Ah, the power of the blogs. It's so nice to learn ideas and techniques from one another.
A couple of days ago, Sean of Hedonia posted his "recipe" for toasted pumpkin seeds, based largely on the recipe Elise of Simply Recipes had posted a year earlier. (I put quotation marks around "recipe," because Sean "writes" "recipes" just the way I do: as a very rough approximation — you either get it or you don't.)
I had missed seeing Elise's version, so it was lucky for me to read Sean's account of how Elise parboils the pumpkin seeds before slathering them with oil and popping them in the oven. (Her recipe says to boil them for 10 minutes; I took mine out after just five minutes.) This really does seem to tenderize the shells.
Then! Sean riffed on her version by seasoning his seeds with chile powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.
I got to thinking a whiff of ground cumin would be tasty too, and when I was digging around in my spice cupboard, I came across some Chinese five-spice powder. (Never did find the cinnamon — but cinnamon is one of the five Chinese spices, along with fennel, star anise, cloves and Szechwan pepper.)
OMG! It was fantastic.
So, in the simplest of terms: Clean some pumpkin or squash seeds and simmer them in very salty water. Drain them and spread them on a baking sheet. Slather them with oil and sprinkle with cumin (use too much; you won't regret it) and five-spice powder. Bake at 300° until they're — well — done! (Go visit Elise for a more precise recipe; but note that she's baking at 400°, and "done" will happen sooner.) Let the seeds cool before you deliriously snack them into oblivion.