Wednesday, October 26, 2011

it’s the great pumpkin

So there will be nothing revelatory in this post for regular readers of food blogs. All the complex-carbohydrate and veggie-lovin’, make it sweet or make it savory food blog chicks are making pumpkin like there’s no tomorrow, with the Libby’s canned variety being the ingredient of choice. However, I am in the somewhat unique position of having chopped up a fifteen pound pumpkin (!) that the boy and I picked up in the pumpkin patch while apple picking.

So yes there are a lot of people eating a lot of pumpkin… but I have been eating a LOT of pumpkin! Some of it good, some of it so-so. I bring knowledge to share.

Pumpkin brunch: B+ (A with the toppings, B without)


So being a lover of all things brunch, pumpkin pancakes were an obvious first step in tackling this pumpkin. (Actually, my very first step was, surprise surprise, making muffins. There are a lot of great pumpkin muffin recipes around the Internet, and since mine was merely so-so, I’m opting not to post it).

Most of the pumpkin (except as you’ll see below) was roasted til tender then blended in a food processor to a puree. So that became the base of my pancakes, along with a few additional wholesome ingredients. I then griddled them in my usual manner.


Somewhat UNusual was an ingredient I used in one of my toppings. Anyone?


My mother is queen of the impulse buy at our farmer’s market, and when she saw garden huckleberries (!) she couldn’t resist.

Those of you who read my blog in August know of my passionate love for real huckleberries. Found only in the West, only at high altitudes; only in the wild (you hafta compete with bears to get them), the blueberry’s sweet-tart cousin, the huckleberry, is one of the finest things there is.

These guys are more complicated—Google ‘em! Raw they taste not at all sweet- like cucumber, seriously! Cooked, with lotsa maple syrup, they made for a fruity topper- but with an ever so slightly curious, even bitter, aftertaste.

The jury is still out on these guys.

Still, their vivid color made a gorgeous contrast with my mom’s bright orangey pumpkiny pancakes.


As for me, I get bored eating the same thing so I went for a toppings trifecta.

Two of my cakes were topped with cinnamon apple- just a wee chopped up apple, sprinkled with water and dusted with cinnamon, microwaved for a minute.

The second got sunflower seed butter, always a classic.

The third got the huckles!


pumpkin pancakes

1 egg
1 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 T ground flax
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. maple syrup


Next in the pumpkin world, we go for Ethnic Pumpkin. This one only gets a C.

I was all excited to see panfried pumpkin with tomato sauce in Mark’s book, cause it reminded me of the pumpkin I so adore in Afghani restaurants.


I committed properly and used tablespoons, rather than my usual teaspoons, of oil to fry up the pumpkin pieces.


Browning was beautiful.


I set off to make the tomato sauce, cooking as instructed. It was a lot of onion. Like… a lot. I am all for the flavor of onion, but it sort of took me back to eating in the college dining hall where they added massive quantities of poorly cooked onion to everything to bulk it up and stretch their dollars.


Deglazed with red wine (at which point I felt more hopeful cause dang that smelled good)


Cooked up a tomato sauce


And returned the pumpkin and cooked it til tender (er, except though I cooked it longer than the recipe said, it wasn’t)


Doesn’t look that good, didn’t taste that great. I did make a pretty boss sauce to go on top with yogurt and mint (how it’s done Afghan-style) so that helped redeem it. But it was the first and only clunker I’ve experienced so far with How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

Moving on, Pumpkin Made Into Patties Cause Lele Lurves Patties.

I’m also increasingly intrigued by the flavor and texture of the other star ingredient of this recipe: bulgur!


I was all stoked to see Syrian Pumpkin Patties on Epicurious. So stoked that I sort of bypassed the reviews and just got to cookin’. Everyone’s so into Syria right now! Whoo fighting for freedom in the face of enormous obstacles!

But, um, this recipe I maybe should not have made.

It ended up being OKAY. Rather bland. Rather ONIONY. I don’t mind onions at all but I do mind when there are enormous quantities of them serving no purpose.

Also, my batter already looked suspiciously thin so I didn’t add the extra water called for in the recipe and it turned out to be a blessing because the patties took far, FAR longer to cook than the recipe said.

And the recipe said it makes 12 one to two inch patties. I doubled that size, seeing the vast quantities of batter, and it still made 21! And yes, sports fans, with a griddle that only holds four patties, and a lengthy cook time, that does indeed take forevvvvvvvvvvver!


Anyway. Had them with my mama with mango chutney, so obviously that tasted good. I could put mango chutney on a shoe and it would taste good. Then had them with my boyf with Sriracha, and they tasted like Sriracha. And I liked Sriracha.

While dragging myself through the grueling undertaking that was making these patties, I was multitasking, so as to keep my brain from leaking out my ears.

I thought, “Self, wouldn’t it be clever if you did a witty additional dish that utilized the seeds of the pumpkin?”

So I did!

Pumpkin seeds!

Oh, wait, no… er… those are actually sunflower seeds!

Yummy toasted sunflower seeds!


Sorta-ish following my Williams Sonoma Mexican cookbook (haven’t made that many recipes from it but the pictures are goooooooooorgeous. Food. Porn.) for toasted pumpkinseed dip, I toasted those seeds, then some tomato and garlic and onion…





(you don’t grease the pan- the seeds are fatty and toast themselves and the veggies get awesome char)

(there shoulda been chiles but I didn’t have any).

The tomatoes got totally gorgeous and jammy and sweet!


Whirred all those things up with cilantro and lime juice and so on.

This WAS tasty, and helped tide us over til dinner finally, FINALLY arrived. Stupid patties.


Noshed on the dip, the patties, and the Signature Salad of Late Summer/Early Fall 2011.

(Except we finally really DID run out of peaches, and of course there aren’t any more, so I used plums. Not bad!)


The meal gets a C+ (the sunflower seed dip really is yummy- Google it, cause there’re lots of variations all over the net!).

The labor involved in the patties downgrades them as an individual meal component to a D.

A final pumpkin recipe (For this post. Not the final. Going through the pictures on my camera, I’m realizing basically everything is orange!)

At last, some success.

Those of you who are always cold and hungry in the winter, this one’s for you. Nourishing and hot and lovely.

Pumpkin Lentil Soup!


I am utilizing Make Ahead with this recipe; we have oodles of houseguests randomly all showing up at the same time so I premade this over the weekend for a hearty Wednesday dinner that sort of makes everyone (vegetarians, comfort-food-cravers, spice-phobes) happy. In that delightful way of soups, this guy is actually sitting in my fridge getting MORE delicious.

Pumpkin Lentil Soup
2 tsp. oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 T garam masala
1 tsp cinnamon
2 small apples chopped
1 ½ cups lentils, rinsed and picked over
5 cups water
2 cups pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T molasses
salt and pepper (it will need a lot of salt)

On medium low heat, sauté onion, carrot, celery and ginger until onion is transluscent. Add ground spices and stir until they become aromatic. Add apples, and sauté until they become tender.

Add lentils, pumpkin puree, and water. Cook for thirty minutes. Add tomato paste, and cook an additional twenty minutes, or until tender to your liking. Add molasses and vinegar, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Puree if desired.

Somewhat reminiscent of baked beans with the molasses. Not super pumpkin-y. Subtle tickles of flavor but not spicy. Nice and autumnal!

1 comment:

Lydia said...

yeesh, a fifteen pound pumpkin.. that is a lot to chop. could it be that it wasn't a sugar pumpkin? that might be the reason for the blandness and for the difficulty getting it tender. ya never know.