Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pumpkin Seed Frenzy

Last night, I was introduced to a world I knew very little about... pumpkin seeds.

I went to my first "Wine & Knives" party, which was a lot more fun (and a lot less deadly) than the title implies. It was an ol' fashioned pumpkin-carving party, complete with lots of great food and wine. We carved, and we ate. Then we carved, and we drank. And finally, the pumpkin seed making began.

Once we had all removed the "guts" of our pumpkins, we washed off the icky (my descriptive word of choice for the insides of pumpkins) orange stuff to get to the seeds. (This takes some tugging and scrubbing, but it's worth it.) Then we tossed some of the seeds in a bowl with olive oil, some kosher salt, garlic salt, a little spicy something, maybe paprika, and toasted them for about 15 minutes on 375. Out came deliciousness like I have never known.

So it got me to thinking... What about a Pumpkin Seed Bar?

At your next carving, set out bowls of spices--sweet and savory. As guests take a break from carving or finish up a project, invite them over to make their own custom batch of pumpkin seeds.

Spices you might include: kosher salt, garlic salt, roasted garlic, paprika, cayenne, cumin, rosemary, dried basil, dried thyme, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, all-spice, nutmeg. You won't need a lot of each spice as a little goes a long way.

Provide guests with bowls and spoons. Let them combine and mix to their heart's desire. Then lay them out on a single layer on lightly-sprayed parchment paper, label the parchment with their name, put the parchment paper on a baking sheet and pop in the oven. Bake for about 15 minutes. As oven temps vary, watch your first batch closely. It may need less than 15 minutes.

Most guests won't eat all of them, so individual baggies might be handy.

For some delicious recipes, visit 101 Cookbooks. They have some great ideas you can whip up before guests arrive to inspire their creativity.

Happy Seed Making!

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