Over the last few weeks the pages of my favourite blogs have definitely been dominated by a delicious orange hue. I am not complaining. I love to welcome Fall by finding new ways to up my consumption of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger and the glorious gourd – pumpkin.
This year, I have enjoyed pumpkin in my morning oats as Angela does, whipped up a homemade pumpkin spiced latte like Mama Peaand topped a big bowl of steamed kale with whipped roasted pumpkin. But like any real hobby – there are supplies required to become a pumpkin master. Luckily, there are places where people, like me, can can go to answer the call.
Last month there was some obvious anxiety south of the border over a shortage of canned pumpkin. I haven’t actually bought a can this year because I found a reliable supplier to satisfy my craving.
I went right to the source – I discovered Pumpkinland!
While in Pumpkinland my nephews can leap over huge orange globes to find the perfect canvas for their future Jack O’ Latern masterpieces.
In Pumpkinland you are expected to take your time to evaluate the product. Select a special specimen with the end result in mind.
If you visit Pumpkinland, I suggest you bring along a friend who shares you’re adoration for all things pumpkin. My niece has less discerning pumpkin taste than I do – but I appreciate her acceptance of diversity. She’s open to loving ‘kins of all shapes and sizes.
You should know, souvenirs from Pumpkinland are not optional.
Bring many helpers to assist with your haul.
Once you return home you may find the orange glow begins to subside. In order to sustain the joy felt in Pumpkinland try adding a little pumpkin to every meal. To get you started on this regime here is a delicious dish, to warm you and your pumpkin-loving crew on a lovely fall evening.
1 cup red lentils
2 cups water
1 large yellow onion
1 TBSP coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds (optional)
1 1/2 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp hot curry powder
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 cup pumpkin puree
juice of 1 lime
2 TBSP shredded coconut
2 kale leaves, finely sliced
Rinse the red lentils in a fine mesh strainer until the water runs clear. In a small sauce-pan over medium heat bring the water to a boil. Add the lentils, cover and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook the lentils for 20 minutes. The lentils should be soft and most of the water should be absorbed.
Add the coconut oil to a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil has melted add the onion (and mustard seeds if using) and saute for 10-15 minutes until the onions are translucent and begin to brown. Add the spices and stir to coat the onions and cook for about 2 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin, cooked lentils and lime juice. Add the shredded coconut and kale. Continue cooking until the kale has softened.
Just in case you’ve never been to Pumpkinland or made your own pumpkin puree – please accept two tidbits of knowledge that have come from many years of pumpkin love. When you get your pumpkin home, cut it in half, scoop our the seeds and membranes, preheat your oven to 375, turn the two halves cut-side down on a baking sheet, add a cup of water and cook for 30 minutes. The pumpkin will be perfectly moist and supple.
Next, let the pumpkin drain for a few hours in a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl. You’ll be amazed how much liquid you collect. This will help to make you pumpkin product much more like the texture you’d expect from the can.
So…Any pumpkin lovers out there? What orange creations are coming out of your kitchen these days? Anyone want to carpool to Pumpkinland?