INGREDIENT STUDY NO. 3: The Pumpkin
All of my memories of fall involve a plethora of pumpkins. Most of them were manifested in the form of Halloween pumpkin carving nostalgia - sticking my hands down into the orange bursting beast and grabbing as much meat as I could with my child-sized hands. All of the kids would howl and giggle as our hands met the squishy goo inside. My mom didn't trust me with the knife, so I was given the bluntest knife in the kitchen drawer, which ensured that my jack-o-lantern was the most hideous on the stoop. We always saved the seeds to season and roast on an open fire later, so that as much of the pumpkin could be salvaged.
These days, pumpkins play a different role in my house; especially since the pumpkin is our third ingredient study. I would never want to waste the meat of the pumpkin for the likes of a jack-o-lantern. Probably my favorite of Fall hors d'oeuvres is pumpkin bruschetta, topped with a tangy reduced balsamic drizzle.
RECIPE: This is a wonderful addition to a Fall dinner party or an innovative opening dish to a Thanksgiving gathering. I plan on making them without cause or reason because they are tasty.
Serves: 10 - 12 portions
- 1 cup of pumpkin chopped into cm-sized cubes
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of ginger powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of chopped basil
- 1 tablespoon of chopped scallions
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1/3 cup of goat cheese
- 1 store bought or fresh baked baguette
- 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- olive oil
1. Preheat your oven 400 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, mix the pumpkin, ginger, garlic, basil, and salt. Drizzle in olive oil until the pumpkin glistening.
2. Roast pumpkin in oven for 15 minutes. Every 5 minutes or so check to make sure the pumpkin is not becoming too crisp. Add more olive oil if the pumpkin is looking dry. We want the end result to be a moist and savory topping. Mix in chopped scallions and place back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes. Once the pumpkin is soft and savory, take it out of the oven and let it cool for at least 5 minutes.
3. Slice and toast the baguette. Spread the goat cheese over the top. Scatter pumpkin atop the bread.
4. In a sauce pan or skillet over medium heat, begin the reduced balsamic drizzle. Add the tablespoon of honey. Bring it to a light boil. Watch over the evaporation process to assure the balsamic does not burn. If smoke begins to accumulate, it have begin to burn. This should only take 3-5 minutes.
5. Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the bruschetta and serve.