Wolters loves pumpkin season


By Darla Cabe - For the Sidney Daily News



Cara Wolters receives some help from her son, Luke, in preparing a dish for supper.

Cara Wolters receives some help from her son, Luke, in preparing a dish for supper.


Photo courtesy of Nick Wolters

Luke Wolters, 3, son of Nick and Cara Wolters, loves pumpkins.


Photo courtesy of Nick Wolters

Cara Wolters preps some peppers for a meal for her family.


Photo courtesy of Nick Wolters

ENGLEWOOD — Unlike a lot of today’s young adult crowd, Cara Wolters doesn’t get too keyed up about pumpkin spice lattes.

“Pumpkin flavored drinks don’t get me very excited, unless it’s a milkshake,” the petite mother said, “but that’s essentially a dessert anyway.”

On the other hand, she does get enthused about pumpkin foods.

“I’m not sure why I love pumpkin, but I always have. I like any pumpkin foods.”

And for better or worse, her 3-year-old son Luke does too.

“Pumpkin is so versatile,” Wolters said. “The pumpkin dessert choices are endless and all scrumptious. Trifles are great because you get easy ‘presentation points’ and then pumpkin can be savory too … soups, pastas, risotto. I remember having pumpkin ravioli for the first time in high school and my taste buds were awakened. If you ever have any pumpkin leftover from a recipe, you can add it to waffle or pancake mix and make a pumpkin breakfast!”

Wolters and her family, which includes her husband, Nick, and their boys, Luke and Todd, will soon be returning to Sidney, where she grew up, after living the last few years in Englewood where Cara has been finishing her medical residency. She is now a “newly minted family medicine doctor.”

The Wolters are in the process of building a house in Sidney, which will have custom modifications for Wolters’s short stature.

Shelves, counters, cabinets and steps will be at heights more convenient for her, and she is excited to have a basement “so we can attempt to corral the toys,” Wolters said with her characteristic happy smile. Wolters has never left Ohio, attending college at Ohio Northern, then living in Fairborn while in medical school.

“I realized as I left Sidney and got to know people from other places that Sidney isn’t tiny but still has a lot of the small town features. It still kills me to this day to pay for parking or park blocks away to find a spot – just wasn’t a concept in a small town. We moved back to be able to raise our kids in the same nurturing environment that I grew up in. We are excited to be much closer to family, especially grandparents, who play such a special role in the grandkids lives,” Wolters said.

Wolters said her husband, Nick, is “burdened” by the fact that she is a “foodie” and loves to try new combinations of flavors and foods, but they share a lot of tasks around the house, including cooking.

“I’m lucky Nick’s mom taught him how to cook, and we try to get our boys involved, too. Right now they are great about helping us chop. Nick and I will make a pile after we chop something, and the boys will diligently put it in the bowl.”

When eating out, Wolters loves farm-to-table restaurants because the food is so fresh and always opts for a “mom and pop” hometown restaurant rather than a chain. Her husband is on a quest to make a perfect steak, and Wolters admits she is “happy to be his test subject on that journey!”

But this time of year, it is the pumpkin dishes that Wolters loves the most.

“While my husband and I were dating, we had a bake-off with required ingredients, a time limit and blind judging provided by neighbors. We chose pumpkin desserts as our theme. I think he might have beat me (barely) on taste, but I blew him out of the water on presentation.”

So pass the pumpkin and get cooking!

Pumpkin Gnocchi in Sage Butter

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup canned pumpkin

6 quarts water

1/2 cup butter, cubed

4 fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, minced

In a small bowl combine the flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir in pumpkin until blended. On a lightly floured surface, knead 10 to 12 times, forming a soft dough. Let rest for 10 minutes.

Divide dough into four portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a 1/2-in.-thick rope; cut into 3/4-inch pieces. Press and roll each piece with a lightly floured fork.

Bring water to a boil. Cook gnocchi in batches for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes or until they float. Remove with a slotted spoon; keep warm.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add the sage, garlic and gnocchi; stir to coat.

No matter how you combine pumpkin with pasta, sage and butter are always good complimentary ingredients. Can make this gluten-free if needed by choosing the gluten free flour of your choice.

from Tasteofhome.com

Soft Pumpkin Cookies

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 cup sugar

½ cup oil

1 egg

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon soda dissolved in 1 tsp. milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine pumpkin, sugar, oil, and egg. Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; add with dissolved soda. Add remaining ingredients. Drop on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 370°F for 10-12 minutes.

Frosting:

2.5 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons milk

¾ stick of butter or margarine

4 ounces cream cheese

Dash of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all ingredients in mixer until smooth. Place a dollop on each cooled cookie.

Tip: This is a soft cookie, which freezes well. If freezing cookie, frost after thawing.

Pumpkin Trifle

2 to 3 cups crumbled unfrosted pumpkin or spice cake, muffins or gingerbread

For the pumpkin layer:

1 3-ounce box instant vanilla pudding mix, prepared according to instructions and chilled

1 15-ounce) can pumpkin

1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

For the cream layer:

16 ounce container heavy whipping cream

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the pecans:

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons water

1 cup pecan halves or pieces

For the pumpkin layer:

In a bowl, stir together the prepared instant pudding, canned pumpkin, brown sugar, and cinnamon until well incorporated. Chill.

For the cream layer:

In a chilled bowl, add heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Using chilled beaters of an electric mixer, beat until soft peaks almost form. Set aside.

For the pecans:

Combine all ingredients except the pecans in a skillet and cook over medium heat for a minute or two, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbling.

Add the pecans and cook for an additional 3 minutes, stirring to coat the pecans in the glaze.

Remove from the heat, and spread the pecans out on parchment paper to let the pecans cool completely. Once cool, break apart.

In a trifle bowl, crumble some of the cake (or equivalent) into the bottom and press down to form an even layer. Add some of the pudding/pumpkin mixture on top. Add some of the stabilized whipped cream. Repeat layers. The number of layers you make depends on the thickness of your layer and the size of your trifle bowl.

Sprinkle top with cinnamon or candied pecans for garnish. Cover loosely and place in fridge to chill at least 1 hour before serving. Can make the night before.

Cheats: can use store bought frozen whipped topping (thawed) in place of the cream layer. If using canned pumpkin pie filling instead of canned pumpkin, skip the extra spices and sugar since it’s already spiced and sweetened. If you don’t have a trifle bowl, a punch bowl (or similar large bowl) will work too.

Bonus: any candied pecans can be stored in an airtight jar for about one week.

Cara Wolters receives some help from her son, Luke, in preparing a dish for supper.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2019/10/web1_Cara-Wolters-3.jpgCara Wolters receives some help from her son, Luke, in preparing a dish for supper. Photo courtesy of Nick Wolters

Luke Wolters, 3, son of Nick and Cara Wolters, loves pumpkins.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2019/10/web1_Cara-Wolters1.jpgLuke Wolters, 3, son of Nick and Cara Wolters, loves pumpkins. Photo courtesy of Nick Wolters

Cara Wolters preps some peppers for a meal for her family.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2019/10/web1_Cara-Wolters2.jpgCara Wolters preps some peppers for a meal for her family. Photo courtesy of Nick Wolters

By Darla Cabe

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily Newes.

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily Newes.