Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Harvest Happy: Pumpkins Part II

I decided to check out 101 cookbooks for some ideas for cooking up our jack-o-lanterns.  Wow.   That Heidi Swanson is amazing.  I chose her Pumpkin and Feta Muffins (savoury muffins) and her Roasted Pumpkin Salad. 

I started by skinning and chopping up our pumpkin and little Mother Hubbard Squash into little pieces.  I divided some up for the muffin recipe and another portion for the salad and I put the rest in the freezer to add to soups and smoothies over the next couple of months.  

The recipes took a bit longer than I thought, however, I was following two recipes at the same time.  I look forward to trying out the muffins again - I think they'll be more delicious the second time around.  The salad was amazing - love the puréed sunflower seeds in the dressing.  Super tasty.

This turned out delicious-ly!
Roasted Pumpkin Salad

3 cups of pumpkin (or other winter squash), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
extra-virgin olive oil
fine grain sea salt
 
12 tiny red onions or shallots, peeled (OR 3 medium red onions peeled and quartered)
2 cups cooked wild rice* (I used brown rice because we didn't have wild)
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons warm water
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped (Heidi says you can leave this out if you're not fond of it)

Preheat oven to 375.
Toss the pumpkin in a generous splash of olive oil along with a couple pinches of salt, and turn out onto a baking sheet. At the same time, toss the onions with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and turn out onto a separate baking sheet. Roast both for about 45 minutes, or until squash is brown and caramelized. The same goes for the onions, they should be deeply colored, caramelized, and soft throughout by the time they are done roasting. You'll need to flip both the squash and onion pieces once or twice along the way - so it's not just one side that is browning.

In the meantime, make the dressing. With a hand blender or food processor puree the sunflower seeds, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and honey until creamy. You may need to add a few tablespoons of warm water to thin the dressing a bit. Stir in the cilantro, saving just a bit to garnish the final plate later. Taste and adjust seasonings (or flavors) to your liking - I usually need to add a touch more salt with this dressing.

In a large bowl, toss the wild rice with a large dollop of the dressing. Add the onions, gently toss just once or twice. Turn the rice and onions out onto a platter and top with the roasted squash (I'll very gently toss with my hands here to disperse the pumpkin a bit). Finish with another drizzle of dressing and any remaining chopped cilantro.

Serves 4.

* To cook wild rice: Rinse 1 1/2 cups wild rice. In a medium sauce pan bring the rice and 4 1/2 cups salted water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for 40 minutes or until rice is tender and splitting open, stirring occasionally. You'll have enough for this recipe and some leftover.


These were not bad - I think I stirred the batter too much - a bit tough.

Pumpkin and Feta Muffins
The recipe calls for 2 cups of flour. There are a couple different flour combinations you might explore. The original: you can use unbleached all-purpose flour - 2 cups / 9 oz / 260g. Alternatively, I use equal parts APF and spelt flour which translates to 1 cup / 4.5 oz/ 130g APF + 1 cup / 4 oz / 115g spelt flour. I might try a whole wheat pastry flour version next time - using 2/3 wpp + 1/3 apf, the first time around - to see how that goes. You might need to add an extra splash of milk though.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups / 9 oz / 255g cubed pumpkin or butternut squash, 1/2-inch cubes
salt and pepper to taste
1 large handful of baby spinach, chopped (I used chard)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro
3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
3/4 cup / 1 oz / 30g freshly grated Parmesan
100g / 3.5 oz / 1/2 cup cubed feta
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup / 180 ml milk
2 cups flour (see headnote!)4 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
Preheat oven to 405F / 200C, with rack in the top third. Use the butter to grease a 12-hole muffin pan and set aside.
Sprinkle the olive oil and some salt and pepper over the squash. Toss well and turn onto a baking sheet or roasting pan. Arrange in a single layer and bake for 15 - 25 minutes or until cooked through entirely. Set aside to cool.
Transfer two-thirds of the squash to a large mixing bowl along with the spinach, parsley, sunflower seeds, Parmesan, two-thirds of the feta, and all of the mustard. Gently fold together. In a separate bowl beat the eggs and milk together and add to the squash mix. Sift the flour and baking powder onto the squash mix, top with the salt and a generous dose of freshly ground black pepper and fold together just until the batter comes together, be careful not to over mix.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan, filling each hole 3/4 full, top each muffin with a bit of the remaining squash and feta (see photo up above). Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops and sides of the muffins are golden, and the muffins have set up completely. Let cool for a couple minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack. I like these muffins cooled a bit, served just warmer than room temperature.
Makes 12 muffins.
Adapted from a recipe in Martha Goes Green by Rosie Percival and Ruth Friedlander. Available for purchase here.
Prep time: 20 min - Cook time: 60 min

P.S. I also roasted up the pumpkin seeds in the oven for snacking!

Mary Mary

No comments: