The Wonders of Pumpkin

One of my favorite ingredients is pumpkin. It’s incredibly versatile—it can be used in baked goods, side dishes, main dishes, sweet or savory. Pumpkin is one of those ingredients that can be crafted into any number of dishes that can please any palate. So in honor of pumpkin, I’ve compiled a listing of great dishes featuring it, along with a few select recipes for some of my favorites. For those dishes where a recipe is not listed, I’ve named cookbooks where I found good recipes or the website www.allrecipes.com is a great resource.

Pumpkin Bread/Muffins

Pumpkin Cookies

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pancakes/Waffles

Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Ravioli (Cooking for All Seasons)

Steamed Pumpkin Cubes

Pumpkin Butter

Sesame-Soy Pumpkin Appetizers

Pumpkin Milkshake

Pumpkin Pasta

Pumpkin Polenta (Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2004; Cooking for All Seasons)

Pumpkin Biscuits

Pumpkin Souffles (Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2004)

Pumpkin Dip (Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2004)

Baked Pumpkin Pudding

Layered Pumpkin Gingerbread

Pumpkin Bread/Muffins     This recipe can be baked in either a loaf pan, standard muffin tins, mini muffin tins, or specialty tins (I especially like baking mini bundt cakes with this recipe). The best way to serve pumpkin bread is warm with a little butter—delicious.

1 cup pumpkin                          2 cups flour

2 eggs                                      1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt                        1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ cup vegetable oil                   ½ teaspoon each: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg

¼ teaspoon each: allspice, cloves

1.)    Beat eggs with sugar, salt and spices.

2.)    Mix in pumpkin.

3.)    Add flour, baking powder and baking soda.

4.)    Mix in oil.

5.)    Fill pan or tins and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.

Sesame-Soy Pumpkin Appetizers     These are great at cocktail parties or outdoor get-togethers where you want to serve sophisticated finger food.

½ small, sweet pumpkin            oil

sea salt                                     3 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons sesame oil           1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 tablespoon fresh ginger          3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons sherry

1.)    Peel pumpkin and cut it into bite-sized cubes.

2.)    Place pumpkin cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 400 for 25 minutes.

3.)    While pumpkin is baking, in a large pan combine honey, sesame oil, sesame seeds, ginger, soy sauce and sherry. Simmer until it reaches a syrupy consistency.

4.)    Add baked pumpkin to syrup and toss gently to coat well.

5.)    Place coated pumpkin onto a baking sheet lined with non-stick paper and bake for another 5 minutes.

6.)    Serve warm on toothpicks.

Pumpkin Pasta     Since this is a handmade pasta recipe, you can cut the dough into any shape you wish—long thin strips, long wide strips, squares, triangles—whatever you want. A simple sauce that goes well with pumpkin pasta is herbed butter—you could add sage, thyme or any other herb to melted butter and toss with the pasta to lightly coat. You could also add a sprinkling of soy cheese or pine nuts if you wish.

½ cup pumpkin puree               1 egg

1 ½ cups high-gluten flour

1.)    Combine pumpkin puree and egg.

2.)    Sift the flour into a pile on your table and make a well in the center. Pour the pumpkin mix into the well.

3.)    Using a fork, start mixing the flour into pumpkin. As the dough starts to come together, use your hands to work in the remaining flour so that it forms a ball.

4.)    Knead the ball by folding and turning the dough until it becomes smooth (should take about 8 minutes).

5.)    Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use (can be made up to 3 days in advance).

6.)    To prepare your pasta, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut into desired shape. Let air dry for about 10 minutes.

7.)    Add pasta to lightly salted boiling water, and boil for 3-4 minutes. (Watch the pasta as it cooks—fresh pasta can be overcooked very easily, so check it for your desired consistency every minute or so).

8.)    Drain pasta in a colander and serve immediately.

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