A few years ago my husband and I were in charge of making snack at my daughter's preschool. On the top shelf of the oven, one of the teachers had an apple pie baking. On the middle and bottom shelves we were baking grilled cheese sandwiches (Monterey Jack cheese on Milton's Original Whole Grain Bread). As is oft to happen with fruit pies, the apple pie bubbled over, coating the corner of one of the sandwiches below with sweet, cinnamony goodness. Mr. Rook, a big fan of trying unusual food combinations eyed the syrupy sandwich with eager anticipation. I, however, was wary. Perhaps it's un-American, but I'm not really a huge fan of apple pie (gasp!). Smooth-talker that he is, Mr. Rook talked me in to trying a bite and, "WOW!" It was fantastic! Unfortunately, this accidental delicacy was in short supply. So, that evening, we made up a batch of the same grilled cheese sandwiches. Because we didn't have an apple pie on hand, and hoping to find a way of getting more immediate gratification, we heated up some of our homemade apple butter. Mr. Rook, spicy devil that he is added a touch of hot sauce to his "dip". "Shazamm!" A taste sensation!
As apple time rolled in to pumpkin time, we tried the same approach with homemade pumpkin butter. It's ridiculous how delicious it is when warmed and served as a sandwich dip! Does this sound weird to you? Having a hard time buying the concept? Don't make that face. I know you're making that face. I dare you to try it. I just dare you! You'll thank me some day.
To get you started on your bold new sandwich dipping adventure, please enjoy (and try) my family's recipe for easy and delicious homemade pumpkin butter. I believe the secret to its perfection is in its simplicity. It also makes a lovely hostess gift:
6 cups cooked, mashed, or canned pumpkin
4 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt
pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot saucepan; stir well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes until mixture is smooth and thickened. Pour pumpkin butter into sterilized jars, filling to 1/4 inch from top. Wipe jar rims clean. Seal jars with metal lids and bands. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
What unusual food combinations have you come across in your culinary adventures? Do share!