Monday, October 7, 2013

Plethora of Pumpkin

Like many others, I love fall for the pumpkin treats it brings. My husband was given a home-grown neck pumpkin (I wish I would have weighed it but suffice it to say it was heavy!) from a friend at work. I have never cooked down a neck pumpkin before, only New England pie pumpkins. You can read how to do that here. I realized  I still had pumpkin puree from last year in the freezer and figured I should use that up before cooking down more! I did make a gluten free pumpkin pie a few weeks ago but forgot to add sugar to the crust and I think I actually added too much cinnamon, or maybe it was the nutmeg. Either way it turned out alright but not great.

So, I needed some more recipes (and time) to use up the rest which finally came this last Saturday with a marathon 9 hour cooking day!

This week (or more, it is a busy week) I will share with you 2 of my favorite pumpkin recipes, plus a bonus comfort food that I have not had in 2 years since going gluten free and let me tell you it was wonderful! (How's that for a teaser!)

Still wondering how to cook a neck pumpkin? My apologies for not having pictures, I really need an assistant to do my photography when I am in mega-cooking mode! So how about a picture of my newest candle? Pumpkin spice made from sustainable palm oil :)
How to Cook a Neck Pumpkin

1. Heat oven to 375. Wash pumpkin and slice into approximately 6 inch sections.
2. Peel off the outer thick skin (I tried to use a vegetable peeler which did not work at all so I just ended up using my large kitchen knife. Probably not the safest so be careful but it worked!)
3. Cut each section in half and then in quarters or thirds (depending how thick it is). The larger the slices, the longer the bake time. Try to keep the pieces as uniform in size as possible.
4. For the round "belly" of the pumpkin simply cut in half, scoop out the pulp and seeds and place face down in 9x13 baking pan with enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Do not worry about peeling the skin. Wash the seeds, coat with olive oil, salt and bake while you are baking the rest of the pumpkin but it will not take more than 10-15 minutes.
5. Spray baking sheets with olive oil and lay out pumpkin pieces on the pan.
6. Bake 45 minutes. Turn each piece and stick with a fork. If it goes in easily set out to cool and if not leave in another 15 minutes then recheck. Repeat until all pieces are fork tender. Also check the "belly" pieces of the pumpkin and simply scoop out of the shell when tender.
7. Puree in batches in a blender or food processor. Allow to cool.
8. Scoop into 1 c batches in zip top bags, then put the smaller bags in large freezer bags and label.

My pumpkin made 14 1/2 cups of pumpkin!

At NO point should you break your blender. Um, well I did and it was NOT convenient! Any suggestions on what to buy next? I've gone through 2 Magic Bullets in the last 2 years, they just are not tough enough to stand up to my every day abuse (green smoothie) and special occasions. Easy to clean is a MUST!

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