Monday, October 7, 2013

Eating Omily: Harbingers of Fall

I've recently become aware that there is a small but fierce debate of sorts revolving around the commercially pushed flavor profile of the season.  I speak, of course, of pumpkin spice.  I had mistakenly thought that everyone loved pumpkin spice, but recognized that not every comestible in the universe could carry that flavor successfully, apparently there are, in addition to the people who are obsessed with it in any form, people who feel pumpkin spice is...overrated.  I know, I know.  They're crazy, clearly.

I am an unabashed fan of all things warm, sweet, and spicy a la winter squash and sweet, warming spices such as cinnamon and cloves.  Throw in some cardamom (and serve the latte on the side; I prefer my coffees sugarbomb-free), and I'm yours.

As my own homage to a special flavor profile for a special season, and as the game-set-match of this silly debate, and as a replacement for that non-local treat, banana pudding, I've decided to invent...pumpkin spice pudding.  I know it sounds too good to be true, and yes, we are still in the trial stages...but in the next couple weeks it will be a reality!

We've already achieved the perfect flavor profile, but in an effort to push it over the top, I whipped up a meringue topping, the browning of which took the consistency of the pudding from thick and creamy to...runny.  I ginger snap crust might be all that's needed to pull excess moisture out of the equation, but it seems worth trying the same recipe again and topping it with chilled whipped cream, to see if that does the trick.  Here are some progress shots.

Although I'd really rather use meringue because a perfectly browned meringue beats out whipped cream everytime.  Comeon, look at that baby!

Another reason I'm so excited about baking in general, and pumpkin spice in particular, is that I've been back in America for less than a week after my Korea+Japan jaunt, and I'm just so excited about American foods!  Why, you ask?  Because here's a normal, everyday snack for Japanese people.
Tiny crabs not your thing?  How about, tiny squid?
I rest my case...although I could go on.  All of this stuff was available for sampling.  That day at the Tsukiji Market was the most adventurous eating day of my life!  The tiny salt-dried fish we sampled next to the tiny baked whole crabs were actually delicious to my salt-deprived tongue.  Oh, hell, here's one more picture.  I took this one because I want to look up the Japanese and figure out what creature is in those tied plastic bags.  I suspect it's an octopus.
But seriously, the Korean barbecue, the bimbimbap, the funky pizza, the sausage surrounded by a spiral cut potato all fried together, the kimchee, the rice bowls, the soba, the sushi...all delicious.  Korea was amazing, and Japan was, too, though we had far less time there.

One of the things we saw in Seoul was the world's tallest art museum, which was doing a show on floral, stripe, and skull prints.  How seasonal!
Love it!

Speaking of seasonal, I was gone for a very pivitol two weeks in the seasonal year.  I left behind eggplants, tomatoes, and peppers, and came back to...
 But you already knew that, didn't you?  Or else how could I have been making pumpkin spice pudding??  Well, I was cheating and using butternut squash, because it roasts up much drier than pumpkin does, and I didn't want to make the pudding watery. As you can see, you can still grab the last of the peaches, corn is still going strong, and yes, the tomatoes won't give up till we get a hard frost, so enjoy them while you can!
And then I got handed this perfect little snack: kale salad!  Turns out this is what they're feeding kids in Brooklyn public schools!  I wanted to hug and kiss everyone involved in this...but I practiced admirable restraint, and just thanked them profusely.

Oh yes.  It's good to be home.


  1. oh my gosh! finish that recipe! what a tease. it looks divine

  2. Hahaha, I guess it was pretty cruel to talk about it before the recipe was ready to share! I was just so proud of how perfectly the meringue came worries, I just bought another quart of 100% pastured hormones and antibiotics-free Farmers' Market milk, and I will be trying version 2.0 of this recipe this week!! As soon as I have a workable version, it's going on the blog!