From your Front Porch to the Plate – Stuff it!

What to do with that sweetie pie? Here are two recipes to recycle your decorative pumpkins into your dinner plans.  The best pumpkins for stuffing are either the sugar pumpkin or the sweetie pie pumpkin.  Any pumpkin will do, but these two varieties were bred for sweet meats and a future in pie.

These stuffings can be filled into any hard squash. My particular favorites being the delicata and the kabocha. Here’s a picture of a stuffed fairy tale pumpkin.

Be forewarned they are LARGE and make enough for a small army, or at least 14 folks, where as the petite sugar or sweetie pie pumpkin is good for 4-6 guests

This is an excellent recipe for improvisation, and can easily be vegan, vegetarian or omnivorous (add some bacon or pancetta)

Savory Stuffed Sweetie Pie Pumpkin

Prepare your pumpkin like you’re making a Jack o’ Lantern.  Cut the top wide, making more of a bowl than a lantern with the squash.

Preheat the oven to 400*.

Make the stuffing.

Stuffing Ingredients

A rough-cut mirepoix of onions, celery,  carrots  shallots and garlic – cooked.

Enough breadcrumbs, plain or flavored

(I love cornbread – olive bread is fun too – but not gluten free – turns to rubber inside the squash)

Sage, thyme,  California bay, rosemary from your garden, your neighbors garden, or your neighborhood. Forage! Any combination is delicious

Butter or olive oil

Salt and pepper

Grated  gruyere cheese, local Chevre or your family favorite

2 to 4 cups of cream, milk, vegetable stock, chicken stock – any combination will do

Optional: an egg or two, nuts and berries ( or bacon)

Method: Oil or butter the cavity of the squash and season with salt and pepper.  In a large bowl, mix together the mirepoix, breadcrumbs, cheeses, herbs nuts and berries.  I like to add whole cranberries and walnuts.  I also like sliced almonds and dates.  Toss together, taste and season with salt and pepper.

Chop your herbs and add no less than a teaspoon, no more than a tablespoon. Start sparingly; the flavors will bloom while cooking.

Tuck the stuffing into the prepared cavity.  Don’t pack it in. Pile it in nicely with little to no pressing depending on the density of your dressing.

Pour the liquid of choice ( stock or cream)  over the dressing till it pools at the top.

Place the pumpkin on a cookie sheet.  Place the top of the pumpkin next to the pumpkin.

Bake the pumpkin at 400* till the filling bubbles (anywhere from ½ hour to 45 minutes depending on the size). Check the lid, when it’s soft remove it from the oven.

Reduce heat to 325 and continue cooking till pumpkin is soft. You should be able to stick a pick right through the flesh and into the center of the pumpkin.  I use a skewer.

When the pumpkin is soft through and through, it’s ready!

Allow it to repose for a ½ hour before serving.  The best presentation  is when it’s sliced like a cake, and served in wedges.  Alternatively, it can be scooped out.

Pumpkin Pudding

These little darlings make good eats and beautiful place settings.  (That’s what we call stacking in Permaculture) You can find this delicious dessert in high end Thai restaurants through out Los Angeles during our autumnal  season ( still 70 and sunny!)

Recipe for Coconut Custard Pumpkins

Prepare a steamer.

Slice the top off and remove the seeds scraping a nice size cavity into 4 little pumpkins. Set aside.

Mix: 5 eggs, 1/3 cup of white sugar, pinch of salt and 1 cup of canned coconut cream. Pour into the pumpkins and steam for 20 to 30 minutes or until pudding is set, and the flesh is soft.

Slice or serve whole as dessert.  For added bling, bake pomegranate seeds into the custard. Add after the top has set if you want them to bake into the top.

Indian Cooking Class FUN! (recipes)

Seriously GREAT night! Our leaders , Sunita and Indra Led us through 10 different recipes.

Sunita and Indra getting ready for the students
Sunita and Indra getting ready for the students

Sunita and Indra were flawless in there demonstrations and assistance and we made a FEAST! You’ll notice that some recipes have few to no amounts listed. If you weren’t at the class this may seem a little strange. I suggest you mix the spices together before adding and taste! The leading ladies suggested all the chefs that night could have used more onions. Make sure you have a gracious portion- don’t be skimpy, this is the base for much of the flavor.

Indra’s Recipes

Indra’s Sri Lanken Chicken

Clean and washed 5 Chicken Pieces ( boneless thighs preferred)
½ tsp each salt and pepper, 2 tsp chile powder, pinch of tumeric
2 cloves, 2 cardamom pods, ¼ tsp fenugreek
1 inch of cinnamon, 2 tsp curry powder from your cousin, ½ tsp soy, 1 tsp oil

Combine all to marinate chicken 2- 4 hours or overnight

Saute :
1/2 to 1 onion, bay leaves ( curry leaf)
¼ tsp mustard seeds – look for the small ones
1 green chile, ½ inch of ginger – minced
2 cloves of garlic – minced, ½ tsp cumin seed
2 tsp of dry roasted curry powder

Add chicken. Stir 5 minutes. add 1.5 – 2 tomatoes, mix. Cover for 5 minutes.
Add ½ cup of water and ½ cup of coconut milk. Adjust to suit.
Reduce.
Enjoy!

Taking in the Spice extravaganza
Taking in the Spice extravaganza

Parippu ~ Lentil or Dal curry

1 Cup of Dal, triple washed.

1.5 cups of water
tumeric
1 clove of garlic
onion bits and green chile
1 inch of cinnamon stick

Simmer together till done.

Saute: Onions, garlic, chile powder, bay leaves, red chiles, mustard seed in olive oil
( feel free to add maldib fish)

Then: add the dal, ¾ cop of coconut milk and ¾ cup of water. Salt at the end.
Sprinkle with curry powder, just a bit.

Cucumber Salad – A Delicious Cold Pickle

Peel and cut the cucumber in quarters lengthwise.
1 tomato – Decide by taste whether to remove or leave the seeds. Slice small.
Add ¼ of a red onion, sliced the same size as the cucumber.
add green chile rounds.
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Squeeze on the juice of lime.
(Add Maldib Fish if you like.)
Chill and Enjoy

Potato Curry

Boil 2 to 3 potatoes till just cooked through, cool, peel and cube in 1 inch pieces.

Saute:
¼ onion, 2 garlic cloves, 1 green chile, ¼ tsp mustard seed, ½ – to 1/3 tsp tumeric
oloo har ( fenugreek)
fresh bay ( curry leaf)
1 or 2 red chiles

add ¾ cup of water and ¾ cup of coconut milk.
Add potato.
Heat and reduce.
Sprinkle with Curry powder from your cousin ( or the spice man) before serving.
(add Maldib fish if desired)

Enjoying our Indian Feast Together
Enjoying our Indian Feast Together

Sunita’s Recipes

Baingain bhartha

oil
mustard seeds
asoefetida
turmeric
sliced onions
salt
chili powder
garlic cloves
chopped tomato
globe eggplant
cilantro for garnish

1) Poke a few holes in the eggplants. Roast until they are collapsed, turning every 20 minutes, for about an hour. Cool, and peel off charred skin. Set pulp aside.
2) Heat oil on medium-high heat in pan. Add some mustard seeds and asoefetida. When the seeds start popping, add the turmeric and sliced onions.
3) Sautee onions until clear. Add the salt, chili powder, garlic, and chopped tomato. Sautee a little longer.
4) Add the eggplant pulp and cook for a bit. Shouldn’t take too long as the eggplant is already roasted.
5) Garnish with chopped cilantro.
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Spinach-Lentils

(Note this one can take a while unless you decide to pressure cook the lentils first)
Soak the lentils first.

oil
mustard seeds
chopped onions
turmeric
chopped garlic
ground coriander
salt
masala
chopped spinach
soaked mung lentils

1) Heat the oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds.
2) When the seeds start popping, add the coriander, onions and turmeric.
3) Sautee until the onions are clear.
4) Add the garlic, coriander, sal, masala, spinach and lentils. Add a little water to cover.
5) Cook on medium low heat (for quite a while) until lentils are cooked through.
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Toor Dal

ghee (or oil)
cooked toor dal (in pressure cooker)
mustard seeds
curry leaves
masala
chilli powder
tamarind pulp
jaggery (or brown sugar)
salt

1) Heat the ghee in a pan on medium high heat. Add the curry leaves, mustard seeds, and chili powder.
2) Lower the heat and add the cooked dal and stir well.
3) When it starts boiling, add salt, masala, tamarind pulp and jaggery.
4) Add water to make it the consistency you desire.
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Cauliflower

oil
cumin seeds
asoefetida
chopped green chilies
chopped cauliflower
salt
fresh ginger
cilantro

1) Heat oil in pan. Add cumin seeds.
2) When seeds begin to sizzle, add asoefetida and chilies.
3) After a minute or two, add cauliflower and salt. Stir well to coat and cook.
4) Grate in fresh ginger to taste near end of the cooking.
5) When finished cooking, stir in chopped cilantro.