Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Artisan Savory Pumpkin Rolls

Hello, everybody! Happy Hallowe'en!! The Fresh Pioneer is back and I have a really super recipe for you that is directly related to something actually FRESH (no hunks of meat, Kav!).

Here's a hint....
  Man, I miss those little bread shops. We just got an artisan bread shop in our tiny town and I'm in heaven! But I can't go running down there every day (like the French do). I actually have to make some of my own. Buying that much bread would cut into my BOOK budget, ya know?

  So, this is Cassey. (She's the one without facial hair). Here she is cutting a delicious WEDDING CAKE. And that guy? Well, he was once a cellar rat, but not anymore. 'Cause Cassey's magic.

  I know this because she first started babysitting for us when I had only three small children and I don't think I've ever seen her lose her cool. That's 9 years, three more kids, and a WHOLE LOT of poop and terrible twos and snotty noses ago. I feel bad for people who never got a Cassey. She's like Mary Poppins, but funnier. And she can cook.

  Anyway, back to the cake. She kissed a cellar rat and he turned into a winemaker, as she describes it. (You know, that magic thing we just discussed.)

Here they are stomping grapes... Ew. Good thing I don't drink wine.

But it's not all fun and games at Cougar Crest, especially at 'crush' time. That's when they harvest the grapes either really early, or really late since it has to be nice and cold. Then they put them in giant vats and when the berries rise to the top, they punch them down again, every few hours.  It sounds pretty simple, but apparently you can ruin hudreds of thousands of dollars of good crop by doing it WRONG. So, 'punchdown' is a big deal.

  When crush is on, and the guys are working 18 hour days, they still have to eat. And these people don't eat McDonald's. They've got to think of their palettes!

Cassey, at certain times of the year, turns into a wine widow and gets to bring snacks to the crew in the vinyard at odd hours. This is one of the things she brings over: savory pumpkin rolls. She just kinda made it up.

So, here is Edna filled with 4 cups of fresh pumpkin. You can use canned, but hey, we're going with what's in season! (BTW, Edna was very excited to be working with something that wasn't full of fat and sugar.)
We added FOUR EGGS and mixed everything up nice and good, then added FIVE cups of flour. It should be super gooey.
In a separate bowl, add one cup of flour to 2 tsp salt, 2 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 2 1/2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning, 1 tsp plain pepper, 2 tsp cumin, 2 tsp coriander, and 1 tsp parsley flakes.
Got all that???
I know... But I'm telling you- MAGIC.
To the wet mixture, add 1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. (Doesn't she have pretty hands??)

Mix well, and add in the cup of flour and the other seasonings. Now, you might have to add more flour. It should total about 6 cups. Just add it until it looks like dough. :)

When you've got the oven preheated to 350F, you'll dust your hands with flour, grab a ball of pumpkin dough and plop it on a greased cookie sheet. Like so.
After about 12-15 minutes, the cheddar cheese will start to ooze out and they'll look nice and toasty. The white parts are the flour and it really adds to the deliciousness, so just let it be there. These aren't going to be perfect, cookie cutter rolls. They're artisan! (That means 'funky looking' in some other language, I'm sure of it...)

  The smell is AMAZING and my whole house was filled with 1) baking bread smell and 2) savory herb smell. YUMMY. We got them out of the oven and ate them right out of hand. No butter or toppings needed. The outsides were crunchy, insides fragrant and dabbed with bits of melted cheese.

Of course, she wraps them in a pretty cloth, pust them in a basket and brings them down to the field. (Look at that ring! I still can't believe it... In my mind she's a scrawny teenager lugging her violin everywhere, trying to cram in practice for the symphony between shifts at my house. Don't tell her I said that.)

Of course, we had to put up a nice picture of the goods. Ta-DAH!! Fresh apples and grapes set off those herbs perfectly.

And here's one more picture of the newlyweds. Aren't they adorable?? And that little guy is the cellar-rat-turned-winemaker's son.  For a 3 year old, he's totally zen. Usually. (She wondered why single dads were chasing her around the state. Smart guys know Mary Poppins when they see her.)

  So, step out on a limb and make some interesting food this week! Until next time!



  1. I want to make this. It looks very delisious

  2. I love every one of your posts but this one is the best so far. Pumpkin makes everything better!

    And you had a Mary Poppins. So jealous!

    Peace, Julie

    1. Oh, boy. She was a better mom than I was and she was only 16. But then again, she got to GO HOME. :D

      No, we took a trip once to Portland, on the train, to see the zoo. Me, her, and four small kids.

      I thought I was going to die. She was cool with everything. :D

  3. Oh, what a fun take on pumpkin! This is a recipe I will try before Thanksgiving weekend and then make them for the BIG DAY if I don't blow it first!

    I love Mary Poppins.

    Not the movie. The concept. A magic nanny. Who doesn't want a magic nanny????

    Stupid people. A true smart person longs for a magic nanny 24/7. Because they're that smart.

    I'm so glad you brought Cassey over, and that she is still (by appearances, I have no doctor's word on this) somewhat unscathed by the experience of knowing you for all these years. Nevertheless, she is in my prayers.

    And Cellar-rat.

    Dying. Laughing that hard, I'm dying. Read my obit tomorrow!!!

    1. Truly, I had to take a car ride with that guy and he was talking wine-making in the front seat with a friend.

      It was like listening to my computer engineer brother talk programming. I understood NOTHING.

      They take their chemistry very seriously. And then give it nicknames.

  4. You guys are all so good! what a great story here BESIDES the recipe. Of course!

    we made cheddar biscotti a few weeks ago so I am already OKAY with making a sweet into a savory but I hadn't thought of this particular combination,.. hmmmm, sounds great. I really must try them. Thanks Ginny Mary Virginia!

    There are just not enough Cassie's in the world!

    1. There aren't! Which is why men were chasing her around the state.

      And she was always surprised. :D

  5. What a wonderful story!!! No wonder you keep your sanity with a gazillion kids running around. YOU'VE HAD HELP! :)

    I adore this recipe without even tasting it. I will be making this! Do you think they would go well with Thanksgiving dinner? Or would they be better saved for another time without all that food??

    Oh my goodness, I can't wait to taste them! My mouth is watering.

    1. I was thinking about Thanksgiving, too! They're really forgiving with the time, so there wouldn't be any burning these babies. I pulled the first batch at 13 min and the second at 18 and they were pretty much the same. A little crisper, a little higher.

    2. I can see me now. Eating mashed potatoes, gravy and rolls. :)

      And then when others have pumpkin pie for dessert, I'll have another roll!

  6. Virginia - I don't know which is better - the recipe or the story. Love this!!!!

    I need to try to find a way to make this minus the eggs (or with an egg substitute) because my Vegan daughter will love this (once she gets home from Ireland.

    She's learning all sorts of cool cooking things in Ireland - including making breads and jams. And she LOVES pumpkin.

    I'm so hungry right now!!!!!

    And I adore Cassey without even meeting her (except through you). Think she'd want to come work her magic in my class???

    An aside - but can I say that the romance writer/mom in me just has this warm fuzzy feeling knowing the three year old was blessed by the Cellar Rat marrying Cassey. Talk about happily-ever-afters.

    Thanks for putting a smile on my day.

    PS - just another example of why Melissa J loves you so (as do we all).

    1. Yes, when she said she'd met a guy who was a practicing Orthodox Jew (and we're Catholic) I thought, 'hm, this might get complicated'.

      Then she said, 'And he was born in South America and one of his parents lives down there' and I thought 'hm, more complicated'.

      Oh, AND h's raising a three year old boy, I thought, 'OH MY GOSH, RUN! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE'!

      Kidding... At that point I remembered she was magic. And a born romantic. And all things are possible with love.

      I was his sponsor when he joined our church last Easter and it was truly moving to see how love brings people from all walks of life together.

      His faith is deep and his little boy is adorable. How can you lose??

  7. I'm making these. Not today or tomorrow, but sometime soon.

    I love roasted sweet potatoes with cumin, so these must have a similar type flavor, right?

    And not muffins or quick bread, but good, solid, artisan bread. Mmmmm.

    They'd go great with soup, wouldn't they?

    And you had a Mary Poppins. I always wanted one, but we moved so often they could never find me...

    1. Well, it was on and off. She had school and symphony and traveling. But we got her when she was available.

      And she was the type of Mary Poppins who came EARLY and stayed LATE!

      And came over randomly to see what we were up to.

  8. Yes indeedy, I do appreciate a good recipe without the hunk of meat. This looks great and like something I could amaze my daughter with! Wouldn't that be cool? Love the story too and tell Edna I'm such a fan, it isn't funny. Edna makes my day brighter. :-)

    1. Mine, too!

      And I loved that as we were mixing it, my little guys were calling her 'Edna' instead of 'the mixer'.

  9. well I kept thinking cellar rat didn't sound so good so I decided to look it up and see if it meant worse than a deadbeat bum like it sounded but whaddya know it ain't bad!
    :-) I'm still too intimidated to make anything from scratch esp if it requires a big mixer - and yeast, especially if t requires yeast - no matter how good it looks :-(


  10. Susanna, I'm sort of scared of yeast myself. The best advice I can give you on that is make sure it's fresh, and make sure you have a nice warm palce for the dough to rise. You have those two things, and you'll probably do okay. :)