Here in northeast Pennsylvania, the flakes are flying fast and furiously. We’ve gone from a bright beautiful fall day to howling winds and about four inches of snow on the ground in the space of 24 hours. It is, you can imagine, quite a shock to the system.


An old farmhouse finds new life as a family gathering place. (Family photo, circa 1908) 

There are two places of refuge when the thermometer dips. Without a doubt, a comfortable chair before a warm fire wins hands down. The second option is the kitchen. Today, I spent in the kitchen as the countdown to Thanksgiving has begun.

The local farmer’s market had a sell-out bargain on pie pumpkins and there is nothing I love better this time of year than pumpkin pie, except of course, pumpkin bread.  Processing pumpkins is really quite simple, if time consuming. I cut around the stem in the same manner as one would begin to carve a jack-o-lantern, then scoop out as much of the insides as I can reach. Two pie pumpkins fit nicely in a shallow roaster lined with parchment paper. Two of the smaller ones squeeze into a rectangular cake pan and both pans just fit into the oven. I wonder why I bought the fifth one. Oh, yes – they were $1.00 each!  Well, that will have to go in by itself.

I add a little water to the pans (not more than a cup) then roast 350 degrees for about an hour - until a sharp knife slips easily through the pumpkin shell. After they cool, I cut each pumpkin into slices, as one would a cantaloupe, scrape off the remaining seeds and pulp, peel back the skin, then puree the chunks in a food processor. Because the pumpkins are baked, rather than steamed, there is very little water in the flesh.

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