Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Date Night #1: Pumpkin Carving

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.

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tashia said...

OMG Matt's pumpkin is amazing! Is that even possible?! My mouth is still agape as I write this.

AmyJean {Relentless Bride®} said...

MAD skills! Dang i'm so impressed. he carved that?!?!

Your pup is so cute too :)

Hadeel said...

The only suggestion I have on your concern local food is to shop at a local farmers market and only buy food when it's in season. I'm pretty sure Houstan has a CSA program.

Hadeel said...

*Houston :| Yikes, spelling.

Jenn said...

I decided back in May that I would buy everything I could from the farmer's market, because i was getting so fed up with the long distance that 95% of the produce at the grocery store traveled before getting to us. We are lucky to have a wonderful farmer's market (in Halifax, Nova Scotia) and I plan to get all of our produce from there at least until Christmas. We'll see how long we can last on apples, winter squash, kale, potatoes, onions, sweet potatoes, rutabagas, parsnips and carrots beyond that... we may end up slinking back to the grocery store come March, when neither of us can stand the thought of more squash! Of course we still pick up things like flour, oats and spices at the grocery store all year, but it has been a fun challenge to buy all of our meat, produce and cheese locally at least.

Sara E. Cotner said...

@ Tashia and AmyJean: He printed a high-contrast image of Obama and then used it as a template. He cut out all the white parts of the printout (using an Exact-o knife) and then traced it onto the pumpkin.

@ This Girl Asia and Jenn and Mat: You're totally right about Farmers' Markets being the way to go. I love, love, love them. I need to get back into the habit of going every week. Also, Jenn and Mat, have you read Barbara Kingsolver's book about eating locally (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life)? Here's a website about the book: http://www.animalvegetablemiracle.com/

It's so inspiring. It talks all about canning and freezing summer fruits and vegetables (when they're in season locally) so you can continue to eat a well-rounded diet all year.

Angel said...

To get rid of some of that slimey skin and to get salt on the inside of the seed, I boil my pumpkin seeds until they get saturated. Works great!

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