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Volume II
October 12, 2007

Pumpkin Love
by Bethany Booth

What is it that makes the pumpkin so great? It is full of lutein, alpha- and beta-carotene. Inside the body these nutrients become the ever-useful Vitamin A giving us healthy eyes and skin.

Not only is pumpkin good for you, it is also incredibly versatile.

A ripe pumpkin is yummy broiled, baked, roasted, mashed or pureed to make soups, breads, cakes, smoothies, or butters. Pour some milk inside a pumpkin, bake it and you’ve got pumpkin pudding!

Other parts of the pumpkin are just as useful. Pumpkin seeds are full of iron, zinc, essential fatty acids, potassium and magnesium. Roasted, these seeds make a tasty snack. While the bright orange pumpkin shell can be used as a festive serving dish or carved into a decorative Halloween Jack-o-Lantern.

Pumpkins are plentiful this time of year so dig-in (literally) and try some of these scrumptious ways to devour them.

Fiesta Pumpkin Seeds

1 cup fresh pumpkin seeds, washed and dried
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon taco seasoning mix
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

In a skillet, saute pumpkin seeds in oil until lightly browned (approximately 5 minutes).
Use a slotted spoon to transfer seeds to an ungreased baking sheet.
Allow seeds to cool slightly then place them in a re-sealable plastic bag and Sprinkle with taco seasoning and garlic salt. Shake to coat.
Return seeds to baking sheet and spread into a single layer on the baking sheet.
Bake at 325 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until crisp.
Cool on paper towels. Serve.
Store in airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

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Pumpkin Butter

2 cups pumpkin puree (one 15 oz. can)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently for 20-25 minutes, until thickened.
Serve with biscuits, breads, or muffins. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 2 months.

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Pumpkin-Shaped Bundt Cake

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
3 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
4 cups pumpkin puree (two 15 oz. cans)
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 egg whites
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup Agave Nectar or honey
2 tablespoons vanilla

Preheat oven for 350 degrees. Prepare two 12-cup Bundt cake pans by coating evenly with cooking spray.
Whisk together dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a large bowl.
On low speed, mix buttermilk, pumpkin puree and brown sugar. Beat in eggs and egg whites. Stir in oil, agave and vanilla. Gradually add dry ingredients until just combined. Transfer half of batter to each bundt pan.

Bake for 1 hour to an hour and 15 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack. Remove from pan. Place one cake upside down on serving plate and place the other cake directly on top to make a round pumpkin-shaped cake.
Sprinkle with confectioners sugar or glaze (whisk together 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar with 1 tablespoon milk).
Add a few green leaves for full effect.
Or, for fun, lightly carve a jack-o-lantern face into the surface of the cake and frost with orange frosting.

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* DVO welcomes your kitchen hints and cooking or nutrition questions! Email us and we'll post your hints and Q/A's in upcoming newsletters! *

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