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JOHN ELANA TA L K A B O U T F O O D

AU TU M N 201 1


P

is for

PUMPKIN

I would like a show of hands:

How many of you walk by a pumpkin stand/farmer’s market/any place they are selling pumpkins and get one for the sole purpose of carving it as a Jack-O-Lantern? I’m not saying this is a bad thing – in fact The Box and I have a running yearly competition for the best carved pumpkin. Who do you think wins every year? I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count. But resigning the pumpkin to the realm of holiday decor really limits its capabilities in the edibility department. Because it is a very capable vegetable, people. I mean, look how robust it is! How....ORANGE! So this magazine features a host of recipes that have pumpkin as a main ingredient. All of them are (un)surprisingly tasty! We begin with dissecting the pumpkin and pilfering its edible parts. Let it begin!


Roast a PUMPKIN

What You Need: 1 pumpkin (I like using the small sugar pumpkins. They are cute. Plus, I’m only one girl, how much pumpkin do you want me to eat?) Roasting pan or baking sheet A sharp knife A large scooping spoon A cutting board


Wtohatdo...


PREHEAT YOUR OVEN TO 350 DEGREES. Using a large knife and cutting board and being VERY CAREFUL, cut the top off your pumpkin (as in the photo on the opposite page). SCOOP OUT THE SEEDS AND PUMPKIN GUTS. The seeds are one of the pumpkin’s edible parts. Try to separate them from the stringy guts (not so tasty), rinse them and let them dry. Find a safe place to keep them for a little while, like an air-tight container. We’ll be coming back to them. SLICE YOUR PUMPKIN IN HALF AND THEN INTO WEDGES. PLACE IT IN YOUR ROASTING PAN, OR ON A BAKING SHEET. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until the meat of the pumpkin is fork-tender (like a cooked potato). ONCE THE PUMPKIN HAS COOLED, YOU CAN PEEL BACK THE SKIN AND — VOILÀ — EDIBLE PUMPKIN MEAT! Stick it in the fridge as is, or cube it up.


I

am trying

to make use of every part of the pumpkin. And this next part — the pumpkin meat — is my favorite part. That yielded some tasty-toasted pumpkin wedges. So let’s start there.

What You Do: Peel back the skin off the pumpkin and discard. Chop the roasted pumpkin into chunks and pop them in the blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup of water to get things started and give it a whirl.

What You Need:

You may need a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl as it processes.

Tasty-toasted roasted pumpkin wedges

If things are looking a touch chunky, add some more water. As I said, you may need to add as much as a cup, but add it a little at a time, so you don’t end up with watery puree. No one wants a water-logged puree.

water (about a cup)

That’s it!

a blender or food processor

Scoop it out of your mixing device, and store it in a giant Ziploc baggie. You can even store it in the freezer if you would like to save some for later.


Sp


piced

R OA ST E D A N D PUMPKIN S E E D S

Now that you’ve cut open a pumpkin, scooped out the guts, and harvested the pumpkin seeds you can have your way with those seeds. I recommend spicing them up and roasting them. Add in some other nuts, like cashews and sunflower seeds for additional flavor.

What You Need: 3 Tbsp sugar 1 tsp paprika 1 tsp ground cinnamon

What You Do: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 4-sided sheet pan. Whisk together the sugar, spices and salt in a small bowl. Whisk the egg white in a medium bowl until frothy, then stir in the nuts. Add the spice mixture and toss to coat evenly.

Pinch of ground cloves 3/4 tsp salt 1 large egg white Mixture of unsalted nuts. I used: pecans, cashews and almonds. You can use whatever you like, just make sure you have about 2 cups worth.

Spread the nut mixture on the sheet pan in one layer. Bake, stirring once or twice until dry and toasted, about 20 - 25 minutes. Loosen nuts from the pan and cool completely. You can even make this one ahead and store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to a week.


S

y h t r o w n o o p

What You Need: 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree (you can use canned or make your own). 3/4 cup apple cider 1 cup packed brown sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 cinnamon stick 1 teaspoon cinnamon

A QUALIFICATION OF SORTS: I don’t know much about preserving, canning, jamming and related topics. I occasionally get really excited about making things like fig and lavender jam. I make it, and then exhaust myself on the whole process. BUT THIS?

This is so easy even a pumpkin could do it.

THE SPICES AND MILD SWEETNESS in this pumpkin butter make it an ideal pairing for something slightly sweet. For example, poured warm over vanilla or cinnamon ice cream. Or on a bread with a sweetness to it, like brioche.

What You Do: Throw all the ingredients in a small pot over medium heat and mix well. Bring the mixture to a boil for 1-2 minutes and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let everything simmer together for about 30-40 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so. The pumpkin butter will start to thicken gradually.

1 teaspoon allspice 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

When the pumpkin butter is thick enough, remove from heat and allow it to completely cool (unless you have ice cream on hand, in which case I would encourage you to eat it immediately). Divide into jars and store in the refrigerator.


C


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e k a c e s e e h

e t a l o c o h with c

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N I K MP

t s u r c t u n l e z a h r e k c a r c m graha

What You Need: for crust

3/4 cup chocolate graham cracker crumbs (from chocolate graham crackers) 1/2 cup hazelnuts finely chopped 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

for filling 1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin 3 large eggs 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar 2 tablespoons heavy cream 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 tablespoon bourbon (optional) 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon salt 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature

What To Do: for crust

Stir together crumbs, hazlenuts, sugars, and butter in a bowl until combined well. Press crumb mixture evenly onto the bottoms of 4 mini tart pans. Chill the crusts for about 1 hour.

for filling

Put the oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 350째F. Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl until combined. Stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl. Add cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth. Pour filling into crust, smoothing top, Bake until center is just set, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 5 minutes.


s t u n l e z ha ITH W P TO

A O C O C

der w o p a o ed coc h of salt n e U t e e O w Y uns pinc W H ATd • 2 tablespoons large egg white • n•1 oppe o h m c a y l n e n i s c uts, loo spoon ground n l e z a h 1/2 cup n sugar • 1 tea oo 1 tablesp

NEED

What To Do: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the chopped nuts, cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl and mix well. Add the egg white to the nut mixture and stir well, making sure that all the nuts are evenly coated with egg white and spices. Spread the nut mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, stirring once midway through the baking process. Allow to cool. Can be stored in an airtight container. Press the cooled nut mixture onto the tops of the mini cheesecakes and serve!


John And Elana Talk About Food Autumn 2011