Tag Archives: pumpkin

Heading West: Underwest Donuts

A brave dessert aficionado’s pursuit of all things fried, glazed, and sugary.

Located at 47th Street and 12th Ave, Underwest Donuts is an unassuming doughnut shop. It’s actually inside a carwash, and the shop itself is just a counter where a few friendly employees dole out freshly fried doughnuts to anyone who wanders through.


For such a small shop, there was a fairly extensive choice of doughnuts, and I bought an array to bring back to campus. I ordered three of the “special doughnuts” (pictured below), and one of the regular sugared doughnuts upon recommendation from guy behind the counter. He actually fried the dough and rolled it in sugar in front of me, to emphasize the freshness.

Maple Waffle

The Maple Waffle is one of the newer flavors, and it has a very strong maple flavor, but in a good way that seems to transport you to the Vermont wilderness.

Pumpkin Ginger

The Pumpkin Ginger doughnut was a little strong for my taste; it tasted strongly of ginger.

Dark Chocolate

The Dark Chocolate was my favorite – it had a rich chocolate flavor without being overly sweet.


(Pictured, clockwise from the top: Pumpkin Ginger, Maple Waffle, Dark Chocolate, and Sugared)

Final thoughts: Were these doughnuts amazing? Absolutely. Would I go back? Not a chance. Getting to Underwest Donuts was such a pain – it’s too far West, and to get there you have to navigate the Hell that is Times Square. However, if you’re looking for genuinely good, fresh doughnuts that aren’t downtown, you’ve found your haven.



Underwest Donuts: 47th Street and 12th Ave


Pumpkin Spice Madeleines Recipe

Soft, warm, and buttery, Madeleines are French tea cakes that are known for their distinct scallop shape. Spice up your madeleines this season with this autumn appropriate variation.


2 whole eggs

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tbsp lemon zest

3 ½ tbsp pumpkin puree

½ cup all purpose flour

1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (or make your own with ½ tsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ground clove)

1 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

¼ cup butter, melted

3 tsp powdered sugar for dusting


Continue reading Pumpkin Spice Madeleines Recipe

Vegan Finds: Sun in Bloom!

This week, my sister was in town visiting from her semester away in California, and to catch up we went decided to try a new vegan restaurant together. Sun in Bloom has two locations. The location in Brooklyn is a full-time restaurant, and the one located in Tribeca is a take-out cafe style restaurant. Sun in Bloom offers gluten-free vegan options, both raw and cooked. The Sun in Bloom cafe in Tribeca offers juices, small entrees, desserts, chia puddings, and other typical vegan foods. When eating vegan, you begin to notice trends in vegan cuisine.

While I would have loved to try the full-time restaurant, we decided to stay in Manhattan and test out the cafe. I had the Shitake Bacon BLT, which was made to imitate a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, but completely vegan. Roasted tomatoes, shitake mushroom bacon, raw almond mayo and crispy romaine, were wrapped in raw collard greens. The roasted tomatoes was extremely flavorful, and the shitake “bacon”, was seasoned with yeast to replicate the salty taste of bacon. The perks of vegan eating is that one gets filled and satisfied, but avoids the feeling of a “food coma”.

Here is how the Shitake BLT comes packaged
The delicious shitake mushrooms look just like bacon

For dessert, Steph got a vegan pumpkin cupcake. It was absolutely delicious, and did not taste “vegan” at all. It takes skills to avoid vegan desserts from tasting bland. I find “Babycakes” cupcakes on the Lower East Side, for example, to suffer from this kind of blandness. However, Sun In Bloom’s cupcake can easily pass for a non-vegan cupcake.

Pumpkin cupcake topped with a pumpkin seed
A spoonful of blueberry cheesecake and nut crust

As for my dessert, I got the raw blueberry cheesecake with a nut crust. The cheesecake, while having a similar consistency to dairy cheesecake, does taste extremely different. It has somewhat of a tangy taste, The blueberry cheesecake does fulfill the craving – as a vegan, good desserts are always hard to find.

here’s the whole slice before I gobbled it all up, this is how everything is packaged

Overall, my experience at Sun in Bloom was great. The customer service was really great too. The cashier was super patient, and sweet. I recommend taking a seat in the small cafe facing the city. The food was extremely tasteful, light, and satisfying, the three major requirements for vegan cuisine. I look forward to one day trying the full time restaurant.

Voracious Vegan: Your Thanksgiving Dessert: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Skillet Cake

What can’t you do with a cast iron skillet? Instead of having to choose between cookies or cake, you can get the best of both worlds with this gooey dessert. With a sprinkling of salt and a hint of pumpkin, it’s sure to satisfy any of your fall flavor cravings.

Serves 6-8


2 1/4 cups flour

3/4 cups oat flour (oats put in a food processor until fine)

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup pumpkin puree

2 flax eggs (2 tbsp flaxseed whisked with 6 tbsp water and set to sit for 5 minutes)

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup dried cranberries


nutmeg, for serving


Make flax egg and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil a small amount of water and pour over cranberries. Allow to soak for approximately 5 minutes. Combine flour, oat flour, baking soda and pumpkin spice. Add a dash or two of salt, depending on your taste.

In a separate bowl, mix together coconut oil, brown sugar, apple sauce, maple syrup, vanilla and pumpkin puree. Add flax eggs. Mix well. Add to dry mixture. Mix well and add cranberries and chocolate chips. Stir together. Lightly grease a seasoned cast iron skillet and pour in batter. Spread it around as needed, making sure it is even. Add another sprinkle of salt to the top. Pop in the oven and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Serve with maple syrup and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Enjoy!

Minty Fresh Pumpkin Pie

Hello Everyone! 

I know it is cold outside, and every day is another day of the fear of slipping on pavement, but do not fret! Even though this type of weather can onset frozen hands and a sluggish attitude, there is still an upside: the advent of easy-to-bake pies! Pies can range from being  a meticulous inception (try making a good blueberry pie, its odd and harder than you think), to an easy concoction (once you bake a few pies, you’ll be thinking of crazy things to put on it, but go for it anyways!). However, in this post I aim for a simply refreshing pie that we all can make with basic ingredients that aren’t asking for a 1 hour game of “find the ingredient!” at Westside. So, for all those who played in the snow the first day, slipped on it the second day, and froze your toes on the third day, here is my gift to you: Minty Fresh Pumpkin Pie!

Can you say "Ahhh!"?
Can you smell the mint?

Pumpkin pie is a classic fall/winter pie, albeit because it is quite versatile, you can experiment with it and still be certain it will taste good.With this classic, imagine the whipped cream topping as the fluffy snow, and the mint as the green landscape of Columbia’s courtyard being overtaken by this powdery wonderfulness. If we think of it as that, then the fear of slipping and falling while walking to IAB or Pupin won’t be as embarrassing now will it?


1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 can of Pumpkin puree (@Met foods less than 3$)

1 can of evaporated milk (sweetened)

1 pre-baked pie shell

Whipped Cream – (Prefer the aerosol for better ability to design)

Crushed mint – (@ Metfoods for 1.50, enough to last you another 4 years)



1. Pre-heat the pie crust for about 8 minutes @ 375 degrees fahrenheit.

2. Beat the eggs in a bowl.

3. Add sugars, salt, and milk, then mix.

4. Add pumpkin puree and mix very well.

5. Pour the pie filling into the pie crust, and then bake for about 40-45 minutes @ 375 degrees fahrenheit. 

6. Once you remove the pie, let it cool on another surface for about 12 minutes.

7. Lightly sprinkle two – three pinches of mint all over the pie, and then apply the whipped cream topping by doing a spiral motion starting from the center of the pie. Sprinkle some more mint on the whipped cream. 

8. Cut a slice and enjoy!

Roasted Pumpkin Puree and Crispy Pepitas

Yesterday was Halloween, which means that pumpkins no longer have to fear getting their faces carved but are now ready to be put into pies!  Julia delivers a variety of uses for that special autumnal flavor of pumpkin!
These days, it seems like everywhere you look there’s a pumpkin. You probably have one sitting on your table right now. Perhaps you got caught up in the spirit of Halloween and carved yours with a terrifying face. But chances are, Halloween has come and gone and your pumpkin is teetering on the verge of wasting away. What can you do? Make your own pumpkin puree! Its oh-so-simple and a staple for fall cooking and baking. Here’s a starter’s guide:
Set the pumpkin on a cutting board. Using a large chef’s knife, pierce the pumpkin at the top near the stem, and slice 180 degrees down the middle. Turn the pumpkin around and repeat on the other side. Gently pull the two halves apart. Continue reading Roasted Pumpkin Puree and Crispy Pepitas

get “Grounded”

Breakfast wrap - yummy.

You may or may not remember my passionate dissertation on coffee a couple of weeks ago.  For those of you who didn’t read it or have blocked the over-caffeinated post from your memory, I am a lover of coffee and am in search of great coffee shops in New York.  Recently, in a fit of frustration at finding myself again at Starbucks to study, I kidnapped my friend Christina and I took us downtown.

Hidden on tiny Jane Street between Greenwich Ave and 8th Street in the West Village, Grounded exists as an organic coffee and tea house.  The storefront is unassuming, a small awning with bright green plants lazily crowded together.  In the area, there is a small park, a Gay and Lesbian Community Center, designer stores, and artists selling their creations on the street.  Once entering Grounded, Christina and I sighed with happiness – we had found an incredibly cute, eclectic haven.

the interior of Grounded

The walls of Grounded are painted yellow brick.  Your seating options include an artisan park bench, a plushy velvet sofa, and wrought iron chairs.  Grounded’s patrons are typing away on their Macbooks or reading NY Times Bestsellers,

illuminated by a variety of lights.  My personal favorite was the lamp-stand that was jade Buddha with a scarlet lamp-shade, complete with beaded tassels.  The menu is on a series of chalkboards behind the register with specials neatly added on over eraser smudges.  The walls are decorated with coffee art – paintings made from using coffee as sort of a watercolor.

Christina and I had lugged all of our work with us, and we quickly set up shop before getting in line.

Pumpkin Latte; nutmeg optional.

We both ordered the cheese, sausage, and egg breakfast wrap.  This breakfast wrap was such a pleasant comparison to the breakfast sandwiches I usually eat in the mornings – instead of having a microwaved egg patty, our eggs were fresh and scrambled.  Christina had the Nutella Mocha.  While she did not enjoy her drink, I was ecstatic about my Pumpkin Latte (Nutmeg optional).  The holidays are my favorite time of the year for many reasons, but one of them happens to be the seasonal drinks like pumpkin or peppermint that inevitably become a staple of coffee chains.  My Pumpkin Latte was warm, wonderful, and flavorful.  I said “Yes” to the spices and was pleasantly surprised to be able to taste the distinct pumpkin and cinnamon notes.

Me, with coffee - as usual.

Grounded create a wonderful, comfortable atmosphere.  Instead of stepping into a coffee shop that seemed to have been created with a cookie cutter, we felt like we were in a friend’s apartment or business.  Christina and I had fun comparing all of the unique mugs and plates that Grounded uses.  The range of chairs and lamps and original artwork allows Grounded to have a distinct identity as a coffee shop.

Unfortunately, there are two downsides to Grounded for Columbians.  Firstly, it is twenty minutes by subway, even with the express train.  Secondly, there is an hour and a half seating limit.  I can appreciate this rule after failing to find a seat in Starbucks many times – but it does put a damper on your study/camping abilities.  So, my suggestion would be to visit Grounded on a Saturday.  Relax, bring a book, chat with a friend.  And, when your time is up, walk around the West Village and window shop.  Grounded is one of my new favorite places in New York.  I hope it becomes one of your’s too.

For more information, visit Grounded’s website: http://www.groundedcoffee.com/