How to “Pumpkin-Spice” Everything as Though It Were a Verb!

How to “Pumpkin-Spice” Everything as Though It Were a Verb!

How can tell when the Fall season approaches? Is it the cool breeze, shorter days, leaves changing colors? Heck no! You can tell that it’s Fall because absolutely everything is pumpkin-spiced.

Not too long ago I wrote a recipe for pumpkin donuts in my Sunday Best cookbook. It’s easier than you think it is to make these delicious donuts at home. The downside is that unless you have a lot of friends, you may just eat all of them yourself! Check out the yield from this recipe in the photo below:

Aren’t those donuts gorgeous? They should be…for I added a new dimension this time! I pumpkin-spiced up some granulated sugar for dipping, and created a maple glaze for dunking. The results were… well, can I say sooooo Fall inspired. Give these a try… or move next door to me, and ask to borrow a cup of pumpkin-spiced latte for total pumpkin immersion!

Pumpkin-Spiced Donuts

with Maple Glaze for Dunking

For donuts

3 cups unbleached all-purpose four

1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

½ teaspoon table salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

2 large eggs

1 cup pumpkin puree

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup buttermilk

¼ cup light brown sugar

3 tablespoons butter, melted

Canola oil for frying

For spiced sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

For glaze

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 to 2 teaspoons heavy cream

 Whisk together the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda in a bowl. Use an electric mixer to combine the eggs, pumpkin puree, sugar, buttermilk, brown sugar and butter. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in batches. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for at least 3 hours.

Unwrap the chilled dough onto a floured work surface. Roll out the dough to ½-inch thickness. Use a donut cutter to cut out donuts and holes, reusing the scraps until all the dough has been used. Transfer each one onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Pour enough canola oil in a deep fry pan to come up the sides two inches. This should be less than half of the depth of the pan as oil expands when heated. Heat the oil over medium high heat between 365° and 375°. Fry the donuts in batches until golden brown on one side. Turn to brown the other side, about 1 to 2 minutes total. Transfer to a paper towel-lined sheet pan.

Mix together the spiced sugar ingredients in a shallow bowl. Whisk together the glaze ingredients in a shallow bowl. Place the donuts into either the glaze or the sugar.

 

Not Julia’s Beef Stew

Not Julia’s Beef Stew

I love Julia Child’s boeuf bourguignon – but truly American beef stew is different, and if you’re looking to achieve a real, flavorful meat n’ potatoes kinda night, this is your recipe!

My version comes together quickly, with items you probably have in your pantry and freezer. I throw in an extra step of browning not only the beef, but the potatoes in oil and butter. You might not think it’s worth the effort, but trust me, it is!

Here’s how I do it. I cut about 2 pounds of beef into 1 ½ inch cubes. I had a top round roast in my freezer, so I used that, but you can use any cut of beef that adapts well to stewing or braising – like chuck roast, short ribs and brisket. Stay away from leaner cuts (like steaks) as they will toughen up during the long cooking process.

My friends at brobbq.com have all the meaty details on how to make your meat n’ potatoes night “a cut” above!

I cut baby yellow or red potatoes in half – about a 1 ½ pound bag. Place them in a bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and some dried thyme. I peeled 8 large carrots and cut them into chunks and I diced 1 big onion.

Place about a third of beef cubes into a resealable plastic bag with flour, salt and pepper and shake. I do this in batches so that all the cubes are coated evenly. Heat olive oil and butter (about 2 to 3 tablespoons of each) in a large, deep pot over high heat. Turn on the fan, we want the butter and olive oil smokin’ hot. Place the coated cubes into the pot. Brown on one side, about 1 minute. Flip and brown on the other side, about 1 minute more. Transfer the brown beef to a platter. Repeat this process until all the beef is browned. You can add additional olive oil and butter in between browning. I did!

Remove the pot from the heat for a minute and take a deep breath. That browning goes fast! Add more olive oil and butter to the pot. Place the potatoes, cut side down in the pot (as best you can) and return the pot to the heat. Let the potatoes brown for about 2 minutes. Flip them over when there is a nice golden crust on the cut side. Transfer the potatoes back to the bowl.

Place the carrots into the pot and toss them around until they just begin to brown. Season with salt, pepper and a bit of cumin. Transfer the browned carrots to the same bowl with the potatoes.

Place the onions into the pot. Season the onions with salt and pepper. When the onions are beginning to soften, about 5 minutes, pour in about half of a bottle of red wine. Reduce the heat to medium. Simmer the wine until it reduces by about half. Pour in about 3 cups of beef stock. Stir in about 3 tablespoons of tomato paste. Place the meat back into the pot. Reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer the stew for at least 90 minutes. After ninety minutes, add in the potatoes and carrots. Continue simmering the stew until the meat is very tender, about 3 hours total cooking time.

There you have it. An all-American beef stew with a bit of a fried potato twist. I promise, you’re gonna love it – it’s one of the defining recipes in my book, SUNDAY BEST DISHES: a cookbook for Passionate Cooks!