pumpkin fritters with cinnamon glaze


As I write this post I'm listening to the TV rant on and on about the impending hurricane Sandy.
Is it a hurricane or is it a tropical storm?  Some say it's a hybrid of the two.
The weatherpeople add in too much hype mixed in with some facts.
They bring up the perfect storm of 1991 desperately trying to compare Sandy to the perfect storm.
Not going to happen--two different animals indeed.
They finally switch over to an interview with an old captain from the perfect storm of 1991who gladly shares out advice.  Captain Ray Leonard skipper of the 32-foot vessel Satori that rode out the perfect storm.  Some of you may remember him and his crew were part of the movie The Perfect Storm.
On Oct. 30, 1991, Leonard and two crew members were several days into their voyage when they were caught in the union of the three weather systems that made up the perfect storm. The vessel Satori was about 60 miles south of Martha's Vineyard, off the coast of Massachusetts.
One of the crew issued a mayday, and were plucked from the Atlantic Ocean by a Coast Guard helicopter. The book portrays Leonard as "sullen and silent."; he didn't participate in the book or the movie, has always insisted that the boat, which later washed ashore intact, was never in any real danger.
The advice Captain Leonard gives is:
"Don't be rash, I would be sure that I had a vehicle that was pretty substantial. I would be sure I had a decent supply of fuel and water -- and Graham crackers."
Why Graham crackers?
"Well, I LIKE Graham crackers. But you COULD have Oreos.  A storm like the one coming -- and like the perfect storm, whatever that was -- people tend to think that, `Someone will come help me. Someone will come take care of me.  In other words, they don't look to be self-sufficient.  But evacuating also carries its hazards.  There's great danger on highways and everywhere else..... landlubbers should get out while they can do so calmly.  Because if this does hit, you're going to lose all those little things you've spent the last 20 years feeling good about.  Living on a boat is one thing during a disaster. But living in a house in a city is a different thing completely."

Sound advice. Love the graham cracker advice as well.
It's important to point out that this retired captain doles out this advice today from his home in Florida;.
as we sit here on the east coast waiting it out....
As of today, here on cape cod, we still aren't sure what to expect with this storm; they say minimal rain and high winds.  I don't worry so much about the rain or loss of power--you get used to that over the years.
For me, it's the high winds that scare the crap out of me.  Winds can do a LOT of damage. Take away houses kind of damage.
We've had a lot of trees removed from our property just for this reason.
But there still are a few left that are fairly close to the house.
I try not to watch too much TV during these times as the hype gets the best of me,  instead I prefer to create new recipes......like pumpkin fritters.


It's really easy to throw together. The only hard part (if you want to call it that) is the deep frying.
You only need about 3-5 inches of canola oil in a deep pot; heat over medium-high heat.
See you don't need a lot of oil to fry in.  Just watch the temperature of the oil. Not too hot.  Do a test fritter first to see if it fries right away (perfect temp) or sinks (oil too cold) or smokes up (oil too hot).
For the glaze, use cinnamon spice like I did or use pumpkin pie spices.

pumpkin fritters with cinnamon glaze

2 cups flour
½ cup white sugar
2 ts baking powder
¾  ts salt
½ - 1 ts pumpkin pie spice
2 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
3 TB melted butter, cooled
7.5 ounces of pumpkin puree, plain (+ 2 TB) (so half a 15 ounce normal can plus 2 TB)

2 – 4 TB whole milk
2 TB butter
¾ cup powdered sugar
a small pinch of salt
¼ - ½ ts cinnamon (or whatever spice you prefer)

Cooking notes: I am not a big fan of pumpkin pie spice—it’s just too strong for me.  So I added a small amount of it to the batter.  You might want to add in more.  Do a taste-test of the batter before frying to see if you like it. 
For scooping out the dough into the fryer I used a medium ice cream scoop.  Or you could use small size too.
In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.
In a separate bowl, mix the eggs with milk and pumpkin puree then add in cooled melted butter; mix well.
Fold in the dry with the wet ingredients; only mix till just combined. Lumps are exactly what we want here. If you overmix you will have tough chewy fritters—that’s a no no.
Heat about 3-4 inches of canola oil over medium to medium-low heat.
When it gets hot, drop a little drop of batter into the oil. If it sizzles immediately and rises to the top, the oil is ready; if it burns quickly, turn down the heat.
Drop oversized tablespoons of batter (using an ice cream scoop, medium size, helps a lot, if you don’t have an ice cream scoop you can use two spoons to roll out the scoops of batter) into the hot oil. Only do about 3 -4 fritters at a time.
They cook fast about 1-1 ½ minute per side or if you want extra crispy about 2 minutes per side—if that? Make sure to flip them.
Remove and drain on a paper towels or brown paper bags. Let these cool a bit before the glaze.

For the glaze:
Put all the ingredients in a small saucepan on medium heat.  Whisk until smooth and barely bubbly.  This is a thick glaze; so if you want it thinner, just add a bit more milk.  Using a rack with cookie sheet underneath (or parchment paper), place fritters on top and drizzle the glaze over the tops of the fritters.  You could dunk the fritters in the glaze, but for me, that just makes the fritters a bit soggy.  Let them rest on wire rack a bit.
Should make about 12-15 fritters? (all depending on size)


Interview with Artisan Bread in Five authors + Giveaway!

I am extremely pleased to have the dynamic duo behind best selling cookbooks: artisan bread in five minutes a day, healthy bread in five minutes a day and artisan pizza & flatbread in five minutes a day.  Clearly this bread-genius duo has it down pat when it comes to artisan breads.  Artisan breads made lighting fast I might add.


Praise for artisan bread in 5:

“Soon the bread will be making itself…..the crust, full-flavored loaf that results may be the worlds easiest yeast bread.” – New York Times

“I love it when someone challenges conventional wisdom…and wins!  Zoe and Jeff will have you baking bread in less time than it takes to make toast…” – Stephen Durfee, CIA & James Beard Award winner.

No more working all day with yeasty breads, five minutes a day is all you need to have the same exact high-quality artisan bread you see in bakeries, bread shops, high-end grocery…this can finally all be done at home—even for all those home cooks who are, shall we say, yeast-challenged?

Bio on Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. -  has been a physician, university professor, information technology consultant, and ardent amateur baker.  He developed a love of great bread while growing up in NYC in the 60’s & 70’s.  He refined his love of baking with travels through France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Britain and Morocco.  He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two daughters.

Bio on Zoe Francois – she is a pastry chef and baker. Trained at the Culinary Institute of America.  In addition to teaching baking and pastry in the Twin Cities and consulting to restaurants, Zoe creates artful desserts and custom wedding cakes.  She also has the famous baking blog: zoebakes.com.  She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her husband and two sons. 

Zoe and Jeff have a bread blog too!  http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/ 

Given both your backgrounds, how did you two meet? 

Jeff:  Yes, our backgrounds are different, but we both spent some time at home with kids when they were little—we met because our toddlers were in a music class together.

Zoe:  Kids are the best for bringing people together, we have them to thank for this endeavor.

How did you come up with the whole “bread in 5” concept?

Jeff:  Necessity was the mother of invention.  I was a busy medical resident who loved bread, and my wife taught me the traditional method so I could make my beloved rye bread in my spare time.  Since I had zero spare time, I had to economize on lengthy steps, and ultimately, what really saved time was making a large batch of dough and using it over a week or more.  Otherwise there’s too much prep, mixing, and cleaning bowls.  It takes wet dough to do that (but not too wet), and getting it just right was the hard work of these books.    

I love that part of Zoe’s background involves creating ice cream cakes at Ben & Jerry’s.  Is this where you found your love of baking?

Zoe:  When I was going to college in Burlington, Vermont I wanted to work at Ben & Jerry’s, because they gave their employees free pints of ice cream after every shift. I also discovered cake decorating at that job.

Jeff, did you set out to be an MD?  Were all your travels in and around Europe what made you really what to delve deeper into baking?  Or did you have your eyes set on bread making?

Jeff:  Sure did, I went straight from college to med school, and I expected to practice adult medicine and do research, maybe in a part-time academic practice.  But after a few years in practice, I got interested in computers in health care, trained in a research fellowship, and started a consulting practice in health care computing.  That freed up my time for family, hobbies, and delving into other interests.  Like bread-baking. 

Photo by Mark Luinenburg
sticky pecan rolls, pg. 187

Have you two thought about opening a bread shop? I’m certain it would do very well.

Jeff:  Well, it might, but the concern is that we might throw the baking pans at each other!  Seriously, I’m not sure I was destined to work that hard.  Providing great food to customers is hard, hard work with long hours, and I have so much respect for people who do it.  I’m just not sure it’s right for me. 

Zoe:  I’m not graceful enough early in the morning to open a bakery, and what Jeff said about the flying pans is probably true!  ;)

Jeff- when creating recipes, did your medical training ever come in handy?

Jeff:  It turns out that recipe-testing is a lot like the scientific method.  You have a best guess about what will work, you do some experiments, and if they don’t produce what you expected, you refine your guess—and change the ingredients list! 

When shopping around for agents for your first book--A part of me wants to say it must have been easy with such a great “bread in 5 minutes” concept, but then I think it could have also have been hard selling such a concept to an agent?  Which one was it?

Jeff:  Our agent, Jane Dystel, was sold on the concept immediately, along with our editor at Thomas Dunne Books, the late Ruth Cavin.  Without Jane and Ruth—no book series for us.  They were sure that if the method actually worked, people would flock to it.  And for some reason, they believed us, without ever having made the bread themselves.  The proof came from our readers, who propelled the book by word of mouth (we have about 500,000 copies in print for all three titles). 

Zoe: Lynne Rosetto Kasper (NPR’s The Splendid Table) generously introduced us to her agent, Jane Dystel. It is difficult to get a book idea in front of an agent these days, so we feel incredibly lucky.

Was there “bread making” research involved?  Where does one go or look for that?

Jeff:  Of course!  We both love travel, and whatever we eat and love when we’re traveling with our families, we try to recreate with our stored dough.  Between us, we’ve spent time in France, Italy, Turkey, Germany, Britain, and Greece—all countries with great traditional bread cultures.  Samples from those places are all over our books.  And of  course, there’s more mundane research, eating all the good bread we can find in our local bakeries, and reading everything on the subject that we can get our hands on.

Zoe:  The “research” is why I’m in this business. It is now officially my job to eat bread everywhere I go.  What a glorious line of work. Developing a recipe to recreate a particular loaf of bread I’ve fallen in love with is where the challenge comes in.

Zoe: your food blog at zoebakes.com, is stunning and creative; where do you find time to create recipes there?  Which ones are your favorite to create?

Zoe: Wow, thank you! Zoebakes.com is my playground for sweets, and where I go to relax. I have an insatiable sweet tooth, so baking desserts just seems to find its way into my daily routine. I like to recreate desserts I might find in a restaurant, but in a way people can easily do at home. Which means lots of step-by-step photos.

Any recipes you had a hard time with?  Which recipes were the easiest to create?  Any recipes that didn’t make the cut?

Zoe: The gluten-free breads in our books were the most challenging to develop. They use a list of ingredients I was not used to and techniques that are quite different from traditional breads.  Not only did the recipes have to taste great, but they had to be fast and easy to use. I am thrilled to say we did just that.

Favorite creation in the books?

Jeff:  Provencal Roasted Red Pepper Fougasse, a folded flatbread that’s visually stunning and unbelievably savory.  Don’t forget the salt!

Zoe: One of my favorite recipes in the book is the “Bostock,” and for some reason I don’t think many people have tried it.  It is almond cream rolled up in brioche and baked with an almond crunch topping. Simply divine.

I love that when I do these interviews with food authors I get to find out that most of their recipes were/are created by simply what they were craving!
Can this be true of you two as well when creating Artisan Pizza in 5 Minutes and Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes?

Jeff:  That is exactly it for me.  I moved to Minneapolis in 1987 and couldn’t find New York deli-style rye bread that I’d grown up with.  So I had to learn to make it myself. 

Zoe: That’s why we continue to create more recipes; the cravings and inspiration just never go away.

Who are/were your taste-testers?

Jeff:  Friends, family, and each other.

Zoe: My mom was my first tester. I knew if she could do it, anyone could. She was not much of a baker until she started making our bread. Now she bakes almost daily.

Photo by Mark Luinenburg
european peasant bread, pg. 46

What other foods do you two enjoy?

Jeff:  I love Vietnamese, French, Italian, and Mexican.  Underneath it all, the blend of influences that has made American food so interesting right now. 

Zoe: I intend to spend my life figuring out this question. I love to eat.

Favorite places to travel just for the food?

Jeff:  France, hands down.

Zoe: Turkey or Italy or France or NYC or San Francisco or Nicollet Ave in Minneapolis.  There is good food to be had in nearly every town.

If you were stranded on a desert island and had the choice of one (or two) comfort foods—what would they be?

Jeff:  Rye bread with sweet butter

Zoe: Ice cream and fresh baguettes (Assuming coffee will already be on the island).

Favorite chefs? And did both of you get to meet any of your favorite chefs while on book tours? 

Jeff:  James Beard, because of Beardon Bread.  Like Julia Child in Mastering the Art…, James was saying that great homemade food doesn’t need to be hard for amateurs to achieve.  He fitted his bread recipes so they’d sit on two facing sheets, which influenced us greatly.  James never experimented with stored dough, but I like to think he’d have been open to it. 

Zoe: Oh, I have been influenced by so many pastry chefs and have had the enormous good fortune to meet several of them: Dorie Greenspan, Abby Dodge, Sherry Yard, Nancy Silverton, Michelle Gayer, Stephen Durfee and many, many more. Their work and generosity has inspired my career.

In your downtime what do you like to do?

Jeff:  Travel, eat, cook, run, and bike.  Bike commuting’s my new thing.

Zoe: Down time??? I don’t understand the question. ;)

Any advice to your fans who wish to someday get published?  

It takes more than hard work and a good idea.  You need a bit of luck.  We had a unique idea, but if we hadn’t had some luck—getting the New York Times, the Today Show, and Associated Press to cover us—the book would never have gotten wide exposure.  But if you have a unique cooking idea, and you’re willing to do the networking to get the idea out there, you have a shot.  And self-publishing may make it easier to break into this business—don’t discount that.

Dare I ask—is there a fourth book in the works?  And will it be bread-related?  There is!  But alas, the publisher will kill us if we talk about it so early in its development…

Thank you both for the interview.

For the giveaway:
one lucky person will win one copy of each of their books (3 books total)
please leave a comment telling us what kind of homemade bread you'd like to make or have made.
one comment per person please. 
no anonymous comments please; have a valid name & email in signature line!
we'll do the drawing on Friday November 2, 2012.


ginger chicken stir fry


Ginger-- I cannot get enough of it.
The discovery of The Ginger People was just the vessel a ginger addict like myself needed to further fuel my addiction and mid-afternoon cravings.
They were there for me when I had the flu last winter; those strong, little, spicy ginger candies: Gin Gin was just the thing I needed for my permanently dry throat.
And I fell in love with their pickled sushi ginger.
We know how good for you ginger is.  The many health benefits is almost endless.  Here are a few here, and here and here....here, here.
You get the idea.  I eat ginger for anti-inflammatory reasons, for my arthritis, and also because it just tastes so good.
I'm also trying to get my hubby to eat more veggies, and if the plate is done right, colorful enough and has enough flavor he will.
We call this dish my ginger chicken stir fry.  We eat it at least once a week.  It's so easy and so tasty, trust me you will never use Chinese take out if you give this a go.
Hubby claims to hate ginger, but he loves it; its in this dish.  Don't tell him LOL.  If I mince up the ginger small enough he won't find it.
Making this dish takes literally 15 minutes.  The hardest part? Chopping up the chicken.
Add in any veggies you like.  If you use raw broccoli, just give it a cook 1 minute boil to take the "raw edge" off.
In the past I've added in: cashews, red onions, squash, cauliflower, kale--the list is endless. And you don't have to use meat, use tofu to make it vegetarian!  Just crisp up the tofu and add it in last, so it doesn't get soggy.

Leftovers are the best.  It's been sitting happily with the ginger and that sauce all night long.  Yum!

ginger chicken stir fry
print recipe

4 chicken breasts, chopped into 1 or 2-inch pieces
4 cups +/- broccoli heads
1 cup of grated carrots
1 medium red onion, diced
5 TB of pickled ginger (use more or less)
1/4 cup of Trader Joe's Island Soyaki sauce
olive oil for frying up chicken
(use any veggies you want)
I doubt you'll need salt, but a hint of pepper is needed.

If using raw broccoli, give it a quick 1-2 minute boil to take raw edge off.
In a large pan, heat up the olive oil and cook chicken throughly.
At the last 2 minutes of chicken cooking add in the onions, and cook.
Add in the ginger and soyaki sauce; get it to a boil.
Add in the broccoli and carrots.
Stir until everything is nice and coated and heated through.
Add in some black pepper, if desired.
Serve over rice or as is.
Should serve 4 people.


friday links

There is a new hot spot on cape cod!
I'm so excited.
Rarely do we get good pizza joints here.
Finally one opened up:  Wicked.
The actually have 2 locations in massachusetts, and one of them is on cape cod: mashpee.
They have the best pizza crusts I've had in a very long time.  Organic piza dough too. And they use as much local produce as possible. Sure they have a lot more than just pizza, but to be honest all my friends raved about the pizza, so my first time there we got pizza.  Next time I go I will try a few of the daily specials. Daily specials designed by the chefs of what's in season and local.  Excellent. The ambience of the restaurant is so comfy.  I know that is a popular word, but it's true.  The furniture, the chairs, the half booths were so cozy and comfy. The best part?  The tables were NOT on top of each other; room to breathe, with a hint of privacy.  And they have these high chair tables with half booths over at the bar as well.  Super comfy.  There is also a glass wall that looks into the kitchen, so you can watch what's going on behind the scenes.
If you come to cape cod, please make a trip to Mashpee. Prices are very reasonable.
The only thing they need to change?  The menu should really have more photos of their own creations. I mean their creations are insanely gorgeous and tasty.

Arancini:  risotto croquettes filled with pancetta, fontina cheese and natural Italian sausage.
Served with marinara sauce. These were definitely homemade. The filling was so light and so flavorful. Chock full of sausage, rice and just the right amount of fontina.


Fig and Prosciutto pizza.  Prosciutto de Parma, Fontina cheese, fig purée, baby arugula, diced poached pears and balsamic glaze. HEAVENLY!

Wicked mini donuts with creme anglaise and belgium dipping sauces.  And these were so fresh, so tasty, plus that creme anglaise was exactly like you'd find in any french restaurant.

Another yoga site: yogadork.com

Homemade milky ways!

(my weakness? homemade egg rolls) Chicken Egg Rolls

quick & easy crockpot baked beans

one question to guide your life (LOVE this, very powerful)

felix baumgartner: this is what skydiving from the edge of space looks like

note me: write & erase pillow

doggie water bowl

11 athletes share their favorite meals

Is your brain making you fat? (interesting, what do you think?)

Happy books: inspirational reads to make you smile

Increase serotonin with 21 foods for a better mood

6 natural ways to prepare for cold & flu season (some of these I've never heard of!)

Which meditation style is right for you?

Desk stretches! ( I love these--the 2nd one works)

These are new at Trader Joe's.  Really good, but pricey.

Here is a recipe for DIY kale chips at home.

I have arthritis in my knee.  Was recommended this all natural product.  Didn't want to try it because I always thought, all natural meant won't work as well.  Boy, was I wrong.
If you suffer from joint pain, tendon pain, arthritis, etc...please look for this: Topricin.

This all natural honey is all the rage now.  But it's like $27.00 per jar!  Ouch.  Have you tried this?

Pumpkin spice coconut milk. This is good!  I found it at Whole Foods.

Sparkling sake?  Oh yes please. (I found this at the larger whole foods; this one hails from Dedham Whole Foods). 

These were not good.  Nothing at all like the Starbuck Via's.  Very bitter.

A huge congrats to Jenny of Picky Palate on her first cookbook: Picky Palate Cookbook.
So proud of you!

To read list (click on image for more info):

I miss the sun! (photo from corporation beach, dennis, ma)

Have a wonderful weekend!


(cake like) pumpkin cookies w/ nutella-cream cheese frosting


This weekend I set out to create a pumpkin cookie that was soft and cake-like.
And hopefully next weekend I can create one that is crispy--is there such a thing as a crispy pumpkin cookie?
Have you had one?
I got a ton of requests for pumpkin this and that.
Amazed at how many of you love your pumpkin.
Did you see my version of NY style pumpkin crumb cake?
Or my pumpkin-nutella fudge puddles?
So, if you love cake-like cookies, then this one is for you.
It's soft and a bit chewy.
The best part is the frosting.
Hands down Nutella pairs really well with pumpkin.
So if you're going to make pumpkin anything  make sure to add some nutella in there.


Really sticky dough.  Make sure to chill the dough before using.
Make sure to use a small or medium ice cream scoop.
I used medium and got about 28 cookies.
If you use a smaller scoop you might get 35 cookies?



pumpkin cookies (cake-like) with nutella-cream cheese frosting

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ts baking powder
1 ts baking soda
2 ts ground cinnamon
1/2 ts ground nutmeg
1/2 ts ground cloves
1/2 ts salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1 ¼ cups white sugar
1 cup canned PLAIN pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 ts vanilla extract

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
6 ounces cream cheese, room temp
½ cup ( + a bit more if needed) Nutella
2 TB confectioners sugar
small pinch of salt

¼ cup crushed walnuts or pecans, for garnish (optional)

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, all the spices, and salt; mix and set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar.  Next add in the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla extract, beat until creamy. Then add in the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined—do not overmix!
Cover the batter and chill for at least an hour or overnight. 
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using a medium or small ice cream scoop, drop on baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches space per cookie since these do expand when baking.  I did not flatten then, I kept them as balls to ensure a soft cookie.
Bake about 15 - 18 minutes.  To tell if the cookies are done the tops will be set and the bottom slightly browned.

For the frosting: 
cream butter, cream cheese and Nutella together. Slowly add in the powdered sugar and mix well.
Let cookies cool completely before frosting.  After you’ve frosted them you can decorate the tops with crushed pecans or walnuts.

Yield: using a medium scoop about 24-28 cookies; using a smaller scoop about 30-35 cookies (?)


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