SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. - As a kid I remember it didn't bother me when, in tale of Cinderella, the fairy godmother turns a pumpkin into a carriage, but it later morphs to a pumpkin. I must have been a pumpkin (a gourd-like squash) in a past life or tended a pumpkin patch. So, when autumn arrives I have an unforgettable pumpkin affair.
Pumpkin muffins to pumpkin pie are goodies that I can't pass on. Come the first sign of fall, I begin the hunt for pumpkin ice cream. It's good at ice cream parlors and good in the carton from a grocery store. This year I purchased a premium brand. I was going to make a pumpkin fruit parfait. But then, I ended up thinking "pumpkin milkshake." If you Google this concoction, you'll see, like I did, that it's nothing new. It's been done. However, I put my own spin on it and on Monday night I whipped a cold, creamy pumpkin milkshake.
As I gathered the ingredients it brought me back in time to fall a few years back. I will always cherish my lone wolf swims at Harveys Resort and Casino. In the late morning during snow flurries, swimming laps with the steam rising from the warm water is a memory to love. Sometimes I swam with an older man who didn't mind the wind chill. And after a hot tub soak I was energized. To top off the experience I often treated myself to those gigantic pumpkin muffins at Starbucks. It doesn't get much better than that until the other day.
I got a pumpkin to carve into a jack-o'-lantern and put a lit candle inside to celebrate Halloween. Hearing the heater kick on at night and putting covers on the windows for extra warmth in my cabin, I decided to go for the big chill in a different way. While it seems a bit crazy to make a cold milkshake when it's cold outdoors, there's something about the ordeal that is untraditional and exciting like swimming in choppy water outdoors during an oncoming snowstorm.
Pumpkin Pie Milkshake
11⁄2 cups all natural gourmet pumpkin ice cream
1⁄4 cup organic half and half
2 small ice cubes
1⁄2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1⁄2 - 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
A dash of cinnamon and/or pumpkin spice
Combine ice cream, milk, ice cube in blender. Blend till thick and creamy. Add vanilla and pumpkin spice and blend quickly. Pour into a milkshake or parfait glass. Garnish with whipped cream and spice. Add a piece of dark chocolate for an orange and black Halloween effect. Serves one or two.
So, while I felt the chill in the cabin air it was a forbidden treat sipping and scooping this pretty, light orange shake that tastes like pumpkin pie-mousse. The spices of pumpkin ice cream are welcoming and warm. It's the flavor of fall and feel of pumpkins that makes this milkshake do its magic. It's like going to pumpkin heaven.
Motto: Fall is the season of pumpkins. Enjoy the chill and try something new to feel the season.
- Cal Orey is an accomplished author and journalist. Her books include The Healing Powers series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate and Honey) published by Kensington. Her website is www.calorey.com.