It’s countdown time to Thanksgiving Day and that other ’tis the season… holiday that aggressive retailers continue to push since before the end of summer–Aaarrrrgh$$$$$$$! Black Friday, anyone? Don’t buy into it, people, lest you get trampled while shopping in some Big Box store near you! (A special shout out to Seattle-based REI for giving it’s employees the [paid!] day off on Thanksgiving. May other businesses likewise follow REI’s exemplary corporate act…
Well, now that WM has gotten that “don’t hold back; tell ’em how you really feel” moment off her chest, let’s move on, shall we?
Unapologetic traditionalist that WM is known to be, she will be spending Thanksgiving Day gathered around the holiday table feasting-out with extended family members at the home of her sister and brother-in-law in West Seattle.
The extended McNeill-Jacobs-Law clan at leisure
It is our custom for everyone to “volunteer” to bring something to share for the holiday occasion. No instant anything here, folks! (Full disclosure: WM had no knowledge that potatoes didn’t come instantly from a box in the form of flakes until she was eight years old, when her beloved nanny prepared the real deal. Thank you, Geneva!) Rather, everything will be lovingly made from scratch, lest one risk not be invited to attend next year’s gathering. We’re really not all that harsh, but suffice it to say, expectations are, ahem…high).
This year WM has opted to bring her “world-famous” mashed potatoes (truffle oil pomme puree), along with pumpkin chocolate pecan muffins. The sweet/savory muffin recipe follows, with special thanks to http://www.daringgourmet.com for sharing her delectable expertise:
(Note that many of the following recipe ingredients are repeated in both the muffin AND topping recipes, so best to prepare them together at the same time, then separate out measurements accordingly to help save time & duplication of effort!
⦁ 2 C spelt or whole wheat flour *
⦁ ½ tsp salt
⦁ 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
⦁ ½ tsp ground nutmeg
⦁ ½ tsp ground ginger
⦁ ¼ tsp ground cloves
⦁ 1 tsp baking soda
⦁ 1 tsp baking powder
⦁ 1 C brown sugar
⦁ ¼ C honey
⦁ 2 large eggs
⦁ ¼ C oil (Although a bit on the pricey side, WM recommends expeller pressed avocado oil for its unusually high smoking point & aromatic flavor and healthy nutritional value. Best price found was at Costco for a remarkably low cost of $8.99 litre!)
⦁ 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
⦁ 1 (15 oz.) can pure pumpkin puree
⦁ ½ C buttermilk
⦁ 1 C chocolate chips (keep snacking to a minimum, as best you can…)
⦁ ½ C chopped pecans (ditto, above)
* WM recommends spelt flour be used for its milder flavor and assured tender end product, but whole wheat will do just fine if that’s your preference.
For the crumb topping:
⦁ ½ C flour
⦁ ¼ tsp salt
⦁ ⅓ C brown sugar
⦁ ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
⦁ ⅛ tsp ground ginger
⦁ ⅛ tsp ground cloves
⦁ ⅛ C chopped pecans
⦁ ¼ C butter, at room temperature
1. Preheat oven to 375º F and grease jumbo muffin tins.
2. In a small mixing bowl combine the flour with the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, baking soda and baking powder and set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl beat together the brown sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla extract until combined. Stir in the pumpkin puree.
4. Use a rubber spatula to stir in half of the buttermilk. Then fold in half of the flour mixture.
5. Repeat: Fold in the other half of the buttermilk. DON’T OVER STIR or the muffins will become dense and heavy. Just fold it in until everything is incorporated–a few remaining lumps are fine…
6. Spoon the batter into a greased muffin pan, about 3/4 full.
7. To make the crumb topping, put all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Use your hand to thoroughly combine the mixture, then crumbling it into clumps. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the muffin batter.
8. Bake in an oven preheated to 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Let muffins cool for a few minutes before removing them from the muffin tins.
Speaking of food, here’s a heads-up for the next edition of Seattle Outsider Musings: An exclusive review of Duke Moscrip’s new cookbook “As Wild as it Gets…Duke’s Secret Sustainable Seafood Recipes”, culled from Duke’s four decades as a restaurateur and CEO of the award-winning chain of Duke’s Chowder House restaurants located throughout the Seattle and Puget Sound region. Yum, and just in time for the holidays!
For those who simply can’t wait, advance copies are available NOW for $59.95, including tax and S & H ($7.00 off the regular $69.95 price. Call Duke’s marketing director, Bettina Carey, at (206) 349-4297 to order your hot-off-the press edition.
Bon appetit and best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving!
⚡⚡ News Flash for Food & Wine Lovers! ⚡⚡
Garde Manger Chef John Ponticelli
As reported in the previous “Spooky” edition of Seattle Outsider Musings, Taste of Tulalip is happening this weekend at the Tulalip Resort Casino. And while tonight’s $225 per person Celebration Dinner is sold out, tickets are still available for Saturday’s four-hour Grand Taste. “Go early. Spit often, taste all things” is the operative mantra for this over-the-top tasting extravaganza. Pourings of over 100 wines from around the world will flow, including top Walla Walla, Washington producer Figgins & Leonetti.
So, forget about tomorrow’s Seahawks game (did I really say that?), get suited-up for the Grand Taste, including the Rock-n-Roll Cooking Challenge and make the trek to Tulalip. Call: (360) 716-6870 for tickets ($110 each).