Smashing Pumpkins (The Puree Way)

October means pumpkins, not just for carving, but gobbling up in soups, stews, pancakes, and pies. It all starts with a sugar pumpkin. I used to wonder what this was because they aren’t available at pumpkin patches. Search for pie pumpkins (or sugar pumpkins) at the grocery store.

Transforming a pumpkin into puree is not as hard as it looks. Most websites will tell you crank up the oven and toss the pumpkin inside and wait. Yeah, I tried that. One problem, was the waiting. It takes time for the oven to heat up and quite a while for the pumpkin to cook. Worse yet, when I tried this the first time, I decided to add water to the glass pan while it was in the oven (did I mention that it was glass). Yes, shards scattered everywhere: in the oven, on the floor.

I found a better way: Microwave. But let’s start with the slicing and dicing. Cut the pumpkin into quarters and then scoop out all the seeds and gook.

Make sure you place the pumpkin pieces into a microwave safe container. The secret here is the water. Just enough to come up to the pulpy part of the pumpkin. You’re basically steaming the pumpkin.

Cover up the bowl (allowing a little space for super heated air to vent) and microwave for 10-15 minutes. With this pumpkin, 15 minutes was the magic number. You know you’re done when a fork goes straight through.

Careful, when the pumpkin is cooked, it is crazy hot. Further proof that you’re on the right track is when the rind pulls easily away from the pulp.

Now it’s time to puree. If you don’t have a food processor, don’t sweat it. Get a potato masher and go to town. For the food processor, you may find that the pulp is too thick to spin. It just sits there like a slug. Try adding up to a half a cup of water.

You’ll only need two cups to make a pumpkin pie (recipe in the next post).

The rest you can save for pancakes, muffins, heck, I even added some to pasta sauce. It’s fall, go crazy.

Tim Kane

View of Rain and Cheese

My wife and I celebrated Valentine’s day early. We both hate crowds. As we nibbled on amazing French cuisine, I noticed two things.

Firstly, about me. I’m a foodie. At least I try to be. When I eat out with my wife, I sample new foods. A few months back, with a gift certificate to Olive Garden, I tried mussels for the first time. I liked it. So for my Valentine’s day feast, I had mussels and fries (a north French staple). Delish.

I will also go umami over sweet every time. We opted for the cheese plate for dessert. Not disappointed. Though there was a slice of fig and a hunk of honey comb to sweeten things up.

Finally, I’d like to point out how everyone was seated. This was a Saturday night at prime dining time. My wife and I were seated in the couples section. I scanned left and right. Every guy sat with a view out the window and the rain washed streets. Every girl faced inward, with a view of her man. Me? The same. Is is an unconscious decision? Has this happened to you?

Tim Kane