Archive for the 'Pumpkin' Category

Recipe: Pumpkins

|September 21, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

And what about the pumpkins??

Halloween is over. Is it the end of your pumpkin as well?

NOPE!

I am a fall baby – it’s my favorite time of the year. I love to grow pumpkins – especially sugar pumpkins – they are great for baking and cooking. Come September – as soon as I have “the perfect pumpkin” – it’s washed and sitting in my kitchen for beauty. It’s cousins in the garden are not so lucky.

Along comes Halloween and you find hundreds and hundreds of pumpkins on porches and decks, lining driveways, etc. all ready to be carved. The pumpkin carvings that some do are absolutely beautiful. We see anything from the traditional pumpkin faces to intricate scenes, crosses, symbols, etc.

What is sad about this is that many just discard the pulp and the seeds.

I remember when I was a kid, we’d get a nickel from out moms and we’d rush to the store to buy a box of pumpkin seeds. Pure salt! And we loved them. Eventually I got away from them and I started enjoying homemade much better.

And the pulp always made a great pumpkin pie, pumpkin cake, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin anything!

Although we would all love to have the world’s biggest pumpkin, I find that the smaller pumpkins that are small to medium in size are the best ones to use for baking and cooking because their flesh has a finer texture than the very large pumpkins. The “heavier” pumpkins that don’t have the hollow sound are perfect – regardless of size.

Select a ripe and firm medium pumpkin. Larger pumpkins can be used, but they begin to take on a grainy texture the larger they get. Cut open the pumpkin and remove the seeds and fibrous strings. Cut the pumpkin into four to eight pieces. Line a large baking pan aluminum foil. Place the pumpkin pieces onto the baking pan. Bake at 375* F. 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until pulp is soft. Remove the pulp from the rind with a spoon and discard the rind. Blend the pulp until smooth using a blender, food processor or mixer. To create a really thick puree, put the pulp into a cheesecloth and squeeze out excess water.

Make and use fresh puree whenever possible for the best taste and freshness. Leftover puree can be frozen for a short period of time. Canning of pumpkin puree is not recommended by the USDA.

You can also wash your pumpkin, remove the fibrous stings and seeds, cut into 2-inch cubes and boil in water till tender; drain very well; allow to cool completely.

To use – thaw in the refrigerator. If it seems a bit watery after freezing, just drain it in a strainer to remove excess liquid.

Please note the you NEVER bake a pumpkin that has been carved and sitting around for several days.

Also, if baking you pumpkin, some will use a large baking pan lined with foil and will add a little water for baking.

And – before using puree – always drain in a strainer to remove all excess liquid. Some pumpkins are very moist.

Pumpkins can be peeled before or after cooking – it’s your choice and it depend on how much you are preparing. If baking, always peel after baking.

To make pumpkin seeds:

After removing the seeds from the pumpkin, wash in warm water and dry. Place on baking sheet, drizzle with oil or melted butter, sprinkle with salt; bake 45 minutes in preheated oven, stirring occasionally, until lightly toasted

For seasoned pumpkin seeds:

Toss pumpkin seeds in a bowl with the melted butter or oil and seasonings
of your choice before baking (some add after baking – experiment and see how you like it done):

Seasoning salt – simple enough
Cheesy Pumpkin Seeds- sprinkle with Cheesy popcorn seasoning.
Tex-Mex Style- Sprinkle powdered Taco seasoning onto the seeds. This is better mixed in a bowl first. Add more red pepper powder for a really hot seed!
Cajun style- Mix seeds in a bowl with a packet of cajun seasonings mix. If you like it really spicy, add extra hot sauce.
Garlic Salt- REALLY GOOD!

Just a tidbit – did you know that the canned pumpkin that is sold in the stores in 95% squash?

FYI:
Are you a pumpkin lover? Whole pumpkins will store well in a cool, dry environment. Never store on the basement floor and never store near apples.

Recipe: Pumpkin Pancakes and Pumpkin Maple Syrup

|August 25, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

'Tis the season!

For pumpkin that is. Since I've got my pumpkin puree done and in the freezer, I decided to start using it.

Let me share this recipe with you –

Pumpkin Pancakes

In bowl, whisk together:
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar, firmly packed (learn to make your own)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (recipe posted on blog)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (optional)

Add, stirring until just moistened (batter may be lumpy):
1/2 cup pumpkin
1 large egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cups milk

Heat griddle or skillet over medium heat; brush lightly with vegetable oil. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle; cook until bubbles begin to burst. Turn and continue cooking 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with Pumpkin Maple Sauce and nuts.

Pumpkin Maple Sauce

1 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
1 1/4 cups pumpkin

Mix together until well blended.

A very tasty breakfast or brunch dish for pumpkin lovers.

BTW – I've finished my e-cookbook – My Two-Week Countdown to Thanksgiving" and it is available for those that request a copy. Just send me an e-mail!

Recipe: Continuing with Halloween –

|August 13, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

 

Although the Kitty Litter Cake is exceptionally good – there may be some that would prefer to pass on it (although I haven’t had anyone pass it up yet!) and I always make sure I have my traditional “pumpkin” cake ready. Of course it disappears fast too!

I bake a chocolate cake in 8 or 9-inch round tins:

Chocolate Cake

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder**
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter (not margarine)
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla**
1 cup buttermilk**

Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter and flour two nine-inch cake pans, line bottoms of pans with parchment paper; butter and flour parchment paper as well.

In bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt; set aside.

In separate bowl, cream butter; gradually add sugar and beat at medium speed for one minute; add eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition. Gradually add water and vanilla; beat another minute more.

Reduce mixer speed to low and add ¼ dry ingredients, 1/3 buttermilk, another ¼ dry ingredients, another 1/3 buttermilk, until both are completely added. Blend only until the flour no longer shows, then add the next portion of buttermilk.

Pour into prepared pans and bake in preheated oven for approximately 25 to 30 minutes or until done – use the toothpick test for doneness. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes before removing by inverting onto wire racks. Allow to cool completely.

Frost and fill as desired. What I do for Halloween I fill with either a pudding or mousse (chocolate) and I frost with a basic white frosting that I have tinted orange with food coloring. I decorate the cake with a Halloween face to look like a pumpkin using candy corn or other candies.

My basic frosting – A stick of softened butter, sifted confectioners’ sugar, a splash of vanilla and enough milk for a nice spreading consistency. No – I don’t measure. Ad a few drops of orange food coloring or red and yellow until your get orange.

A plate of cookies is always nice to have for serving.

This is my Autumn Cutout Cookies recipe:

½ cup butter (not margarine)
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*** recipe below
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 tablespoons canned pumpkin (or fresh – pureed)
1 teaspoon vanilla**
2 cups flour
Orange and green paste food coloring

Cream butter. Add sugar and spices. Beat. Beat in egg, pumpkin and vanilla; beat in as much flour as possible – stir in the rest. Divide into 3 portions; tint. Cover and chill 3 hours or till it’s easy to handle. Roll ¼-inch thick. Place 1-inch apart on ungreased sheets. Bake 375* F. 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Cool on racks.

MARBLED LEAVES: Combine doughs; cut leaf patterns; sprinkle with sugar; bake.

PATCHWORK PUMPKINS: Roll white dough. Roll other colors and cut into strips. Lattice strips over pumpkin loosely. With rolling pin, gently roll over strips to gently press down. Cut pumpkin shapes. Use scraps to make leaves. Bake.

POLKA DOT PUMPKINS: Roll a portion of dough ¼-inch thick. Cut with pumpkin cutter. Place on ungreased sheets. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Using small cutter, make smaller cutouts in chilled cookies. Fill each opening with another color of dough. Bake.

You know by now – I insist on making as much as possible homemade!

Need Pumpkin Pie Spice?

1/2 cup cinnamon
1/4 cup ground ginger
2 tablespoons nutmeg
2 tablespoons ground cloves

Combine all. Use 3 1/4 teaspoon per 1 1/2 cup canned pumpkin.

And speaking of pumpkin –

I think everyone gets pumpkins for Halloween. Many just carve and waste the pumpkins completely. That’s a no-no in my book!

Did you know that you can make your own pumpkin puree to use in your recipes? Simple and cheap! My preference is the sugar pumpkins – but the choice is yours.

Begin by selecting a nice ripe and firm pumpkin. Don’t think that bigger is better – the larger pumpkins get “grainy” the bigger they get.

As with everything (I have this “thing” about cleanliness – almost to the point of OC!) – wash the pumpkin off! Dry with paper towels.

Cut your pumpkin open and remove the seeds and fibrous strings. Cut the pumpkin into 4 to 8 pieces (depending on the size of the pumpkin) and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place in a preheated 375* F. oven for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until the pulp is soft.

Using a spoon, remove the pulp from the rind – discard the rind. Place pulp in a blender or processor and process until smooth. If you want a really thick puree, place the pureed pulp in cheesecloth and twist to squeeze out the excess water.

Use immediately. You can freeze in portions for baking. Label and date. YOU CANNOT CAN PUMPKIN PUREE – it is not recommended by the USDA.

And don’t waste the seeds! As children we used to chomp on pumpkin seeds constantly.

Extract seeds from pumpkin – removing from the fibrous strings. Wash thoroughly in warm water; drain well; dry with paper towels. Transfer seeds to a baking sheet in a single layer and sprinkle generously with salt.

Bake in a preheated 350* F. oven for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes and adding more salt to taste. Cool before tasting! If the insides are dry – they are done.
Cool completely before serving.

VARIATIONS:

Cheesy Pumpkin Seeds- sprinkle with Cheesy popcorn seasoning.
Tex-Mex Style- Sprinkle powdered Taco seasoning onto the seeds. This is better mixed in a bowl first. Add more red pepper powder for a really hot seed!
Cajun style- Mix seeds in a bowl with a packet of Cajun seasonings mix. If you like it really spicy, add extra hot sauce.
Garlic Salt- REALLY GOOD!