It’s that time of year when pumpkin comes into play. I’m talking about pumpkin pie, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin bread and pumpkin candies. I recall getting my pumpkin fix in the San Francisco Bay Area. There was eating a to-live-for decadent pumpkin fudge in San Carlos at a sweet candy shop and seeing bright orange pumpkins to be carved into jack-o’-lanterns.
During the fall, one Indian summer day I took the scenic route to Half Moon Bay. The pumpkin patches on the side of the road were eye-catching. And, the next day flying to Hawaii for work-pleasure lacked the feel of fall. I stayed at a woman’s estate with her 80 cats. At dusk my photographer and I had the perfect picture potential: feeding time for eight dozen felines. But it started to rain cats and dogs and the opportune moment passed. We didn’t get the photographer’s dream photo for the magazine assignment on stray cats in Kauai. Once home again, it was the seasonal fruits and vegetables such as pumpkin (part of the squash family, but really a fruit) not the warm weather that allowed me to welcome autumn.
When I migrated to Tahoe, the first fall was a big change with leaves changing color, pine cones, busy squirrels, plus colder nights minus vegetables growing on the sides of the roads. One morning I made quickie frozen waffles with generic syrup. It was novelty for me gearing up for the first snow, buying a cord of wood and learning to make a fire, and swimming outdoors in snow flurries. I felt like I was in a foreign land. It was autumn on the South Shore and I fell in love with the season.
These days, I love being in the kitchen on the first day of fall. I brewed a pot of caramel-flavored coffee and put together pumpkin waffles from scratch. Getting the ingredients together was easy as pumpkin pie — and so was watching the batter turn into waffles.
Pumpkin Honey Spice Waffles
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 organic brown eggs
3 tablespoons honey (or white or brown sugar)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
Real maple syrup
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder and spices. In smaller bowl stir eggs and sugar. Pour into dry ingredients. Add pumpkin. Mix well. Turn on nonstick waffle iron. Pour half batter onto iron. Wait till steam rises. Top with confectioners’ sugar, a small pat of real butter and drizzle with syrup. Makes 2 waffles. (Double the recipe for friends and family.)
These waffles are so easy to make, not to ignore the fact they are easy on the budget (except for syrup — go for all natural). The second waffle turned out picture perfect. It was simple to remove from the waffle iron and a joy to plate. I dusted it with powdered sugar reminding me of the possible snow due this week. The warm spices and hearty pumpkin flavor in the hot waffles are unforgettable from first to last bite. I felt fall.
Motto: Autumn is a season to savor seasonal colors and hot meals — to feel warm and cozy inside and outside.
— Cal Orey, M.A. is an author and journalist. Her books include “The Healing Powers” series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, and Coffee) published by Kensington. (The Healing Coffee is offered by the Good Cook Book Club. The Healing Powers of Honey will be featured in the October issue of Wellbella Magazine.) The Healing Powers of Coffee, Vinegar, Olive Oil, and Honey are sold at Walmart stores nationwide. This autumn, the author is revising and updating the 2nd edition of The Healing Powers of Olive Oil. Her website is www.calorey.com.