Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday Fun: Pumpkin Art

What is Halloween around these parts without some creative pumpkin carving? Wander around your neighborhood or do a search on the web & you can find TONS of interesting (or gory or silly or elaborate...) ideas.

You might be a devotee of the classic jack-o-lantern face with its triangle eyes & nose & simple mouth with a couple of teeth. Or maybe a simple variation on that theme.

Maybe you are keen on making a set of pumpkins in a theme or using props to create a scene with pumpkins.

Using well-known art as inspiration?

How about designing a pumpkin based on the light inside of it?

Or you get out the wood-carving tools and go for the three-dimensional approach. (Man, are some of these impressive!)

Whatever sort of pumpkin art you enjoy (or toward which you aspire), I hope you enjoy seeing and/or carving some this October! If you've got links to some great pumpkin art, leave them in the comments because we'd love to see them!

Addendum: Want to make your pumpkin last? Check out this science experiment where 5 methods of pumpkin preservation (plus a control pumpkin) are put to the test!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Frost Pumpkin Pie

For Pumpkin & Other Hard/Winter Squash month, I'm pleased to share with you another one of my mother's recipes. It's refreshing and unusual and a great way to have "pumpkin pie" on Thanksgiving if your oven is just too dang full, but your freezer's got some room. Or maybe if you're living in a warmer climate than Wisconsin and Minnesota! Basically, it's pumpkin pie filling swirled with softened vanilla ice cream, refrozen into a graham-cracker pie crust. Yum!!!! Thanks, Mom, for a delicious recipe!

Frost Pumpkin Pie
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Beat the above together until smooth, then stir in
1 quart softened vanilla ice cream

Pour into a 9-inch graham cracker crust.*
Freeze 8 hrs or more.
Remove from freezer 15 min before serving.

Optional: sweetened whipped cream, walnut halves or candy corn for garnish.

* To make your own graham cracker crust:
1 and 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 Tbsp sugar
1/3 cup melted butter or margarine
Combine and press into 9-inch pie pan.
Optional: bake for 10 min at 350, then cool before filling.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday Fun: Tidbits about Pumpkins

Did you know...

At one time, pumpkins were believed to heal snake bites as well as to remove freckles.

Many people think the pumpkin is a vegetable but in actuality it is a squash fruit. Pumpkins consist of 90% water and if you fill a pumpkin with milk and then bake it, you will have a pudding.*

Pumpkin flowers are edible.

Pumpkin takes its name from the medieval French word 'pompom', meaning 'cooked by the sun.' (Ultimately, probably from the Greek 'pepon.')

Besides making a delicious snack, pumpkin seeds are full of zinc, iron, potassium, magnesium, and essential fatty acids. I think they're totally worth the yick of pulling them out of all the pumpkin guts. REALLY want to know exactly how healthy they are? Check out the USDA's nutrient listing for 1/2 c. of them.

Take a wild guess as to the size of the 2010 World Record Pumpkin. Then go here and see how close you got. HUGE, isn't it?!

*I have not tried this, but I think somebody should!

Sources: Pumpkin Trivia Tidbits, Food Facts & Trivia: Pumpkin, USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Pumpkin Nook.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

October's Theme - Pumpkins and Other Hard/Winter Squash

A new month and a new theme! You know I love Halloween, right? And fall? And we're members of a CSA? And (ok, you might not know this one) we have several volunteer squash-y type plants in our garden & yard, one of which appears to be acorn squash? So, yeah, I'm all about this month's theme being Pumpkins & Other Hard/Winter Squash.*

I didn't think we had very many recipes so far, but it turns out you could probably make a meal of all squash dishes.

For starters, there'd be Butternut Squash Soup with Curried Horseradish Cream.

It would be followed by Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash and Shallots. It's so autumn with the oven, and the smell of the squash, and the comfort food of the noodles... YUM!

For your bread, you've got Nectarine's Pumpkin Bread. Or, make her Pumpkin Spice Muffins! Ooh, choices!

For dessert, don't forget the classic, Pumpkin Pie, as Pusher makes it from a real pumpkin! :) Now that's dedication. Or, if you're not a fan of the crust, try Diplowhat's No-Crust Pumpkin Pie!

Of course, to keep your strength up while you make all that, the day before you should make AllKnowingJen's Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Squares so that you've got them to snack on while you're all busy creating your squash-y meal! :)

So there you have it! Lots of recipes already. But looking through to find these, I noticed a few request/longings for a good butternut squash ravioli recipe, so if anybody's feeling up for a challenge, maybe you could go searching & recipe-testing for us all! :)

*To paraphrase from my old Joy of Cooking, in general, winter squash have hard-shelled skins and include acorn, Hubbard, and butternut. Summer squashes are all thin-skinned, such as zucchini, pattypan, and yellow summer squash.