Oct. 21--They're a bit smaller in some local patches, but 2012 is proving to be a bumper year for pumpkins. Which is a good thing because people tend to go a nuts this time of year over fall's favorite fruit, which has been a staple of traditional American desserts for centuries.
But why stop at pies, cookies and tarts?
A low-calorie food that adds protein, fiber and mega amounts of vitamin A to your diet, pumpkin lends itself to an endless variety of dishes, like the White Bean, Chicken and Pumpkin Chili pictured above.
If you want to make pumpkin puree from scratch, remove seeds, cut into large chunks, rub with oil and roast at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Or, cut into wedges and microwave on high for 5 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork. Take off skin and puree cooked pumpkin by pulsing it in a food processor or mashing it with a potato masher. One pound of fresh pumpkin will yield about 1 cup of puree.
Pumpkin Pie Margarita
This isn't the actual recipe served at Mad Mex -- that's proprietary info -- but Chef Bill Fuller swears it's close. Delicious paired with a Gobblerito.
--1 cup Siempre Azul blanco tequila --1/2 cup Grand Mariner --Juice of 4 limes --Juice of 1 orange --1/2 cup pumpkin pie puree (yes, from a can) --1/2 cup apple cider --1/4 teaspoon cinnamon --Barest dash of nutmeg
Fill blender 2/3 with ice. Add all other ingredients. Puree until smooth. Rim glass with salt, sugar in the raw, or nothing. Drink!
-- Chef Bill Fuller, Big Burrito
PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE
This is very good. And making a latte in a slow cooker is a lot easier than jumping into the car and driving to a Starbucks.
-- Arlene Burnett
--1/2 cup brewed espresso or 3/4 cup strong coffee --2 cups milk (1 percent or whole) --2 tablespoons canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) --1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon cloves, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, and a tiny pinch of ground ginger --2 tablespoons sugar --2 tablespoons vanilla extract --Whipped cream and 2 cinnamon sticks, optional garnish
Use a 2 quart slow cooker. Add coffee or espresso and milk to the stoneware.
Whisk in pumpkin, spices, sugar, and vanilla. Cover and cook on high 2 hours.
Whisk again. Ladle into mugs, and garnish with whipped cream and additional cinnamon.
You can add a cinnamon stick to be fancy.
-- "Make It Fast, Cook It Slow, The Big Book of Everyday Slow Cooking," by Stephanie O'Dea, (Hyperion, 2009, $19.99).
Spiced Pumpkin Pecan Pancakes
Pumpkin hotcakes are one of the hottest breakfast menu items this time of year, so why not make them at home?
--1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour --1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar --2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon --3/4 teaspoon fine salt --1/2 teaspoon ground ginger --1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg --1/8 teaspoon ground cloves --1 1/4 cups whole milk --1/2 cup pumpkin puree --3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled --2 large eggs --1 teaspoon vanilla extract --1/2 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
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