What can you do with pumpkins? Decorate your yard or front steps; use one for the head of a scarecrow; use them as luminaries on your driveway or sidewalk.
First, we’re going to cook with them (I always plan dessert first):
Pumpkin Bread – Makes 2 loaves
- 2 C. fresh cooked pumpkin or a 16 ounce can of pumpkin
- 3 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 3 C. sugar or Splenda
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1 C. vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. each cinnamon and nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. allspice or ground cloves
- 1 C. chopped pecans (optional)
- 1/2 C. raisins (optional)
- 1 C. chocolate chips (optional)
- 1/2 C water for fresh cooked pumpkin or 2/3 C. water for canned pumpkin
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, sugar and spices.
- Add pumpkin, eggs, oil and water. Stir until blended.
- Optional-stir in pecans and/or raisins.
- Pour batter into two lightly greased and floured 9″ x 5″ loaf pans.
- Bake approximately 1 hour, until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool in pan 10 minutes; finish cooling on a rack.
- Wrap in plastic 24 hours for best flavor. Loaves can later be frozen or kept in refrigerator, though not necessary.
- Serving ideas – drizzle with vanilla or cream cheese icing; serve 1/2 slice alongside cooked apple slices in a buttery cinnamon sauce; serve with vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce.
Of course, you can always just slice and gobble while standing at the kitchen counter!
Imagine the sweet and spicy aroma wafting through your home while these are baking. Coming up next is dinner:
Pumpkin Risotto – to die for!
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 1 cup dry white wine
- About 6 cups of hot chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 1 pie pumpkin, one half baked in the oven and then pureed; the other half, peeled, cut into small dice, and sauteed in a little oil and butter until tender
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
In a medium-size heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute, stirring continuously, just until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the rice and continue to stir, using a wooden spoon, to coat the rice with the oil.
Add the white wine and continue cooking, stirring often, until it has been absorbed by the rice. Pour in enough chicken stock to cover the rice completely, about 3 cups, and continue to cook, stirring often, until all the liquid is absorbed.
Pour in 1 cup more of the remaining stock and stir and cook until it has been absorbed. Repeat with 1 more cup. Add the remaining cup and cook, stirring, until the rice is al dente, tender but still very chewy, and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Stir in the pumpkin puree and the diced pumpkin and reduce the heat to very low so that the risotto doesn’t simmer anymore. Stir in the Parmesan and butter to give the risotto a nice, creamy finish. Spoon it immediately into heated shallow serving bowls.
Serve with a sausage, onion and apple saute (Saute slices of sweet Italian sausage and chopped sweet onion until sausage is cooked through and onion is tender. Add chopped apples, toss and saute til softened and heated through.) Mmmm!
Moving on…let’s get some inspiration for carving pumpkins!
What else can you do with a pumpkin? Create a table decoration. I like to use white pumpkins with candles and flowers in fall colors. Orange pumpkins are festive with leaves, flowers and raffia. Use them to hold flowers, candles or candy. Here are a few examples :
Last, but far from least, use leftover cooked or canned pumpkin as a facial mask, says chef/actor/health advocate Bethenny Frankel. Her recipe for your face:
Bethenny Frankel’s Pumpkin Mask
2 cups canned pumpkin
4 tablespoons Greek yogurt
4 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Combine ingredients. Smooth onto face. Rest for 10 minutes, then rinse off mask. It tastes pretty good, too. Get your Vitamin A and Beta Carotene inside and out!
Do you have any other uses for pumpkin? Do tell!
You know I love hearing from you!