A jack-o’-lantern pumpkin is meant for one thing, but when you find a sugar pie pumpkin, take advantage of it because you can get many uses out of it. They are in season now and very popular, inducing a cult following of a pumpkin-flavored beverage at an infamous coffee chain. To get into the swing of things, a pumpkin puree is a great addition to baked goods, and roasted seeds are a nutritious snack that is a nice change from sunflower seeds.
• For the puree:
2 sugar pie pumpkins (organic of possible)
Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Remove the stems of the pumpkins by twisting, and they should pop right off. Slice the pumpkins in half and scoop out all the stringy guts and seeds.
Put the guts and seeds in a strainer and save for later.
Put the pumpkins cut-side down on a sheet pan and cover with aluminum foil. Depending on the size of the pumpkins, roast for 40-50 minutes until tender and soft.
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly so you can handle them.
The skin should peel of with ease; discard this.
Put the pumpkin flesh in a food processor and pulse until smooth and broken down. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Use in:
• For the seeds:
4 cups of water
Seeds from the sugar pie pumpkins
1 tbs. of kosher salt, plus 1 tsp.
2 tsp. of extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. With the water running on cold in the sink, pick up hunks of the stringy bits from the strainer and wash out the seeds. Collect these seeds in a bowl. Once they’ve been collected, rinse one more time, and discard the stringy bits.
Bring the water to a boil with 1 tbs. of salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the seeds and boil for 8 minutes. Strain from the water, let drip dry a little, and then move them onto a sheet pan. Dry further with a paper towel or kitchen towel.
Transfer the seeds to a bowl. Toss with the olive oil and remaining tsp. of salt. Transfer back to the sheet pan and evenly spread the seeds out in a single layer. Roast for 18-20 minutes, stirring the seeds halfway through.
On our drive to Las Vegas this last weekend for Vegas Uncork’d, we stopped for gas at the Unical 76 station in Patterson and walked inside the convenience store for snacks. We had no idea we would find a local treat!
Isaac Farms of Atwater, CA had its own section in the convenience store, and the okra chips were the most appealing because it was a product we had never seen/thought of before. Vegetables chips is not a new concept, so why not try it with okra? Instead of being super fibrous and a bit fuzzy like in raw form, the okra was crispy, light, and even a little sweet behind the added salt. High in fiber, gluten free, and 10% of your daily allotment of calcium in one 1/oz. serving, this is a more health-conscious choice than your typical big-brand chip. Sadly, Isaac Farms does not have an online store, and since many of you readers are not local, it may be hard for you to come across this tasty version. Instead, follow this link and you can try another kind of okra chips, at least to give you an idea (and you can do some other shopping while you’re at it :)).