Friday, March 30, 2012

Pumpkin Leather

This pumpkin leather recipe from Family Fun magazine tastes exactly like fruit roll-ups. It only contains two ingredients - pumpkin pie mix and applesauce, but takes 10 hours to cook. You spread it thin on parchment paper and cook it at 140 degrees. This was a problem for my oven because the lowest setting is 170 degrees. Sometimes I left the door ajar, but that wasn't working either because it just made the oven work harder trying to keep the temperature at 170. It worked out fine but still took almost the whole time.

I originally made this as a snack to take to Disneyland for the girls, but when we got there Mads had had teeth work and was off sticky stuff and Sophie didn't feel good and was off food in general. All the adults agreed it tasted ok and was amazing exactly like a commercially prepared one. And here's a picture of the adorable Sophie after getting her hair done at the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Kabocha No Nimono

According to the poster of this recipe on, "This is the most common (and delicious!) method of cooking pumpkin in Japan. The usual hard-skinned variety of pumpkin/squash is best." I made a half batch because I'm running out of pumpkin. In case you aren't from the DC area, we didn't have a winter this year so my natural cold storage unit (the shed) was actually hot in the winter sun. My pumpkins, sitting in their hay beds, were roasting instead of chilling.

The recipe was easy to make, and would have lots of different uses. The paper towel lid was odd, but the author said it was important and not to skip it. The pumpkin ends up with a slight salty/sweet taste. I enjoyed it as a side dish.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Salmon Macaroni and Cheese with Pumpkin

This recipe is not for everyone. If you don't love every ingredient individually and together, you should probably just skip this one. For one thing, 12oz of Gruyere cheese and 9oz of smoked salmon are too pricey for a mistake. I made a half batch, and both the Hub and I liked it, but didn't love it. It was too close to tuna noodle casserole for my tastes. I think the mac and cheese part gets a little lost with this type of cheese and the addition of pumpkin and smoked salmon.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sugar Pumpkin, Feta and Cilantro Quesadillas

This quesadilla recipe from Bon Appetit was excellent for lunch one Saturday afternoon. I was the only tester, the Hub not being a big feta fan. I cooked my pumpkin on top of the stove and threw in some onions too. A quesadilla maker helps to melt the feta slowly and crisp the tortillas without having to turn the whole thing over.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Apple Pumpkin Japanese Chicken Curry

Both the Hub and I liked this Japanese curry recipe from the blog Caper Berry. It has some vague ingredient descriptions like bowl of pumpkin and 4 to 6 pieces of curry base. (I used a cereal bowl of pumpkin and green curry paste.) Their sauce looks thicker than mine and if I made it again, I would probably thicken it up with cornstarch or flour. The flavor was perfect though and the apples, pumpkin and carrots complemented each other.

Monday, March 19, 2012

King of the Squash Family by Linden Staciokas

This is an interesting article I saw in the March issue of Ruralite, the magazine we get from Tanner Electric. It's the electric company that provides the juice to our vacation home in Washington state. At first I thought it odd to see an article about pumpkins in March, but then I thought this is exactly when people are planning their gardens. It has some great tips on planting, pollination, dealing with pests and diseases, harvesting, storage, processing and freezing. It even has a recipe for pumpkin cookies.

Balsamic Glazed Pumpkin with Walnuts

Always on the lookout for recipes to use fresh pumpkins, I found this pumpkin side dish recipe from the blog eCurry on Tastespotter. It uses cumin seeds, balsamic vinegar and red chili peppers to season sauteed pumpkin and toasted walnuts. It was just a little too hot for my taste buds, but the amount of pepper could be easily adjusted to tone down or ramp up the heat. Easy to make and on the table in less than 15 minutes, it's a great way to use pumpkin as a vegetable.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Pork and Pumpkin Stew

This recipe came from the Williams-Sonoma website. When I was making it, I wondered why they developed it or what they were trying to sell with it. It doesn't contain any of their specialty items or need any particular prep or cooking equipment. Anyway for whatever reason, they came up with a real winner here.
It's kind of ingredient heavy, with dribs and drabs of all kinds of routine pantry things like applesauce, cider vinegar, tomato paste, six different spices, etc. I made a half batch since it serves six, and both the Hub and I really enjoyed it over mashed potatoes.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spiced Cobbler

This recipe from the website Our Family Food Adventures was designed to use up leftover cranberries and pumpkin. The fruit base is pears, cranberry sauce and whole cranberries with a pumpkin and whole wheat flour biscuit crust. I was very surprised at how mild cranberry sauce is these days. Remembering the lip-puckering stuff of my childhood, I haven't actually tried it in years. Unfortunately it's probably the addition of corn syrup. Hmmm 440 calories and 80 gms of sugar per cup, no wonder it tastes so good. Anyway, the Hub and I halved the recipe to make this small baking dish full perfect for two people. And there was nothing to not like about it either, we both thought it was a nice winter dessert. If I made it again, I'd probably try to cut back on the sugar - our pears were really ripe and sweet and needed no additional sugar.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pumpkin Pastina

I was hesitant to make this pumpkin pastina recipe (created by Michael Chiarello for Progresso) because of the calorie count. According to the nutritional information, these really healthy, low calorie ingredients end up being a whopping 590 calories per serving. How did that happen?

I kept track of each ingredient - how much I added and how many calories it contained. I was unable to find any pastina, so I substituted orzo, a tiny rice shaped pasta similar to risotto. I reduced the olive oil to 1 tablespoon and upped the diced pumpkin to 9 oz., otherwise I followed the recipe exactly. What I found out is their serving size is 2 cups, which is way too much food. My recipe came out to contain 242 calories per cup, which is plenty at one time.

I forgot to take a picture of the final product, but it looked similar to the original. If I was to make it again, I would bulk it up with more pumpkin and turkey and reduce the amount of pasta.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pumpkin Falafels with Pumpkin Tzatziki

The pumpkin falafel recipe came from the blog Meals and Miles. It's made by combining garbanzo beans, pumpkin and whole grain pancake mix with spices and garlic, whirling everything in the food processor, forming patties and baking. Couldn't be easier, or healthier. I was the only taster and I loved them. Easy to make a batch and keep in the frig to heat up for lunch and snacks.

The pumpkin tzatziki recipe came from the website Two Coast Table and was their submission to last year's Project Food Blog: Pumpkin. It starts with strained Greek yogurt, but I was confused about this. If it's Greek yogurt, isn't it already strained? Anyway my tzatziki was really thick. I liked it and it complemented the falafels, but I doubt I would make it again.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Pumpkin Focaccia with Sage and Walnuts

This is the first time I've made bread with a starter. The starter needs to be started 16 hours before you plan on making the bread, so this is not a last minute addition to anyone's menu. The recipe comes from the website Visions of Sugar Plum, where the author lists many many equally delicious looking pumpkin recipes. I learned one thing from this recipe - when she says put it in the big mixer, she means it. Arm wrestling this recipe with my hand mixer was ridiculous. That bread hook on the big mixer is there for a reason! She also suggests pushing the nuts and sage slightly into the bread, but I think a little more force is needed here because mine all fell off. (She does say to chop them finely, but I left mine kinda big compared to hers, but the sage weighed practically nothing and it fell off too.) This bread needs to be brought out of the oven and taken straight to the table. It doesn't last, even in an airtight container. It's when it tastes the best anyway.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Crispy Baked Chili Pumpkin Fries

Every once in a while, an unassuming recipe comes along that just wows me. And this is one of them. They started out as squash fries on the webpage Food Doodles and I changed them to pumpkin. Either way they are delicious and crispy and everything you want in a fry without the fat. Both the Hub and I loved these and stood in the kitchen and ate the whole pan, which eliminated the need to cook dinner - a double win for me.
I can't wait to try this recipe, which uses whole wheat flour and whole wheat panko, on other vegetables too. Regular potatoes, sweet potatoes, zucchini, onions etc. would all work. You could fiddle with the spices too, adjusting to your likes and dislikes. The author spritzes hers with olive oil, but I used Pam on one side and nothing on the other and didn't miss the oil at all.