The fact that these words perplexed me and that it had to be explained that pumpkin was excellent cooked other ways goes to show how little fresh squash I ate growing up. I ended up ordering a savory stew with pumpkin, sopping up every last drop with flat bread. I didn't lick the bowl, but rest assured that I wanted to.
So now Fall is here and pumpkins are everywhere. This is my favorite time of year, and I know I'm not alone in this. It's usually hard to resist crisp fresh air scented with apples, the beautiful sight of trees blazing in deep fall colors. There's just one problem: I'm in Southern California right now, where it's sunny and 90 degrees. I a mid-western girl born and raised, and this does not make me happy. Especially after being teased earlier this week by rain and clouds, gray skies and cold air. That's Fall!
Sure, I'm blessed to have great weather, and to be surrounded by farmer's markets that are open year 'round stocked full of delicious local produce. And, OK, rain is great when you're home cocooned in a fleece blanket with a good book and a mug of tea, not when you're running through a parking lot full of puddles in heels. But Fall can be so fleeting, so humor me, please.
If Fall won't come to me, I'll create it as best I can. Which means if you come over to visit, be prepared to be offered a hot mug of mulled cider. And don't mind the sweltering heat, I'm just roasting pumpkin in the oven. Perhaps we should take our cider by the pool?
All pumpkin varieties are edible, but your best bet for baking and texture are the small "sugar" or "sugar pie" varieties you see at the store. Like any other winter squash, you don't need to season the slices as I have described below, you can simply roast and enjoy.
It was hot the day I roasted my pumpkin, so when it cooled I simply cut it into pieces and tossed it with some fresh lettuce I had on hand. I drizzled it lightly with white balsamic vinegar. Accompanied with a glass of white wine, and some homemade bread, it made a really nice lunch
1 small pumpkin (2 to 3 pounds)
1 tablespoon canola or other neutral oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cut the pumpkin from top to bottom, into wedges. Discard seeds and strings and spread slices on a lightly oiled baking sheet (or one covered with aluminum foil).
2) Whisk together the oil and other ingredients and brush onto the pumpkin slices. Bake for about 25 minutes, then brush again. Bake an additional 20 to 30 minutes, or until done.
3) Cool and then peel from skin.