Have a little news…
I generally don’t like talking about myself. Have always been a bit shy or maybe introspective is a better word. But here goes.
In the span of just a few months, I turned 40 (still hard to believe), resigned from my job, booked a ticket to Ireland (to attend a three-month culinary program), and tied the knot (after 10+ years of dating my best friend; just a small affair at the court house with a celebratory lunch thereafter). A whirlwind of a year thus far.
Am excited and nervous at the same time. Excited about heading off to Ireland for a few months to attend the Dublin Cookery School (and fulfill a longstanding dream of living abroad and going to culinary school). Nervous about where life will take me next. What lies ahead career-wise? Will I ever find my niche?
Had been feeling the need to make a change for quite some time. Change can be scary. But doing nothing and living a life of regret is even scarier to me.
Sometimes life falls into your lap and sometimes you need to go out and make life happen.
Dublin here I come…
Okay, now lets talk about pumpkin bread…
Bought a kabocha squash a couple weeks back. It’s been sitting there on the counter, taking up prime real estate. I planned on making squash tacos with an ancho sauce of sorts, but have yet to get around to it. Instead, decided on a pumpkin-spiced cake. Or should I call this pumpkin bread?
Regardless of semantics, this pumpkin creation has lots of pumpkin flavor and a nice amount of pumpkin spice (cinnamon, ginger, clove, cardamom, and nutmeg). Incorporated thick, Greek yogurt and coconut oil for moisture. There’s also dark chocolate chunks.
Tho, what really makes the bread/cake is the topping. It’s a coconut-pecan crumble. The more the better. So be generous and load up on the topping.
A wok works great for steaming pumpkin/winter squash. Just fill the bottom with a little water. Place the pumpkin in the steamer in the wok, and cover and cook over low heat until fork tender.
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon clove
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
3/4 cup coconut sugar
3 tablespoons molasses
1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin or your favorite variety of winter squash puree
2/3 cup Greek or strained yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup (dark) chopped chocolate chunks or chips (optional)
Coconut-Pecan Crumble (recipe below)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a loaf pan. You can line with parchment paper for easy removal after baking. Just make sure to grease the parchment as well.
In a large bowl, combine the all-purpose and whole-wheat flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a separate bowl, beat the sugar, molasses, and coconut oil. Mix in the eggs, pumpkin, yogurt, vanilla, pecans, and chocolate chips. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture and mix to incorporate. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan. Bake for about 1 hour. Let cool and enjoy.
3 tablespoons brown (or coconut) sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut flakes
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Stir together the sugar, coconut flakes, pecans, flour, and cinnamon. Work in the coconut oil until it forms crumbles.
Note: This makes a bit more than you’ll need for one pumpkin bread.