written bY: GRIFFIN BRAMMER, staff writer
Fall is arguably one of the better seasons for the culinary world, if not the best. With so many tastes and smells we associate with the season, it’s hard not to have your mouth water at the start of the fall.
And with October underway, I’d like to help you get into that autumn spirit by providing you with some of the easiest, dorm-friendly fall recipes that go way beyond the reach of the humble pumpkin spice latte from your local Starbucks.
Pumpkin Mug Cake
This one will not only take some extra effort but also an additional trip to the grocery store for most people, unless you’re some sort of freak that keeps a bottle of ground ginger and a can of pumpkin in their dorm.
However, the fruits of your labor (or vegetable, depending on what you think a pumpkin is) will be well worth it. You could consider it a simpler version of the best part of the Thanksgiving dinner, and, just saying, this is the kind of dessert that’ll impress that special someone you bring over to your dorm on a cold autumn’s night (you naughty college kids 😉 ).
-4 tablespoons all purpose flour
-2 tablespoons granulated sugar
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
-¼ teaspoon nutmeg
-A pinch of ground clove (not 100% necessary if on a budget since it’s such a small ingredient, but worth it for authenticity’s sake)
-¼ teaspoon ginger
-A pinch of salt (I recommend stealing a packet from Hoff Dining Hall)
-2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree (get the smallest can imaginable)
-½ teaspoon vanilla extract
-3 tablespoons of milk
-Mix all dry ingredients together in a mug.
-Gradually add milk, pumpkin and vanilla and stir. Make sure there are no dry clumps at the bottom of the mug; everything should be well incorporated.
-Bake in the microwave on high for two minutes.
You can add additional toppings afterwards, like whipped cream, but with a dessert so warm, sexy and inviting, you’ll wanna save that whipped cream for other activities with that special friend you brought over to your dorm and made this cake for ;).
Yes, just chai latte. Because when someone says, “chai tea,” they are literally saying, “Tea tea.”
Grammatical gripes aside, this is an easy recipe that really only requires a couple mugs and a microwave. It is perfect for everyone who believes the chai latte has been living in the shadows of its pumpkin spice brethren for far too long.
-2 Masala Chai Teabags
-½ cup water
-1½ cups milk of choice
-2 spoonfuls of honey
-Extra cinnamon or nutmeg if desired
-Boil water in microwave, Keurig, or kettle as directed on tea bag.
-In another cup, heat up milk until it is steaming, but not boiling.
-Combine the milk and tea, stir in the honey.
-Optionally garnish with the extra cinnamon or nutmeg.
If you are like me and are wondering where the coffee comes in, a latte actually refers to any hot beverage where steamed milk is added. Enjoy the start of autumn with style and flavor with this sophisticated and criminally underrated fall beverage.
Butternut Squash Risotto
With the first two recipes being much more suited for the sweet tooth, I thought that I would go in a savory direction for our final recipe. This might look intimidating at first — I mean, it does involve a full on butternut squash — but trust me, you got this.
The squash and pumpkin are natural sisters, so if you’ve carved a Jack O’ lantern, you’ve dissected a butternut squash. As an added benefit, you will get some mad street cred among your friends as you pull out a five-star side dish from your microwave. Soon, everyone will be wondering if you are the illegitimate child of a secret love affair between Gordon Ramsey and that sultry French chef lady from Ratatouille.
-1 heaping cup of risotto rice (look for Arborio rice at the grocery store)
-3 cups of vegetable stock
-1 medium butternut squash
-½-¾ cup of grated parmesan (depends on how cheesy you want this to be, but don’t be afraid to go overboard — the cheese is what makes risotto, risotto)
-A couple dashes of sage
-To prepare the squash, cut off the top and bottom, peel the skin with a knife and scoop the seeds out with a spoon. Cut the remaining flesh into chunks.
-Microwave stock until it is hot (I’d say simmering, not a full boil). Please be careful handling the hot liquid.
-Place the rice and 2 cups of stock in a large bowl and cover with cling wrap. Microwave on high for 5 minutes.
-Stir the rice well, then add the squash and remaining stock. Cover again with cling wrap and microwave for 15 minutes, taking it out halfway through to stir again.
-At this point, all liquid should be absorbed and the rice and squash should be tender. Now, just add the cheese and a splash of sage and enjoy!
You’ll be the talk of the dorm hall, and folks will be lining up at your door after you prepare this bougie meal. You can get real artsy and tell everyone how the aromatics of the squash and sage bring you back to a simpler autumn time from your childhood when you were happier… or you could just eat it and enjoy.