Eight Cups of Pumpkin- Do It!

            Oh my goodness, I have to put some distance between this entry and that leftover pumpkin picture on my last entry.  This may need to be a very long piece.  My Saturday morning mantra:  I will not compost that pumpkin, I will not compost that pumpkin.  Step #1 then, break it down.  Very few recipes call for huge hunks of pumpkin and as I already made clear, my husband doesn’t really like straight pumpkin anyway so it all has to be converted to puree.  Easy enough to do.  It now equals eight cups.  By day’s end, I will have used every last plop of the stuff and we will have some ready-made food in our freezer.  I just have to focus and get it done.
1 Cup
Pumpkin Waffles
This is a recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  It didn’t use a ton of pumpkin, but as waffles go, the recipe incorporated quite a lot of real food.  This is the local flour I buy most often.

I think it works well as whole wheat pastry flour.

Let’s be honest, waffles can be a hassle due to the various bowls for wet ingredients, dry ingredients, and then the egg white whipping.  I’m really not trying to show off here, but I’m just going to say that having two mixing bowls for your Kitchen Aid mixer is slick.  This 220 voltage model I bought to bring to Tunisia just came with two bowls or I would never have made that choice.  For this sort of preparation and for double batches that would overwhelm one bowl, it’s so convenient.

Now, we have about 10 individually frozen waffles in the freezer.

4 Cups
This recipe is the winner of the most pumpkin use award. The base recipe is my Homecoming Muffins, simply substituting pumpkin for the grated vegetables.  I intentionally underbaked them because I wanted them to be custardy, almost like bread pudding.  It worked.  We have a dozen muffins and two small loaves of bread in the freezer.

3 Cups
Black Bean Pumpkin Soup
This is also from Smitten Kitchen.  Hey, she’s been in my shoes.  The recipe actually called for over 4 cups of puree and I only had three.  Good problem.  I didn’t have any black beans, but I had a little package of tiny beans/peas I bought last spring in Umbria.  I don’t know what they all are, but some of them are black eyed peas.  They have such an earthy flavor.  They actually kind of taste like dirt, but most people don’t think that is a nice taste so I’ll stick with earthy.  I had to cook them before I could assemble the soup.

And there it is.  2 quarts of soup in the freezer.  Turns out I misread the soup recipe and it was 4 1/2 cups of beans it called for and only 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin so at the end of the day, I still had 1 1/2 cups of puree left.  But I’ve got some nice items in my frozen pantry and I can sleep well tonight knowing I gave it my best shot.

Pumpkin Cashew Cheese Dip

          Remember that ginormous pumpkin I stuffed and baked last Sunday?   Wow, that was a lot of pumpkin.  After the dinner guests took their small slivers (My husband:  “No pumpkin for me, I’ll just have some stuffing.”) and I gave a huge hunk to our hostess, I still took this much home.

We ate the stuffing with a chicken dish on Monday and I cut, peeled, and refrigerated the rest of the pumpkin.  Then I got really busy and couldn’t cook much for a couple of nights.  Finally, on Thursday, I needed to bring an appetizer to my book club and found a recipe for something called cashew cheese.  This is actually a vegan recipe that contains absolutely no dairy and is foundationally built upon pumpkin.  Yea, that’s good for me.
I couldn’t find raw cashews in Tunis, but I had blanched almonds and gave those a try.  I don’t know what cashew cheese is meant to taste like, but this made an interesting pumpkin spice flavored dip, slightly sweet, with a little kicky heat from some cayenne.  Served with baguette slices brushed with olive oil and rosemary, slices of fresh apples, and some real cheese,  it was nice.  The almonds didn’t completely break down so my dip had some chopped nuts that needed further chewing,  It was fine.

This is REAL cheese my friend, Lauren, just brought from The Hague.
The first new lemon of the season.