Saturday, October 26, 2013

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Low and slow, baby.  Low and slow.

That's the only way to succeed with one of my seasonal favorites.

I love pumpkin. I am a fiend for pumpkin. Anything and everything pumpkin. I am thankful that pumpkin is canned and I stock up during the fall. Most of my baking surrounds itself, it seems, around pumpkin - year round.

But one seasonal staple that remains seasonal is my roasted pumpkin seeds. They are healthy, delicious, and so easy to just chomp on, husk and all.

I even offer to roast any seeds my students bring in, then share them with the entire class.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
First, it is important to note that you need a lot of time at home to do this properly. If you've only got two hours before you have to leave for work or to go to a meeting, follow step one then stop until you have more time. Make sure you store them in the fridge, covered.

  1. After you cut the top off the pumpkin, use your fingers as a sieve to scoop out the seeds. This will help tremendously in separating the 'guts' (pith?) from the seeds. I usually drop my seeds into a bowl of heavily salted water to soak and wash off the pumpkin. 
  2. Preheat the oven to around 250*. I sometimes go lower, but never - NEVER go higher.
  3. Using either your hand or a strainer of some sort, scoop the seeds out of the salted water onto a large rag or towel. If there are clumps of pumpkin still stuck to the seeds, separate. It certainly won't hurt to roast that as well, but the flesh turns rather dark and tough and can be a turn-off to first time seed tasters.
  4. I tend to fold the towel over and do a quick rub, just to soak up any excess moisture.
  5. Folding the towel in half, I create a 'spout' and pour the seeds onto a lipped sheet pan. You may have to scrape some that stick to the towel.
  6. Liberally pour olive oil onto the seeds. Toss gently to coat. 
  7. Sprinkle sea salt onto the seeds. 
  8. Sprinkle garlic powder onto the seeds (no need for garlic salt. We're not going for a heart attack, here)
  9. Toss the seeds gently, then sprinkle again.
  10. Pop the pan into the oven.
I let them bake for an hour before I toss them again. Subsequently, toss them every 30 minutes. As the seeds begin to dry, they will stick to each other. Re-sprinkle with salt and garlic each time you toss them while they're still damp.

When the seeds sound like coins (they tend to clatter a bit after they've dried fully), toss them one more time and turn the oven off. Leave them in the oven overnight.

By the next morning, you have a healthy snack! My students ask if they're supposed to eat them whole or crack them like sunflower seeds. Eat them whole. They're so yummy!!

I've also tried this with cinnamon and sugar - these are just as yummy but the sugar can sometimes caramelize a bit, causing an almost 'bark-like' consistency. I would merely suggest that you toss them more frequently than every 30 minutes if you're going for a sweet treat.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Gasping for Breath

I cannot believe I haven't blogged since the end of August. I think that speaks to what has been happening in my life more than any other explanation I can possibly offer.

Most recently, and quite enjoyably, we housed 2 French exchange students. My boys were a lot of fun and they definitely made an impression on my family. The house still feels empty without them. Sydney still asks after them. They just left us yesterday and we're already eager for a chance to see them again.

I am hoping "Life," in all its vast unknown, will bless me with the normal hectic frenzied craziness that this time of year brings us.

We're beginning our new batch of SoL testing starting tomorrow - My thoughts have turned to the students we are trying to help through the state-mandated testing so they can enjoy the remainder of their education and graduate on time to the hoots and hollering of parents and family and friends in a crowded, hot arena.

Life is for the taking, and sleep is for when I've succumbed to some disastrous illness, so I'll plunge on and do what I can to help anyone I can. Let's just hope Syd is able to make it through his 2nd year of public school relatively unscathed. :-)