Friday, January 14, 2011

Pumpkin Duds

I never imagined when I started this, how many of the recipes I tried would be losers. So far I have just set these not-well-thought-out ones aside thinking I might use them during a slow period. I'm pretty careful now, checking for comments from others and studying the recipe before I try making them. It's discouraging, not to mention a waste of expensive ingredients. Here's a list of pumpkin dishes I would skip.

Spiced Pumpkin, Lentil & Goat Cheese Salad
When I read this recipe, I thought it was perfect for Beth, who as an arugula-loving vegetarian, would appreciate the healthy aspects of the salad. She was enthusiastic about trying it.

She followed the directions exactly, but found the pumpkin mushy and not browned after 30 minutes at 375, which I think is too low a temperature to brown anything. Without the pumpkin keeping its shape everything tended to mush when being tossed. Both Beth and her husband Ken also found the salad bland. I read all the comments about this salad on Epicurious and most of the readers who like it altered the recipe in some way substituting other ingredients.

A Tale of Two Biscuits
The first biscuits I made I used this recipe from Family Fun magazine. No one in the family would be having fun trying to eat these and the picture is sooo not this recipe. I threw out my baking powder and got some new and tried again after researching biscuits in general and pumpkin biscuits in particular. Pumpkin is heavy and takes some real power in the form of baking powder to make biscuits rise. I went back to the Family Fun page and read the comments where everyone comments on the typo in the baking power and what should have been 1 tablespoon reads 1 teaspoon. I guess it was common knowledge to everyone except me.

I tried again with my new baking powder and this recipe from Country Living magazine. These are served as little sandwiches with smoked ham and pumpkin mustard. I thought it would be perfect with the pumpkin soup I had made. While these rose high and smelled nice, my taste testers (my mom and the Hub) were not impressed. I don't know why. They didn't like the soup either, so I won't even bore you with that recipe. I liked them and took one for lunch until they were gone.

Sweet and Sour Pumpkin: Zucca Gialla in Agrodolce
This recipe comes courtesy of Mario Batali and the Food Network. It's a pretty straight forward side dish using pumpkin. You start by cutting a pumpkin into wedges and he is very descriptive (the length of your hand from fingertip to wrist) about the length of the wedges, but says nothing about the thickness of the wedges. Also he wants you to leave the rind on. Why Mario why? The people eating it then have to cut it off later. I cut my wedges about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick and peeled them. They did not cook in the recommended 8 minutes. It was at least twice that.

I had this for dinner one Saturday night. I found the basil and mint distracting, and the pumpkin just OK.

Pumpkin Sage Gravy
This recipe from Tyler Florence and the Food Network just didn't work for me. It contains a pound and a half of bacon that you dice, fry and then strain out - leaving what in the gravy? The fat? And what do you do with the bacon? Throw it away? I put it in the food processor and used some of it to thicken the gravy, but all of this seemed so unnecessary. I think there is a great pumpkin gravy recipe out there, this just isn't it.

It tasted good, but the pumpkin was lost.

Pumpkin Puff
I thought this would be a wonderful souffle-like side dish, didn't turn out that way. The ingredients are eggs and pumpkin. Both pretty bland and the final product tasted more like eggs than pumpkin. My pound and a half of pumpkin after cooking and being put through a potato ricer was practically nothing. Even though the author suggested at the end that you could add other ingredients, a recipe should stand on its own, at least the first time you make it. And the picture accompanying the recipe has a lot of something green in it. What's up with that? I hope to rewrite this recipe using more ingredients and determining the amount of pumpkin needed after cooking and mashing for a better pumpkin to egg ratio.


  1. Very interesting! I think it is a byproduct of too many recipes being written- especially on the web- but love that the comments bring it to light. No one is gonna get away with it when there is a comment section around!

  2. I would like to put in a vote for my least favorite item so far. The winner is...pumpkin puff. I would have rather just had scrambled eggs with cooked diced pumpkin it in.


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