13 January 2013

Pumpkin Treats: Pancakes and Milkshakes

I have been called "pumpkin" by the maternal parent for much of my life, but pumpkins didn't become my favorite food until I moved to Japan. In Japanese markets they sell "kabocha," which are medium dark green round ridged squashes with bright orange insides. I could buy halves of them, just the right amount for a two-person dinner. The flesh is sweet and firm, not stringy like the flesh of many American squashes. My first sampling of its tender succulence was kabocha tempura in a restaurant—heaven. For Thanksgiving George made kabocha soup. I've also learned to simmer kabocha chunks in sweetened water (this is no peasant food; they serve it boiled to accompany sushi bombs at Bozu in NYC). When I returned to the United States I regarded squashkind with new respect and interest. Pumpkin cans found a permanent home in my pantry.

If—Heaven help you—you've been following this blog for long, you may have noticed quite a lot of pumpkin- or squash-themed foods. That trend is sure to continue. Generally I get a craving for a sort of food, then I think to myself, "how much better this food would be if orange and pumpkin-flavored!" I research in my cookbooks, find nothing, and then with ruthless focus hunt the perfect recipe down on the Internet. I proceed to alter this perfect recipe to suit my prejudices, and voìla, you get to read about another pumpkin food.

I hope you didn't make any of those boring New Year's dieting resolutions because these recipes ain't gonna help you none.  To be fair to my creations, though, these pumpkin pancakes really kept me energized yesterday through nursing and hiking and writing and…um…napping. I've realized that the pancakes contain a lot of ingredients that provide sustained nutriton: pumpkin, whole wheat, soymilk, and egg. So you could actually do worse than start your morning with a beta-carotein and protein splurge.

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

adapted from comfortofcooking.blogspot.com


1 Cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 Cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar (sift it if it's lumpy)
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
three gratings of fresh whole nutmeg (or 1/4 tsp. ground)
Dash of ground ginger
Dash of ground cloves
1/2 Cup pumpkin purée
1 large egg, beaten
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/8 to 1 1/4 Cup plain soy milk or cow milk
optional: chopped nuts


  1. In a medium bowl whisk together flours, sugar, salt, and spices. 
  2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together pumpkin, egg, oil, and milk. 
  3. Combine all ingredients, and add more milk to achieve a nice consistency in your batter. Not too thick, not too runny. Come on, you've made pancakes before! Add nuts now if you want.
  4. Heat a greased fry pan and cook those pancakes, using standard pancake technique.
Makes three Enormous Pancakes or about 6 standard-sized pancakes. Serves 2 to 3 people, depending on the size of the pancake-sized holes in your stomachs.

The neighborhood children give this two thumbs up. You may notice that you use the exact same spices as in the pancakes. Coincidence?

Pumpkin Milkshake

adapted from seriouseats.com

1 1/2 Cups vanilla ice cream
1/4 cup soy milk or cow milk
1/2 Cup pumpkin purée
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
three gratings fresh nutmeg or 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Put everything in a blender. Let the blender do its thang.
Then use a spoon.
Serves 2.

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