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VOL. 36 | NO. 47 | Friday, November 23, 2012

Thankful for cookbooks, Williams-Sonoma

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Question: Why do jack-o-lanterns have stupid looks on their faces?

Answer: You’d have a stupid look too, if you had all your brains scooped out! Ha-ha! Well, it was funny at 3:30 this morning.

My mom is in the mood for pumpkin pie – she loves it! That sounded like a good idea to me, too, so I bought all the ingredients, but they’re still sitting in the pantry. I thought she was going to make one since she wanted one, and I guess she assumed that since I bought the stuff, I was going to make one.

When I asked her about it, she said, “I thought I remembered you saying you would make one.” I don’t remember that. And now we’re slowly losing our craving. I guess I need to get it made, or I could just wait and have a slice of someone else’s at Thanksgiving.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I’m somewhat behind as far as planning my meal. We usually celebrate Thanksgiving at our house, as we seem to be the halfway mark for travelers. However, this year, we’ll be spending our Thanksgiving with our daughters in Colorado, so meal planning is difficult. (Hard to cook on a plane.)

I’m exploring new pumpkin recipes. While we were in San Francisco a few years back, we visited the Williams-Sonoma store. Actually, I visited several times since it was just a block down from our hotel.

It’s the original store, and it’s jam-packed! Even with three stories, there are items stacked so high on the shelves, the clerks have to get a ladder to get them down. And if you have a big purse – leave it in the car because it won’t fit between the aisles. (You just need cash anyway.) You will be knocking things off every time you move. It’s so much fun if you’re into cooking and house wares.

I was like a kid in a candy store. I wanted everything just because I was so overwhelmed. Anyway, among “just a few” other things, I bought a pumpkin recipe book. Really, I only bought a few items that would fit in my suitcase, but I have gotten wiser now. I ship, ship, ship!

I have used that cookbook over and over, and I will probably never get rid of it. I have printed two of my favorite recipes on this page. I have another one I’d like to share, but there isn’t enough room. The pumpkin and pine nut risotto might sound, um, different, but if you’ve never had it, I suggest you make it before you decide to thumb your nose at it. It’s REALLY good.

Pumpkin and Pine Nut Risotto

1 lb. of fresh Pumpkin, seeded
4 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 cup of pine nuts
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 1/3 cups of Italian risotto rice
2/3 cup of white wine
3 3/4 cups of hot chicken broth
3/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Clean the pumpkin and chunk it into three-quarter inch pieces. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan with the oil and then sauté the pumpkin for three to four minutes. Add the nuts and continue sautéing for two more minutes. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add the onion to the drippings in the pan. Sauté until tender; add the garlic and rice, stirring for about one minute. Pour in the wine and let it boil until evaporated. Add half a cup of the hot broth, stirring until absorbed. Continue cooking and adding broth until the rice is thick and creamy but still has texture (about 20 minutes). You might not need all of the broth.
Add the pumpkin and pine nuts and half of the parmesan cheese to the rice. Serve hot with the remaining cheese.