Happy Halloween

Treats and More Treats………

And everybody loves a cupcake.
But if you are short on time, keep it  very simple: Use chocolate or yellow cake mix, white and  orange frosting, sprinkles and decorate with seasonal picks and plastic favor party  rings.

Such a cute idea!

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Pumpkin Butter Roll

I have to admit, as a home cook, I do not like wasting anything in the kitchen…..

October should be National Pumpkin Month, given that the gourd is in peak season right now, just in time for Halloween and all of those jack-o-lanterns that will be doting the neighborhoods, greeting Trick or Treaters……

But I digress…..

When carving all those pumpkins, you are going to have plenty of pulp and seeds left over. You can make spiced pumpkin cupcakes, spiced pumpkin tea, or even make a puree and freeze it to be used next month in those Thanksgiving pies.

But I like “playing” with food. Instead of making a traditional Southern Butter Roll, I added just a touch of pumpkin puree to the dough and created a Pumpkin Butter Roll with a caramelized milk soaking sauce topped off with confectionary milk glaze.

And it was surprisingly delicious…….


Kung Pao Fried Chicken

East meets the Deep South with this spicy version of Kung Pao Chicken.

Serves 4

1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
1 quart plus 2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 small onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons mirin
3 Tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
3 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons black bean paste
1 Tablespoon sambal oelek
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 chicken drumsticks
1/4 cup salted roasted peanuts, chopped
3-4 scallions, minced

In a small saucepan, bring the honey and 1 tablespoon of the ginger to a simmer. Let cool, then strain the honey into a bowl.

In a medium saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Add the onion and cook over low heat, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and the remaining 3 tablespoons of ginger and cook over low heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the mirin and vinegar and simmer until slightly reduced, 2 minutes. Add both soy sauces and the black bean paste and simmer just until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in the sambal oelek.

Season the flour with salt,garlic powder, onion powder, salt and cayenne pepper In a large, deep skillet, heat the 1 quart of canola oil to 350°F on a deep-fry thermometer. Dredge drumsticks in the seasoned flour; add the drumsticks and fry over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until crisp and golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted near the bone registers 160°F, 20 to 25 minutes; be sure to maintain the oil temperature at 350°F. Drain the drumsticks and blot with paper towels.

Transfer the drumsticks to a large bowl and toss to coat with the sauce. In a shallow dish or pie plate, combine the peanuts and scallions. Roll the drumsticks in the peanut-scallion mixture, drizzle with the ginger honey and serve.