There are so many really good pumpkin recipes, the real secret to cooking anything with pumpkin is the… pumpkin. Canned pumpkin and your own cooked pumpkin taste like two different things. Choose the right pumpkin and try baking your own. You will never buy canned again.
Choosing the Right Pumpkin
Do you know those great big orange pumpkins you carve for Halloween? Don’t use those. You can, but optimally you are looking for pumpkins with a thick meat such as :
- small sugar pumpkins
- cheese pumpkins
- white or Lumina
- Cinderella pumpkins
- “One too many” pumpkins
- Heirloom pumpkins
If you have space in your garden, throw a few seeds in the hills next May and you can grow your own pumpkins. See Harris Seeds for a good variety of pumpkin seeds.
Recipe for Fresh Baked Pumpkin
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
1. Cut the pumpkin in half and clean out the seeds and strings.
2. Cover a baking sheet with tin foil or use a Sil Pat.
3. Brush a little melted non salted butter on the cut edges of the pumpkin. Place the sides cut side down on the sheet. Cook for around 50 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft. Let it cool.
4. Remove with a large spoon and blend or put through a food processor until the mixture resembles canned pumpkin.
Pumpkin done this way is so much better than the canned pumpkin. You can measure out what your recipe calls for and put in the freezer bags and pull it out as needed for pumpkin pie all winter . Pumpkin pie does not need to be just for the holidays anymore. Just think of it as Fall comfort food!
Pumpkins and Apples, Apples and Pumpkins
Somehow when I think of apples or pumpkins I feel they go together hand in hand in so many ways. Both of them scream Fall and I love to eat, work with and cook both of them. Literally there are thousands of recipes to use each separately or here is a muffin recipe to use both together. Easy, very tasty and really healthy.
Pumpkin and Apple Muffins
These will be your new breakfast staple. So good ! You could add a little strussel topping to these muffins as well and make them extra special.
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
- 2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin make your own puree which I prefer or you can use canned here
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil organic preferred
- 2 cups finely chopped peeled and cored apples, your favorite (I love honey crisps so I use them)
1. In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients.
2. In a small bowl, combine eggs, pumpkin and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
3. Do not over mix or you will have very tough muffins.Fold in apples gently.
4. Fill paper lined muffin tins2/3 full.Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until
Fall In-Season Salads
Home Grown Pumpkin and Mushroom Salad with a Truffle Vinaigrette
This salad is a very decadent salad and was a show stopper at a dinner party we had last year. So delicate and yet it has a great punch of flavor.
- 1 small about 1 1/2 lb sugar pumpkin or butternut squash if you can’t find fresh pumpkin
- 2 large shallots, sliced in rings
- 1 pound of meat mushrooms such as portobello, shiitake, or cremini, de-stemmed tops cut in half, portobello cut in strips
- 1/4 extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 small truffle or a bottles one if you can find it or truffle oil
- 2 tbsp of a nice balsamic vinegar at least 15 years old
- juice of one fresh lemon
- 1 tsp super finely minced fresh rosemary
- 2 cup or so of your favorite neutral flavor micro greens or lettuces, not to peppery.
1. Combine the pumpkin, shallots, mushroom tops and oil in a bowl and toss to coat.
2. Turn out onto a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Put baking sheet under the broiler for about 15-20 minutes until pumpkin is slightly charred and cooked through.You will have to turn the veggies with a spatula a few times during the cooking to help them cook evenly. When veggies are cooked through transfer them to a bowl.
4. Whisk the balsamic with the fresh lemon juice. If using a canned truffle mince about 1 oz and add it and 1 tablespoon of the oil truffle into the dressing. (If you are not using the truffle oil, use 1 tbsp olive oil) Whisk in the rosemary and let it sit for a minute to combine the flavors.
5. Toss the dressing in the now warm to room temperature broiled veggies.
6. Plate at this time a nice portion of greens and top it with the roasted veggies. If using a fresh truffle, slice 4 or 5 slices on a truffle slicer over each plated salad or drizzle a small !! (less is more here) amount of truffle oil last minute over each salad and serve.
Fresh, in season and different. This is one salad you will love serving and eating at this time of the year!