Behind only brunch, I think pumpkin spice is the second-most surprisingly controversial topic of the fall food season. Fine, the Internet thinks P-Spice is way too basic; but we say October can’t come and go without it…especially if you’re mixing if up with some tequila this year.
Pumpkin “Spice” Margarita
2 ounces Camarena Reposado Tequila
2 can Pumpkin Puree
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Sugar
1 tablespoon Cinnamon
1 pinch Nutmeg
2 cups Water
1/2 ounce Orange Liqueur
Juice of 1/2 a Lime
Make a pumpkin simple syrup by combining pumpkin puree with brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, cool and strain. Combine the juice of half a lime, Camarena Reposado Tequila, and 2 ounces pumpkin simple syrup. Shake well and serve on the rocks.
One of my all-time, go-to apps is blue cheese stuffed dates wrapped in prosciutto, or as date eaters in the know call them, Devils on Horseback. They’re really simple to prepare and cook in a matter of minutes, plus their sticky-sweet-chewy-saltiness makes them sooo addictive.
I recently attended a fall potluck party and decided to autumn-ize my favorite devils by subbing the normal blue cheese filling with pumpkin goat cheese. They were just as delicious as the original version, with a festive seasonal twist. Your friends will rave about them, and only you will have to know the spooooky secret of these fall treats: they’re stupid easy to make.
Pumpkin Devils on Horseback
20 dates, pitted
1 small (about 4oz) goat cheese log
1/8 cup pumpkin puree
8 (thin!) slices of good prosciutto
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
black pepper & sea salt
Preheat the oven to 400°.
Let the goat cheese sit out for awhile so it’s nice and softened, then combine with the pumpkin puree. Add pumpkin pie spice and a couple pinches of S&P.
Stuff the dates with your filling – you want them to be nice and full but not overflowing, because obv the cheese is going to get melty in the oven and you don’t want a huge mess on your hands. I probably used about 1-2 teaspoons in each date?
Wrap each stuffed date in prosciutto. Just tear off a 1″ ribbon from the slice and stick it around the fruit. It doesn’t have to be perfect at all.
Place all your stuffed & wrapped dates on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake in the oven for just about 5-10 minutes. Once the prosciutto has kind of “melted” into the date and you can see the bottom of the dates slightly caramelizing, you’re good to go. Make sure to let these devils cool for about 10 minutes before serving – they get hotter than hell in that oven!
Pumpkin flavored anything is on the top of my list from mid September up until the day after Thanksgiving. Yes, that’s right, I celebrate fall from beginning to end. Apparently, I am in the minority. Approaching a day of meetings, angry co-workers, and tons of stress, I decided to get a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks. I enter Starbucks, proudly present my Starbucks app (I’m a Gold member), and order my latte with a sprinkle of extra fall. What do I get after I actually order and start waiting? “Oh, we don’t have pumpkin spice anymore.” Day. Ruined.
I’m sorry, did I miss the fall foliage, carved pumpkins, horror movie marathons, trick-or-treaters, and high school football season? Nevermind Thanksgiving – that’s a battle that will never be won. But to take pumpkin spice off the shelves before Halloween?! What is the world coming to? Are we all that ready for Christmas? Do you REMEMBER what last winter brought? Tons of snow! I love skiing, but I’d like to enjoy the full extent of the fall season. That includes the special pumpkin taste of fall. Don’t give me the BS about “your market hasn’t demanded the product.” All that is telling me is that the region I live in sucks. They are a bunch of namby pamby rich snobs that are entitled to the point that they believe they should be showered with gifts and attention even longer. STOP IT. In all fairness to Starbucks and my barista – they did comp my hazlenut latte (said in a dull and drab voice) because of my visible distress given the situation. But that could also be because I am a gold card member. continue reading…
Fall beer season isn’t over. Remember – fall really isn’t over until Thanksgiving is over. So pack up the winter decorations, don’t you DARE say the “C word” or anything related to peppermints, candy canes, or mistletoe. Now, open your mind to even more fall beers! We looked at Anchor Big Leaf Maple last year and enjoyed the taste of a balanced sweetness of malts and spices.This year, we’ll give you the handy tasting profile, but we also have some suggested pairings and FALL concoctions made of the Big Leaf Maple. As always, the tasting notes:
Appearance: Copper, but lighter than last years – more translucent but still with a red hue.
Aroma: Sweet scent with slight hints of maple and caramel. A bit of a floral scent follows (mostly from the hops combination during the boil and dry hopping).
Taste: Malty with caramel undertones (maybe a little maple syrup flavor too), followed by spices and the slight bitterness of the hops.
Mouthfeel: A dry, crisp brew at the finish.
Overall: Definitely a warming brew, but without the strong alcohol flavor. Sat out on my porch on a cool evening for this drink and enjoyed it. The Big Leaf Maple fits the fall season and is a satisfying drink. It has good balance if you aren’t up for the sweetness of most Oktoberfests and Pumpkin brews. I also appreciated the hops that came through the beer. Still a refreshing brew – and pretty much sticks with the same flavors as last year’s vintage.
Another fall evening, another delicious salad for us all to enjoy. This one has plenty of sweetness – cranberries, pears, pecans, slightly caramelized brussels – but the saltiness of the bacon evens everything back out. This salad works especially well as a chop, so don’t be afraid to dice everything pretty small!
Sweet & Salty Autumn Chopped Salad
We’re always looking for new ways to play with our avocado, and here’s a take that we haven’t seen yet, even in our extensive ES guac-a-wanderings.
At New York’s excellent Mexicue, they make a guacamole with grilled serrano peppers, bringing a slow, deep heat that plays perfectly off of a fresh avo. Here’s the not-at-all-complicated recipe.
Grilled Serrano Guacamole
1 Serrano pepper, halved and seeded (use 2 for heavier heat)
4 ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice (plus more to taste)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more to taste)
½ teaspoon chipotle powder
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cumin
½ cup finely chopped red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
1. Place Serrano pepper over high heat either on a grill or gas stovetop. Flip with tongs until both sides are slightly charred and it is soft. Cool and roughly chop.
2. In a large bowl add the pepper and remaining ingredients and use a potato masher to mash all ingredients together.
3. Taste for additional salt and lime juice.
On a recent visit back to my hometown of Seattle, my friends and I were in a dire hangover situation. We needed greasy goodness but after a night of questionable “dining” choices (midnight quesadillas and – dare I admit it? Domino’s pizza) we also wanted something that was actually well-made and worth our time. No ordinary diner breakfast would do.
Luckily pub/restaurant Lot No. 3 had us covered. This is their grilled cheese (made with Beecher’s – some of the best cheese ever, also Seattle-based) with three important additions: a runny fried egg, caramelized onions, and BACON. But not just any bacon. House candied bacon. Be still my heart (literally, I think I had a mini heart attack while devouring this, but it was worth it). Plus, it doesn’t come with some bullshit salad on the side or whatever. It comes with a miniature bowl of tomato soup. TOMATO SOUP! What else could you possibly need when you’re hungo and hangry?!