on the internet. This is kind of like banana bread, just with pumpkin. I used whole wheat flour and only half the sugar, and it turned out super good. Not extremely sweet, but deliciously spicy. Once again, I substituted walnuts with almonds, due to a lack of walnuts in my household, and once again, it's incredibly delicious.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Real deer really in Beaverton (Township, anyway) approaching the pumpkin patch at my parents' house.

This is what we call a squash, a buttercup squash.

Here in Germany, everything that we would call squash or pumpkin in the United States is only called pumpkin, Kürbis. They just have one word for both things. Well, somebody must really love me, because he knows my love of these big, round vegetables and bought me one yesterday from a little roadside stand. I was so excited about this pretty green squash that I immediately cut it open and started working away, making soup, cookies and roasted seeds. Mmmmm. Usually when I chop open a pumpkin, it's cold inside (this time of year in Michigan is already pretty cool), and when I reach in to take out the innards and seeds, I imagine cold brains. But this one was warm! It had been out by the road on a table in the sun all day, just waiting to come to my kitchen!

For dinner, we had "season your own pumpkin soup." I made a very basic pumpkin soup, first boiling half of the squash cut into chunks and 3 or 4 small potatoes. When it was all soft and squishy I drained off most of the water and blended the vegetables until they were smooth and soupy. Then I put this back on the stove and added some cream and a big, fat pat of butter, and once that was all warm again and mixed, we put our soup into bowls and the fun began. I put ginger and sea salt in mine, and this was a delectable treat, another variation was with nutmeg, paprika and salt. Usually when I make pumpkin or squash soup I make it with onion, garlic and curry.

Since I have never succeeded at making a good pumpkin pie (how very un-American of me...), I made pumpkin cookies instead. Here's the recipe:

(Submitted by Francine T. Ryan)
Fran writes: "The Great Pumpkin Cookies recipe has been one of my favorites for Halloween. The neighbors are sure to know that when Halloween rolls around I can be counted on to have bags of these wonderful mouth watering cookies at hand. They even prefer these to candy. What a compliment."
2 cups flour
1 cup quick oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup margarine or butter softened
1 cup of firmly packed brown sugar (dark or light)
1 cup of sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup Libby's Solid Pack Pumpkin
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips or M&M's candies
1 cup raisins
1 cup nuts (any kind)
Preheat Oven to 350° F. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Cream butter, gradually add sugars, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Alternate additions of dry ingredients and pumpkin, mixing well after each addition. Stir in morsels. For each cookie, drop 1/4 cup dough onto lightly greased cookie sheet; spread into shape using a thing metal spatula. Bake at 20 to 25 minutes until cookies are firm and lightly browned.
Note: You can double the recipe if you use can pumpkin, since you usually have a lot left over.

I got this recipe on the internet, and have never followed it exactly. For example, I've never included the chocolate. Usually I use walnuts for the nuts, but yesterday I only had some slivered almonds, and this was super, maybe even better than the walnuts. I also only used half the white sugar that the recipe calls for, and the cookies were still quite sweet. One final note, I obviously didn't use Libby's solid pack pumpkin. This time I took a chunk of squash, skinned it and put it through the food processor with the grater. It worked like a dream.

And what, you may ask, did I do with all the squash skin left over from this culinary adventure? I gave it to Rosie and Rocket, of course! I knew that deer like pumpkins, so I figured bunnies should, too. And this morning nearly all of it had been eaten in the night!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Rosie and Rocket had a great summer!

Look at how well we can share!

Rosie and Rocket visited their friends Merlin, Mimoe, Najimo and Luna in bunny paradise this summer when the people were in Tenerife. If you'd like to see their vacation videos, go visit gluecksmari on YouTube. It looks like Rosie and Merlin are in love!

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Advantages of Having George W. Bush in the White House

I'm no Republican, nor do I really appreciate any of George W. Bush's work as President of the United States of America, but I like to look on the bright side. Reflecting on his years in office, they have provided at least me with some advantages.

1. He's a good reason to leave the country.

2. He kind of looks like a monkey, and who doesn't like monkeys?

3. He says lots of grammatically incorrect things, making him a gold mine for teachers of English.

4. For better or worse, he's always a source of conversation material.

5. You can always make a joke about him. Today at my knee checkup for example, I threatened to call my "Uncle George" if my knee doesn't heal properly. The doctor, nurse and computer guy who was there to fix the network all liked that one.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Hmmmm, should I become German?

I just took a test very much like the German citizenship test, and passed with a grade of 76%. That's actually a bit shameful, considering I've studied German at a university and lived here for over 4 years, but anyway, even with just 76% (which equates to a C-"average"- on the American grading scale), I could become German. That is, if I passed the real citizenship test with such a grade. Considering that I'm married to a German, have a German child, pay taxes to the German government, well, why not? I don't know. I think it's just not really who I am. Dual citizenship might be nice, I imagine, but I don't really know if that's an option. I'm happy with my American passport, and it would feel pretty strange to have to get a visa to visit my family and my hometown. So I think I'll remain a white bread, corn fed American girl.

Here's the test if you want to give it a whirl (in German): Einbürgerungstest
And here are some things that make me not German (also in German): Five Reasons why Germans are Strange

I like it here, don't get me wrong, and I like Germans. Otherwise I wouldn't be teaching people here my language! Nor would I have married one, let alone produced a German child. But there are times when I just don't understand what's going on. But really, that's not so different from living in the United States!