November 25, 2009

Pumpkin Stuff

Tomorrow we head through the woods, on freeways and byways, over rivers and train-tracks and more roadways to Travis and Sarah's home for Thanksgiving. It's been a long time since I've not hostessed Thanksgiving, cooking the turkey stuffed with my grandma's and mom's sage dressing. I'm making the pies and rolls and a fresh cranberry side dish to bring.

I've got pie pumpkins in the oven roasting for pumpkin pies. I simmered dry the pumpkin seeds and they're spread on a cookie sheet drying in the oven now too. I posted last year about cooking up squash seeds - I do it for most winter squash, not just pumpkin seeds. I know too I must have gotten my idea from somewhere, so I just looked at books I knew I had when we were early married that might have it in, and found it. I looked mainly to find proportions to share with you since I wing it each time and sometimes they're too salty.

The Salted Roasted Pumpkin or Squash Seed recipe wasn't in one of my grandma's cookbooks but Carla Emery's Old Fashioned Recipe Book - The Encyclopedia of Country Living, and I see it's still in print. I've got her original book she wrote decades ago, printing sections from a mimeograph machine on varying colored pages and bound in a 3-ring binder, having heard her on TV. I've not read her newer version word-for-word as I did the first edition, but I do know things are missing ... like her Christian testimony and married to a Mormon man, were in the Chicken chapter.

After washing the squash seeds she boils them 15 minutes: 2-3 TB salt per quart of water, drains, and spreads to dry on a cookie sheet in a moderate oven till brown and crisp. I think that's too much salt and I add other stuff. I like to barely cover the seeds in a saucepan with water and put in a TB of butter or olive oil. For one pumpkin's seeds today I put in 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1/2 tsp onion powder. I like to simmer till the liquid evaporates cuz then the flavorings penetrate the seeds. Most recipes have you adding butter or oil to the cookie sheet and salting and stirring - how would the salt really stick? and 'twould be messy. Usually I just put them in an oven that had been on, but now turned off and leave them to dry - sometimes leaving them in till the next day (just don't turn the oven on for something else, forgetting the seeds are in there! And you should peek in the oven when you're turning it on anyway - I've left cast iron pans in to dry. Monte's cousin's kid likes to hide stuffed animals in the oven!)

My sister sent the pumpkin picture last week and I deliberated posting it. I told her it was SO funny yet gross too. She had several comments to her post and the one I thought funniest was "I think I'll reach for the apple pie this Thanksgiving ..."

Well, off to make the pie crusts and refrigerate - chilled dough makes flakier crusts, as well as not manhandling it too much. I'm making two pumpkin and two mystery pecan pies.
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