pumpkin spice french toast

The Pumpkin Spice Pinterest Roundup

Happy October, ES friends! It’s time to really start focusing on our favorite fall recipes… including, of course, the ubiquitous pumpkin spice. Believe it or not, October 1st is actually National Pumpkin Spice Day. Whether this flavor is a friend or foe to you, you can’t deny that it’s become an integral component to our cultural fall narrative.

And of course, pumpkin spice goes hand-in-hand with another favorite… Pinterest. Yes, these are two P’s in a pod. We trolled Pinterest to find the best, funniest, and weirdest PSL/pumpkin spice recipes trending this year. All of these puppies are certified Pinterest-viral right now, and for good reason. Whip one up if you’re feeling fall-ish and festive!

 

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Covered Pretzels 
originally from Crunchy Creamy Sweet
Chocolate-Covered-Pumpkin-Spice-Pretzels

Chocolate covered pretzels? Good. Chocolate covered pretzels with pumpkin pie spice? Great!

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Fall Persimmon Tea Cake

It’s Fall, Y’all: Persimmon Teacake

Fall Persimmon Tea Cake

Happy first day of fall, y’all! It’s time to cozy up to all things warm, baked, dare I even say… pumpkinspiced?

But today’s recipe is not about pumpkin at all! (So you’re welcome, PSL detractors.) Today we’re talking about a different P… persimmon. I will be the first to admit that I do not work with this fruit as much as I should, and often ignore this special fruit as I browse the produce section this time of year, msotly because I don’t know WTF to do with it. I feel guilty. I want to change! As luck would have it, I was recently contacted by DEFINE Foods here in Austin, with some creative seasonal recipes.

Co-owner and chef Erin O’Leary Stewart gave me some great pointers on seasonal fall produce and how to integrate it into your recipe planning, including my elusive persimmon!

Erin says:

“My top five favorite fruits and veggies that are in season locally this fall are sweet potatoes, carrots, persimmons, figs, pears, oh and beets… and cauliflower… (Ok, more than 5!).

Persimmon is the most unique and a favorite fruit that you can only get at this time of year that looks like a cross  between a peach and a tomato. Its flavor is a blend of apricots, plums and honey. Combined in a moist spice cake, this is the perfect fall weather breakfast or afternoon treat.”

Persimmon Tea Cake

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Pecan Pie M&Ms

This Exists: Pecan Pie M&Ms

Hot on the heels of my explosive pumpkin spice M&Ms review of Fall 2014, I’m back with my thoughts on Pecan Pie M&Ms. Just call me the Jebidiah Atkinson of the fall novelty candy world.

Pecan Pie M&Ms

Just look at that sultry green minx, tempting us with a slice of pie! That’s a snapshot of said Pecan Pie M&Ms in their natural habitat: on the countertop of a shared workspace, free for the tasting. And taste I did. I also tasted the Pumpkin Spice Latte M&Ms, which I first did not realize were different from last year’s Pumpkin Spice M&Ms. More on that later.

Pecan Pie M&Ms, similar to last year’s Pumpkin Spice, actually, really don’t taste that different than regular M&Ms. I was foolishly hoping for pecans inside the M&Ms, but no. No real nuts at all. Just a vague butter flavor infused into the chocolate. If I gave them out in a blind taste-test, I would be shocked if anyone could guess what their flavor was imitating.

Oh, and those aforementioned Pumpkin Spice Latte M&Ms? They can be summed up in one word: barf. They taste like a giant mouthful of dry, powdery allspice and cinnamon. They are an affront to the phrase “pumpkin spice.” There is no pumpkin to be found, just WAY too much spice. Maybe we rename them Old Spice M&Ms. In the battle between Pumpkin Spice M&Ms and Pumpkin Spice Latte M&Ms, the former reigns supreme.

This has been my formal, journalistic review of the new M&Ms fall flavors. In my opinion, you’re better off buying a bag of normal M&Ms (I personally prefer almond and/or peanut butter, but I will allow you to enjoy plain, peanut, crispy, or even pretzel if you’d like) and washing them down with a pumpkin spice latte.

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Rustlin Rob's Fredericksburg, TX Hot Sauce Room

The Hot Sauce Store to End All Hot Sauce Stores

I would like to invite you to Rustlin’ Rob’s in a little town called Fredericksburg, Texas…

Rustlin Rob's Condiment Store, Fredericksburg, Texas

Fredericksburg is mostly known for its wine (yes, there is a Texas wine country) and I personally consider it “the Las Vegas of the Texas wine world” since you’re allowed to walk around with open containers in the streets/stores. I even got mardi gras beads from one of the tasting lounges, and since I have a real garbage party girl streak, I was super into it.

The most surprising aspect of my carousal through Fredericksburg? Rustlin’ Rob’s, the wonderland of condiments and weird snacks, and unlimited free self-serve samples.

Rustlin Rob's Fredericksburg, TX sample jars

Beneath its glowing red chili lights (seriously, so many novelty chili lights) Rustlin’ Rob’s has quite seriously EVERY kind of jam, jelly, jerky, spread, dip, salsa, and um, quail egg (?) a girl could ask for. The best/worst part? IT’S ALL AVAILABLE TO SAMPLE. ALL OF IT. Every single product has a self-serve sample next to it. Now, I know you’re wondering why I called this the “best/worst” thing when clearly it’s the best thing. But after eating literally 30+ samples of specialty jelly slathered over cream cheese and Wheat Thins, you’ll know when your train turns the corner straight into Worstville.

Probably the most impressive section of RR’s is the hot sauce cave.

Rustlin Rob's Fredericksburg, TX Hot Sauce Room

Rustlin Rob's Fredericksburg, TX Hot Sauce Room

I have never seen so much hot sauce in my damn life. For all of you who are forever chasing the dragon when it comes to the hottest hot sauce, Rustlin’ Robs is your heaven.

Rustlin Rob's Fredericksburg, TX Hot Sauce Room

It was the best of snacks, it was the worst of snacks. It was the heaven of snacks, it was the hell of snacks. Rustlin’ Rob’s contains multitudes. If you are ever in central Texas, I strongly urge you to stop by. And don’t eat lunch beforehand.

Rustlin Rob's Fredericksburg Texas

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Bangers Biscuits and Gravy Austin

Food Porn Champion: The Most Bangin’ Biscuits and Gravy

Bangers Biscuits and Gravy Austin

Rise and shine, ESers! Feast your eyes on this: an insanely epic biscuits & gravy dish I discovered during Sunday brunch at Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden in Austin.

The menu describes it as a “house-made biscuit, milk gravy & your choice of housemade bacon or housemade breakfast sausage” but let’s be real, that bacon is clearly just two huge slabs of pork belly. And just look at that river of gravy. These people are NOT messing around with their breakfasts and next time you’re hungover in Central Texas, you now know where to go.

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Liberty Kitchen Austin Chef's Salad

Food Porn Champion: The Ultimate Meat Salad

Liberty Kitchen Austin Chef's Salad

Look at that. Would you call the above photo a salad or a giant pile of assorted meats and cheeses? Turns out, you’d be right either way.

This is the FeedTX Chef Salad (menu description: “chilled greens, cheeses, rotisserie meats, bay shrimp salad, hot smoked salmon, egg, avocado, tomato, cucumber”) at Liberty Kitchen, a popular Houston restaurant that recently opened another location in Austin. They feature all sorts of decadent meat and seafood dishes, and even a salad is not really a salad. I was disgustingly full after about half of this bad boy. I mean, “meats”… okay, there’s pork belly, turkey, chicken, bacon, and not to mention a giant hunk of smoked salmon AND shrimp salad. Talk about some protein.

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cauliflower with golden nutmeg butter

Everything’s Better with Butter

cauliflower with golden nutmeg butter

Mmmm… butter. Every cook knows that adding a bit of fat to a dish makes it fuller and more satisfying, and sure butter’s not exactly a health food, but as long as you use it wisely, I think you’re okay. It also depends on the type of butter you use. All butter is not created equal. For example, European butter. Thanks to the fact that it’s churned longer, it has a slightly higher fat content than your average stick of American butter. Sometimes it can be a bit of a hunt to find this rich, ultra-flavorful butter in your average grocery store, but recently Land O’ Lakes caught onto the trend and now they’re starting to offer European sweet cream butter as part of their product line. I’m down with it.

Since European butter is so rich and flavorful, it’s the perfect fat to use when you’re cooking something simple and you just want that touch of luxury. Case in point, this cauliflower recipe from LOL (haha – Land O’ Lakes – do you think they call themselves LOL? Probably not. lol!), you really don’t need much besides the vegetable, the butter, and a few seasonings. Butter!

Cauliflower with Nutmeg Butter

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