Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie, Niagara Falls

I could barely keep my eyes open as a strong gust of water almost blew me away. I had gotten as close as I could to the waterfall, and was now drenched. I had been there only for a minute, but it seemed as if a strong storm had appeared and left as quickly as a tornado. It wasn't the 1600's, when the first non-native Americans, French explorers, first experienced the Falls. The feeling must have been similar, though.
The Maid of the Mist
The small boat that took me past one set of falls to the next zigzagged in and out of the blue marble countertop like a turkey gravy server. As a result, one could feel a soft moist spray throughout most of the voyage, one that has been taken since 1846.

Thunder crashed down in the form of water, leaving a cloud of what appeared to be white debris dust that rose above it, and could be seen from miles away. As I became nearer to this force that gathered strength as it pushed past long jagged rock cliffs that resembled black phantoms hidden beneath the river, the rumbling sound was almost more beautiful than the impressive view, when it cleansed the soul, and left room for nothing else but its contemplation.
A rainbow stretched its glassy colors across the view, much like the bridge nearby. It was a frequent and daily sight in this place, which surely must have fairies, leprechauns, and pots of gold.

 History of Pumpion Pie (that's how it used to be spelled) and Thanksgiving
The first written cooked pumpkin pie recipe was a French recipe recorded in the 1600's. At the time, its dose of vitamin C saved the pilgrims from scurvy. At first, sweet pumpkin recipes were baked inside the gourd, and milk, honey, and spices were added within it as well. Even though a recipe for the pie existed, it might not have been baked in a crust in the New World, or have been a Thanksgiving staple, until the beginning of the 1800's.
It is now eaten for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas in the United States and Canada.

Harvest decoration at a Niagara winery

Niagara Falls at night

Recipe from Libby's Pumpkin Pie Can

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can Libby's pumpkin
1 can evaporated milk
1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust
whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix all ingredients, except for the pie crust and the whipped cream, in a bowl. Pour into the unbaked pie crust shell. If you desire, you can take an additional amount of pie crust and cut out miniature leaves to place on the edge and in the center for a decoration. Place in oven for 15 minutes. Lower temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional hour. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Then serve with whipped cream.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Swedish Cardamom Bread

I visited Pippi Longstocking's house, where she fried eggs and cooked pepperkakor cookies, as small children scrambled in and out of its jungle gym rooms. A short while later, I continued my househunting after timetravelling to see ancient Scandinavian wooden or straw house structures
inside Skansen park, ( or an ancient shipwreck at the Vasa Museet, which I followed with a trip on a boat in front of the Royal Palace, where Nobel Prizes have been presented year after year. After a piece of light green Princess Cake, I walked down the cobblestone streets of the magnificent Gamla Stan, a medieval center, where crowds would celebrate the midsummer night that very same evening. 
This milky bread is traditionally served during Christmastime. 

1 tablespoon yeast
1/4 cup water (110 to 115 degrees C)
1 1/4 cup milk, warm
1/2 cup butter, soft
1/3 cup sugar
3 yolks
2 1/2 teaspoons cardamom
1/8 teaspoon salt
5-5 1/2 cups flour

Knead dough 8 minutes. Let it rise for one hour; divide it in half then in three parts. Roll each part into a 16-inch rope. Then braid three ropes together. Cover. Rise until doubled 45 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Cut each loaf into 12 slices. 175 cal, 1 g fiber.
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Cover the bread with the nut filling.