Friday, April 04, 2003

We had to leave the house early today, leaving the windows closed and the dog inside, since the nice men at Brown's Exterminating were coming to help us deal with our carpenter bee problem. Ordinarily, I'm loath to use a lot of chemicals around the house but in the case of these aggressive, scary creatures I'm willingly bringing in the weapons of mass destruction (actually, the bees are pretty massively destructive themselves, so maybe it's a wash). So in order to leave on time, I told my son we were going on a "special bye-bye" and devised an outing.

The special bye-bye part was very useful in helping reduce the time required for the pjs-to-clothes exchange to about 15 minutes, with much less running around naked. Special, indeed. Once we were out the door, I mentioned that were were on our way to the Discovery Museum, whereupon my son yelled repeatedly, "Don't want feshul bye-byeeeeeeee," until we arrived. Then he had a great time playing with trains and looking at the turtles. We also bought a membership, so we now have admission privileges to the Museo Participativo de Ciencias, should we find ourselved in Buenos Aires in the next year. Lunch outside on the Downtown Mall pretty much capped an all around fanstastic morning. Arriving back home to find the bees (and their wasp friends) vanquished, I found myself feeling almost non-agitated for the first time since they first made their appearance.

I felt so good that I began making pumpkin butter after nap time began. Now, I know that all things pumpkin are usually associated with autumn, but trust me that this is actually a perfect time to make this wonderful stuff. First, you may have packages of pumpkin puree left in the freezer from last fall and you now need to make room for the upcoming spring bounty. Second, having the jars on the shelf for a few (okay, six) months will only help the flavors blend and it will be that much more delicious. Trust me, you'll want to do this now. The ingredients are:

    3 1/3 cups pumpkin puree

    the zest of one lemon

    the juice of one lemon

    2 1/2 cups light brown sugar

    1 T gound ginger

    2 t cinnamon

    1/2 t allspice

Mix all the ingredients together well in a medium to large saucepan. Let rest for an hour or two, then heat over medium heat stirring very frequently (there will be some bubbling and popping). Transfer to sterilized jars (I use half-pints), seal and process in a hot water bath for ten minutes.

Once opened, the pumpkin butter can be used as a spread for pancakes, a crepe or cake filling, an ice cream topping, for a tart...or, for a wonderful gift. I cannot stress enough how wonderful and versatile it is. could make a soup, with a little cream and fresh nutmeg sprinkled on top. Yes, you could definitely make a soup.
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