Ahh...date night. What fun!
We decided to cook tomato, mozzarella, and basil sandwiches because the heirloom tomatoes we bought at Whole Foods were very, very ripe. As a side tangent, I am frustrated by Whole Foods's tendency to sell produce from far, far away. I live in Houston. So far, far away for me is--oh, let's see--North Africa! New Zealand! Seriously, it is not good for the Earth for us to cart produce all over it (even if it's organic, which it isn't always). The amount of greenhouse gases that are released into the air is just ridiculous.
Back to the story: We also made salad with pears, dried cranberries, and sunflower seeds.
After dinner, the carving started.
Matt went for a political statement on his pumpkin, while I tried my hand at carving letters (just three--I spelled b-o-o and added a couple stars). Hoss was obsessed with chewing on the pumpkin stems.
And now it's time to make pumpkin seeds. I love regular ol' baked pumpkin seeds, but I think I'm going to try something a little more unique this year, like this recipe:
1 medium pumpkin (5 to 7 pound size), reserve seeds
5 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoon peanut oil
Heat oven to 250F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut pumpkin open from the bottom, removing seeds with a long-handled spoon. Separate flesh from seeds and discard. Spread seeds on parchment in an even layer. Bake until dry, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Let cool.
In a medium bowl combine 3 tablespoons sugar, salt, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne. Heat peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add pumpkin seeds and 2 tablespoons sugar. Cook until sugar melts and the pumpkin seeds begin to caramelize, about 45 to 60 seconds.
Transfer to bowl with spices and stir well to coat. Let cool. These may be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.