Saturday, October 18, 2014

Pumpkin Fest 2014 - Visiting the Largest 2,000+ Pound Pumpkin in North America!

My mother was visiting me from Pittsburgh, PA, her first Pumpkin Fest. We arrived late in the warm, sunny day, just enough time to see all the top winning pumpkins of the fest. It's hard to imagine a 2,000+ pound pumpkin. It was harder yet to see it given they shroud it in secrecy and you must pay $15 to be photographed with it. (But at least it goes to a good cause, local community education funds.) We caught a glimpse from a distance. (This pic is just one of the smaller runners-up!)

This year's Fest was disappointing in that the GREAT strides made last year in having TWO organic pumpkin pies on Main Street without sugar! - sadly backslid. Both venues did NOT have organic sugar free pies this year. In fact, one venue was sold, new owner, new biz. The other - the great chef left! No pumpkin pie at all this year. Even his great pumpkin soup from last year was gone, gone, gone. Sigh. Fortunately, mom and I had plenty of homemade pumpkin pie at home to tide us through the week!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Heralding the first Pumpkin Pies of the Season, MMMM! Just in time for Mom's Arrival!

Hi Pumpkin Loving Friends,
Welcome Back to us all! I've been off this blog since last Thanksgiving 2013. I've cracked open my first cans of pumpkin, bought some frozen natural pie shells (without sugar, of course), googled Libby's classic 50's pie recipe again - and whipped up my first few pies, all woofed down by friends with great gusto. And my famous whipped cream, sweetened with grade b maple syrup of course. One recipe makes 2 shallow pies for the two crusts I bought. (The only ones I have found without sugar are "Upper Crust" - ask for them. Wish they were organic - when is someone smart going to put all the right things together!) Don't be fooled by the "Wholesome" brand at Whole Foods and even Good Earth - they all have sugar in them. Real pie crust doesn't need sugar!

Remember friends - my secret to awesome pumpkin pie - use unrefined coconut sugar in place of refined sugar, either one to one, or I prefer to use 1/3 less sugar, it comes out just fine. AND, remember to use evaporated milk instead of sweetened condensed milk (loaded with sugar). There is currently no organic evaporated milk on the market that I can find (come on organic dairy manufacturers, get with it and make a healthy alternative to that sugary stuff). I also add 1/2 tsp of nutmeg to the spices, I love nutmeg.

I alter the Libby's spices a bit. I use a little less cloves and ginger, half the amount each, and add 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp mace and 1/4 tsp allspice, for a slightly more complex and delightful spicing.

I hope Costco has their mini flats of organic pumpkin again - I went through at least 4 mini cases last season! They also had organic unrefined coconut sugar too, I hope they will carry that too. Will keep you posted. Marin County's Costco has a huge organic foods island, growing ever larger, thankfully.

Happy pie season!