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Friday, October 31, 2008

Pumpkins

I have a love/hate relationship with pumpkin seeds. I adore the idea of eating something that is pretty durned nutritious, and I love the thought of being able to put so much of the pumpkin to good use -- it seems so wasteful to toss out all those excellent seeds! But I hate cleaning the seeds, and I am usually rather disgusted by the results when I've attempted to roast them myself.


But the gourd gods have definitely been kind to me this October -- after years of disappointing results, last night I made not one but two yummy batches of roasted pumpkin seeds! The ones in the yellow dish are cinnamon flavored, and the ones in the red dish are spiced with paprika. I was inspired by this savory recipe and this sweet one, and I was determined that this time around I'd actually concoct something that I'd want to consume. Hooray for success!


Of course, we had to carve the pumpkins first.



In my google searching, I'd come across the tip that cleaning the seeds is much easier if you dump the pulp and seeds inside a big bowl and fill it up with water. Indeed, the seeds float to the top and are much easier to separate! I rinsed the separated seeds thoroughly in a colander and spread them out on paper towels to dry. After about an hour, they were still fairly damp, but I couldn't wait any longer.

First, I tried the cinnamon recipe. I had about 2 cups of seeds to work with, and they fit nicely spread out on a single greased cookie sheet. (I greased it with Olive Oil Pam.) I combined about 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. I then sprinkled about half of this on top of the seeds and put it in a 350 oven for about 5 minutes. Then I stirred up the seeds, sprinkled on the rest of the cinnamon mixture, and baked for about another 25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so. They have a nice spicy aroma while baking, and the finished seeds are quite tasty. While I ended up liking the paprika ones better, these are definitely the favorite of both BB and BJ -- they both ate a bunch of them for snack today!

The only major drawback for the cinnamon recipe is that I ended up with a LOT more seasoning bits than seeds. I liked how the seeds were thoroughly coated, but there were a few crispy chunks of salt/sugar/cinnamon mixed in with the seeds. I found out the hard way that these are not the delectable tidbit one might hope. Much too salty for my palate. It was a bit of a pain to pick out the seeds from the leftover chunks of salty seasoning, but I think the results were worth it.

For the paprika version, I started off by spreading out the remaining 2 cups (or so) of seeds on a single ungreased cookie sheet and drying them for about 15 minutes in a 250 oven. Then I pretty much followed the Cold Kiwi recipe: combine 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (I again used Kosher salt), 1/2 teaspoon pepper (I used white pepper because I thought the fine texture would be nice), 1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (I added a splash more), and 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Toss the seeds in the mixture and let rest for about 15 minutes. (BB woke fussing, so I had to get her back to sleep, and thus this ended up being more like 30, I think -- lost track.)

I then spread the seeds out again on the ungreased cookie sheet, roasted at 300 for about 15 minutes, stirred everything up thoroughly, roasted 10 minutes more, stirred, and finished with another 5 minutes (or so) in the oven. I forgot to let them cool on paper towels, but they seemed to do just fine sitting on the cookie sheet. They smelled so good that I munched on a few while they were still warm, and I was quite pleased with the result.

So nice to imagine continuing the roasted pumpkin seed tradition in a way that I can actually look forward to!
BTW, we didn't end up spelling out OBAMA, though we were tempted....


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