Today, in my area of Pennsylvania, it will be a high of 70 degrees. Yesterday we saw temperatures well past 70 and over the weekend we broke a record when our thermostats topped out at 83 degrees! Wait! There is more... Tomorrow our weather will drop by nearly 20 degrees! This see-sawing of weather has me a bit confused. What the what? Mid 70's in November? In Pennsylvania? My mother always says this is "pneumonia weather." Our poor bodies do not know what to do. All around me people are sniffling and coughing... My allergies are a mess! I wake up all stuffed up and freezing cold, since there is frost on the ground in the mornings, and by midday, I am peeling off the layers upon layers I wear when I leave the house. I do not know if I should wear a tank top or topcoat!
Speaking of layers, lets talk squash! First of all, what is "squash?"
For my purposes here, I am talking about "squash" as in "fruit" NOT "squash" as in that strange-o British game played by crazy people. I say this because the game is played in a walled-in room, by grown people, wearing little more than over-sized goggles and too-short shorts. The ball is squishy (in case you get nailed in the face) hence the name of the game. See? Crazy people... I am also not talking about "squash" as in smash and smush the daylights out of something although smashing and smushing is fun. No dear readers, I am talking about "squash" as in fruit. Yes. Squash is considered a fruit. They may not look like it, but pumpkins are in fact, a fruit. To make a long story short, a fruit develops from the ovary of a flowering plant. Vegetables are all the other plant parts. All the other plant parts? No wonder people don't want to eat them! Holy May! Can you imagine trying to entice your child (or childlike adult) to eat a salad if they knew that? "Come on Honey. Eat your other plant parts." You say with a scared smile across your lips... I say again, "Holy May!" I am an avid "other plant part" lover and I would not want to eat a salad if I thought of vegetables like that! (Lets just keep that a secret ok?)
Getting back to layers, pumpkins and other fruits. It's November and November is the time for my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. Traditionally, pumpkin pie is on our dessert menu. I love to purchase a sugar pumpkin (or three) and roast them before I puree the flesh for pies. (The puree freezes quite well.) I use the puree not only in pies, but also in pumpkin soup too. Pumpkin soup is super easy to make. Just put diced onion, curry and a bit of salt into a pot along with a touch of oil or butter. The onions and spice get to know each other about 5 minutes, then in goes some broth, brown sugar and pumpkin puree. Fifteen minutes later, add cream if you like, adjust the seasoning and serve. Easy right? Yep, it is. But, today's blog is not about soup but what to do with all the lovely and delicious seeds you mercilessly scraped and scratched out of the inside layers of the pumpkin. For the love of Pete, DO NOT throw those beauties away! Toast them and roast them! Please!
I say toast and roast because I do both. I begin by toasting the seeds in a bit of oil in a frying on the stovetop along with a touch of salt. When the seeds turn golden-mahogany, I finish them by roasting them in a moderate oven until they are crispy-crunchy. They keep for a long time and even make a thoughtful gift. Try them in salads or as a garnish for the pumpkin soup I know you will make later, right? Eat them alone. I dare you to just eat one or two... handfuls. We eat them shell and all. What a yummy and healthy Fall treat!
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Avid home cook and passionate instructor