I finally did it! The past few weeks I’ve been working on trying to create individual pumpkin mochis. I’ve made pumpkin mochi cake several times and it is a staple every year at the Thanksgiving table, but I wanted to see if I could make a non-cake pumpkin mochi.

First I attempted making it with the microwave, using similar recipes to the ones I used to make microwave mochi. However, the dough kept sagging when I tried to make it into balls and it was extremely sticky and hard to work with.

Then I tried boiling the balls. The pumpkin balls ended up being too light in color and lacked flavor.

Finally, I attempted making a steamed version. And success! The balls weren’t too sticky and maintained it’s dark orange color.  They also held up their shape and I was even able to make them look like mini pumpkins.

I carved some knife incisions to make the balls look like pumpkins. Then I stuck a tiny piece of parsley on top to resemble a leaf.  I was really pleased with how these turned out.  My mochi balls are only flavored with pumpkin. You can add cinnamon and nutmeg or some pumpkin spice for a more Autumn flavor. You can also fill the center with something.

Steamed Pumpkin Mochi

Ingredients
2 cups glutinous rice flour
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup sugar
(optional spices: 1 tsp cinnamon, or 1 tsp pumpkin spice)

Directions
1. Pour all the ingredients into a bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. You may need to add some water to the dough if it is too dry. The dough should be sticky, but if you touch it, it should not stick to your hands. Add water, or more glutinous rice flour until the dough comes together and doesn’t stick to your hands.
2. Take small chunks of dough and roll them to form balls and place them on a steamer, about 1 inch apart. The balls will not really expand when steamed, so use portions similar to what you want your serving size to be.
3. Using a sharp knife, draw indents into the balls, so that they resemble pumpkins. I found that the best technique was to start at the bottom of the dough and slice upward and curved at an angle.
4. Steam for approximately 10- 15 minutes. Make sure a cover is put over the steamer.
5. Let the balls cool completely. When they are completely cooled, they should be easy to pick up to serve. You can garnish with something green for decoration. I put tiny parsley leaves on top.
6. It is best to serve these balls the same day or the next day. After that they will lose their chewy texture.

I’ve made variations of the sugar donut muffins that have been popular on food blogs. (Sugar donut muffins are mini muffins that taste like cake donuts.) I realized that while I’ve made several versions of the donut muffins, I haven’t tried the original version that I found: just regular mini donut muffins rolled in some sugar.

I thought about making the original version, but then at the last minute I decided to make a pumpkin version instead. There’s only 15 days left until Thanksgiving and I have a lot more pumpkin, sweet potato, persimmon and other fall recipes to try out.  So I made a pumpkin version, but I dipped them in a cinnamon sugar mixture.

I haven’t had much time for baking since I spent the weekend in San Francisco. I’ll have to catch up these next two weeks. These muffins are quite tasty. The pumpkin puree makes them so moist and I love the bright yellow hue of the donut muffins.

Mini pumpkin donut muffins (adapted from The Craving Chronicles)

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup fat free milk

Topping:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions
1. Preheat oven 350°F. Spray  mini muffin tin with baking spray that contains flour.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and spices .

3. In a large bowl whisk together oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk until smooth. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined!

4. Spoon batter into muffin cups about 2/3 full.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

5. Let donuts cool completely. Then melt 1/4 cup butter in a small glass bowl. In another small bowl, combine 2/3 cup white sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon.  Dip top of donuts in melted butter and then dip in the sugar mixture.

This is my final post on the Second Annual Foodbuzz Festival I attended this weekend in San Francisco.  After this, I’ll be getting back to blogging about the other places I’ve been eating at. You can read my previous posts on the Street Food Fare event and the Taste Pavilion event.

The gala dinner was held at the Ferry Building, a popular attraction in SF, especially for foodies. It is home to the famous Farmer’s market, and houses a plethora of shops and restaurants. I had hoped to explore the Farmer’s market and the shops inside the Ferry Building, but the busy schedule the Foodbuzz Festival committee had planned didn’t leave me much time.

I was able to arrive about an hour before the gala to explore the stores inside the Ferry Building, though most of them were already closed for the night. I did manage to do some shopping at Sur La Table. I will have to come back at another point to try the food at the shops inside the Ferry Building.

The gala started with a cocktail hour outside with passed hors d’oeuvres.  Afterward, we made our way inside to be seated for a four course dinner sponsored by the Cooking Channel.  The dining room was beautifully decorated with sparkling little lights.


The tables were full of wineglasses, four glasses for each setting. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many wine glasses on a table before.

Going in to the dinner, I have to admit, my expectations were not high for the quality of food we would be served. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The dinner courses were wonderfully prepared and on par to many of the fine dining places I’ve eaten at.

Our first course was a Roasted Golden Beet tart. The tart was made of polenta and was accompanied by chopped red beets. I’m not a huge fan of polenta, so this was my least favorite course.

The next course was Seared Scallops with Fennel. I love scallops, but usually the scallop dishes I eat are overcooked or too raw. The scallops on my plate were cooked a perfect medium rare. They were some of the best scallops I’ve had.

Our third course was a Rosemary and Garlic Infused Rack of Lamb, served with local wild mushrooms and butternut squash puree.  Each person was served a generous portion of lamb. Mine was still slightly pink in the middle, which is how I like my meat cooked.  The chops were tender, though they lacked a little in the flavor department. I really enjoyed the butternut squash puree. It was a great twist on the classic mashed potatoes side usually served.

Our final course was a butter almond cake with oranges and a sherry sauce. The cake wasn’t too sweet and was pretty light as far as desserts go.

With each course, we were also served a different wine. I liked that we were given different wine glasses for each wine so that we didn’t feel the need to finish the previous course’s wine. The dinner was a long event, but a perfect way to get to really bond with the people at your table.

There was one more event the next day: a farewell brunch.  I chose not to attend the final event. The rainy forecast, exhaustion from the previous days, and the long commute factored into my decision. Had I been staying in SF, I definitely would have attended the final day. All in all, the Foodbuzz Festival was a fun experience full of food, wine, and meeting great people.