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Distance made my heart grow fonder
I love fall. The leaves are changing; cooler days, football, turtleneck sweaters, pumpkins and the last of the tomatoes from the garden. Sadly, the pumpkin crop had a dismal yields this year, but my 16 or so tomato plants had a remarkable run thanks to a very late frost. As a tomato lover, I was thankful for at least an extra 2 weeks worth of goodness. Now, when I first met my husband he said didn’t like pumpkin or raw tomatoes. What?! Are you trying to hurt me? Thank goodness he was a pretty cool guy so I overlooked this predicament. So when it came down to planning meals and menus, I had to find a way to incorporate these things in a way that he would eat them. Now, I’m not one for trickery or sneekery (if that’s even a word), I wanted him to genuinely like these foods. One of the first Christmases that we celebrated together, my grandmother brought her pumpkin roll to the festivities. And as for many years, I ate more than my fair share with my husband eating his usual chocolate pie or other dessert. Finally my grandmother gave me the recipe so I could make it whenever I wanted.
My pumpkin roll. All mine. Score!
Well, a couple years ago, Christmas rolled around again and I decided to make the roll this time. I couldn’t have been more surprised to see my now hubby cutting into my pumpkin roll. I remember saying, “But you don’t like pumpkin.” He replied, “This doesn’t taste like pumpkin, it actually tastes good.”
Hmm…major compliment on my cooking or minor insult to one of my favorite fall flavors? Either way, I’ll take it as a positive. Here’s the recipe that converted my husband into a pumpkin lover and turned my pumpkin roll into our pumpkin roll.Â Marriage is all about sharing and compromising, right? Although Iâ€˜m certain there’s “dessert clause” in there somewhere.
Courtesy of Grandmom Shirley
(Photo by Jen O’Brien)
For the roll:
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin
2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350.
Grease a 12×17 jelly roll pan.
Beat eggs until frothy, 3-5 minutes. Add rest of ingredients and spread in well-greased pan. Bake 15-20 minutes until cake springs back with touched. Turn immediately onto towel and roll up.
For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 tbsp margarine or butter, softened
1 cup of confectioner’s sugar
Beat cream cheese, margarine and sugar together. Unroll cake and spread with filling. Then roll back up. Wrap in foil and let chill for about an hour. When ready, cut into slices and serve.
Now, about that tomato compromise. Here’s a great sandwich that is quick and easy that everyone can agree on. The tomatoes are cooked for 3 minutes. Long enough to cook that pesky “raw” flavor out but short enough to keep the robust flavor in.
(From Cuisine At Home Magazine)
(Photo by Jen O’Brien)
1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 diced tomatoes
1 tbsp capes, drained (I omit this since I never have them)
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
4 slices white or wheat sourdough bread, cut 1/2″ thick
Extra olive oil
1/4 cup of purchased pesto
6 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
(Or you can use regular mozzarella and it works well)
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in nonstick skillet over medium-heat heat.
Add tomatoes and red pepper flakes; sautÃ© until just starting to breakdown, about 3 minutes.
Off heat add balsamic vinegar.
Brush oil on one side of each slice of bread; spread other sides with 1 tbsp presto. Arrange mozzarella and tomato mixture on two slices of bread then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with another slice of bread, oiled side up.
Toast in a skillet using another skillet on top of the sandwich as a weight or use a Panini press until the
cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown.
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