Friday, October 31, 2008

A wasted squash

On stoops throughout the land we are being assaulted by a seasonal enthusiasm that lets the passerby know that that household supports…Halloween. All the jack-o-lanterns will be played out by the week’s end -- they should never by abused and wasted in such a way. I know the duration for the hard-skin winter squashes is long so what is the harm of cutting up the few sacrificial squat vegetables. I guess I should go as a grinch for I also have no attachment to Charlie Brown and the patch that raised these versatile New World edible gourds. I am pragmatic and there is good eats on those stoops!

It is my vote to eat them not to display them.

I was in the market last week and came across the most ugly, warty-skinned pumpkin I have ever seen. Given it was a variety I had never seen before I was immediately drawn to it. It is my food hunting motto if I had not seen it before it goes home to my kitchen. I found it easiest to break pumpkins down into large-ish pieces, scoop out the seeds and then bake them at 350-degrees until fork tender. I remove it from the oven, and using a large spoon I scrape the meat from its skin. Any pumpkin meat that you don’t use can easily be frozen for another occasion.

Ginger Pumpkin Pie
3/4-cup ground macadamia nuts
3/4-cup breadcrumbs
1 egg white
3 cups pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon minced crystallized ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 whole eggs
1-1/4 cup cream

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl mix the macadamia, bread crumbs and egg white together to thoroughly combine. Distribute the nut mixture evenly in a 10-inch pie pan. Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and cool the crust.

Mix the ginger, nutmeg, cayenne, brown, salt into the pumpkin puree.

In a small bowl mix the whole eggs and cream together to completely combine. Mix the cream mixture in the pumpkin and then pour into the prepared nut crust. Place the pie into the oven and cook for about 45 minutes. Cool and serve.

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