October 29, 2008

Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins!!!

One of my favorite things about fall is winter squash (which includes pumpkins, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, acorn squash, etc). Not only does the winter squash “family” taste good, it’s also good for you! Winter squash is extremely high in vitamin A and antioxidants, and is a great source of vitamin C, potassium and dietary fiber. So I say, bring on the squash! Being that Halloween is right around the corner, I’m going to focus on pumpkin for these recipes. But check back next week for more recipes with other types of squash. Keep in mind that when cooking with pumpkin, you should use sugar pumpkins. These are a smaller pumpkin that you can find at the farmer’s market or the grocery store. The pumpkins that you find at the pumpkin patch are great for carving, but tend to be stringy and do not taste as good.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds - The easiest recipe ever!
  • Preheat oven to 400

  • Scoop out the inside of the pumpkin (sugar pumpkins have the best seeds!)

  • Rinse off the seeds and pat dry.

  • Place in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt

  • Place on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for approximately 20 minutes

  • Variations… Instead of sea salt, you can use the following: sea salt and pepper; mince fresh herbs and sprinkle on top; cayenne pepper; grate parmesan cheese on top; cinnamon, nutmeg and ground ginger… the list goes on and on… experiment and see what you like best!

    Chicken and Pumpkin Curry

    2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks, sprinkled with salt and pepper
    2 Tbsp. olive oil
    2 Tbsp. butter
    1 onion, chopped
    1 red bell pepper, chopped
    1 Tbsp. curry powder
    ¼ tsp. cloves
    2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
    1 pound sugar pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    salt and pepper

  • Heat oil and butter in a large pan. Add chicken, onion and pepper. Sauté until onion is tender, stirring occasionally.

  • Add curry powder. Cook for a couple of minutes and stir to make sure the curry powder is well combined.

  • Add cloves, tomatoes, pumpkin, salt and pepper. Stir well to mix.

  • Cover and cook on low heat, stirring occasionally. When pumpkin is tender (15 – 20 minutes), stir in garlic and cook uncovered for 5 more minutes.

  • Serve hot over brown or wild rice.

  • Pumpkin Bread
    (So, I’m cheating a little on this one and using canned pumpkin. This is my grandmother’s recipe and my mom has made it since I can remember. It’s just not fall in my house without the pumpkin bread!)

    3 cups sugar
    1 cup oil
    4 eggs
    1 ½ tsp. salt
    1 tsp. nutmeg
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    2 tsp. baking soda, dissolved in 2/3 cup of warm water
    2 cups canned pure pumpkin
    3 1/3 cups gluten free flour blend
    2 tsp. xanthan gum
    1 cup chopped walnuts

  • Combine sugar and oil, add the eggs. Stir in salt and spices and mix.

  • Stir in water with soda dissolved in it. Add pumpkin and mix well.

  • Gradually add flour and xanthan gum. Mix well.

  • Add nuts and mix into batter

  • Pour into 2 large, greased & floured loaf pans (9” X 5”)

  • Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes. It might take longer, depending on your oven. Check with a toothpick.

  • This can also be made in small muffin tins. Adjust baking time to 15 minutes.

    Hilary said...

    looks yummy...i'd forgotten how good pumpkin seeds are...what does xanthan gum do??

    Jennifer F Schloss said...

    The short answer...
    Xanthan Gum is the substitute for gluten. Since there is no gluten in gluten-free flours, it is necessary to add xanthan gum to help with binding and texture. Without xanthan gum in recipes with gluten-free flour, the results can be pretty bad. I know this from experience!

    Anonymous said...

    What's a pity that is not in french ! I don't understand all the recipe. But I'm sure that is good. Good luck Jen !
    Christelle from france

    Simply Modern Weddings said...

    I LOVE pumpkin seeds...my grandma used to make those after my brother and I cleaned our pumpkins! :-)

    Living gluten free... naturally