I know, I know. I am clearly not being avant-garde by doing a pumpkin bread recipe in October (but I am by using the word avant-garde!) so just bear with me. There is a reason for making this bread and the fact that it is October is just an appropriate coincidence.
There are two pumpkins in my life. One is Robbie who, in addition to loving all foods orange since he was a young boy according to his mother, was also his mother's pumpkin before she graciously let me take on the duties of keeper of RLS3. The second pumpkin is probably loved more by my friends and family than I am and he certainly turns heads wherever he goes. And that is our 22-pound orange cat, Newton (we call him Newt for short).
Since our unstable life which, ironically, started after we got married last October, we found ourselves going through the motions of Robbie finishing up law school and the concerns over not knowing where we would end up. Throughout all of that, Newt was a trooper. He learned to ride in a car without immediately getting sick(ish) and he moved seamlessly from Charlotte to Newton to Winston-Salem then back to Newton. After arriving in NYC in August we knew we had to make a decision about Newt. Do we bring a car-sick-prone cat to New York to live in about a tenth of the space he had in Newton or do we find him a better home (albeit someone willing to look after a diabetic cat who gets shots twice a day and has the uncanny knack of being in your face ALL. THE. TIME.)? We decided to bring him up.
So after some monitoring and testing of some strong sedatives by the awesome staff at Maiden Small Animal Hospital, Newt arrived on September 15th, after a 12 hour drive, at 11:50 pm. And boy was he confused. We unloaded him in the middle of West 89th Street and I carried him in my arms up five flights of stairs into his new home while Robbie got the important duty of carrying up the rest of his food/litter box/etc. (I like to play favorites.) I laid him down in the living room. He immediately walked from one end to the other, through our kitchen area into the bathroom and then walked into the bedroom before turning around and emitting a rather irritated and trite "Meow!" as if to say "This is it? This is the Big Apple? Looks more like a Little Apple to me." Since that night over a month ago Newt has become adept at looking from his throne (our window ledge) over his kingdom (West 89th Street) while cars go by, pigeons fly, and the cable wires outside our window blow with the wind. I hope he is happy.
We did buy a cat stroller for him (yes, they exist) and we did take him to Central Park for one afternoon (actually, it was like a 20 minute visit) and really, the only reason we came back to the apartment was because I was too embarrassed by all the looks people gave us. I wanted to remind them of the crazy people who reside at every corner in the city and that we, with our 22-pound cat in a stroller and letting him eat grass on a leash, were the least crazy ones. But I pick my battles.
So, in honor of my two pumpkins, the one who married me one year ago this month and the one who celebrated his first month in New York City just last week, I make this pumpkin bread.
Adapted from A Cozy Kitchen
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin or pumpkin pie filling (I believe these are the same thing actually.)
1/3 cup applesauce
2 large eggs
1 tsp pumpkin-pie spice
1 1/4 cups of sugar
1/2 a cup of chopped walnuts
Preheat over to 350F. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. In a bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer using the whisk attachment, mix the pumpkin, applesauce, eggs, spice and sugar. Fold in the flour mixture until just combined. Fold in the walnuts. Pour into your prepared pan and bake for 40-50 minutes until a wooden tester comes out clean (mine actually took longer -- about 55 minutes). Cool in the pan on a rack for a few minutes until taking the bread out of the pan. Continue to cool on the rack. This bread is super moist and rose beautifully. I learned that it is also great with cream cheese on top.