Eat Your Fall Decor

When I planted my jack-o-lantern seeds it said on the package good for eating, too.  So I thought I'd give it a try with a couple I used for decoration.  They were so big there was a lot of pumpkin.  These recipes called for small pie pumpkins but mine worked out fine with adjustments. 

Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good
From Dorie Greenspan via Martha Stewart

This recipe serves 4.  Adapt to your pumpkin size.

1 (3-pound) pumpkin (a small pie pumpkin) Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper 1/4 pound stale bread, thinly sliced and cut into 1/2-inch cubes 1/4 pound Gruyere, Emmenthal, or cheddar cheese (or a mix of all three), cut into 1/2-inch cubes 2 to 3 cloves garlic, split, germ removed, and coarsely chopped 4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and chopped 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives or sliced scallions 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme 1/2 cup heavy cream Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with a rack set in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or use a Dutch oven that is slightly larger in diameter than your pumpkin (in which case, you will need to serve your pumpkin from the Dutch oven, as it may stick, but it will keep its shape better this way). 

Using a sharp, sturdy knife, cut off top of pumpkin, working around the top with the knife inserted at a 45-degree angle to cut off enough to make it easy to work inside the pumpkin; reserve top. Remove seeds and strings from cap and pumpkin. Season inside of pumpkin generously with salt and pepper. Place on prepared baking sheet or in Dutch oven; set aside.

In a large bowl, toss together bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, chives, and thyme until well combined. Pack into pumpkin; it should be well filled but not overstuffed. You may need to add some bread and cheese or some of the filling may not be necessary to use. In a small bowl, stir cream and nutmeg to combine. Pour over filling; filling should be moist but not swimming in cream -- you may need to use more or less accordingly.

Place top on pumpkin and transfer to oven; cook until filling is bubbling and pumpkin flesh is tender, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove top and continue baking until liquid is slightly evaporated and top of filling is browned, 20 to 30 minutes more. 

Carefully transfer pumpkin to a serving platter (or serve in Dutch oven, if using) and serve.  (Slice into 4 wedges.) 

Pumpkin Soup
From thepioneerwoman
Serves 8

2 whole Pie Pumpkins (the small kind)
1 quart Vegetable Or Chicken Stock
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/3 cup Maple Syrup
Dash Of Nutmeg
Salt To Taste
Extra Cream, For Serving

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place pumpkins on a cookie sheet and roast them until slightly shriveled and soft. Allow to cool slightly, then slice in half and carefully scoop out seeds and pulp. Scoop yummy flesh into a bowl. Set aside.
In a pot, heat up the pumpkin flesh with the stock and maple syrup until simmering. Mash out the big chunks, the transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor (or use an immersion blender) and puree until velvety smooth. Add cream and nutmeg, then blend again.
Reheat if you need to, or just go ahead and serve in a hollowed-out pumpkin of whatever size you'd like.
Pumpkin Puree
From thepioneerwoman 

One small (4-pound) pumpkin yields at least 1½ cups of mashed pumpkin—the same as one small can.  A 3 pound pumpkin will yield about 1 cup. 

Select a couple of small-ish pumpkins. Cut the pumpkin in half. With a spoon or a scoop, scrape out the seeds and pulp from the center. You don't have to be too thorough with this.
Place all the seeds into a bowl (you can roast them later and make pepitas). Repeat until all the pumpkin pieces are largely free of seeds and pulp.
Place pumpkin pieces on a baking sheet (face up or face down; I’ve done both) and roast in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes, or until pumpkin is fork-tender. They should be nice and light golden brown when done.
Peel off the skin from the pumpkin pieces until you have a big pile of the stuff. If you have a food processor, throw in a few chunks at a time. A blender will work, too, if you add a little water. Or you can simply mash it up with a potato masher, or move it through a potato ricer, or process it through a food mill.
Pulse the pumpkin until smooth. If it looks too dry, add in a few tablespoons of water during the pulsing to give it the needed moisture. (Note, if the puree is overly watery, you should strain it on cheesecloth or over a fine mesh strainer to get rid of some of the liquid or the preferred method for a particularly moist variety, once roasted and puréed, it should be sautéed for about five minutes over high heat to cook off excess moisture.) My note:  the large pumpkins are watery. 
Dump the pureed goodness into a bowl, and continue pureeing until all the pumpkin is done.
You can either use this immediately in whatever pumpkin recipe you’d like, store it in the freezer for later use.
To store in the freezer, spoon about 1 cupful of pumpkin into each plastic storage bag. Seal the bag with just a tiny bit of an opening remaining, then use your hands to flatten out the pumpkin inside the bag and push out the air. Store them in the freezer until you need them.



Too much zucchini.  I used up the last of the summer zukes.  Even the short stubby ones. 
Zucchini Dessert Squares
From Taste of Home
16-20 servings

4 cups all-purpose flour 2 cups sugar 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon salt 1-1/2 cups cold butter

FILLING: 8 to 10 cups cubed seeded peeled zucchini (4 to 5 pounds) 2/3 cup lemon juice 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Cut in butter until crumbly; reserve 3 cups. Pat remaining crumb mixture into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 375° for 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, for filling, place zucchini and lemon juice in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 6-8 minutes or until zucchini is crisp-tender. Stir in the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; cover and simmer for 5 minutes (mixture will be thin).

Spoon over crust; sprinkle with the reserved crumb mixture. Bake at 375° for 40-45 minutes or until golden. Yield: 16-20 servings. 

1 serving (1 each) equals 337 calories, 14 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 37 mg cholesterol, 200 mg sodium, 51 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein. 


Christmas Tinsel

Save some tinsel from your Christmas tree to make fake cracks in windows and mirrors for Halloween.  Just wet your finger, slide it along the tinsel on the window and it sticks on. 


I harvested a total of 33 peaches.  Not bad for the first year. 

Sour Milk

I had a gallon of milk that was 6 weeks past due but there is no way I was going to throw out that past due milk I bought for 99 cents.  I know there are lots of yogurt recipes out there but I'm posting mine to help me remember what I did.  My brain is past the "best if used by" date. 
Greek Style Yogurt
Recipe for using 1 gallon of milk

Bring milk to just a boil.  Skim off the layer that forms.  Cool to 115-120 degrees F.  Add 2 T of plain yogurt and stir well making sure it is mixed throughout.  Pour into jars and put lids on.  Place in yogurt maker and use the manufacturers instructions.   I put my jars in the well of my Chambers stove for 10 hours.   Line a strainer with wet cheesecloth.  Pour yogurt into lined strainer and let drain for 2 hours.  Place in jars and refrigerate.