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09-Oct-2009
 
 
 
 
 
Well, that was an unintended break!  The job-that-pays has been crazy the last six weeks or so.  A big project I’ve been working on was completed early this week.  I’ve been recovering the last few days and am finally starting to settle back into a more normal life.  It feels good! 
 
During the project summer turned to fall and I’ve emerged into sunny days rimmed with crispness, summer fruits giving way to fall produce and shorter days which pull me back into the kitchen.  Last weekend I made a gorgeous braised roast that lasted me most of the week.  Today I roasted my first pumpkin of the year. 
 
In the photo above it’s just been pulled from the oven and the skin removed.   If you look closely you might see the steam still rising.  I roasted the pumpkin cut-side down which actually steams it while roasting.  As the steam rises it forces itself between the meat of the pumpkin and the skin.  Once cooked the skin separates from the meat with no work at all.  I was able to remove each half in one whole piece. 
 
After the pumpkin cooled I tossed half at a time into a food processor and processed it until pretty smooth.  There was still a little texture but I wanted to make sure any strings were completely broken down.  You don’t need a food processor: you can use a blender or even just mash it by hand.  If you mash by hand just make sure you pull out any pieces that are stringy, if you see them. 
 
There are so many ways this pumpkin can now be used!  Pie, of course, bread, muffins, cookies….. but I have something different in mind for a good portion of this one.  One year while looking for a vegetarian lasagne recipe I came across a butternut squash lasagne recipe by Giada DeLaurentis.  It is absolutely delicious!  I’ve made the recipe using both butternut and pumpkin and like both versions.  This time of year is perfect for it, since the recipe also calls for basil.  So, while I still have basil in the garden (it’s days are numbered with the cool nights we’re having) and pumpkins and squash are newly available I’m going to take advantage of both. 
 
Tomorrow I’ll whip up some fresh pasta and tomorrow night or Sunday all the pieces will come together in the perfect summer to fall transitional dish. 
 
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