Thursday, October 18, 2012

Peter, Peter Pumpkin Seed Eater

We are in the 2 week window to Halloween.  Are you ready?  Do the kids have their costumes?  Do you have a costume?  Did you get the hot dog costume for your wiener dog?  (that one just cracks me up!)

When my kids were little, I enjoyed dressing up to pass out the candy.  With our usually still balmy weather, all the neighbors would sit out in their driveways to pass out the treats.  One Halloween I dressed up as a clown.  I had the rainbow wig and painted face.  I scared the bejeebers out of every little kid that came by!  They would spot me several houses down and they would immediately scream and run away!  I thought I was a friendly clown!  Live and learn!

Have you carved any pumpkins yet?  How many are you planning to carve?

Remember when pumpkin carving was limited to pumpkins with triangle eyes, nose and square teeth?  yeah, B O R I N G!  I was so excited to discover those carving kits!  I may have gotten carried away some years and carved 5 more than one.  Many Halloweens were spent with sore, orange fingers!  Somehow those little saws were just not doing a good job!  I did find that you can get Dremel tools to make the job a little easier. What I really wanted was a mini-chain saw or sawz all!

Have you seen those really neat pumpkins people make that look like real people?  Or a real scene?  I just love those!  While I know there are people with enough talent to create those by themselves, I also know I am not one of those people!  But give me a pattern and it's another story!

There is software that will turn your photo into a carvable stencil!  It's called "Me On A Pumpkin".  So cool!  Go here to check it out!

What do you do with all those seeds that you scrape out?  Toss 'em?  Toast 'em?

In my neck of the woods, pumpkin seeds can be found at the grocery store.  They are also called "pepitas" and are a popular ingredient in Mexican cuisine.  They can be roasted and salted and served as a snack or topping for a salad.  They have been eaten by Indians since way, way back in the day.  Indians were the original recyclers!  They never waste anything!

Hello?  Is anybody out there?

Back before the turn of the century, during my "Martha Stewart" period, I started making her "Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds".   The spicy comes from cayenne.  I don't usually add it, but if you are a fan of the spicy, go ahead and add a pinch! Or a glob! Or a handful!  Whatever floats your boat!

 This recipe has become a frequently requested one.

Martha Stewart's Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

1 cup pumpkin seeds, from 1 medium pumpkin (about 5-7lbs)
5 TBL sugar
1/4 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 1/2 TBL peanut oil

1. heat oven to 250 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, cut pumpkin open from the bottom and remove seeds, separate stringy stuff and discard, spread seeds on parchment in an even layer, bake until dry, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour, let cool.

2. in a medium bowl, combine 3 TBL sugar, salt, cumin, cinnamon, ginger and cayenne, heat peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat, add pumpkin seeds and 2 TBL sugar, cook until sugar melts and the pumpkin seeds begin to caramelize, about 45-60 seconds, transfer to bowl with spices and stir well to coat, let cool.

These may be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Martha and I tend to quibble about some things.  First, in this recipe it says 1 cup seeds from a 5-7 pound pumpkin.  Don't worry about weighing and measuring.  Just use whatever amount of seeds you get from whatever size pumpkin you got to carve.

Then there's the matter of the baking time.  My seeds are always done in about 30 minutes.  If I left them in the oven for an hour they would be shriveled up black, inedible lumps of yuck.  Just be sure to check yours and give them a stir every 15 minutes.  They should not get dark brown!  A light toasty brown is just fine!

And finally, if you don't have peanut oil, don't make a special trip to the store to buy some!  Canola oil or corn oil will work just fine!  I think she chose peanut oil because she is hoity-toity it has a high heat tolerance, meaning it will not ignite and cause your kitchen to burn down.

 Click here for a printable recipe.

Be sure to add your sunshine and shadows pictures to the flickr gallery!  I bet you can find lots of shadows on these spooky nights!  And don't forget to follow us on Instagram!

"There is a child in every one of us who is still a trick-or-treater looking for a brightly-lit front porch."
 ~Robert Brault



Snap said...

BOO to you too! It's my favorite time of year. Thanks for the Treat recipe.

Dotti said...

Such a fun post and a great-looking recipe. I have to confess that so far my attempts at roasting pumpkin seeds has not been successful. Maybe having actual instructions will make a difference!

And the jack o'lantern ... wow ... will you come carve mine?


terriporter said...

Love your FOL pumpkin! I used to do those creative pumpkins when my kids were young. Almost got blisters a few times from the intricate carving! One thing we always did was roast the pumpkin seeds. I would buy huge pumpkins just so we could have enough seeds to go around. However, I like mine salty, not sweet, although this recipe sounds like one I might want to try. Thanks for the printable recipe! Great idea.

Claudia@DipityRoad said...

I PRINTED!! :) I love pumpkin seeds and had misplaced my recipe --- BOOOO! too you toooo!

What a fun post! Our fall is sooo colorful this year and tons have decorated. I am working on sharing some fun goolish ideas for my post next week!! Hope you have a fabulous time at Oasis! Keep us all posted.

Hugs and TRAVEL safe!

Kim Stevens said...

I smiled when I saw the FOL carving on the pumpkin, how cute! Golly, since my kids have gotten older, we haven't carved pumpkins in a while, but I think this year I may try to squeeze it in! If at the very least to get some of those seeds, and try your recipe, which looks awesome! Thanks!

heyjudephotography said...

I love your jack-0-lantern with the FOL carved into it. Great job Linda. I can not stand the smell, or the mess, of carving pumpkins.. And I'm really bad at it anyway. I am the one that would still have to have the triangle eyes and nose,etc. :) We used to paint ours (since when I say I can't stand the smell of the pumpkin "innards" I'm realllly serious), but now we have some really neat plastic eyes, mouths, noses, eyebrows, etc that poke right into the pumpkin. My younger son loves to create all sorts of weird faces with them. I have never had pumpkin seeds, believe it or not. Could have to do with the not wanting to cut the pumpkin open.. I do think that recipe looks yummy. Maybe I can persuade someone else to give me some seeds so I can try this. Good job Linda! Very cute and funny post today.

Deanna said...

what a fun, fun post. I remember as a kid, trick or treating in Texas, always balmy, never had to wear a coat over my costume like many have to do up in my part of the woods now. I love pumpkin seeds, but I don't think I have ever toasted them...thanks so much for the recipe. I don't carve pumpkins anymore since my kiddos are long gone & the grand-kids are adults now, but I am going to keep your link for a possible "great" grandchild. Thanks for a cute, fun post!!

Anonymous said...

My kids are grown but we used to get out those kits (with the crummy knives) lol and have a pumpkin carving contest! This is going to put a whole new spin on pumpkin carving:) Cant wait to give it a try and eat those wonderful seeds afterwards! Thanks for sharing, and Happy Halloween!

Carol said...

So much fun" love the pumpkin! A new fol button maybe? Lol! And you are going to make me into a cook yet'

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