Last week, I went to Dufferin Grove organic Farmer’s Market where there is still a good variety of local produce. I got a large Chinese cabbage, apples, potatoes, red onion, beets, fresh fennel, baby bok choy and a buttercup squash. Behind the red onion (see photo) is a piece of Maria’s delicious organic Spiced Fruitcake. I also bought greenhouse-grown coriander, homemade granola and buckwheat flour from one of the farmers. The radicchio and celery root are from the previous week and the carrots and burdock root are from Karma Food Coop (also local and organic).
I was surprised to see local greens. The farmer told me that greens can be covered with special sheets of plastic or burlap to protect them from the cold and extend the harvest season. The sheets are reusable.
Tonight, using the above greens, squash and red onion, I made a quick but tasty stew. I just fried the onion and squash for a few minutes in the bottom of a large pot, then added some spices, salt, a dried hot pepper, some black beans and water. Right near the end, I added chopped cabbage and bok choy.
How to turn a large pumpkin, into bountiful amounts of delicious food.
Natalie, who lives at the house, was given two pumpkins back in October – the kind that typically get used for Halloween then thrown in the garbage or composted. No one got around to carving them, so they sat on our front porch for a long time. The larger one was eventually conquered by squirrels. They slowly gnawed away at the thick skin until they had made a large enough hole to get inside and gather all the seeds. The other one was more or less spared. We brought it inside and put it in a cold room where it sat until a few days ago. I figured it was time to try to cook something out of it. I hate to see food go to waste.
It was a fair bit of work to chop it up, and separate out the seeds. I found a great recipe for roasting pumpkin seeds at recipezaar.com (an excellent site for peer rated recipes) that involved soaking the seeds in salted water, then roasting them. They turned out delicious!
Next, I used the seed soaking water as a soup base. I made a large soup with some of the cooked pumpkin pieces, greens, ginger, spices, fresh dried hot pepper (from our neighbour’s garden), lentils, and a few things that needed to be used up in the fridge. The soup is not shown in the picture above – it was eaten too quickly.
I still had a lot of pumpkin pieces, so I decided to have a go at making pumpkin pie filling to eat as a pudding. I found a promising recipe at recipezaar and tried it out. It tasted too bland so I doubled the spice. I also added some roasted chestnuts that we had on hand. I only used a third as much sweetener – maple syrup. Turned out great.
Tip: Typically these kind of recipes call for a food processor or blender. I don’t like using such devices as they are a lot of work to clean out. Instead I used a handheld blender (see photo), a very convenient tool for mixing stuff right in a pot or bowl. I also used it to turn the soup from chunky to smooth, right in the pot.