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Indian Summer gives way to Fall

7:36 AM

Our family made it a point to visit the little farm stand down the street.  A relic from the past that has become vibrant once again with the new interest people are showing in eating healthy and local.   A highschool kid was there stocking pumpkins and there was "spooky" music playing with a ghost hung up on the edge of the squash and corn cart.  We picked out our pumpkins for carving, seed baking, and pie making and we also picked up some lovely homegrown jalapenos and the smallest Hubbard squash I've ever seen.

We had just gotten home from a church service devoted to the seasonally appropriate theme of death, dying, and remembrance. These topics, along with memories of departed loved ones, were swirling in my head as we quickly stuffed some cash into the cashbox and loaded up the van.  We were happy to escape the stinging wind when we got back into the family vehicle for the short drive home to our 1860's farmhouse.

This time of year is so very poignant, and the change in the air and seasons is undeniable in upstate NY.  The days are much shorter than they were a couple months ago and the Sugar Maples are ablaze with color. You can almost taste the flavor of pumpkin pie spice and mulled cider in the air!

So... now you have these pumpkins that you bought for your kids to carve... and a craving for pumpkin pie spice b/c it's in the darn air... you can't help it, it just happens.  And, if you have someone in the house whose allergic to dairy, chances are you can't just go out and buy something premade.  Instead of denying yourself this Autumnal pleasure, learn how to make it happen! Don't waste those pumpkin guts!
Really, REALLY scrape out your pumpkins and keep all the insides.  You can roast the seeds and make the "guts" into a delicious dessert!

There are two different ways to cook a pumpkin.  The first is assuming that you are making Jack-o-lanterns, and the skin needs to be left intact.    Just take all the guts and boil them in a pot of water until they're soft.  Then toss them in a blender to make a puree!  The second way is  to buy a pie pumpkin ( those little ones that you see at the supermarket... that generally cost around $2), and roast it.

How to Roast a Pumpkin
side note:  a 1.5 lb pumpkin will give you about 2 cups of puree
Preheat oven to 375f
Cut pumpkin in half, remove seeds put it cut-side-down in a large casserole dish
fill dish about half-way with water

Bake in oven for about 45 minutes, or until you can put a fork easily through the skin.   Remove from oven and let cool on a plate.  When cool enough to work with, peel the skin from the flesh and put  flesh into the blender to puree. 

While we're at at, here's what to do with the seeds!

Roasted, Seasalted Pumpkin Seeds
Make a brine with seasalt and water in a small mixing bowl
Put raw, cleaned pumpkin seeds in the brine
allow to sit for about 30ish minutes
Remove seeds from brine and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet
bake at 400f, and watch them carefully
when you start smelling the seeds, and they turn brown, they're ready!

And, of course, I have a tried and true recipe for Dairy free, corn free Pumpkin Pie!


Pumpkin Pie Filling
4 egg whites (beaten)
1 small pumpkin (cooked and blended)
3/4 cup brown sugar (or maple sugar, or local honey)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 cup Soy Milk ( or coconut milk)
1 tbsp flour (fine ground grain of your choice)
1 tbsp potato starch (or tapioca starch)
1/2 package gelatin

Preheat oven to 425f
Combine Soymilk, flour, starch, and gelatin.  Microwave  1 1/2 minutes and stir.  Set aside
Blend the SNOT out of the cooked pumpkin.  Add to mixture, along with remaining ingredients.  Mix thoroughly.  Bake 45 minutes, or until done.  

Now, this can be make as a "pudding" in cute little ramekins, or it can be make into a pumpkin pie with graham cracker crust.

Graham Cracker Crust
1 1/2 cups fine graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup granulated (cane) sugar (or brown sugar)
6 tbsp margarine, melted (I use EarthBalance brand)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Take graham crackers of your brand choice (I'll be experimenting with homemade graham crackers soon... and will update with a recipe) and put them in a gallon ziplock bag and really pound them.  Seriously... smack them against the wall a little or something... until they're pretty much powdered.  Pour the powder into a bowl and mix in the other ingredients.  Press into an 8 or 9 inch pie tin.  Bake at 375f  for 10 minutes (until hard).  Cool before filling with filling of choice.

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