Oct 30, 2008

Pepitas -Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

One great thing about October is pumpkin seeds. Another great thing about spaghetti squash is more seeds! Yum.

Usually I separate the seeds from the pumpkin innards, and let them soak in a little water for awhile. Then I come back and put them into a colander to rinse them and let them drain.

Then I put a little butter into a cookie sheet and let it melt in the oven. I pull it out when the butter's melted, and stir in the seeds. Then I sprinkle with spices, which vary. In the past I put garlic and salt. This year I used blackened seasoning (i.e. blackened catfish) and paprika and salt.

I roast at about 250 degrees and stir and re-season every 15 minutes, for about 45 minutes, or until it looks done.

Use whatever spices you like and enjoy! You can try a sweet mix by using cinnamon and sugar, or pumpkin spice. For ideas for using curry and tea to flavor the seeds, check 101 Cookbooks. The comments have some good ideas too!

Meanwhile, I found a recipe using the seeds that looks great. I can't wait to try it

Did you know that pumpkin seeds are also known as pepitas?

From 101 Cookbooks:
Pepita Salad Recipe

You can serve the lettuce mixed in, or under the split peas depending on how you want to serve this.

1 cup pepitas, toasted (divided)
1 cup cilantro leaves and stems, well washed and lightly packed
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
3 medium cloves garlic, peeled
juice of 1 medium lemon
1 serrano chile pepper, minced
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 cups cooked yellow split peas*
2 handfuls lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces

Make the cilantro pesto by blending 1/3 cup of the toasted pepitas, the cilantro, Parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon juice, and chile pepper with a hand blender (food processor or standard blender) until smooth. Continue blending as you gradually drizzle in the olive oil until the pesto comes together into a vibrant green sauce. Taste and add a pinch or two or salt if needed.

In a large bowl toss the yellow split peas and remaining pepitas with the pesto until everything is coated. Add the salad greens and gently toss again.

Serves 6 or so.

*To cook the dried yellow split peas bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan, add 2 cups (rinsed) dried split yellow peas and cook for 20 -30 minutes, or until tender. Drain, salt to taste and set aside.

If you buy them raw, they are good too.

Books about the raw food movement.

Three tablespoons have 4g fiber and 7g protein. It also has 25% DV iron & 2% vitamin A. Sadly, it has 100 fat calories, but I bet it's a good kind of fat.

Oct 22, 2008

Baked Spaghetti Squash with Guyere and Parsley

I never tried Spaghetti Squash until I was in my 30's. I had no recipe, and just tried it with spaghetti sauce the first time. I took to it immediately! My number one complaint against most squash is it's mushiness. Once you scoop out the seeds (save them for roasting!) and such, you drag a fork along the inside skin, and spaghetti-like strands emerge. But even better than spaghetti, the squash has a bit of a crunch, which I love.

Then I discovered this recipe, and that was it! No more red sauce on this wonderful vegetable! My 11-year old daughter likes it so much that she specifically requested it for Thanksgiving last year.

This is a simple recipe, and you can roast the squash in advance. Serve it any time you want to impress someone - it's impressive! It must be the cheese...

Baked Spaghetti Squash with Guyere and Parsley

1 spaghetti squash, about 3 lbs, punctured
1 cup Guyere cheese, grated
3 to 4 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup parsley, chopped with 1 garlic clove
Salt and freshly milled pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake the squash until the flish is yielding and soft, an hour or more. Cool. Slice the squash in half and scrape out the seeds. Now drag a fork through the flesh, pulling the strands apart. Tos them with the parsley, cheese, and butter. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Serves 4

From this cookbook - click it to find out more.

Oct 10, 2008

10 Top Restaurant Trends

I thought this was interesting:

1. Bite-sized desserts (yes, like at PF Chang's)
2. Locally grown produce
3. Organic produce
4. Small plates - tapas/mezze
5. Specialty sandwiches (not sure what this means)
6. Craft/artisan or microbrew beer (I don't think this is new)
7. Sustainable seafood (what?)
8. Grass-fed items (like beef?)
9. Energy drink cocktails (like Red Bull and vodka?)
10. Specialty salts (haven't seen this yet)

Source: National Restaurant Association: What's Hot and What's Not Survey, Oct 2007

There have been several books out lately advocating locally grown and organic foods, so it makes sense that restaurants are incorporating recent trends. Any others that you've noticed?