Sunday, October 22, 2006

Un-Artificial Dissemination

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.


Stacie said...

YUM! I just threw a ton of Kosher salt on mine and toasted them up. I ate so many, my lips are chapped form the salt this morning! Is that too much info?

Anonymous said...

Heh ... it's true. I "write" "recipes" kind of like the way I "read" and "follow" them. I never was good at taking direction ...

Dagny said...

Hmmm. Now you're making me want to go out and buy a pumpkin. And I've come to believe that cumin goes with just about everything.

Anonymous said...

Count me as another who cannot follow directions [or recipes]. I think it may be genetic. ;-)

[So] Wow - I just learned something: the whole boiling-before-roasting tip is genius. And your spice combo is making me salivate.

cookiecrumb said...

Stacie: Not TMI, but TF (too funny).

Sean: I bet you don't bake much. I know I don't.

Dagny: I have two pretty pumpkins sitting on the hearth, and it's all I can do to resist slashing them open for their seeds!

Karina: The 5-spice/cumin combo almost conjured up the taste of butter in my mouth. It was uncanny.

Anonymous said...

I buy only little sugar pumpkins, but my grandchildren have access to big 'uns that are full of seeds -- so I sent your post to their parents. Good move. I remember the choking-dryness of unboiled seeds and can see that the tenderizing will be a superior method. Thanksalot.

Anonymous said...

You got that right -- baking is not in my blood. The occasional bread, perhaps -- that's baking that's half art and half science. But cakes? Fuhgettaboutit.

mary grimm said...

I actually find that if I don't clean them too much--that is, leave some of the pumpkin gunk on them--that they taste even better, with a roasted pumpkin flavor. Of course, the reason I know this is because once I was too lazy to clean them.

cookiecrumb said...

Kudzu: That's so cool. I blush. All credit to Sean and Elise. xx

Sean: Hah! Yep.

Lucette: Ooh. I'm guilty too. When will I quit trying to pretend to be fastidious? Yes, I leave the gunk on the seeds too; you can see in the photo. A little does boil away in the simmering, but -- flavor!!