Monday, November 21, 2016

November 2016 #Vegetarian Friendly #Food Themed Thoughts (FD)

For the past several years, when Halloween rolls around, I've cooked something involving pumpkin. Halloween to me just screams pumpkin recipes, which is kind of funny considering I was almost 19 years old the first time I ever tried pumpkin pie, and in my 20s the first time I tried cooking anything with pumpkin. Yes, seriously! I'd heard of pumpkin pie, but things like that are only available over here if you make them yourself, or know someone who can, so it was when I spent some time living in Canada that I first tasted pumpkin pie. Needless to say, the next time I tried it I had to make it myself, and since pumpkins are only readily available around Halloween, and it's only in the last couple of years we've had the option to order canned pumpkin, my pumpkin pie making, and cooking of any other pumpkin themed recipes, generally has to be done around Halloween, which sort of helps to solidify the association in my mind with pumpkin recipes and halloween.

Yeah, I know Halloween was a couple of weeks ago. Just bear with me here, OK? I couldn't do this post until after I'd done my Halloween baking for this year, and this is the first chance I'm getting to sort it. Besides, I'm pretty sure it's in time for those of you celebrating Thanksgiving this month, some of whom may want to do some pumpkin themed baking for that holiday.

Anyway, a favourite pumpkin themed recipe of mine is pasta with pumpkin sage sauce and cheese, which I've cooked at least once every year since I discovered the recipe - not always on Halloween, but always around this time of year - and which has proven to be popular with everyone I've tried it on. But I've also tried a couple of other pumpkin themed recipes (some savoury, some sweet). Plus, I've tweaked the sauce recipe a bit a couple of times. I've cooked it with and without the onion, I've substituted the nutmeg for pumpkin spice, and I've made it using completely different herbs and spices. I've also used the pumpkin sage sauce in a vegetable bake (in its original form, and with different herbs and spices in it) which worked out well too.

If you're interested, you can find most of the pumpkin themed recipes I've used on my website's recipe section, including the recipe for the above mentioned pumpkin sage sauce, and one for pumpkin pie. You won't find the variations for the sauce though, so you'll have to ask me about that if you want to know what I did.

My recipe section also has a pumpkin pasty recipe on it, but the pumpkin pasty recipe you'll find on my website is for sweet pumpkin pasties. Those are pretty good, but I decided last year that I wanted to make savoury versions. So I made pumpkin and vegetable pasties, which turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself. Unfortunately, nobody can vouch for me on this one, since Kelly was the only one around when I made them, and wasn't interested in trying them; he's often reluctant to try new recipes, especially vegetarian ones. Anyway, they consisted of potatoes, carrots, onions, peas, and pumpkin puree, cooked up and then mixed together before being wrapped up in pastry and baked until the pastry was golden brown.

This year, however, I decided to take a different approach to making a savoury pumpkin pasty; I wanted the focus to be on the pumpkin, rather than all the other veggies in it. So I decided to make some of the pumpkin sage sauce I love so much, though without the onions, and with pumpkin spice in place of the nutmeg. Then I cooked up some potatoes to mix with it, and used that mixture to make my pasties. Apparently this version sounded much more appealing to my generally strictly meat and potatoes eating hubby, because Kelly actually agreed to try these ones. Anyway, they turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself, and Kelly seemed to agree.

By the way, the pumpkin sauce - regardless of the version you're making - and both versions of the savoury pasties, can be frozen after cooking, to be defrosted and reheated. I've intentionally made extra so as to try it out, and just thought I'd mention it, in case you were wondering.


Rosie Digout said...

It's always interesting to hear about different parts of the world but most of all the things that we take for granted. In Canada, pumpkin is found year-round but just before October, you'll find pumpkin everywhere.

Intense Guy said...

About all I ever see of pumpkin as a food is pie and bread (like a banana bread but made with pumpkin).

I do love pumpkin pie! It's my top 3 favorite!!

Danielle L Zecher said...

The pumpkin sage sauce sounds really good! We eat lots of pasta, so I'll have to try that one out. The pasties sound intriguing. I don't think I've ever had a pasty, let alone made one. They sound good though.

I LOVE pumpkin!!! It's pretty much always available here, at least the canned pumpkin. It's just much cheaper to buy it this time of year, and really cheap right after Christmas. I usually stock up on it then when it's on a really good sale since we eat it pretty much all year.

Victoria Zigler said...

Yeah, I noticed the availability of pumpkin when I was in Canada. That's how come we came to be discussing it, and how hubby learned I'd never tasted pumpkin pie. Like I said though, over here you can only really get pumpkins around Halloween, at least until recently when the option of buying cans of pumpkin via places like Amazon started to exist (though buying things not readily available over here, like canned pumpkin, grape jelly/jam, etc, is extremely expensive). Anyway, the time I spent living in Canada was quite an experience for me. I mean, I'd spoken to enough people online to know things were different in different countries before that, but my time in Canada really showed me just how true that was.

Pumpkin bread is among the recipes I have in my recipe section. If pumpkin pie is among your three top favourites, what are the other two?

There's not a lot of difference between a pasty and the kind of pie that has a lid, except that with a pie you put the base crust in a pie dish, add the filling, put the lid on, and then seal the edges, where as a pasty is done by basically putting some kind of filling on half of a small sheet of pastry, folding the other half over, and sealing the edges. Anyway, if you try the pasta with pumpkin sage sauce, I hope you enjoy it. Let me know, OK?

Frank Parker said...

Hi - I'm using this space to comment on your bio. I see one of you grew up in the shadow of the Black Mountains in Wales. I, too, grew up in that area, to the east of the ridge, between Hay-on-Wye and Hereford. Beautiful place. Small world!

Victoria Zigler said...

Thanks for taking the time to comment. Yes, I grew up in the shadow of the Black Mountains in Wales... In the Swansea area to be exact.

Intense Guy said...

Blueberry and Pecan pie!!

Victoria Zigler said...

Good call on the blueberry! I've never tried pecan pie though.

Rita said...

I can't imagine not being able to buy canned pumpkin any time of year. These sound good. Leah just brought me a loaf of pumpkin bread last night--delicious!

Victoria Zigler said...

Until a couple of years ago, when it started to be an option to buy some items via Amazon, you couldn't even get canned pumpkin at all; I didn't even know it existed until a couple of years before. You still can't get it in stores over here. I only have some because I wanted it enough to pay the ridiculously high cost to get some shipped over via Amazon. Usually you have to rely on the small window of availability of fresh pumpkins if you want to cook with them, which basically means late September through early November. Even then though, it's only the couple of weeks leading up to Halloween that you'll be able to find pumpkins really easily... You have to really be looking the rest of the time they're available. I think it's one of those circle situations: most people don't know what to do with a pumpkin other than carve it for Halloween, so a lot of people don't buy them, which means the stores don't have a big stock, but because they aren't easily available, most people don't think of possible options for things they could do with them. I'm pretty sure most people actually throw the insides of their pumpkin away still... We always did whenever we carved one when I was a kid, because nobody knew what to do with the stuff inside, or how to do it. It seems crazy to me now, but it's the way it was, and still is for many people.