I have found The New York Times to be a phenomenal wealth of cooking knowledge. But it’s not just filled with the frou frou selection of recipes only the elite could stomach that you might expect. Actually, I’m quite impressed with the back-to-basics they tend to feature. Anything from a good old fashioned pot roast to broiling fish in the oven, what they suggest makes sense and sounds good!
One fine morning I came across this featured recipe for home-made, super-duper easy, artisan bread. I share it now with you, dear reader, because no one should be deprived of this little piece of heaven.
Since I believe in the old adage, “waste not, want not,” I feel compelled to use up as much of the pumpkin from our Jack-o-lanterns as possible. Therefore, it’s tradition in our family to toast the seeds that would otherwise get chucked out with the rest of the sloppy innards. And oh, what a tasty tradition it is!
Now, I’m not going to lie. This is a fairly labor intensive process. But, in carving the Jack-o-lantern you get a lot of the work out of the way. So, take the stringy, seed-filled mess from your carvings and plop it into a large bowl.
Next comes the sorting stage. You’ve got to really get in there and squish it around to detach the seeds from the fibers. This is long and tedious and kinda makes your shoulder cramp up if you are working at it alone. And once you’ve separated most of them you’ve got to pick the seeds out of the goo and throw them into a colander or strainer. Are you still reading? Good!
Rinse the seeds thoroughly in cold water, making sure to remove any pumpkin bits that may have passed your first inspection and sneaked into the colander. Alright, on to the easy part. Spread out the seeds on a baking sheet and let them air dry over night. (Note: You could put them in the oven wet, but they wouldn’t come out as crunchy because of steam.) Once dry, use the following recipe:
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
2-4 cups raw, rinsed, and dried pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp. salt, or more to taste
dash of cayenne pepper, or more to taste (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Place seeds on a parchment- or aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, lightly coated with oil or cooking spray.
3. Sprinkle salt and cayenne pepper according to taste. Toss lightly.
4. Place in oven on middle rack for about 30 minutes. Take out and toss again. Bake for an additional 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Such a fantastic snack! Hopefully, some of you have yet to carve your pumpkins and can still find this recipe useful. If not, there’s always next year!
P.S. If you’re totally lazy and don’t mind the strong pumpkin taste, you can completely skip the rinsing step and just bake the seeds coated in their pumpkin goo!
Except the leaves aren’t really falling down here. But that’s not stopping me from getting in the mood for fall festivities. Especially when it comes to food!
One dish, in particular, takes me back to our first autumn in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. The crisp air and long shadows while walking down E. 53rd Street, golds and deep reds of the leaves outside our high rise apartment window, wood smoke just beginning to make a regular appearance out of old brownstone chimneys… you could feel the impending harshness of winter start to creep its way in and, by the time Halloween came around, the cold air called out for stews, soups, and ciders.
We’ve been counseled by church leaders for as long as I can remember to prepare in all ways and to be provident in our living. Food storage is just one area. It’s taken us this long but we’ve finally established a supply that I feel really good about. This summer we were challenged by our Stake Presidency to live as if “Someday” were “Today.” Try to eat only from your food storage supply… don’t buy any gas for the week… use a limited amount of electricity… spend only the cash you have on hand, if any at all. For the first time ever, I felt prepared. After this exercise and the experience with the Gap Fire during July, I can definitely say that I have developed a testimony of following the commandment to “prepare every needful thing” (D&C 109:8).
Despite the popular belief that meals made mostly or entirely from food storage items can be less than appealing, I have found a recipe that begs to differ. I stumbled upon this little winner purely by accident. And I certainly wasn’t searching for food storage recipes, per se. But there it was– on Epicurious, no less!– calling out for me to try it.