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The Not Really a Hippie blog has been abandoned in favor of keeping all of my blog content together in one place.

Please join me over at Carissa's Creativity Space where I blog about crafting, cooking, home decor, and green parenting

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pumpkin (not from a can) 101

I have a food post I've been working on. It started as a review of the movie, Food Inc. (amazing movie by the way...definitely worth your time) and turned into a discussion about Genetically Modified "Food." The integrity of food and providing consumers with the information they need to make smart food choices is really important to me (in other words: I think genetically modified foods should be labeled). I got so passionate and upset about the whole big ugly Monsanto issue (a good brief is here if you are unfamiliar) that every time I sat down to work on my blog post, that it ended up getting put on hold until I could be less worked up. and that didn't really happen....so it's been languishing for a while. So for the sake of deciding to keep this blog rolling for now, I've decided to shelve it and move on. I'm sure you'll hear all about it later when I can be more composed.

So onto happier and less controversial topics (for now):

How to Roast a Pumpkin 101

Canned pumpkin is a pantry staple for most families about this time of year and mine is no exception. A couple weeks ago however, while shopping at Trader Joe's, I saw small pumpkins with stickers on them that gave basic instruction for for how to take that pumpkin and turn it into a pie. Having never made a pumpkin pie from scratch, I decided to take it home and give it a whirl. When Joe mentioned it sounded tedious, I agreed that it probably was but I just wanted to do it once. But now I am hooked!

Not only is the process of taking a pumpkin and turning it into the fresh equivalent of what you'd get in a can super easy, it tastes better, too. If you've been thinking that it must be hard, tedious, or complicated to turn a pumpkin into a pie, give this a shot. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how easy it really is!

Step 1: Acquire a Pumpkin
Mine is a "Pamper'd Pumpkin" from Trader Joe's. Any small, sweet or 'pie' variety will do.

Step 2: Wash pumpkin and cut in half (plus preheat oven to 350 degrees)
(Remove the stem, too)

Step 3: Scoop out seeds and strings.
Save the innards if you want to make pumpkin seeds and/or feed the leftovers to your worms. Otherwise, discard.

Step 4: Place pumpkin halves cut side down in a baking dish and bake 1 hour - 1.5 hours until outside can easily be pressed in with a spoon.
(also, separate and rinse pumpkin seeds if desired. Spread on a baking sheet. Spray with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for approx. 20 while pumpkin is baking)

Step 5: Allow pumpkin to cool so you can handle it easily.

Step 6: Scoop out flesh into a bowl with a spoon

Step 7: Blend with hand blender or run through food processor until smooth

That's it! Now measure out 2 cups of fresh pumpkin puree to stand in for a standard can of pumpkin. Or add some to ice cube trays and freeze to use later for baby food. You can also cover and refrigerate for about 5 days.

I used mine to make a Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cake.

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • 2 cups fresh pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground all spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 eggs (or however many called for on the box)
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
Blend all ingredients together using a hand mixer and bake until knife inserted in the center comes out clean (see box for temperature and approximate baking time).

Top with chocolate frosting and sprinkles.

Not only does it make a super tasty moist cake, but you'll be able to sneak some extra veggies into your kids' (or husband's) diets while you're at it.

For more recipes using pumpkin as the star ingredient, check out The Pumpkin Nook.