Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Might turn orange from all the pumpkins we're using lately...

It has been quite the busy day around here... lots of people coming and going that are working on the kitchen - we are probably within a week or two of being done (hopefully!). I was not sure I was going to be able to make anything for tomorrow, but I found some time to throw together a new bar recipe for Jeff to bring into his co-workers for Wednesday Treat Day.

I'm all about pumpkins lately and today's baking of Chocolate Chip Pumpkin-Spice Bars certainly made a dent in my mashed pumpkin stash. The amount of certain ingredients may be a little shocking compared to what we would normally do, but keep in mind that these are cut into small squares. Three of my favorite spices, Vietnamese cinnamon, ginger and cloves infused their fallish aromas into the house while these bars baked - a few of the workers commented that they could work here everyday! I used mini chocolate chips in these bars as I find they are better dispersed in batters and are less likely to sink, but you could certainly use raisins or even no mix-ins if you prefer a plain pumpkin flavor. I highly suggest some chocolate though!

On top of these golden moist gems is a generous slathering of a luxurious sweet cream cheese frosting. In the interest of variety, I left some plain, topped some with chopped toasted walnuts and the rest were adorned with a grating of bittersweet chocolate.

These may just be my new favorite fall-time baked good. The pumpkin flavor is very present with just enough boost from the spices to heighten the flavors. It also gets bonus points for not being fussy and using up a bunch of pantry ingredients.

With all the activity, I only had a short time to prepare dinner tonight, so I opted to make Stracciatella Soup. This Italian egg drop soup took less than 15 minutes to make with most of the time just waiting for the pasta to cook. We simmered orzo in a mixture of vegetable broth and water - when the pasta was tender, we mixed in baby spinach and waited a minute for it to wilt down. A couple eggs and sharp Parmesan cheese are then whisked together and slowly drizzled into the hot soup. Be sure to do this off heat so the eggs don't cook to quickly - as they are drizzled in, they form little strands that fill the soup pot. While this was light, it was quite refreshing and filling being divided into two portions. I did serve this with some Sesame Twists I made early in the morning before it turned into a mad house, but I'll talk about those tomorrow!

The recipe sections to the left has been brought up to date again - be sure to hit refresh to see the new additions!


  1. I thought that soup looked familiar. I saw it in the most recent Veg Times and thought about making it. I will definitely have to give it a try.

  2. They're *still* not finished with your kitchen?!? Methinks all the delicious scents may cause the workers to linger a bit longer...

  3. I have that soup on MY menu for tonight as well! Glad to hear it was a winner- I knew it would be when I saw it posted on one of the soup threads on CLBB.

    The pumpkin bars look delish- I'm off to check my pantry for those items, too!
    THanks Joe!

    ps. can't wait to see the kitchen

  4. The pumpkin bars look so good! I was at a Taste Of Home Cooking School last night and one of the tips they gave was to roll your chocolate chips or raisins, etc in flour before you add them to batter and they won't sink.

  5. Linda - Yep! It was very good for being so easy.

    s'kat - Well maybe... the bigger issue is the installer went on vacation o_O

    crafty p - I can't wait to show the kitchen!

    Brenda - I agree, that's why I mixed them with the flour first! Though, sometimes it just doesn't seem to work.