Monday, October 28, 2013

Pumpkin Countdown #1

The Pumpkin Countdown

      With fall in full swing the leaves are changing to red and gold, hot apple cider is flowing, and pumpkins are abundant. October is unofficially pumpkin month and the same sugar pumpkins you carve can be turned into endless new dishes.

      The RMR chefs are using pumpkin leftovers as the star ingredient in a recipe countdown to Halloween. For the next four days we are posting a recipe using some portion of the pumpkin. First things first though, whenever you carve a pumpkin there is always a pile of seeds and pulp sitting next to the carving. Instead of just throwing that out or adding it to the compost pile why not make a delicious snack. 

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Yield: 1 1/2 cup
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes

      Pumpkin seeds are an addictive snack for anytime of the day and are a great addition to any Halloween treat table. The seasoning can be changed for any occasion or palate from simple salted, spiced, or even sweet.We like them with a little kick so here is the recipe for Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.

1 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, interior of 1 medium sized pumpkin
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder

1. The important step in this recipe is to prepare the seeds for roasting. After removing them from the pumpkin place the seeds and attached flesh into a colander. Wash the seeds and separate out all of the pulp, it is important to remove as much as you can so you are only left with seeds. 
2. Lay the seeds out on paper towel to dry, then pour them into a bowl. Add the seasonings to the bowl and toss to coat all the seeds evenly.
3. Lay out on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 300 degrees F for 45 minutes until dried and light golden brown.

      Another basic usage for pumpkin is turning it into puree. Pumpkin puree is used in almost every baking preparation calling for pumpkin and many savory dishes too. Pumpkin puree is an expensive product though and can be easily produce at home, so why not?

Pumpkin Puree                                                 Yield: 2 cups                                                                               Prep time: 10 minutes                                                                Cook time: 45 minutes

      This is as simple as cooking the pumpkin and creating the correct texture, since it can be used in savory or sweet dishes though the seasoning is adjusted accordingly. On top of additions to larger dishes pumpkin puree can be served as a side dish to stand on its own instead of a vegetable or starch component.

1 medium or 2 small sugar pumpkins
1 tsp veg oil
(1 tsp salt or 1 tsp sugar)

1.Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Half the sugar pumpkin and remove the seeds, saving them for a snack later. Once cleaned rub the inside flesh and outside skin with a little vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt.
3.Place the pumpkins flesh side down on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 45 minutes or until the flesh is tender. 
4. Remove the pumpkins from the oven and allow to cool. Once they can be handled scoop out the flesh with a spoon and place in either a blender or food processor. Add the 1 tsp of oil and if making a sweet puree add sugar and if making a savory add the salt. 
5. Blend until smooth and seasonings are incorporated.  

Chef's Note
      When serving the Pumpkin puree as a side dish you can flavor it to fit any dish or style of the meal. It can be sweetened with warming spices of cinnamon or nutmeg or add some fresh herbs for earthy notes like sage and thyme. 

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