Archive | September, 2017

My Pumpkin Spiced Life

18 Sep

The weather is changing – it’s getting cooler and fall is coming.  It’s my favorite time of the year.  My dear mother reminds me every year how the fall reminds her of death, but I don’t see it that way.  It’s like a breath of fresh air and new flavors.  Green gives way to orange and lightness becomes richness.

My taste for spinach and lettuce turns to collards and kale; the tomatoes make room for sweet potatoes and winter squash.  And in my coffee, of course, goes the pumpkin spice.  I’m drinking less of the juicy Sauvignon Blancs and dry Rieslings and more Riojas and ruby ports.  You bust out the synthetic fabric sweaters and tall boots and retire the sandals and shorts.

So what’s on the vegan menu for the Rocky Mountain Jax?  Pumpkin bisque, to start.  Next, cashew bechamel, flavored with porcini mushrooms over short pasta (pumpkin gnocchi if you can find a good recipe), and after that, tuber and mushroom stew.

For the bulk of the veggies, I go for darker greens, winter squash, mushrooms (especially the dried pungent ones), sweet and yellow potatoes, leeks, artichokes and root vegetables like carrots and parsnips.  Flavorings get richer – vegan “beef” flavoring, truffle oil, bourbon, and liquid aminos.

I recommend stocking up the baking pantry, too.  Don’t forget dried fruits, nuts and high-quality ground grains.  Consider swapping out traditional vegetable oils for avocado, almond, hazelnut and grape seed oils.  Think beyond walnuts, raisins and dried cranberries (look for the juice-sweetened kind – they taste so much better) and consider figs and pine nuts.

Beyond that, the cookware changes for me in the fall.  I use more of cast-iron and copper and far less of the grill and non-stick.  I find those metals add even more richness to the food – and in the fall, you can never get too much of that.

My one problem – a healthy alternative to butter for baking.  I know, I know, there’s the stuff that rhymes with shmerth shmalance, but I was hoping to find something with fewer ingredients; something more natural, like coconut oil.  That said, when I tried baking biscuits with unrefined coconut oil, they didn’t come out right.  Any ideas on that front would be much appreciated.

Stay warm!