Halloween 790 xxx
photo courtesy of mi ly

10.28.11 Tricks & Treats

I think I told you last year that Halloween was always a rather conflicted holiday for me as a child. It was my mother's birthday, and I felt very torn between wanting to stay and celebrate with her and itching to get out there with my pillowcase to haul in as many Sugarbabies and Milky Ways as possible. As you can see from the photo above, I did not hesitate to give in to my baser desires. (It appears my old friend and I both opted for the hobo route that year. She was probably looking for any excuse to dress up like a man, and I seem to have been working out some "cigar" issues of my own.)At that time, I had no qualms about scarfing down my ill-gotten gains, and my parents, usually sticklers for good nutrition, were strangely (but luckily) not among those who sorted through their child's stash leaving behind only those stupid little boxes of raisins we all resented. But now I cringe at the thought of the veritable rivers of high-fructose corn syrup, and am sad that homemade treats are frowned upon as Halloween giveaways. (The old razor-blade in the apple, remember?) Still, I'm going to offer you some options to that ubiquitous candy jar that seems to show up around this time of year and stay more or less replenished throughout the coming few months. Treats? For sure. But a few tricks to make them just a little healthier.
Pumpkin1 790 xxx
illustration by janice richter

11.25.09 The Great Pumpkin

I love pumpkin pie. What I really love about it has everything to do with pumpkin and nothing to do with the crust. It's all about the innards. (Yet another reason why I'm a good match for my gluten-intolerant husband.) I began making this custard years ago, partially influenced by the many flans of my childhood. I like to serve it with a dollop of ginger-spiked crème fraîche and some candied pepitas. And then I like to wake up the next morning and eat it just plain or with yogurt (or with more crème fraîche) for breakfast.