A rainy day outside, and for some unknown reason I gravitate to the kitchen where I want to cook or bake something. Well, a couple of things have come together in a coincidental fashion. One being my husband’s birthday in a day or two, another being his father’s birthday the following week. That one is a milestone birthday for which the whole family will gather to celebrate. And I have been asked to make one of the desserts. Since the milestone birthday is the weekend before Halloween, I want it to be somehow tied in—haven’t decided the details yet. But I thought I would give a recipe a test run for my husband’s birthday and see if he liked it. If it was successful I might make it again for the party.
So—now we come to the messy part. I had bought a fresh baby pumpkin with the thought that I would roast it and make my own pumpkin puree. Following the directions of a fellow blogger, I stabbed the pumpkin in the heart and other vital parts and threw him into the oven. I did put him on a baking sheet because somehow I just knew he was going to leak some stuff. After baking for about an hour I checked for doneness, and finding the stab wounds leaking and oozing, I poked him and my finger left a depression, so I surmised he was cooked, and removed the pumpkin from the oven. I then let it cool so I could handle it comfortably.
Cutting it in half I encountered a million seeds each one attached to a slimy orange string. Grabbing a large spoon I began to scrape them out, trying to direct them into a bowl I had set in the sink. But they had other ideas and so off they went sliding and skittering all across my counter, and 0n to the floor. They were slimy and slippery so picking them up was a challenge, but somehow I managed to capture the runaways. At that point it was clear to me that half a pumpkin was more than I could manage, so I cut that in half. Now I’m down to a quarter of a pumpkin….a tad easier to hold and scoop out the slimy seeds and strings. So far, so good. With all that accomplished, I then peeled away the skin and cut the remaining flesh into chunks.
Next step, make the puree. For this I thought I would use my blender ( less parts to wash and put away, says I ). So into the blender container I put about two cups of pumpkin chunks. Turned it on, and nothing much happened. Only the bottom few pieces touching the blades got pureed, the rest just sat there, so I added a little water, but that didn’t help. This is one tough little pumpkin I thought, and the blender just isn’t up to the job. So now I get out the processor, transfer the pumpkin pieces into the work bowl and turn it on.
Whew, its working. Success at last. Working in small batches of pumpkin I successfully pureed the whole thing. My yield, after all that, was about 4 1/2 cups of puree that I divided into 2-cup amounts and put one in the freezer. The other one I am going to use in the recipe I mentioned. I’m saving that story for another posting. At this point in my story you are probably thinking the same thing I was: Isn’t easier to just buy a can of pumpkin? Of course, it’s definitely easier, but there’s just something about being able to say “I did it all myself” that makes you feel good.
Back to the seeds: I’d often heard or read about toasted pumpkin seeds, and having about 2 cups of them now, I thought I’d give that a try. Handling them carefully I separated the seeds from the stringy stuff, put them into a colander and washed them, then patted them dry with paper towels. Searching on AllRecipes.com, I found this recipe that had a lot of good reviews and suggestions for altering it somewhat for variation.
- 2 cups raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons butter, melted ( or substitute olive oil)
- 1 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt –This can be all one kind such as Lowrey’s or a combinations of salts like garlic salt, onion salt, or in my version I used some of Penzey’s seasoning called Forward, containing paprika and chili powder.
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.
2. Rinse seeds and pat dry. Place in a bowl. Mix together the above ingredients and pour over the seeds. Stir well to coat the seeds.
3. Spread evenly in a single layer on the baking sheet.
4. Bake about an hour, stirring occasionally , till golden and crisp.
A happy ending to my story about how I made a mess in my kitchen on a rainy day.