This week, we (pumpkin) spiced things up by going with a Halloween theme. I let my daughter go grocery shopping with me, so she could pick out her “spooky” ingredients. She promised me she wouldn’t get “watermelon brains” like we had watched on Chopped recently. She, instead chose:
The day before cooking, we decided to carve our jack-o-lantern. This would be my son’s first interaction with a pumpkin, so I was excited to see how he would like it.
While my daughter wanted nothing to do with scooping out the seeds, she made it clear that she was ready to eat them. At that moment, I wasn’t exactly clear on what I was going to do with the innards, but decided to keep the meat I scraped just in case I needed them. On the day of cooking, I dressed up my little muses to ignite some inspiration for my Halloween menu.
I had decided to make pumpkin curry soup. I’m sure I have heard of that somewhere as being a real thing. First, I salted the pumpkin seeds, then placed them in a 350°F oven, keeping a close watch on them. Then, I thought about what I was going to do with the cookies. They weren’t that sweet, so I figured they would be a thickener for the soup since they were probably made of just flour, butter, and sugar. Of course, I’m not entirely sure, I’ve never made shortbread cookies before, but it sounded okay. I started by heating some milk, then dropped the first cookie in there.
I was a little worried that it wouldn’t dissolve, and I would be left with clumps, but it actually did quite nicely. So I put in another cookie for good measure and kept it on simmer. I checked the seeds in the oven, and they looked crisp, so I took them out and put them aside. I decided to roast the pumpkin meat to bring out the flavor (doesn’t it sound like I know what I’m talking about?), but, first, I salted, peppered, and curried it.
After putting the pumpkin meat in the oven, I checked on my cookie milk, and it looked like potato soup. Which is always a good sign.
I asked Vivi what we should do with the “Boo” chips, and she told me, “Put it in the soup, they’re made from potatoes, and you can put potatoes in soup.” It was sound logic to me. I let her do the honors. She pretended she was a witch boiling her potion and crumbled the ghosts into the simmering milk and cookies, then stirred it up.
After they dissolved, we turned it off the heat and waited for the pumpkin to finish cooking in the oven. While we waited, I ground up the pumpkin seeds and used them as a rub with dried onions for the ribs.
The pumpkin meat took about 15 minutes and was a nice golden color. I took it out of the oven and put the ribs in its place. While the ribs were cooking, we combined the milky mush of cookies and chips with the pumpkin and pureed it until it was smooth.
I then put it back into the pot on low. The ribs took about 25 min. We entertained ourselves in the meantime by putting Frozen on, which inspired Vivi to change her character–“Hey, Mama, pretend now that I’m a dog named Elsa!” The ribs came out perfectly. They were beautifully brown on the outside and a little pink on the inside. We were ready to eat our festive meal.
We tried the soup first. Viviana wasn’t sure how she felt. “It’s not TOO bad…,” she said. “It’s a little weird.” I tried it and I definitely had the pumpkin flavor down. I’ve never been a huge pumpkin person, and, apparently, my daughter is following in my footsteps. I have never cooked pumpkin meat before so I wanted to try it. I gave some of the soup to Rina the next day, and she described it as being very “rich, but, overall, really good.” I didn’t tell her what I had put in it, otherwise she would have cringed, so it ended up being the perfect crime! I could’ve used one less cookie or less chips to tone it down though. Incidentally, if you want a fall-flavored dish, I would recommend Mimi’s recipe here for butternut squash soup. The ribs were really good though. Vivi ate them up, but it’s because she said she thinks she likes pumpkin seeds, just not pumpkin. I could’ve made the seeds a little finer, because some got stuck in our teeth, but it didn’t really matter since the rib meat did, too. Either way, there was going to be some flossing.