My mom has been sneaking away on the first Tuesday evening of every month for as long as I can remember. For the first time in forty-something years, I got to sneak away with her…to her monthly meeting of the Audubon Women's Club. I had the honor of being the guest speaker/cook for the night! I have done countless talks and cooking demonstrations since my big day at the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest, but this one was extra special! These are some great ladies and I was thrilled to share some recipes and experiences with them. A special shout out to Mrs. Janet Azzara, my high school home economics teacher who was there to make sure I still remembered how to measure wet and dry ingredients properly! Thanks for the lessons Mrs. Azzara - I do remember!
I shared three pumpkin and squash recipes that are great for autumn entertaining:
- Warm Butternut Squash & Black Bean Salsa
- Pumpkin Chutney and Brie Crostini
- Warm Pumpkin Rum Cider
Guess which one was the most popular? You got it - nothing makes the agenda of the women's club meeting fly by like some Warm Pumpkin Rum Cider!
I hope you will find the recipes a welcome addition to your autumn entertaining menus!
Warm Butternut Squash and Black Bean Salsa:
This recipe was a winner in the BetterRecipes.com Mexican Week Recipe Contest. It's quick and easy to put together with pre-cut butternut squash, canned black beans and jarred salsa. Besides scooping with tortilla chips, this healthy and hearty salsa also makes a great filling for tacos, quesadillas and burritos.
Pumpkin Chutney and Brie Crostini:
This recipe was one of the three pumpkin dishes I served as part of my After Dinner Pumpkin Trio plate at The World Food Championships in Vegas, 2012. The recipe makes a lot of chutney, but don't worry it keeps for a long time in the refrigerator due to the amount of vinegar in the recipe. I have been having fun using this pumpkin chutney in a lot of different recipes. You can add a cup or two to your pot of chili. It makes a delicious pumpkin panini. I'm going to bake some inside a brie en croute (pastry wrapped baked brie) this weekend. I also have an idea for a pumpkin and sausage pasta made with the chutney. Let me know if you discover any great new ways to use the chutney!
Warm Pumpkin Rum Cider:
This is a really delicious twist on the usual spiked apple cider. Mmm, nothing better on a cool autumn evening (or at your women's club meeting)! My tasting panel and I tried this drink with many different rums (tough job!) but we settled on Myers's Rum as our favorite.
Spiced Pumpkin Puree:
Combine canned pumpkin, apple juice, spices and sugar. Simmer. Strain through a fine mesh strainer.
Mix the Spiced Puree w/ Apple Cider & Rum, then warm up!
Warm Pumpkin Rum Cider Recipe:
Christina Verrelli - epicuricloud.com
(Makes about 8 cups)
1 (30-ounce) can pumpkin
¾ cup apple juice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup sugar
2 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon orange zest
3 cups fresh apple cider
2 cups Meyers’s Dark Rum
orange, cloves & cinnamon sticks for garnish (if desired)
Combine pumpkin, apple juice, cloves, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and orange zest in a pot (approx. 2 quart).
Simmer mixture for for 30 minutes.
Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve. (I had about 3/4 cup thick pulp left in the sieve.)
In a pot (approx. 3 quart) combine the strained puree with 3 cups apple cider and 2 cups rum.
Warm gently over low heat. (Can warm in crock pot too.)
Garnish with clove studded orange wedges and cinnamon sticks.
Top Ten Winner, World Food Championships, Las Vegas 2012