Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cooking with Pumpkin


I'm about to turn this year's mantle display into all sorts of deliciousness.

This time of year everyone is getting excited for pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup... The canned stuff is fine, but this is cheaper (especially if you've got pumpkins lying around), fresher, and more fun.

Here are a few tips for turning your autumn decor into food.

To select your pumpkins:
Know that smaller, heavier, and harder=better. In other words, use little sugar pumpkins, not Jack-o-Lantern pumpkins.

To roast or bake (Taken directly from The Joy of Cooking):
Bake halves, quarters, or slabs of pumpkin cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Remove the seeds and strings before baking. Add 1/4 inch water to the pan and cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake in a 400 degree oven until tender when pierced. Halfway through the baking, pieces can be turned over with tongs, brushed with butter or mild oil, and sprinkled with brown sugar and nutmeg or other spice. Allow 30 to 45 minutes for small pieces.

Obviously these pieces of cooked pumpkin (or squash) make a delicious side dish for any dinner. Or, if you prefer, you can puree and save the pumpkin to be used in recipes.

To puree and preserve:
Scoop the roasted flesh out and puree in food processor. Freeze in ziploc bags, packed flat.

My favorite pumpkin recipes are:
Pumpkin Risotto
(I add mushrooms and almost die of happiness with every bite.)
Pumpkin Cookies

What are yours?


Kerry said...

Nutty Pumpkin Bread (or muffins) is one of our favorite pumpkin recipes. I'm planning on making some pumpkin bars this week too. Hooray for pumpkin!

Joan said...

Can you really tell the difference between canned and fresh? I have never tried fresh...probably b/c it just adds more steps and I'm kind of a lazy baker...especially these days when getting dressed and putting on my make-up is like climbing my own little Everest on a daily basis. You know the feeling :)
Four days left!!!

Chris said...

I think fresh pumpkin tastes so much better than canned! I cook mine in my pressure cooker, then puree and strain out the excess water. It makes any pumpkin recipe more delightful.

Melissa said...

I know this post was all about pumpkins, so I am so sorry to ask a random question. While I was admiring the mantle, I saw the Genealogy tree behind the pumpkins! Oh my goodness! Can you tell us where that came from? We are knee deep in our family history right now, and something like that would be so fabulous. Thank you! :D

toddnjoelle said...

My favorite pumpkin recipe is pancakes from "Bake for the Cure." It's a great little recipe book you can get and donate to a breast cancer awareness. Also Trader Joe's makes a great boxed version. YUMMY I love pumpkin. My husband makes pumpkin pie from scratch and man oh man is it delicious.

duck said...

Some kind of food network hot shot (can't remember who) said years ago not to bother with fresh pumpkin when making pumpkin pie and other things. They said it was more work and never tasted better than canned. I just believed it silly me. I'm excited to read this and think about cooking with fresh pumpkin again!

Abbie said...

you must make these:

Alissa said...

I was just wondering today if you could do anything with those pumpkins that are scattered around. Thanks!

(Although mine have been outside, and the temperature has dipped, so I may be out of luck until next year...)

Alissa said...

@ Melissa: If you want to splurge, check out I LOVE what they have to offer in the way of displaying genealogy.

Bloom said...

@Duck--I've read things that say the same thing--that you might as well use canned. For sweet stuff you might not be able to tell a difference (maybe we should do a double blind study!), but I think it makes a big difference both taste and texture-wise in savory things like soup, risotto, etc. One of the main reasons I like to do it is that I either grow or buy pumpkins to decorate my house every year, so it makes sense to me to use them. It just feels like the prudent, provident thing to do. :) Plus it's fun to eat a batch of cookies that you made all the way from cooking the pumpkins...

I have received SO many inquiries about our geneology chart--which we adore. It was a Martha Stewart product that hasn't been available for years. I agree with Alissa that my tree and me has some really great stuff. We are actually cooking up something at Bloom for those like you, who want a similar fan chart. Stay tuned...

Alicia said...

I have to did you create that gorgeous genealogy print over your mantle???