Monday, November 15, 2010

The Great Pumpkin Experiment


I am just going to come out and say it; I am not a fan of pumpkin pie. I have yet to take a bite of pumpkin pie and be wowed by the deliciousness. I would rather eat a cherry pie any day. You may have noticed that my feelings toward it has not ever stopped me from eating it. It IS pie, after all. Who says no to pie?!?

So with this being the case, I have not really been big on pumpkin. I love the orange skin and the fun that can be had by carving them. I love the feeling of squishing pumpkin guts between my fingers. I have not been big on eating pumpkin...

until this year.

I went to the grocery store with Magnus and he found these adorable little pie pumpkins and so we got one for each kid. They have been sitting on the table or on countertops since, as decoration. It was time to either use them up or throw them out.

I chose to use them. I chopped them up with a serrated knife into large chunks and scooped out the guts. I put them in a large microwavable bowl, added a half inch or so of water, covered and cooked for 10 minutes. Then I put them in a collander to cool for a few minutes. When they were cool enough so that I didn't run screaming from the kitchen when I touched them, I peeled off the skin and put all the soft flesh into a bowl. Next I got to use my potato masher and squish the soft flesh into a puree'. Easy and fun.

Now that I had this big bowl of pumpkin goop I had to find a use for it. This has proven very easy, fun and delicious!

We are big porridge eaters at our house. That could be an insult except that it is just too yummy. I decided to add some pumpkin to our porridge one morning.

Pumpkin Cornmeal Porridge
4 C Water
1 C Cornmeal
1/2 C Pumpkin puree'
1 C Sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground all spice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
3 Eggs
1/2 tsp Salt

Put water, salt and cornmeal into a pot and bring to a boil. Stirring occasionally with a whisk to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan and clumping. Reduce heat to medium low heat. Add pumpkin and sugar. Put a lid on the pot and let the porridge cook down until it is the consistency of nice oatmeal. I like mine kind of thick. I think it is less messy that way. At this point turn off the heat and add the eggs and spices then whisk until the eggs are fully inorporated and your porridge has a nice custard consistency. Usually the heat of the porridge is enough to cook the eggs but if yours are still slimy turn the heat on and make sure they get cooked. If you whisk the eggs in well you won't even know that eggs were included. It's my little secret porridge ingredient, adding protein and a great consistency.

Scoop into bowls and enjoy. Add nuts, raisins, cream or butter. Enjoy!

Another recipe that I think is a fun use of pumpkin is in brownies or cake. You can replace the oil in any brownie or cake recipe with pumpkin and it is delicious. I am out of cocoa powder but have some Nestle Quick powder mix and found a recipe for brownies here. I changed that recipe to this one. It was a hit. In fact, I'm pretty sure we are eating this for dinner tonight. It's got whole grains and a vegetable so that's OK, right? :)

Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies
1 1/3 C Whole Wheat flour
1 Cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 C double chocolate-flavor Nestle Nesquik powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 Cup Pumpkin puree'
1/4 C water
2 large eggs

3/4 C Almonds
3/4 C Pecans

Mix well and pour into 9x13 baking dish. Pulverize the nuts in the blender or food processor and spread over top. Bake at 350ยบ for 25-30 minutes.

My kids devoured it.

What do you like to do with pumpkin? Any favorite recipes?

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