Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Pumpkin is My Favorite Orange
This is the season of pumpkin, if you listen to advertisers. Everything is pumpkin. Go to a coffee shoppe and you can enjoy pumpkin muffins and coffee cake, and even pumpkin spice hot chocolate or coffee.
The other day I heard someone lament that there was no "pumpkin" in the pumpkin spice coffee from a popular national chain. Um, yeah, I'm huge fan of pumpkin, but, ew, not in my coffee. Further, they aren't advertising "pumpkin coffee." It's pumpkin spice, which means it's flavored to taste like our favorite pumpkin dish - pumpkin pie.
I told my daughter I could make her a pumpkin spice to go in her coffee at home - a little cinnamon, some ginger and a dash of nutmeg. If I'm feeling bold, I might sprinkle some cloves for a bit more kick.
It's not false advertising on their part, and the real criticism is not so much an absence of pumpkin, but rather the exorbitant calorie count when one includes all of the sugar, cream and whipped topping that accompanies that dessert in a cup pretending to be coffee.
I love pumpkin, but I'm not as enthusiastic about all of the pumpkin spice flavored things out there. Don't get me wrong. My favorite pie is pumpkin, especially if it's cold and has whipped cream on top. Yum!
But there are so many other ways to enjoy pumpkin, and I really love most of them as much as I like the pie ... and depending on the weather, maybe even more.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy pumpkin is in soup. I've recently discovered the spice, curry, and my favorite pumpkin soup would be curry pumpkin soup.
I also love pumpkin bread, especially canned. My daughters love it. The bread stays moist and fresh in the jars, and it travels well. It's become one of our favorite fall "fast foods" for those days when we're running from one class to another with errands in between.
I also like the cooked pumpkin, lightly mashed, drizzled with maple syrup and butter. Oh, my. It's a great side dish to spicy roast.
There are many ways we enjoy the pumpkin pulp, but we also value the seeds. Some of them, we'll save to plant next year, but most of them end up in the oven, roasted and eaten by the handful ... or tossed as a garnish on our pumpkin soup.
It's pumpkin season. What are you doing with this amazing fruit?
Easy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Seeds from one pumpkin or squash (for us Hubbard squash and pumpkin are interchangeable in most recipes)
Salt to taste*
1. Clean seeds of all stringy pulp.
2. Allow seeds to dry, not completely, but just so that they aren't sopping wet. You can use a towel to hasten this step, spread thinly on a screen for a bit, or even put them in the oven on a very low temperature for a few minutes.
3. Toss seeds with olive oil and salt.
4. Spread in single layer on a cookie sheet.
5. Roast at 350° for ten to fifteen minutes or until the seeds are golden brown.
*Other seasonings can be added for a sweet or spicy flavor. Our favorite is just salted and roasted, but occasionally, we'll add a dash of cayenne for a fun zing.