Things have been a bit off lately in my little piece of the Hawkeye State. Calling what has been going on this week a “curse” is perhaps (OK, definitely) being melodramtic. I mean, everyone is still alive, in one piece, not in jail, etc. But–my friendship family has just been having a small streak of bad luck. We’ve had some minor medical, veterinary, and technological issues. I dropped several eggs onto the floor instead of into a mixing bowl while attempting a routine muffin recipe. And THEN–this happened back at my parents’ homestead:
Yikes. It was a little windy.
Now, as Michael G. Scott once said, “I’m not superstitious…but I’m a little stitious.” I decided it couldn’t hurt, in terms of putting the universe right again, to make some comfort food and lay low for awhile. First offering to the forces of evil that have been conspiring against my loved ones: pumpkin butter. Here’s what you need (plus some brown sugar and nutmeg):
This week definitely called for no-fail recipes, and that’s what this is. Here’s the link–I followed all of the measurements except I only used 2/3 c. sugar. Just put everything except the lemon juice into a sauce pan and cook and stir occasionally until it thickens up to suit your preference. You can just hang out near the stove reading a good book and occasionally remarking on how good this stuff smells. Or I suppose you could multitask, if you’re into that. When it’s done, take it off the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
I cooked this batch for about 20 minutes. The link above has instructions for preserving the pumpkin butter, but I just let it cool slightly and put it in jars to keep in the refrigerator and give away to some folks so it’ll get used up soon. I love Ball jars…and I can’t resist putting ribbon around them, either.
What can you do with this stuff? Well, I’ll tell you: mix it with yogurt and sprinkle some granola on top. Spread it on toast and top with banana slices. Try it in a more savory application like this. Or maybe just eat it with a spoon–who am I to judge?
Cozy/comforting/cursebusting recipe #2: vegetarian Snobby Joes. These are like Sloppy Joes, but they look down their noses at meat-based sandwiches and probably lecture them at parties about animal suffering and global warming. I generally don’t crave meat or miss eating it regularly, but I do have fond memories of my mom making what we always called “Maid-rites” with ground beef and Cookies brand barbecue sauce on cold nights. These have that same feel, and they’re made with lentils, which are dirt cheap and therefore ideal for students like me. Ingredient round-up:
There are quite a few versions of this recipe around the world wide web. This was just sort of an improvisation based on several of them.
Snobby Joes (originally–I think–from the Veganomicon cookbook)
- 1 c. lentils
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1/2 c. grated carrot
- 2 cloves garlic
- 15 oz. can tomato sauce
- 3 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 1/2 tbsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. agave nectar (the more standard choice here would be maple syrup, or you could try honey)
- 1 tbsp. yellow mustard
Boil the lentils in about 4 cups of water for approximately 20 minutes. While they’re boiling, grate the carrots, chop the onion, bell pepper, and garlic, and saute in a tablespoon or so of olive oil.
When the lentils are aaaaalmost tender enough (they’ll cook a little more in the sauce), add them to the veggies. Then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer everything together for about 10 minutes.
This is a meal to eat while watching the World Series and hiding out for awhile.
Then, theoretically, you could cap off the night with a little vanilla ice cream topped with pumpkin butter and declare the curse broken. Not bad for a day’s “work,” I’d say.