Pumkpin Mousse Parfait

I made this for a party this weekend and it served about 12 cups. This is amazingly easy and delicious. It's somehow light and rich at the same time. I layered each cup twice but think I may only do one layer the next time I make it. I think you could omit the rum if you wanted to, but it adds a nice flavor if you like that.

¼ c dark rum
1 packet (2 tsp) unflavored gelatin powder
1 15-oz can pumpkin
½ c granulated sugar
½ c light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 large eggs
1 tsp orange zest
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp kosher salt
1 c cold heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Sweetened whipped cream
Chopped ginger cookies

Place the rum in a heat proof bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Set aside for 10 minutes for the gelatin to soften.

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, the sugars, egg yolks, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

Set the bowl of gelatin over a pan of simmering water and cook until the gelatin is clear. Immediately whisk the hot gelatin mixture into the pumpkin mixture. In a medium bowl, whip the cream and vanilla until soft peaks form. Fold whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture.

To assemble, spoon some of the pumpkin mixture into parfait glasses. Add a layer of whipped cream, followed by some chopped cookies. Repeat layers, ending with a pumpkin layer. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 4 hours or overnight. To serve, decorate with whipped cream and cookies.


Roast Chicken with Two Lemons

This is a staple in our house - always moist, simple, easy and delicious. It's self-basting so no oil or butter is required - it will not stick to the pan. Great for chicken salads and anything that requires cooked chicken without extra flavors interfering. This is a shortened version of the recipe from Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.

Whole Chicken (3-5 lbs), giblets removed
2 Small Lemons

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Pierce the lemons 5 times with a fork. Pat the chicken dry.

3. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper inside and out. I sometimes put s & p inside the skin of the breasts.

4. Stuff the bird with the lemons and close the cavity up with a toothpick to prevent the lemons from falling out (don't do it too tightly or the chicken will burst). Although, honestly sometimes the lemons are just too big so I go with one and a half or I leave the cavity open and hope for the best.

5. Place bird breast side down on roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. Turn the bird over and cook for another 30 minutes (or leave it - the turning is just for color on the skin of the breasts which is nice for presentation).

6. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees and roast until the bird is done, about 20 minutes more. Allow for 20-25 minutes of total cooking time for each pound.

The juices from the bird are delicious - I spoon them over pieces of the chicken when serving.