Oct 25, 2009

Halloween Week Begins!

Halloween is my favorite holiday because everyone wins! You get to dress up and eat candy. There's no pressure to buy presents or any stress to have to decorate like how people freak out during Christmas. You can celebrate as big or as casual as you'd like. Halloween is the best!

A few weeks ago, my friends and I went to an orchard and country market! Lots of fresh 'pick your own fruit', homemade pies, and this huge pumpkin patch I took a snapshot of!

I'm not celebrating Halloween big this year because I am busy planning my super secret project for November. However, Halloween comes around once every year! I'd be a loser by not doing something. When I am not doing art, I am probably working on my second love which is cooking. So I decided to practice baking a pumpkin pie from scratch! I usually like to practice my recipes in advance to make sure it comes out right. I am so glad that I did because I learned a lot about pumpkins!

First of all, just like most fruits and vegetables, there are different kinds. I recently found out that there are different kinds of pumpkins and not all of them are good for pies. The Halloween pumpkins that we are familiar with are called Jack O' Lantern Pumpkins or Carving pumpkins. They are typically huge and oblong in shape. These are not suitable for eating. I read on the internet that the "meat" is too watery and not very flavorful.

The best kind of pumpkins to use are called "pie pumpkins". These are a lot rounder and perfect for baking or roasting. This is the pumpkin that I bought. In the store it was called a "sugar pumpkin" isn't that such a cute name? I later found out that "pie pumpkin" "sugar pumpkin" and "baking pumpkin" are all the same.

There is another variety that can be used called Cinderella Pumpkin. Another cute pumpkin name! Yep, you guessed right! Its named after the Cinderella fairytale. The part when the pumpkin magically turns into a coach so Cinderella can make it to the party! You can easily identify it because it is reddish-orange in color and looks a lot flatter than the pie pumpkin.

I roasted the pumpkin myself. It weighed about 5 lbs and it took almost an hour in the oven. I found the directions here

By itself, pumpkin tastes almost identical to butternut squash. I was disappointed by this and figured something out: Pumpkin pie tastes like a pie because of the spices and not because of the pumpkin. I think I felt just as disappointed as Cinderella when she discovered that her pumpkin lost its magic. No worries, I moved on.

This is the end result! The recipe I used calls for too much nutmeg! So it tasted too robust and almost bitter. I am quite pleased but I know it can be improved once I personalize my spice mixture. I'm glad that this was only for practice. I won't serve this to my family or friends until it is perfect.

I decided not to make a crust because I've always hated pie crust! The best part is the filling, but now I'm not sure if this can still be called a pie.

My pumpkin gave me so much filling that I was able to make these cupcakes too:

My cupcakes are sad because the recipe I used was too robust again! These cookbook chefs have got to take it easy on the spices! These cupcakes were practice also!

I still have more pumpkin filling! So the other day I made a carrot-pumpkin soup... but most of the liquid evaporated and now my soup is more like a mash. So its like mashed potatoes, except I didn't use potatoes.

And guess what! I have yet even more filling! I have enough to make another pie, more cupcakes, and maybe some cookies! Lesson learned: Buy a smaller pumpkin.I am not sick of pumpkins yet, but I really did bite off more than I can chew this time.

I don't have a costume yet. I am not sure if I'm going out this yer, but I'll settle for dark nails and wearing my collection of Halloween themed t-shirts this week.

Today I am wearing vintage Fraternity shirt circa 1979 that I found in a thrift store for a spooky Haunted House event!

There is still so much to do! I still need to watch a Halloween-themed movie! I might have to watch Mean Girls again because there's a really funny Halloween scene in it. And also a controversial movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas. Because it can still count as a Halloween movie... even if its about Christmas, right?

I have lots of things in my closet that can be turned into a costume if anything pops up last minute!

Let's make it a good week! Its a great week to be happy... or scared!

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