Whether you love it or hate it, grocery shopping is a part of life. Even if you eat out frequently, no house is complete without a few staples for a meal in or even a snack, and this requires heading to your local market. You probably know your way around it by now. Finding the produce, dairy, bread, and if you’re anything like me, candy comes naturally, without having to put any effort into it; you just walk there. And maybe on a day when you didn’t have a list of errands to run or tasks at home screaming your name waiting to be completed, you looked around just for fun, seeing if there was anything new to discover.
While I don’t always have time to do this, I love it when I do. If you have done it, you’ve probably seen some interesting items, particularly in the produce section. You know what I’m talking about. The plums in fancy colors. The pink lemons. The crazy Buddha’s Hand citrus. The Brussels sprout stalk that doesn’t even fit in a produce bag. The tiny pie pumpkins. You see these things and wonder to yourself who in their right mind buys them as you walk past them and head to the bananas and leaf lettuce. I buy them.
That’s right, I’m the girl clacking around the grocery store in heels too high to be worn anywhere let alone a market, doing a happy dance when I discover something new and exciting to try. Those plums in all colors of the rainbow? Awesome! Okay maybe you could skip the pink lemons and stick with regular and Meyer. Buddha’s Hand has the best zest, and I love citrus zest. You can’t say you hate Brussels sprouts until you’ve had them fresh off the stalk. Roasted with balsamic vinegar, they make the best side dish ever. Ahhh, and pie pumpkins. They might just be my favorite.
I don’t eat things from cans. Period. End of story. Okay so maybe on the pretty rare occasions when I’m eating out or buying something at a bakery, some of the ingredients could be from a can, but what I don’t know can’t hurt me, and it’s really not that often. In my own kitchen where I control the quality of the ingredients, cans don’t happen. I love roasting these little pie pumpkins, pureeing them, and using them just like you would the canned stuff. I also freeze the puree in half cup portions to get me through until the next pumpkin season rolls around. But even better than the fresh puree is fresh shredded pumpkin.
I hadn’t ever thought to shred pumpkin like I would carrots or zucchini until I found this Alton Brown recipe. Shredded pumpkin is the bomb and so is this recipe that I make a few times each year. Giant muffins full of pumpkin and fall spices. There’s not much more to say other than go make these muffins and be one of the crazy people buying the weird produce.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups shredded fresh pie or sugar pumpkin
- 1 cup toasted pecans
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Oil the tins in a muffin tin generously, including the top of the pan.
- In a medium bowl, stir the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. In a large bowl, mix the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla together. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and mix until just combined. Add the pumpkin and pecans and fold until evenly distributed and a homogeneous mixture is formed.
- Using a regular sized ice cream scoop, scoop batter into prepared muffin tin, distributing any remaining batter among the cups. Bake for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out with only a few moist crumbs, rotating halfway through if necessary. Cool completely in pan, before gently loosening tops of muffins from the tin and pushing a spatula down the side of each muffin cup to force the muffin out. May be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 4 months. Thaw in a 350 degree F oven for about 20 minutes or at room temperature for several hours.