Thursday, October 28, 2010

tough skins

As the night for ghouls and goblins approaches carved orange squashes sit guarding the entrance to many a festivity. Unlike a Christmas tree ornaments these decorations are undertaken annually only to be discarded once their rooting craved teeth have shriveled up. I can only hope that the seeds got harvested and toasted as a great snack.

Personally, I have no desire to crave these hard-skins and waste the potential of its meat. Unless, I am making a soup it is rare that I will be able to utilize the entire presentation of autumn’s giants. I will carefully cleave the pumpkin is half remove its seeds, and then break the pumpkin down into smaller more manageable pieces that I will then peel. Whatever excess pumpkin I find myself with gets frozen. It is best if you can freeze them on a tray in a single layer, and then transfer into a freezer bag. Come later in the year I will defrost them for pies, custards and breads, or thrown them directly in stews and soups to thaw and cook. I am not opposed to canned pumpkin but why bother when I was get more than I need.

Spiced Pumpkin Bread with Orange Chutney
2-cups (or 15-ounce canned) pumpkin puree
1-cup canola oil
2/3-cup warm water
1-1/2 cups sugar
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2-teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2-teaspoon ground ginger
1/2-teaspoon ground fennel seed
1/2-cup almond meal

Pre-heat the oven to 350-degrees.

Grease and flour two 7x3-inch bread pans.

In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, eggs, oil water and sugar until well blended.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, fennel seed and almond meal.

Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin/egg mix until just combined.

Pour into prepared bread pans, and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center. Cool for 10 minutes before releasing from the pan.

Orange Chutney
1/4-cup sugar
1/4-cup honey
1/4-cup fresh lemon juice (from approx 1 lemon)
1/2-sliced dried apricots
1/4-teaspoon salt
5 oranges – peeled, seeds discarded and cut into chunks

Add the sugar, honey, lemon juice, apricots and salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer and cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Then mix in the orange chunks a simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Cool completely.

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