Wednesday, November 10, 2010

loving on my gourds

I had gourds all up in my kitchen today.


A fun fact: So my mom heard on NPR (a good deal of my conversations with my mom are based on things she heard on NPR) that there’s this tradition in Ukraine equating pumpkins… with rejection.

Apparently when a fella goes a courtin’ in Ukraine, if the girl isn’t interested in marrying him, she gives him a pumpkin.

And he has to walk home, through the town, the object of everyone’s ridicule, carrying a pumpkin.

Like so (my very helpful recreation):

DSC01475 DSC01476

And now whenever a politician tries to overstep his bounds, or there’s a celebrity scandal or something, in modern Ukraine it is called “getting pumpkined”. Fascinating!

Anyway, we had the above pumpkin leftover from Halloween. And then inspiration struck: slightly ridiculously, a friend of a friend posted on that friend’s facebook wall this recipe for baked pumpkin oatmeal. That is oatmeal. Baked in a pumpkin.

Obviously, I was ON IT.

I whacked the top off of my pumpkin in a perhaps not entirely safe manner…


Cleaned out its guts and so on.

I wanted mine custardier than the recipe, so I mixed up (for 3 servings) 1 egg, 1 1/2 cups of milk, and dashes of cinnamon and stevia.


Then dumped that in my pumpkin with 1 1/2 cups of oats


Then into the oven it went, for a ridiculously long time. I kept taking the top off then putting it back on then worrying the pumpkin stem was going to catch on fire… whatever.

I ended up with an adorably wrinkled pumpkin.


And it was filled with custardy, pumpkiny oats (definitely scrape the good stuff off the sides!)


Then my oven was already on, so I was like hey, I’ll throw in my farmer’s market kabocha for the next time I need squash (I very frequently need squash).


I love farmer’s market vegetables. They aren’t the perfect hotties. They will dazzle you with what’s on the inside.

Obviously with squashies come squashie seeds. I made two versions. From the punkin, I took the savory route, tossing them with cumin and paprika:


The kabochas were tossed with cinnamon and a bit of maple syrup, for a sweeter experience:


Given a roasty, tossing occasionally, til they looked done (I am so bad at like… recipe instructions).


Then I got to my usual Sunday mode of kind of just trying to deal with things in my kitchen so they would be easily accessible for the week.

That meant getting on my quince, that forbidden fruit, that we got at the farmer’s market and were told to use for “jam or something”.


I went for chutney: I combined the quince, seeded and chopped up; 1 T apple cider vinegar; 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup water.

Then I brought that to a boil, partially covered it, and simmered it. And kept adding water, in 1/4 cup or so increments, til it looked done (again, yes, vague).

Quince is vair high in pectin, apparently, which explains how beautifully jammy it got in a very brief period of time.


Annnnnnnnd pectin is really good for you, in addition to being a good coagulator. I taught my kiddos all about it when we made apple bread.

As for the taste, it’s like apple but… different.

Yes, very helpful. Anyway, this chutney was boss.


Then I was really boogieing.

There were turnips (score) which meant turnip greens (double score). Who feels like cleaning turnip greens on a weeknight? NO ONE. So I trimmed and washed them and there was great volume…


And then steamed it and there was only tiny volume…


But the shape of dinner was beginning to come together in my head. I need you to stay with me, because it was DELICIOUS.

So I had chutney, and that made me think India. And Lord knows the Indians make crazy tasty greens, so I figured I’d bring those into the picture too.

Then I thought hey, I have cauliflower in the fridge. What a quintessentially Indian vegetable! Tossed it with some olive oil and garam masala and put it in the still-hot oven to roast.

And then I thought well a lot of Indians are vegetarians and eat a lot of eggs, and I already have hardboiled eggs in the fridge, so… I’ll add that too…



Fortifying, deliciously bitter greens; protein-filled, yolk-rich egg; gently spiced, still slightly crunchy cauliflower; all topped off with the sweet, sour ‘n tangy chutney.



Make this.


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