October 6, 2008
That Autumn Aroma
by Michelle Walker
Autumn is my favorite time of year. I love the chilly weather of autumn, the smells of the autumn, and most importantly, the tastes of autumn. As I turned my calendar to October 1st this past Wednesday, I immediately became excited about all the delicious treats that this month (and upcoming months) are guaranteed to bring. Pumpkin pie, apple gingerbread pie, spiced chai tea, warm scented candles, butternut squash soup, apple cider….
A natural trend in the fall is increased time in the kitchen cooking and baking due to the autumnal equinox – making the days shorter and the nights longer. As I sit and drink my Fair Trade vanilla chai tea, daydreaming about yummy autumn treats, I want to stress that although my kitchen is “green” (as I hope your is) there is no need to miss out on all the autumn-goodness just because you are eco-aware! There are many superb vegan recipes for pumpkin and apple pies as well as many wonderful vegetarian entrée dishes composed of the seasonal favorite, squash. You can also make your kitchen have that aroma of autumn without baking! Organic and soy candles in the tasty smells of the season will put even the most diehard “summer” fan into the spirit of the new season!
Being as it is already October 4th and my autumn tendencies are to have everything taste the way a pumpkin-spice candle smells, I have added below a listing of my favorite autumn recipes, candles and tricks to transform your green kitchen into welcome wagon to usher in the warmth of autumn.
Organic and Soy Candles
I love having candles lit in the autumn when having dinner parties. The omniance is warm and pleasant and makes the dining area extra inviting. After I cook the meal for my guests I like to light a few candles in my kitchen to help with the dining experience. It is so much better to have a guest go to the kitchen in order to get another glass of wine only to find lit candles instead of the odors of the post-cooked meal.
I get organic and soy candles from a charming local family-owned store in Studio City, California. The store is called Lavender Natural Beauty and they have an amazing selection of soy candles. My favorite scents are chai tea, mighty oak, pomegranate, and java. These warm aromas of autumn are so wonderful, that I’ve gotten numerous compliments about these candles. They are made by Er’go, and are the highest quality, all natural candles made of pure soy wax, cotton wicks and the finest essential oils.
*An added bonus of dining by candlelight is that not only will it give your guests a whimsical eating experience, but you will be cutting down your electrical usage too!
Vegan Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin pie is a stable of autumn. Just looking at a pumpkin pie makes my mouth water in anticipation of that first heavenly bite! Being vegan makes it difficult to find a pumpkin pie recipe that is tasty enough to not make you want to buy a pie from the grocery or bakery. However, I think I found one that IS good enough! My vegan friend made this recipe last year and I found it to be scrumptious! The trick is to make this pie the day before serving because it needs a day to set really well. And as always, treat yourself by topping your slice with vanilla soy ice cream!
Bryanna’s Vegan Pumpkin Pie Recipe
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Have ready, one 9″ unbaked pastry crust
Blend in blender:
2 c. solid-pack canned pumpkin (if you use home-cooked pumpkin, drain it for
several hours hanging in a cloth bag, so it’s thick like canned pumpkin)
1 c. non-dairy milk (preferably a rich soymilk)
3/4 c. brown sugar or Sucanat
1/4 c. cornstarch
1 T. molasses or blackstrap molasses
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. EACH ground ginger, nutmeg and salt
1/4 tsp. ground allspice or cloves
Pour the filling into the pastry and bake 60 minutes, covering the edges with foil if they begin to brown too quickly. Cool on a rack, then refrigerate overnight before serving.
Vegan Carmel Apples
Carmel apples are an old favorite of mine. I remember getting excited as a child whenever my Mother would come home from the grocery store with one for me. They are familiar, delicious and ohhh soooo fun in their gooeyness!!! For an added treat, tie a nice Halloween or Autumn-inspired bow around the stick, this makes a nice decoration to display for guests or gift to a friend who enjoys this classic fall treat!
- 10-12 medium organic green, tart apples (20-24 for double)
- 1/2 cup soy margarine (1 cup for double)
- 2 cups brown sugar (4 cups for double)
- 1 cup corn syrup (2 cups for double)
- 1 1/4 cup non-dairy sweetened condensed milk (2 1/2 cups for double)
1. Wash/dry apples, remove stems. Insert a wooden stick into the stem end of each apple (or a fork if you’re as ghetto as me).
2. In a heavy three-quart saucepan melt margarine. Stir in sugar, corn syrup and dash of salt; mix well. Bring to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Stir in condensed soy milk.
3. Cook, stirring constantly, to 245°, for 12 to 15 minutes. This bit is really important, so use a candy thermometer instead of guessing.
4. Remove from heat; add vanilla. Dip each apple into caramel mixture; turn to coat. Set on an oiled baking sheet (or use parchment paper); chill. Feel free to roll other yummies on the outside of the apple such as; nuts, shredded coconut, crushed cookies, dark chocolate chips, crushed dried fruit…
I hope that you will take time out of your busy schedule to enjoy the smells and tastes of autumn this weekend! There will be plenty more autumn goodness to come from The Green Kitchen!
(P.S. The vegan challah from last week’s post turned out marvelous!)
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