14 November 2009

Giant Pumpkin and Lil Baby Pumpkin

On Halloween, I bought a pumpkin. Not an orange, jack o lantern kind for carving, but a mottled greenish one for eating. At City Market, while Pov Hun was selling me on this particular pumpkin (the smallest he had of this variety, I might add), Sergio stood by, imploring me not to buy such a large pumpkin. But Pov said it was easy to cut, would stay good in the fridge for a couple of weeks, and was really sweet. I couldn't resist. So I bought it. All 20 pounds of it.

me and my fairytale pumpkin

It looked even bigger when we got it home, so I thought it best to start cooking it post haste. Plus, Sergio was still grumbling about such a big pumpkin. So the next day, All Saints Day, I decided to cut it open. Perhaps because he was afraid I'd do myself harm with the knife (or perhaps he'd changed his mind about the pumpkin?), Sergio took over the arduous task of slicing it open; he even cleaned out its seeds. I wrapped the pieces in plastic and made room in the fridge; I hunted down some recipes to get started. We had a lot of pumpkin to get through.

Sergio wrestling the giant pumpkin into submission

I started with Pumpkin Muffins on Sunday night, moved to Pumpkin Butter on Monday, made Pumpkin, White Bean and Kale stew on Tuesday and was planning Pumpkin Risotto for Wednesday. All this while, we had been awaiting the birth of our nephew, whom we had long since named Baby Pumpkin, since he was due right after Halloween. We all thought he was going to arrive early, which he didn't. So by the time I was working through slice number 5 of the Giant Pumpkin, I was beginning to wonder if Baby Pumpkin would even get here before I made it through the whole thing.

so much orange

Lo and behold, on Wednesday, no sooner than I'd printed my Pumpkin Risotto recipe, my sister-in-law went into labor. We postponed our marathon pumpkin baking/cooking spree and headed to the hospital to welcome Lil Baby Pumpkin, who arrived early in the morning on Thursday, November 5, weighing in at 9 pounds and 1 ounce, nearly a Giant Pumpkin himself.

Emilio Fidel • November 5, 2009 • 9 lbs, 1 oz

Mom and baby recouped in the hospital for the next few days while everyone tried to catch up on sleep; I went back to my Giant Pumpkin and my list of recipes, including a Thanksgiving Squash casserole. For a big Welcome Home From the Hospital feast on Saturday I made Pumpkin Soup and Maple-Glazed Winter Squash with Garlic and Ginger, among other things.

Lil Baby Pumpkin in his hat from Auntie Em

And when Emilio was one week old, Sergio and I finally made that Pumpkin Risotto and everyone came over for dinner then, too, to share our Giant and Lil Baby Pumpkins with each other.

Pumpkin Risotto

PS: Last night at Badseed I learned from Pov that this variety of pumpkin is called "Fairytale." Indeed.

Pumpkin Muffins - from Smitten Kitchen
Pumpkin Butter - from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker (see below)
Pumpkin, White Bean, and Kale Stew - a modified version of Spicy White Bean and Collard Stew
Thanksgiving Squash Casserole - from a friend on Facebook (see below)
Pumpkin Soup - from Chez Panisse Vegetables - same soup as the Pink Banana Squash Soup
Maple-Glazed Winter Squash with Garlic and Ginger - from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker (see below)
Pumpkin Risotto - from Food Network

Pumpkin Butter
from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker
This butter benefits from a good stirring about halfway through the cooking process.
1 pie pumpkin, peeled, seeded, diced
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cups apple juice
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
add later:
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt

In a 3.5- to 4-quart slow cooker, combine the pumpkin, onion, apple juice, and brown sugar. Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours, until the pumpkin is very soft.

Stir in the spices and salt and mix well. Press the pumpkin mixture through a metal strainer or food mill to achieve a smooth consistency (you could also purée it in a food processor, if you prefer). Let cool to room temperature and store in the refrigerator in tightly covered containers, where it will keep for several weeks.

Thanksgiving Squash Casserole
from Erin Dennis

Brown lightly - 5 min:
2 T butter
1 med yellow onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine

Bring to a boil:
2 cups heavy cream
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Add with 1/2 nuts and boil; simmer 10 mins:
2.5 pounds squash (or pumpkin!)
1.5 cups pecans, toasted and chopped

Layer 1/2 cooked veg with 4 ounces of goat cheese, crumbled; top with cheese. (Optional: add spinach or chard in with the layers.)

Bake 45 minutes at 350 until cream is absorbed and top golden.

Maple-Glazed Winter Squash with Garlic and Ginger
from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker

2 T olive oil
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
one 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2 T water
1 T tamari or other soy sauce
1 large butternut squash (or pumpkin), halved, seeded, and peeled
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 T firmly packed light brown sugar
Salt and pepper

Spread the oil in the bottom of a 3/5- to 4-quart slow cooker. Arrange the onion slices over the oil, followed by the garlic and ginger. Combine the water and tamari and add to the cooker.

Cut the squash into 2-inch chuncks and place them on top of the vegetables in the cooker. Pour the maple syrup over the squash, sprinkle with the brown sugar, and season with salt and pepper.

Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours (or less!) until the squash is soft. Serve hot.


Mom said...

This is an absolutely lovely post. It WAS a fairytale.

Jenni said...

How fantastic!!! I love how you really created a lot of things that people don't think of when it comes to pumpkin!

stephjoyous said...

kudos, the perfect delivery! love the photos and the whole story that goes along with the cooking. makes it interesting and helps me relive your experience.

Jessica said...

pumpkin said.. this is how much you'll lovve me