Monday, November 2, 2009

Challenge Ingredient: Pumpkin or Squash

Good evening everyone! How was your Halloween? I hope everyone had fun -- there's not much point to Halloween otherwise, is there?

This week we're focusing on pumpkins and squash. I get really excited about baking in the Fall (who doesn't?) and I love baked pumpkin goods. It doesn't even have to be baked. It can be frozen. Here is a list of pumpkin food I love:

Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little. I don't like pumpkin pie. True story. I like anything and everything else I've ever eaten with pumpkin in it, but not pumpkin pie. I think it's a texture thing.

I've only ever made one thing with squash. I made spaghetti last year using spaghetti squash instead of pasta. I liked it, but my husband said it tasted too much like potatoes, which he doesn't like.

Pumpkin facts:
  • The word "pumpkin" comes from the Greek pepon, meaning "large melon" (so why isn't it in season in the Summer?)
  • Botanically speaking, the pumpkin is a fruit.
  • Antarctica is the only continent incapable of producing pumpkins.
  • The top pumpkin-producing states in the country are Illinois, Ohio (go me!), Pennsylvania and California
  • Canned pumpkin is often recommended by veterinarians as a dietary supplement for dogs and cats that are experiencing digestive problems, as the high fiber content helps to aid proper digestion.
  • Pumpkin flowers are edible

(Sources: Wikipedia: Pumpkin and Pumpkins and here for more factoids from them.)

Squash. Well, I don't really know much about it. There are lots of popular varieties, and tons of ways to eats them -- spaghetti squash, summer squash, winter squash, zucchini, acorn squash, butternut squash. I actually saw a recipe today for butternut squash that I think I'll try out -- maybe this week, maybe not. It can be found here.

Some pumpkin recipes to share:
  • Pumpkin Apple Spice Muffins from My Kitchen Cafe.
  • Pumpkin Dip that I love to serve with gingersnaps (you might want to cut the recipe in half, though)
  • My mom's pumpkin bread (recipe to follow)
Pumpkin Bread

2 cups pumpkin
4 eggs
3 cups sugar
1 cup oil
2/3 cup water
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. allspice

Preheat oven to 350. Dump all ingredients into bowl of stand mixer, and mix just until blended, scraping down the bowl as needed.

For mini loaves (makes 6), bake 25-30 minutes. For full-size loaves (3), bake for 60-65 minutes.

1 comment:

Jillian said...

I love everything pumpkin, too. But, I *love* pumpkin pie. That is one thing I think I could easily live off of. ;)