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Pumpkin Head

Posted Oct 18 2011 6:19am
I was told that my pumpkin looks like me. You know, if I were a pumpkin.
What do you think? Do you see the resemblance?
I know it's a bit early to carve a pumpkin (in fact, Mr. Pumpkin Head is already fading in the Texas humidity), but I was just so excited about picking him from the patch!
You might say that I had pumpkin on the brain.
[Not to be confused with actual pumpkin "brains"...which I ate, of course.
But we'll get to that another day. Maybe tomorrow.] I'd used up all of my leftover pumpkin in a bowl (or two) of oats.
[Including this particularly delicious one, featuring wheat germ, pumpkin pie spice, apples, and fig preserves....oh, and White Chocolate Wonderful PB & Co. Peanut Butter...because peanut butter is always a good idea, right?]
But I was still stuck on pumpkin. Particularly pumpkin spice. And maybe it was the peanut butter in that bowl of oats up there, but the only thing I could think to do was make pumpkin-pie spiced nut butter.
And because I happened to have a whole bunch of roasted pecans*--
*10-15 minutes at 350 degrees
--it became Pumpkin Pie-Spiced Pecan Butter. And you know what? That deserves an exclamation point.
[There.] Lucky for me, I also had some roasted cashews I bought at a bulk bin clearance sale. Even though they were salted (and I normally like to work with unsalted), I figured I'd find some use for them.
Since pecans on their own tend not to leech out a lot of oil when blended, the cashews (which are like little grenades of oil*) help to make for a super creamy butter while still being mellow enough in flavor to let the pecans shine.
*un-catchable by even Bruno Mars
Into the food processor went 3/4 cup roasted, salted cashews, and 1 1/4 roasted pecans.
I ground those up to a coarse meal before adding a hint of maple extract and a tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice.
I don't know why I didn't just add the spice to begin with, but there is rarely a method to my madness...only fabulous results.
Whoo hoo! My favorite part of making a new nut butter is the "walking away and coming back" where you hope you stumble upon an amazingly flavorful new genius concoction.
And about 10 minutes later...that's exactly what happened to me.
Man alive, this stuff is yummy. I am reduced to small child language at the mere taste of it.
I did something I rarely do and added some sweetener to this. I figured 'tis the season, right?
Besides, I'd bought the brown rice syrup on clearance over a month ago and figured it was time to actually use it.
And brown rice syrup IS a Vegan MoFo approved sweetener. And vegan or not...this nut butter is SARAH-proved.
[Get it? Say it really fast. See? Awesome.]
As per usual, I wasn't quite sure what to do with it, aside from glop it on oatmeal, or lick it seductively* from a knife directly from the jar.
*Nut butter is sexy, y'all. Remember the peanut butter porn ?? Of course, if you kind of lied in a previous post statement and actually DID have just a smidge of pumpkin puree left, you could put it on a mysteriously discovered in your pantry rice cake and then top it off with some of this delicious Pumpkin-Spiced Pecan Butter.
You can even forget you're eating styrofoam when it's used as a vessel for something this good.
But then again, eating it straight from the processor bowl might just be the better option after all.
Pumpkin Spice Pecan Butter
(Makes about 1 1/2 cups)

3/4 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
1 1/4 cups roasted pecans*
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. salt [may omit if using salted cashews]
1 tsp. maple extract
1 teaspoon brown rice syrup (optional)

1. Combine cashews and pecans in a food processor. Process until a coarse meal develops.
2. Add pumpkin pie spice, salt, and extract. Process until smooth (about 10 minutes).
3. If desired, add brown rice syrup to sweeten slightly.

*To roast pecans, simply spread in a single layer on a metal baking pan and bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.
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