Tag Archives: #pumpkin

Peter, Peter, stuffed pumpkin eater

Published in Bob’s Fresh and Local CSA Newsletter 10/10/2017.

Farmer Bob’s pumpkins and winter squashes are beautiful this year, and they deserve to be the centerpiece of a meal, maybe even Thanksgiving dinner. This pumpkin feast is something you can feel proud to serve as your main dish for a vegan Thanksgiving — or right along with your turkey to satisfy vegetarian and vegan guests or as a festively colorful side dish. Even Peter will eat it and thank you, and he knows pumpkins!

This dish has three parts: the pumpkin, the pumpkin filling and the apples with their beautiful cranberry sauce topping.  You’ll have more filling than you need for the pumpkin, so you can just spread the extra around the pumpkin on the platter and put the apples on top of it. As you can see, the colors are amazing and will make any meal a special meal.

 

STUFFED PUMPKIN
Pumpkin and Stuffing (serves 4+ as a meal, many more as a side)

  • 1 Sugar or Pie Pumpkin
  • 2 Cups (Pre-cooked) Brown Basmati Rice
  • 2 Cups (Cooked) Chickpeas
  • 4 Cups Almonds/Raisins/Craisins/Apples
  • 4 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 TB + 2 tsp. Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • Pinch Hot Paprika

Cut off top of pumpkin. Cut stem to 2 inches. Scrape out seeds. Season inside of pumpkin with olive oil and honey (or unfiltered sugar). Rub outside of pumpkin with olive oil. Roast one hour at 350 degrees.

Cook two cups brown rice. Set aside. Sauté almonds, raisins, craisins and apple slices with olive oil, sugar, cinnamon and a pinch hot paprika. Add to rice with chickpeas. Stir together and re-season. Set aside.

Apples and Cranberries

  • 3 Baking Apples
  • 6 Cloves
  • 1 LB Bag Cranberries
  • Pinch Cinnamon
  • Juice of 1 Oranges
  • 2 TB Honey (Unfiltered Sugar for Vegans)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 Cup White Sesame, Toasted

Halve and oil the apples. Bake with cinnamon and cloves.

For sauce, juice orange and add 2+ TB honey (or sugar). Reduce sauce. Add cranberries and cook very briefly. Remove cranberries. Reduce sauce further. Recombine sauce and berries.

Assembling Pumpkin Meal
If you make everything ahead, warm each part separately. When ready to serve, fill the pumpkin loosely, replace pumpkin lid, and plate the pumpkin. Surround the pumpkin with the remaining filling, and place the apples on top of it around the pumpkin. Top the apples with cranberry sauce, and garnish with white sesame.

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

Nothing against my favorite, pumpkin pie…but there’s so much more!

Published 10/3/2017 in Bob’s Fresh and Local CSA Newsletter

I always make pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving, and I like to make them “from scratch,” with real pumpkin, not canned. It’s so easy — why not? All it requires is to slice the pumpkin in two, scoop and scrape out seeds and pulp (and set aside for roasted pumpkin seeds), oil, and place face side down on a roasting pan in a 350 degree oven for about an hour. At the end of the cooking time, remove from the oven, cool, and easily scoop out the pumpkin flesh.

And of course there are the seeds, which I’m munching as I write. You don’t get those with canned pumpkin! I put them in a colander with the pulp, run cold water over them, rubbing the seeds and pulp together. The seeds easily pull away, and I discard the pulp. Usually I dry the seeds briefly, then oil and salt them and oven roast in a shallow pan. This time, for some reason, I decided to pan roast them in a cast iron pan. I had just made some sweet pita in that pan using maple syrup, and I was too lazy to wash the pan, so I just threw in the seeds over the bits of darkened maple syrup and stirred constantly until they browned slightly and voila! Done. Delicious.

There are so many ways to use pumpkin that I can’t even count them. I get my inspiration from Morocco most of the time. Those folks love pumpkin and are so creative with it! Pumpkin soups, kibbee, stews, stuffed.

This week I’m going to share two pumpkin hummus recipes, the first with a slightly sweet profile, the second a savory Lebanese version. The Lebanese version didn’t have chickpeas in it, and it was lovely, but I confess to having an aversion to calling things hummus that don’t have chickpeas since in both Hebrew and Arabic, “hummus” means chickpeas as well as the “dip” in which they are used. When I finished the slightly sweet hummus, I had a few extra chickpeas, so I threw them into the Lebanese hummus mix, and it was delicious. I could have used more and will next time.

PUMPKIN HUMMUS

Blend the following until as smooth as you like it:

  • Chickpeas, 2 cups cooked (I always make my own from dried beans, but if you used canned, rinse and drain)
  • Pumpkin, 2 cups prepared as above
  • Cinnamon, 2 tsp.
  • Ginger root, peeled and minced, 2 tsp.
  • Salt, 1/8-1/4 tsp.
  • Nutmeg, 1/8-1/4 tsp.
  • Cloves, 2-4
  • Hot paprika, 1/8-1/4 tsp.
  • Sugar, 1 TB slightly rounded

For the “chips” on this one, I use whole wheat Lebanese pita, available in the Middle Eastern section of many stores. Cut it into chips and oven-crisp at 200 degrees until lightly toasted. Remove, cool and bag up for use later.

For this slightly sweet hummus, I stirred the chips in a hot pan for a few minutes with a bit of olive oil, maple syrup and cinnamon. Yum.

LEBANESE PUMPKIN HUMMUS

Blend the following until as smooth as you like it:

  • Pumpkin, prepared as above, 600-700 grams
  • Chickpeas, 1/2 cup
  • Lemon juice, freshly squeezed, 2 TB
  • Garlic, 1 clove, minced
  • Tahini, 5 TB
  • Salt, 1/2 tsp.
  • Hot paprika, 1/4 tsp.
  • Extra virgin olive oil for garnish
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds for garnish

Serve this one with the regular pita chips from the Lebanese pita, not sweetened. Enjoy these delicious variations on a classic Middle Eastern favorite.

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

Let’s Talk (No) Turkey

Vegan Stuffed Pumpkin -- happy for you and happy for our turkey friends!
Vegan Stuffed Pumpkin — happy for you and happy for our turkey friends!

“Thanksgiving dinner’s sad and thankless.
Christmas dinner’s dark and blue.
When you stop and try to see it
From the turkey’s point of view.” – Shel Silverstein

If you are vegetarian and the rest of your family and friends are not, you will likely come to that moment when you need to figure out how to serve an important . . . say, holiday . . . meal.

For many years, I prepared two meals. Difficult. I like to cook and take pride in good results. Cooking without tasting is like, well, driving a car with your eyes closed. Don’t much want to go there.

One year I decided to bite the proverbial bullet. I relented on my principle of no manufactured food and bought a soy “turkey”, a brand which will remain unnamed. Shaped like a ball with twine around it, it looked like a basketball. It even had its own little package of (no)turkey gravy.

I made everything else my family loved: mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, cranberries, breads, desserts. Then there was the (no)turkey.

Back in the kitchen, I arranged my (no)turkey as nicely as one can arrange a basketball on a platter. It still had the appearance of a basketball but a nicely arranged and decorated one. Everyone was waiting. I brought it out and placed it on the table. Stunned silence. Finally one of my sons spoke. “Really, Mom?”

Another of my sons, old enough to know better, did what one usually does with a basketball. He “passed” it to his brother, who unfortunately missed it. It landed on the floor, and my beagles, who would eat anything without even sniffing, rushed toward it…stopped, sniffed, and walked away!

OK, so that didn’t work. After that year, though, I was determined to find a delicious, festive vegetarian Thanksgiving entree. These Stuffed Pumpkins sell out every year in my (former) cafe. The perfect entree for a veggie crowd, they are also an impressive side dish for people who require a real turkey.

STUFFED PUMPKIN
Pumpkin and Stuffing (serves 4+ as a meal, many more as a side)

  • 1 Sugar Pumpkin
  • 2 Cups (Pre-cooked) Brown Basmati Rice
  • 2 Cups (Cooked) Chickpeas
  • 4 Cups Almonds/Raisins/Craisins/Apples
  • 4 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 TB + 2 tsp. Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • Pinch Hot Paprika

Cut off top of pumpkin. Cut stem to 2 inches. Scrape out seeds. Season inside of pumpkin with olive oil and honey (unfiltered sugar for vegans). Rub outside of pumpkin with olive oil. Roast one hour at 350.

Cook two cups brown rice. Set aside. Sauté almonds, raisins, craisins and apple slices with olive oil, sugar, cinnamon and a pinch hot paprika. Add to rice with chickpeas. Stir together and re-season. Set aside.

Apples and Cranberries

  • 3 Baking Apples
  • 6 Cloves
  • 1 LB Bag Cranberries
  • Pinch Cinnamon
  • Juice of 1 Oranges
  • 2 TB Honey (Unfiltered Sugar for Vegans)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 Cup White Sesame, Toasted

Halve and oil the apples. Bake with cinnamon and cloves.

For sauce, juice orange and add 2+ TB honey (or sugar). Reduce sauce. Add cranberries and cook very briefly. Remove cranberries. Reduce sauce further. Recombine sauce and berries.

Assembling Pumpkin Meal
Fill pumpkin loosely, replace pumpkin lid, wrap loosely in foil. Roast one hour at 325. Warm remaining stuffing and apples separately.

Plate pumpkin and surround with extra stuffing. Place roasted apples on stuffing around pumpkin. Top apples with cranberry sauce. Garnish with white sesame.

Healthy, happy Thanksgiving to you and to our turkey friends everywhere!

Slice from top to bottom of the Stuffed Pumpkin, and serve up this beautiful and delicious Thanksgiving meal.
Slice from top to bottom of the Stuffed Pumpkin, and serve up this beautiful and delicious Thanksgiving meal.

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me onFaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter,@vegwithleslie.