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Archive for February 9th, 2005

Snow Again in Michigan

Wednesday, February 9th, 2005

Well, Tuesday night we went to two bars and had a wonderful time. That is not my usual style, but we heard Klezmeroke at Temple Club and then we went to the open mic at Dagwood’s. Fun all around!

It was Mardi Gras, which we had not realized, so at Temple Club I collected two plastic beaded necklaces (I did not have to do anything unseemly to get them, by the way). Some people at the club were dressed up for the occasion, one wearing butterfly wings. It was a cool scene. The place is pretty darned huge, and we were upstairs which appears to once have been the sanctuary of the Baptist church that built the place. There were a bunch of folks although because it was Tuesday it was not totally jam-packed. We did get to talk to Drew and his wife Bonnie, and our friend Tamineh who plays fiddle for the group and who we rarely see.

At Dagwoods, it also was a less crowded scene than usual, no doubt because it was Tuesday. I have only been there maybe twice before but it was so crowded you could barely find a place to stand. The open mic was quite varied, with old time fiddle and modern theatrical/sexy tunes acted out, two poets, a few singer/songwriters with guitars and then us. Fun all around. We went home smelling like smoke and for once we didn’t mind much at all.

Oh, and I started knitting a smaller version of the LynnH Watercolor bag, got pretty far while watching other folks perform. Somehow my planning ahead is not quite right and it is much taller and not as wide as I expected. I will have to ponder this development before knitting further, and definitely before felting the small bag. Drat! The big one went so seamlessly that I was getting spoiled, I guess!

Wednesday morning I awoke to the sounds of shoveling outside. It has been a bit warmer than freezing for the last few days, and last night it was really foggy on the way home from all the humidity in the air. Well, it finally got back to winter temperatures last night and we got maybe an inch of white stuff. I guess I appreciate the increased amount of light we get when everything is white, but I am tired of being cold. Not that my opinion will change anything! And Brian does the shoveling without fail… so I don’t have to be outside all that much, to be honest.

So he went to work and I made my favorite pumpkin bread. I was born the day after Thanksgiving, which is a huge pumpkin feast. I get pumpkin pie for my birthday rather than cake, because I prefer it. And I regularly crave other pumpkin-flavored goodies. I sort of love it that when you buy canned pumpkin, it lists a single ingredient: pumpkin. Period. No additives, no flavor-enhancers, just plain old, good and dependable pumpkin. How cool is that?

This pumpkin bread is soooo good! I never want to eat anything else if we have any in the house! I have posted an earlier version of my recipe here before, but now I sort of have two recipes. One (the one I make most often) can be enjoyed by folks allergic to wheat/corn/egg/milk/yeast/potato/soy (though it is not gluten-free). I’m allergic to 5 of those 7, and let me tell you, it is impossible to buy sweet snacks at a normal US grocery because everything has corn syrup, egg or milk. Truthfully, homemade stuff is better but I don’t enjoy the messs I make and have to clean up by making it.

Anyway the second recipe can be made by folks who have normal ingredients in a US kitchen… no odd stuff. The first tastes better, I think, but it requires a trip to the health food store if you don’t normally cook this way. Apologies to those outside the USA, I don’t have metric equivalents available for the measurements.

So here you go, for those craving a yummy winter snack:

Crusty Pumpkin Loaf

Allergy-Free Ingredients:
3/4 c Buckwheat Flour (I use Arrowhead Mills brand)
3/4 c Oat Flour (look for gluten-free label if sensitive)
1/2 c Rice Flour
(-OR- substitute 2 cups Buckwheat flour for the above 3 ingredients)
1-1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
1-1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1-1/2 c Sugar (we prefer Brown Sugar, the darker the better)
1 sm can (1-3/4c) Pumpkin (not pie mix)
1-1/2 Tbsp Flaxseed Meal
1/4c Very Hot Water
1/8 c (2 Tbsp) Light Olive Oil (or other non-corn cooking oil)
1 Tbsp Orange, Lime or Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp Good Mexican Vanilla

Normal “American” Ingredients:
2 c All-purpose Flour
1-1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
1-1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1 egg
1-1/2 c Sugar (we prefer Brown Sugar, the darker the better)
1 sm can (1-3/4c) Pumpkin (not pie mix)
3/8 c (6 Tbsp) Vegetable cooking oil
1 Tbsp Orange, Lime or Lemon Juice or Vinegar
1 Tbsp Good Mexican Vanilla (use 1-1/2 tsp if artificial)

Preheat Oven to 350F.
If using flaxseed meal/hot water, combine in small bowl and whisk together, set aside.
Mix dry ingredients with wire whisk in large bowl.
Mix in pumpkin, oil, flaxseed mixture if you chose it, juice/vinegar and vanilla, stirring slowly with fork until all flour is moistened. (It may look like this will never happen, but it just takes time.)

Divide between two standard greased and floured bread pans (flour with rice flour for allergy-free version).

Bake for 1 hour until toothpick comes out clean.

Yum! Please enjoy, and let it make you feel warm and comfy inside during these last few gasping months of winter weather.

Photos (please forgive the quality, bars have terrible lighting and my camera has fits): 1)Klezmeroke on stage at Temple Club; 2)Employee of Temple Club (I think) throwing beads down to the crowd from balcony; 3)Jam session on open mic stage at Dagwood’s (Brian is playing my bass at left); 4)Bar and crowd at Dagwood’s, a Lansing institution which was there when my family moved here in the very early 1960’s.