Saturday, November 1, 2014

So........ you have a couple jack-o-lanterns you carved at Halloween. Usually, you'd let them sit out on the front steps until they rotted, and sometime around December 20th or so you'd finally get a shovel, scoop 'em up, and toss 'em into your garden or the trash can.

Well, what a waste!

Actually, you'd be better off eating it. Most people think only of turning their jack-o-lanterns into pumpkin puree, and then freezing the stuff to use for pumpkin pie later in November or December. But in fact, pumpkin is like any squash: It's pretty damn tasty. The strong pumpkin flavor that might be a turn-off to some actually mellows very well once pumpkin is cooked. Mashed pumpkin is a traditional North American dish that goes back to colonial times.

But for my money, the best thing you can do is make roast pumpkin. Unlike squash, which tends to liquify if roasted too much, pumpkin holds its texture very well. You can cook roast pumpkin in about 20 minutes, and it can be eaten just like melon (off the rind).

A single cup of unseasoned pumpkin contains only 49 calories, but has 564 mg of potassium, 5,000 mcg of beta-carotene, 853 mcg of alpha-carotene, 3,500 mcg of beta-cryptoxanthin, 2,400 mcg of lutein and zeaxanthin, 12,000 IUs of vitamin A, and 2.5 g of dietary fiber.



Roast Pumpkin

Ingredients

3 pounds of pumpkin, cut into 8 wedges (keep the skin on)
6 large shallots, peeled and quartered
6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/3 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon of sliced, fresh sage
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoons of pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine the pumpkin, shallots, and garlic in a roasting pan and set aside. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl, then pour the mixture over the pumpkin and toss to coat. Roast, turning the pumpkin and shallots twice during cooking, until browned and tender -- about 60 minutes. Serve immediately.

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