Fun Food for Cool Fall Days
The tantalizing aromas of cinnamon apples, hot apple cider and homemade pies are in the air. Our mother was a master apple pie baker. Family and friends raved about her delicious apple pies but also loved her pumpkin pie. As kids, we preferred Mom’s apple pie and gagged at the thought of eating pumpkin. However, one day, she surprised us with a chiffon pumpkin pie. One bite and we were smitten by its delicate flavor. She had changed our minds and broadened our dietary horizons. We learned pumpkin really was edible.
Pumpkins originated in North America but are now available world-wide. This nutritious low-calorie squash is high in antioxidants and vitamins. It is used to flavor coffee and ice cream. Pumpkin seeds are toasted, salted and sold as snacks. Other uses include oven-roasted chunks, deep fried spears, mashed as a ravioli filling, cubed in soups, pureed for pies and even made into candy. Pumpkin oil is considered a delicacy in Europe.
Veterinarians recommend canned pumpkin as a dietary supplement for dogs and cats. We have a recipe for dog snacks our pups love. Native American and Chinese medicine practitioners prescribe both the pulp and seeds for various ailments.
Pumpkins typically weigh in at about 6-10 pounds, but in giant pumpkin-growing contests, many weigh in at the 75-pound range. A giant U.S. winner this year in Connecticut weighed 2,294.5 pounds. While larger pumpkins are used for pies and fillings, many are carved for Halloween.
Halloween is our favorite holiday. We carve big pumpkins for fun but also buy a few small sugar pumpkins each year. We slice off the tops, scrape out the seeds and use them as soup bowls.
For an easy interesting meal to serve on a cool fall day, place the small (cleaned out) topless sugar pumpkins in a baking pan with a bit of water in the bottom. Bake at 350-degrees for 30 minutes. Serve wild rice soup or another favorite in your holiday edible bowls. Wild rice chowder is a favorite. We hope you will give it a try.
Happy pumpkin eating from the Lipstick Logic Sisters.
Bev Erickson & Betty Kuffel, MD
Wild Rice Ham Chowder Soup
1 ½ cups water
¾ cup uncooked wild rice (rinsed)
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup chopped onion
¼ cup butter
4 cups water
4 chicken flavored bouillon cubes of 4 teaspoons chicken flavor- bouillon
1 ½ cups peeled, cubed potatoes (2 medium potatoes)
½ cup chopped carrots
½ tsp thyme leaves
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ – ½ tsp pepper
1 bay leaf
17 oz can whole kernel corn/undrained
2 cups half & half
1 lb. (3 cups) cubed cooked ham
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
In medium saucepan combine wild rice and 1.5 cups water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes or until tender. Don’t overcook.
In large stovetop pan, sauté onion and garlic in butter until transparent. Stir in ½ cup flour. Cook one minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add 4 cups water and bouillon. Add potatoes, carrots, thyme, nutmeg, pepper and bay leaf. Bring to boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer 20 to 30 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add corn (undrained). Cover and simmer additional 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in half & half, ham and rice. Cook until heated through. Do not boil. Remove bay leaf. Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh parsley sprig. Makes 8 (1.5 cup) servings.