Saturday, November 18, 2006

So what have I been cooking?

It was a huge undertaking, but totally worth it. Pumpkin is one of my favorite foods in the whole world, and I get so excited each fall when they come in season. I love sharing pumpkin dishes with people... so one of my dreams has always been to have a pumpkin-themed party to showcase some of the different, wonderful things you can do with this amazing fruit.

Today, I made that dream a reality! Laura's pumpkin brunch was a huge success! I cooked all day yesterday for it, and I got up early this morning and finished everything up (with the help of one friend, who graciously showed up early and made it possible for me to get everything done right on time).

This was the spread: Pumpkin muffins from VWaV (p. 52), served with the Incredible Almond Cream Cheeze from Vegan Vittles (p. 70); pumpkin pudding from Kaji's Mom; pumpkin pancakes made from adapting the Banana-Pecan Pancakes from VWaV (p. 34), served with syrup and toasted walnuts; pumpkin-filled spring rolls from Veggie Way; pumpkin seeds roasted with sea salt and nutritional yeast; and, not pictured here (it's on the stove), Pumpkin-Apple Soup from Vegetarian Soups for All Seasons (p. 32).

Here is the soup, topped with fresh parsley and a few of the toasted walnuts. I doubled this recipe; I'm glad I did because there is plenty left over for Bob and me to enjoy! I think the soup was my favorite of all the dishes--it was sweet but not too sweet, with plenty of spice. I made this yesterday and then re-heated it this morning, to give all the flavors a chance to mingle together. The recipe suggested puréeing the whole soup, but I left about half of it chunky so that it felt heartier.

Here are the spring rolls. I followed Isil's recipe generally, except instead of grating the pumpkin, I cut it up and steamed it until it was just undercooked, and then diced it very small. I also added a bit of minced fresh ginger. I searched several stores here in Athens, but could not find eggless spring roll wrappers; so, instead, I used phyllo dough like Isil did. I had never worked with the stuff before, and it was so delicate and paper-thin that I was afraid I would mess something up. But it seemed to work fine. Into the oven they went. This was my second favorite--I really like pairing pumpkin with flavors other than the typical sweet spices.

Pancakes. These were the biggest hit at the party. I basically used the VWaV recipe, substituting pumpkin purée for the mashed banana, and adding a heaping tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice and a couple tablespoons of demerara sugar. I also used walnuts in lieu of pecans (pecans are one food I've never cared for), and left them on the side in case anyone didn't want them in their food. These were very incredible, if a little on the heavy side. I doubled this recipe too, and there was only a scant amount left over.

Toasted pumpkin seeds. Just a great snack all-around. They were really good tossed in the sea salt and nutritional yeast.

Pumpkin pudding--yum! One of my favorite treats. This recipe from Kaji's Mom is a really good recipe. I just sweetened it lightly with sugar--just a spoonful or two. I wanted the pumpkin and spices to really come out. They did!

Finally, me with some of my guests. See how happy everyone is? Pumpkins make everyone smile!

Have a great weekend!


aTxVegn said...

Wow, Laura! What a huge undertaking and everything turned out perfectly! I had honestly been thinking of doing the same thing, only "all things cranberry"! Cranberries require so much sugar though, pumpkin was a great idea.

I know you didn't ask, but I think the springrolls would be my favorite, and then the pudding. Maybe I've seen too many pudding recipes lately and I'm starting to crave it! And I'm with you on the pecans. I always sub in walnuts.

I can't believe you tiny girls ate so much food! That's a great picture.

Isil S. said...

I'm glad you liked the recipe. Thanks for linking to me! The rest of the table is also looking very appealing.

Eat Peace Please said...

Wow Laura! You certainly pulled it off. This whole spread looks amazing. I'm not a pumpkin fan, but you probably could have taken me to the other side with this party! Wow again, and great idea!

Ellie P. said...

(This is my first comment . . . I really like your blog!)
This looks completely amazing. Pumpkin is one of my very, very favorite flavors too! I have thought about serving all-pumpkin meals before! I really want to try to make pumpkin spring rolls now, and pumpkin pudding!
In the "Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates!" cookbook there is a terrific recipe for Pumpkin-Mushroom Lasagna. It might be quite difficult to veganize but probably doable. If you are ever up to another pumpkin-related challenge you might want to check it out. It's orange and black and very pretty.

Megan the Vegan said...

You are so cute...I love that you hosted a pumpkin party! It's adorable. The food looks fantastic and makes me wanna get cookin' with pumpkin soon.

I agree that phyloo is fussy stuff. But, once its cooked it seems that all the rips and tears and seeming mistakes just disappear.

Johanna3 said...

i wish i was there! all looks incredible!

bazu said...

Oh my gosh, a pumpkin feast! That does sound like a dream come true! I've recently been cooking a whole lot with pumpkins and want more more more. (How cool is it that pumpkins are a superfood?) I've been eyeing that pudding from Kaji's mom, too. Great stuff!

Gaia said...

Laura, that is so great !!
It is so cool that you would do that ! You are the Pumpkin Queen :)

I LOVE roasted Pumpkin seeds and our cat friend ADORES them. He will come running whenever I take them out. I don't know how he knows ! LOL I always try to be very quiet but he knows every time. And his name is Pumpkin (we named him before we discovered that about him) LOL

The pumpkin soup looks wonderful !

b36Kitchen said...

i wish i had a pumpkin party! That is an amazing amount of pumpkin. I'm smiling just thinking about what it would be like to have all that goodness.


Candi said...

Oh! I love peeking in on the pumpkin party! It all looks very good! The spring rolls are calling to me. Lol!

You look adorable in the photo. Yes, they all look so happy! :P Congrats on so many pumpkin recipe successes!!