I’ve been thinking about pumpkin bread ever since I left San Francisco. My nephew is obsessed, which in and of itself is a curiosity, since for the time being he’s generally offended by food. 85% of canned pumpkin hails from a small town, that I guess could be considered a suburb of where I grew up (another not very big town). Since I love all things small town and all things food, the Morton pumpkin festival is something I always think of fondly. Where else can you see a machine toss a pumpkin literally thousands of feet at high speed? I even grew up with an extremely dangerous, though loads of fun similarly themed pvc potato gun as teen, involving flame, aqua-net hairspray, pvc tube, and a huge element for danger. I can only hope the thing is still in my parents garage, since I *know* my drivers license would be scanned to a suspects database if I went purchase the requisite materials today. The weird thing is, I can’t find the the pumpkin toss contest description on the agenda from last months festival, so by God, I hope they didn’t discontinue the event due to lack of proper liability insurance or something. If you’d like to hear more about what I’m referring to, please check out this pumpkin chuckin  article from 2007. Fall makes me extremely nostalgic for the midwest, pumpkin fields, apple orchards, fall leaves in phenomenal colors, it’s enough to make me want to run a 5K just to reminisce about my cross country days.
So all this nostalgia brought me to pumpkin bread. Since I’m not an intuitive baker and able to create bread recipes off the top of my head yet, I googled it. One entry brought me to this Olive Oil Pumpkin Bread recipe  (and what a perfect rise that loaf had!). I love all things olive oil, so I gave it a shot. This is a delightfully moist bread, the polar opposite of dense, and lovingly spiced to awaken your tastes without overwhelming. The only change I made was using fresh ground nutmeg, which I was totally enchanted by when we visited Jamaica last year. If you decide to head that direction, at least halve the nutmeg quantity, since fresh ground nutmeg is *STRONG* and has a much more sturdy, earthy flavor than the ground counterpart found in your grocery’s spice aisle.
Olive Oil Pumpkin Bread Recipe (from seriouseats.com )
1 c. extra virgin olive oil
2/3 c. water
2 c. canned pureed 100% pumkin
3 c. sugar
3 and 1/2 c. lily white all-purpose flour, sifted
1 and 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinammon
1 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 and grease two metal loaf pans with olive oil. In a stand mixer  fitted with the flat beater, gently beat the eggs, then add olive oil, water, pumpkin, and sugar to mix completely. In a large bowl, sift flour, then use a spoon to measure out 3 and 1/2 cups, discarding any extra. Sift flour again, this time adding salt, spices, and soda. Add dry ingredients to wet, stirring just to integrate. Divide mixture between two loaf pans, then bake for 45 -50 minutes, or until center is firm when shaken and a wooden toothpick can be inserted and removed clean.