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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thursday Recipe - Pumpkin, pumpkin and more pumpkin...

7yo daughter: Mom, is that Mr. Pumpkin? Are you going to chop him up? Are you putting him the oven?! Are you cooking Mr. Pumpkin?!?! Can I eat him now?

I had a 20+ lb pumpkin we bought for Halloween and never got around to carving. I finally got around to chopping it up and baking it the other day. Now, I've got pounds of pumpkin waiting to be used. I thought I'd share some pumpkin recipes for you. 'Tis the season and all that. Enjoy!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

After chopping the pumpkin in half, use your fingers to scoop out the seeds. Try to remove as much of the stringy orange goop as you can. Put the seeds in a flat bottomed colander. Fill a sink half full of cold water. Set the colander in the sink. Rinse the seeds, picking out any remaining goop. Lift the colander. See how easy it is to wash the seeds this way? Set the colander on a towel so the seeds can drain and dry for a while.

Meanwhile, scoop out the rest of the inside stringy goop from the pumpkin. Chop it smaller if needed. Line a baking sheet with foil, you want one with sides because pumpkins release lots of water while baking. Set the pumpkin pieces chopped side up on the baking sheet. Bake at 350° for about 1 - 2 hours, until pumpkin is soft. Set pumpkin aside to cool.

Heat 2 T. oil in a large frying pan. Add pumpkin seeds to the oil. Fry for 15 - 20 minutes. Dump seeds into a metal mixing bowl. Add 1 t. smoked paprika and 2 t. seasoned salt. Toss to coat.

Heat oven to 400°. Spread seasoned seeds on a baking sheet. Roast for 10-15 minutes. Seeds will start to make popping sounds and smell like popcorn. Watch closely when they start to do this, checking every minute or so. They burn easily. When they turn golden brown, remove from the oven and cool. They should be crispy.

Pumpkin Custard

1/2 c. brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. salt
1 eggs
1 c. cooked pumpkin
1/2 c. orange juice or milk

Heat oven to 400°. Put everything in the blender. Whirl on high until smooth. Pour into a greased casserole - 2 quart for a single batch, 9x13 glass baking pan for double batch. Just use the blender twice and measure everything twice for a double batch. Don't try to double everything in the blender. It won't fit. Can you tell I tried once? Huge mess. And a hand mixer won't make it smooth enough.

Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. Don't remove it from the oven. Turn heat down to 325° and bake for 45 - 60 minutes longer, until it begins to crack on the top and a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

Serve warm or cold with whipped cream. It's like pumpkin pie without the crust.

Variations: Play with the spices or the liquid you add. Whatever you do, don't add bananas. Trust me on that one.
You can also use other orange squash like butternut (really sweet and creamy), banana squash, acorn squash, or even yams/sweet potatoes.

Pumpkin Cookies

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. shortening
1 c. brown sugar
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. ginger
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 egg
1 c. pumpkin
1/4 c. orange juice
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. white flour
1 c. quick oatmeal
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c. chopped walnuts or pecans, optional

Put pumpkin, egg, and orange juice in the blender. Run until smooth. Cream butter, shortening, sugar, and spices until smooth and light. Add baking powder, soda, and pumpkin mixture. Beat well. Add flours, oatmeal, and chocolate chips. Stir by hand until mixed. Drop onto greased cookie sheet by Tablespoonfuls. Bake in a 350° oven for 11 - 13 minutes, until set and not sticky on top. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from cookie sheet. Makes 5 - 6 dozen.

Enjoy the pumpkin goodies!