Friday, September 30, 2005

Iron Chef- Battle Pumpkin

Did not go so well at times today. After the fire fiasco, I should have known better than to attack something even remotely tricky.

First I cooked up Abigail's pumpkin. It most definitely is not a pie pumpkin. :-( It's missing a sweetness that is in the pie pumpkins, and it is really wet. So she didn't get to make her pie today. I have the puree sitting in the fridge draining, so hopefully tomorrow enough water will have seeped out and we'll be able to play with it then.

My second project was a Pumkin Walnut Fudge. Sounds good- doesn't it. Ah, yeah. The ingredients were simple, the direction simple. I must have done something wrong. I put the ingredients in the pan, and stirred while the sugar dissolved. The directions said to stir until dissolved, and then don't stir again while it gets up to temp. So I didn't stir and carefully watched the temperature. Well, as it's climbing and still 10 degrees from it's mark- I notice that it's starting to smell dark- you know, that burnt sugar smell. I tried to stay away and just be patient, and finally, that smell got the best of me, and I dipped my spoon in to check it. And scraped up a nice layer of black sugar. :-( The best I can guess is that I had my burner set too high, so it was scorching that bottom layer instead of coaxing it up to temp. So that was the end of that challenge. I am hesitant to try again, because I am not totally sure that the burner was the problem. There was another pumpkin fudge I saw recently on the CLBB that I will look at and see if it's worth trying.

The third project of the day was tonights dinner. I was making a pork roast with apples and sauerkraut, and I wanted something fall-inspired to go with it. Back to the pumpkin. I decided to try my hand at homemade ravioli. I know. What was I thinking! I made a simple filling of pumpkin, pepper, eggs, and asiago cheese. Then came the pasta dough. That was tough! It started out fun, making a well in flour, adding the eggs, and watching it all come together. But it was a really tough dough to work with, and according to Mario Batali, needed to be kneaded for a full 10 minutes. Ugh! It did work, and then came the rolling. Andy bought me a pasta roller 2 years ago, and this was my first attempt at using it. It would have been better if it fit my counter. It was a real struggle, and it took a long time to get all that dough rolled! After several hours I had a tray full of beautiful little pockets, ready for simmering water.

The ravioli did turn out. I tossed the boiled puffs in a sage brown butter and toasted walnuts, and then sprinkled with asiago cheese. Andy was very sad to learn that he'd eaten them all- so I guess they need to be made again. I would just like them to not take all day to come together! And of course, I had a request from my children to make normal ravioli next time.

The pumpkin battle will continue into tomorrow, as I still have plenty of pumpkin to use up, both of the fresh and canned variety. So we'll see how ambitious I get tomorrow!

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