It really is really good pumpkin bread

jen's splash

RECIPE: Really good pumpkin bread.

I know. We’re taking a little break over here and not posting as often. But I can’t leave you without sharing really good pumpkin bread. You know how much I love pumpkin! (Like you haven’t had enough of my pumpkin recipes? The pancakes, curry and garlic knots?)

But I digress. It’s another recipe from my Cooks Illustrated mag. No, I didn’t have a baking breakdown this time.

But I did alter a few things. “What, the Cooks Illustrated test kitchen hasn’t tested and altered it enough for you?” a friend said, when I told him I’d changed some things. But hello? It’s still good. Alterations: adding ginger. No crumb topping—too much butter and sugar. And add chocolate chips. Why? Orange and black theme, people.

Don’t we love that the bread is mixed in a pan? A first for me!

It was a nod to the SF Giants in the playoffs right now. But apparently my rally socks didn’t work with the first game loss. I took them off for the second game. You guessed it: they won.

Still: cooking orange and black in honor of the team? Home run.

It’s crazy, really, to reflect on writing for this blog. You’ve endured over 80 recipes from me so far. Some certainly better than others. All amateur. But fun to share. (I think my fave is the bok choy wontons!) And I’ve learned a few things along the way:

And  HUGE thanks our readers and to the Wine and a Spoon team for the inspiration (and endless amusement).

RECIPE RATING: 5 of 5 glasses of wine with your pumpkin bread. Enjoy. (And GO GIANTS.)

Really good pumpkin bread
5.0 from 1 reviews
Author: Jen: inspired by Cooks Illustrated Oct 2012 issue
Recipe inspired by Cooks Illustrated: Lan Lam’s recipe for pumpkin bread
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 (15oz) can of organic unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 1 C packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 C vegetable oil (I used grapeseed)
  • 4 oz (1/2 traditional package) low fat cream cheese – room temperature and cut into small cubes
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 C buttermilk
  • 1 C unsweetened chocolate chips
  • OPTIONAL: Confectioners sugar for topping
  1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease 2 8.5×4.5 inch loaf pans.
  3. Whisk flour baking powder and baking soda together in a bowl.
  4. In a large skillet, mix the pumpkin puree, spices (salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves) over medium heat. Cook mixture until reduced to 1 1/2 cups (about 6-8 minutes, stirring constantly.)
  5. Remove from heat and stir in sugar, brown sugar, oil and cream cheese until combined.
  6. Let stand for 5 minutes. Then whisk mixture until cream cheese is incorporated.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and buttermilk. Add to pumpkin.
  8. Fold flour mixture into pumpkin mixture until combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
  9. Pour batter, evenly, into prepared pans.
  10. Bake until toothpick comes out clean, when inserted in the middle of the loaf. About 40-55 minutes.
  11. Let cool in bread pans for 20 minutes, on a wire rack. Remove bread from pans and let them cool for 1 1/2 hours. Top with powdered sugar if you’d like. And enjoy!


Posted in 5 Wine Glasses, Breakfast, Dessert, Uncategorized, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

It’s not goodbye, just so long for now…

Well folks… We WandAS had a chat and decided that while we’ve really enjoyed the daily posts, exploring new food and telling you all about our adventures in the kitchen, we feel it’s time to take a step back and recharge. This isn’t goodbye! We’ll still post occasionally when culinary inspiration hits, but for a few months we’re going to give ourselves a little break and not post every day. We really hope you’ve enjoyed cooking along with us, and don’t worry! This isn’t the end of Wine and a Spoon!

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Is It Fall Yet?

RECIPE: 15 Bean Soup

We’ve had this rash of delightful morning weather in Phoenix.  Supposedly it’s going to be in the 70s today, although I’m always hesitant to believe any of the forecasters here, as they tend to lie to us.   I’m hoping fall is around the corner, because fall means I can make soup all the time without people judging me for making soup when it’s a billion degrees out.

Please note the “ham flavor” packet the beans come with. I’ve never used that because the thought of that packet makes me want to vomit like the blueberry pie eating competition in “Stand By Me”.

The other night I “pulled an Amanda”.

(Sidenote: my version of “pulling an Amanda” and the other Amanda’s version are very different.  My version involves me doing something ridiculously embarrassing in front of a guy I like.  Bad flashbacks to 7th grade, a bumblebee, and a boy I had a big crush on linger in my head for this one.)

Every time I make 15 bean soup, I’m convinced that after soaking the beans for 8 hours, I can just pop them into a pot, cook for 30 minutes, and I have soup.  I always forget about the other two and a half hours the soup needs to cook first.  By the time 8:30 rolls around, I’m super hungry, and then want to eat the entire pot of soup.

This is one of those meals I’ll make on a Sunday and then eat the rest of the week, plus put a few containers in the freezer for a later day.

Rating: The smoked paprika makes this a strong 4 out of 5 glasses of wine.  As always, you can make it vegetarian if you leave out the sausage.

15 Bean Soup
Author: Manda
Prep time: 8 hours
Cook time: 3 hours
Total time: 11 hours
  • 1 bag Hurst’s 15 Bean Soup
  • 1 lb. smoked sausage, diced or quartered
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  1. Place beans in a large pot, cover with 2 quarts of water. Allow beans to soak overnight, or at least 8 hours.
  2. After soaking, drain excess water, and add 2 quarts of fresh water, meat, and spices.
  3. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 2.5 hours.
  4. Add onion, garlic, and tomatoes. Simmer for an additional 30 minutes.
Posted in 4 Wine Glasses, Pork | Tagged | Leave a comment

Hiking 20 miles = soothing soup, right?

jen's splash

RECIPE: Spiced coconut lentil soup.

So you’ll hear about the big Grand Canyon Rim to Rim hike from JT and Elizabeth, I’m sure. Just stay tuned. The teaser: they hiked from one rim to the other. In a day. Ya. That’s far. And steep. And they’re amazing.

I’ve long wanted to do that hike but couldn’t pull it off this year. BOO. So I did the next best thing: found a local 20 mile hike.

Meet Forest Park. It’s the wooded slope that’s the backdrop to the City of Portland and is one of the nation’s largest urban parks. More than 5,000 acres and over 70 miles of trails. And the Wildwood Trail (which inspired the new Wildwood book series) is just over 30 miles long.

FINE. I didn’t do the WHOLE trail in a day. I shaved off the residential bits. And the extra five miles that have apparently been added after the printing of Ken’s map that was our reference.

But 20′s still good, right? (My knees need validation for such an undertaking.)

Even if it was fairly flat. Nothing compared to the canyon rims. But was enough of excuse to do little else on the weekend. Save cooking.

Something warm and soothing.

Enter  Sprouted Kitchen’s spiced lentil soup. So perfect for these clear, cooler days. And it will help use that chard in the garden!

Ken thought there were too many flavors: the cinnamon, turmeric, chili flakes, coriander, thyme, lemongrass, lime, salt and pepper. And then the onion, lentils and rainbow chard. With coconut milk (and oil and flakes, toasted).

Me? I found it pretty amazing. And thrilled I get to eat it for lunch all week. RECIPE RATING: 4 of 5 glasses of water. You know, for all that hiking recovery.

See recipe on Sprouted Kitchen’s site.  (And congratulate her on the new book, while you’re at it!) The changes I made? Added more of most of the spices. Which might be why Ken, with a more subtle palette–and nature, actually–thought it too much. So to each their own! ENJOY!

Posted in 4 Wine Glasses, Dinner, Vegetarian | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Enchiladas Blancas a la Amanda que la Comanda

RECIPE: Enchiladas Blancas

I speak Spanish, did you know that? And by ‘speak Spanish’ I mean when I’ve had muchos cervezas (y tequila, por supuesto) I can suddenly, magically understand EVERYTHING. Since Ryan and I like to travel a whole lot, this super power comes in handy.  A few years ago we took our best trip ever to the Yucatan. Look, here’s us sober, lest you think all we did was partake in libations of the Mexican variety.

When not snorkeling/rapelling/ziplining in underground caves filled with water, I had ample opportunity to use my amazing drunken translation skills. No really, I spent the whole trip leaning to Ryan telling him what people were saying, and then equally as gracefully responding back in Spanish. Ryan (who, let’s be honest, was also affected by the ‘water’ down there) came home and bragged to everyone at how awesome I did at speaking Spanish. ha!

The most important reason to know a tiny bit of Spanish when you go off the grid is for ordering in restaurants. I mean yes, we all know the Americanized Mexican Food menus (burrito anyone?), but in the jungles of the Yucatan the food is totally different. And there’s totally scary men with machine guns walking around. True story.

But between my amazing Spanish skills and my talent for pantomime, we did alright. Oh, and guess what? We ate all the fruits and vegetables and didn’t get sick. So there. And it was AMAZING. The food down there is so unlike what we’re used to in our Mexican restaurants here. Ryan’s favorite meal was the whole fish he ate in a restaurant on the beach. It still had eyes people.

In our house, we love to make our own Mexican food. Or most-cooked recipe is this Enchiladas recipe. You’ll be hard-pressed to find enchiladas in a traditional Maya-style restaurant in the Yucatan, of course, but in the Amanda N house we see it a lot. Ryan’s the one who cooks it the most now, having perfected it at the fire station by adding cilantro.

 Espero que disfruten de su embarazo! (That means enjoy your meal, right?)

Enchiladas Blancas
Recipe type: Dinner
Author: Amanda N
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total time: 55 mins
Serves: 8
  • 2 C. shredded Monterrey jack cheese
  • 2 cans (small) diced green chiles
  • 3/4 C. sour cream
  • 1/2 C. sliced green onions
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 (2 1/4 oz) can sliced black olives, drained
  • 1 pkg corn tortillas, warmed
  • 1 (10 oz) can of enchilada sauce
  • 1/2 C. shredded cheddar cheese
  1. In a large bowl, combine chicken, 1 1/2 C. Monterrey jack cheese, green chiles, sour cream, green onions, cilantro, cumin and salt. Add black olives, reserving 1 1/2 TB for garnish. Mix well.
  2. Place about 1/3 C. chicken mixture down center of each tortilla. Roll to enclose filling; place enchiladas seam side down, into two lightly greased square baking pans.
  3. Pour enchilada sauce over enchiladas, dividing evenly between the two pans.
  4. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until heated through.
  5. Sprinkle remaining Monterrey jack cheese and cheddar cheese over enchiladas.
  6. Bake, uncovered, for an additional 5 minutes or until cheese melts.
  7. Garnish with remaining olives.


Posted in 5 Wine Glasses, Dinner, Poultry | 1 Comment