The inevitable has begun, and that’s on top of the jingle jangle of the holiday season. I’m (pretty happily) buried in the Hiatus, Hiatus photo archives and busy returning to Real Life™ and getting back into my Portland swing of thing. Catching up with friends, doing the further inevitable Thanksgiving thing, seeking work, pouring my feelings into curry pastes and of course, enjoying time with J. Legume and the cat brigade, I’ve been hard at work with my cohorts at Vida Vegan Headquarters on a serious, seasonally inclined entertaining initiative: Holiday Hors D’oeuvres & How-Tos. It seemed like such a fun idea last summer when we dreamed it up and holy wow, here we are, days away, realizing that as usual, we’re cramming so much stuff into a short window of time that you’ll just have to see it to believe it. It’s basically half party, half class and all winter-loving. And let me tell you — I’m rather non-denominational, snowflake obsessed and rugelach craving at heart, so you can pretty much expect strings of lights, fancy vegan bites, punch and at least one Festivus reference.
Plus, it’s given me an excuse to make some Thai red chili and vanilla bean-infused jars of sugar, among other things, as well as fine tune some dishes I’ve taken rare notes on in the past and enjoy making for company, including two specialty cheeses and one of the first cake recipes I ever veganized, in all its traditional Italian olive oil & citrus glory.
The point is, some tickets remain for our special soirée, and I hope some more Portland area folks can make it! Who knows, maybe we can even break a curse and actually record something as evidence for those who can’t. We’ve fine tuned the menu, which has been in development for months, and all three of us have been putting in some fabulous hours at our so-called Vida Vegan test kitchens. Basically, I’ve finally become an active Pinterest user, combing the postings for snowflake cake stencils of the cinematic persuasion (and consequently, handing them over to my ridiculously craftier significant other).
Now, to de-stress.
This pumpkin pie infusion is from something of a series (because writing a blog lets you say things like that out loud) of seasonal infusions I’ve been tinkering with lately. This includes Cranberry-Apple-Spice whiskey, Sweet Potato Pie whiskey, the Bloody Mary-friendly (the quick favorite) and Candy Cane Ice Cream vodka, from which I learned that the random candy canes floating around my cabinet from last year…or two years ago…or some point in the history of my apartment, plus a scored vanilla bean (organic!) make for near pitch black results. The more you know.
Pumpkin Pie Infusion
I’ve used Scotch whiskey above, though I’d also recommend bourbon, vodka or even light rum here.
Combine the following in a large jar with a wide mouth:
- 750 ml whiskey or other liquor
- 1 small pumpkin, washed well and seeds scooped out, sliced into large strips or chunks
- 1-2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 whole nutmeg
- 2 whole cloves
- optional: 1 inch slice of ginger, peeled
Leave the jar in a dark, cool spot for 4-5 days. Strain carefully using a fine mesh strainer or filter, discard spices and pumpkin, and bottle as desired.
Makes a swell gift to a holiday cocktail party and would be lovely in nog or a maple-sweetened hot toddy.