The Great Pumpkin

I purchased a few small pumpkins at the grocery store. I have always wanted to try roasting a pumpkin, it’s not hard, but I’d have to agree with the popular vote that canned is just as good as fresh, and all the work is done for you. But, now I can say that I’ve done it and I got some good pumpkin puree as well as some nice chunks of the squash.

I whittled down my reading list on Google so it’s more manageable and I’m able to keep on top of it. Therefore, I’ve been reading it again instead of being so overwhelmed that I just select “mark all as read” from the menu. This past week I found some interesting recipes, with the air being a bit cooler (and wetter), and autumn officially arriving I knew that I just had to try them.

Garret over at Vanilla Garlic (http://vanillagarlic.blogspot.com/) posted a loose write-up for pumpkin curry with leeks and onions. I took it a step further and made this:

Pumpkin and Tofu Curry

 1 Tbsp canola oil

1 (12 oz) package of extra-firm tofu, drained and cubed

1 cup oven roasted pumpkin, cubed* (optional)

1 Tbsp salt

2 Tbsp butter

4 leeks, white part only, sliced

2 medium yellow onions, halved and sliced

6 cloves garlic, chopped rough

4 cups vegetable stock

1 (10 oz) can coconut milk

2 tsp roasted red chili paste

2 – 4 tsp green curry paste (according to how much heat you want)

1 cup fresh or canned pumpkin puree**

1 (10 oz) can sweet corn or baby corn

Salt and pepper

 

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu and pumpkin cubes, season with salt and fry until golden brown on all sides, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Remove to paper towel, and set aside.

 

Melt butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks, onions, and garlic; cook and stir until tender. Stir in stock, coconut milk, pumpkin puree, chili paste, curry paste, and corn. Return the cubes to the skillet. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 

Eat as a soup or serve over rice. OMG, the yum!

*How to Roast a Pumpkin (from http://www.seedsofknowledge.com)

You can only do this with a freshly carved pumpkin! Do not use on a pumpkin that has been carved and sitting out for several days.

To bake a fresh 6 to 7 pound pumpkin, halve the pumpkin crosswise and scoop out the seeds and strings. Place halves, hollow side down, in a large baking pan covered with aluminum foil and add a little water. Bake, uncovered, at 375ºF for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until fork-tender. Remove. When cool, scrape pulp from shells and puree, a little at time, in food processor or blender. Mix with a little salt.

 

**To use pumpkin puree for recipes: Line a strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth or a flour sack dish towel and let the pumpkin sit to drain out the extra moisture BEFORE cooking with it. Pumpkin is very moist, so in order for your recipe to come out correctly, you MUST strain it.

 

To freeze pumpkin puree. Put 1-2 cups in freezer bags along with spices and use in pies.

 

Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins (http://kidscuisine.net/)

1 1/2 cups yellow or white cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 egg
3 Tbsp canola oil
3/4 cup fresh or canned pumpkin
1 1/2 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Spray a 12-cup standard muffin tin with cooking spray or use muffin cups.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flours, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  Mix well to remove any lumps, sifting if necessary.

Beat the egg lightly in a mixing bowl.  Add the oil, pumpkin, and milk to the egg and beat together until well-combined.

Gently mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, stirring just until combined. Some lumps may remain; this is okay.

Divide the mixture evenly among the 12 muffin cups.

Bake at 350ºF for 20-25 minutes, checking at 20 minutes to see if they are done.  They will be done when a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 12 muffins

Fabulous with honey butter!

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