27 October 2010

Bun in the oven

No.... it's not what you think!! But I did think it was a funny title... and made you look, didn't it?

Back in America I always wanted to be able to bake but I rarely took the initiative to do so. Looking back it makes me wonder what I was eating all the time because I can't remember doing much cooking, and when I did actually cook something it was a big deal for me. Maybe I was eating out in restaurants more than I thought... or eating more prepackaged foods than is healthy (which both are actually likely the case).

Thanks to Deb from the blog SmittenKitchen, I have been inspired to start cooking more here. It's actually kind of becoming a game to see what I actually have to cook with (ingredient wise) and how I can improvise for things I don't have. Sometimes the recipe is just plain impossible, but sometimes it works out, like, for example, today.

It's apple and pumpkin season here in Moldova. Two weeks ago I cooked SmittenKitchen's apple and plum pie- using the VERY last plums that were still hanging on the trees. Last weekend I baked the same pie but only used apples (and now I have plenty of cinnamon for more sweets!). Last weekend I also decided I wanted to make a pumpkin pie- until I realized just how much dairy is in a pumpkin pie... so I opted for pumpkin bread instead.

But pumpkin bread needs PUMPKIN (duh) and most recipes call for canned pumpkin. Well, that's just not going to happen here, especially in the villages. So what did I do next? I googled how to make your own pumpkin purée and I found it to be much more simple than I imagined. All I needed was a pumpkin (check), and oven (check), a blender (un-check but easily accessible thanks to Luminita... so check), and gata (aka finished). With all of these checks I was ready to get started. I took the pumpkin, scraped out the insides (which I would have baked until a chicken pooped on them), put it in the oven, then pureed it. By the time I was finished (I didn't realize just how much puree this one pumpkin would make!!), it was time for bed. And I didn't have enough eggs (the chickens don't like to lay eggs in the cold) or sugar. Raincheck!
Today turned out the be the return of the raincheck, especially because I wanted to make something special for my kiddos for tomorrow/Friday as we celebrate Halloween... kinda. I mixed everything up and then realized I had no idea where a bread pan was. With NMG nowhere in site I had to ask NTG- and he hadn't a clue, either. So he gave me a super big, shallow, round pan that he said they use for bread. I had no choice- it was that or nothing. It actually worked out perfectly because I fit all of the batter (enough for 3 loaves) into that one pan, and it will be much easier to cut it into smaller portions for the kids.

With just a couple minutes left till it's done... I hope it tastes as good as it looks and smells right now! Maybe I should become a chef. Yea, maybe not.
Here is the recipe (actually not from smitten kitchen, but from here)

3 cups 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (*I didn't use)

2 cups solid pack pumpkin puree

1 cup vegetable oil (*I used 1 cup butter)

1/2 cup and chopped walnuts (optional) (*although readily available here, I used raisins instead)

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (*I used 3 to add more flavor and b/c I didn't use nutmeg)

3 cups white sugar

2/3 cup water

4 eggs

Grease and flour three 7 x 3 inch pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Measure flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and spices into a large bowl. Stir to blend. Add pumpkin, water, salad oil, eggs, and nuts. Beat until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.Bake for approximately 1 hour.

1 comment:

  1. Well Done! I'm so glad that you're enjoying Smitten Kitchen. Heads up, I found Nutmeg at the Metro north of town a couple months ago (just on the right at the entrance into the meat locker). If you haven't already you might want to also take a look at the Pioneer Woman Cooks blog. I've found her recipes tend to always use ingredients that I have on hand. -Christine