Thanksgiving Dinner, Part One: Pumpkin Puree (and its Delightful Bi-Product, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds)

At some point last week I was struck by a wave of my mother’s Henry genes (and some Calonder ones too, I suppose), of patriotism/mild homesickness (my third Thanksgiving away from home in as many years! Welp!), and of nostalgia for the big international Thanksgiving dinners my parents would host the three years we were in the Netherlands (and of course the one my darling roomies and I hosted in Rome). I approached Wayne, much as a child might do when asking to do something towards which they feel certain to meet reluctance (this also brought on some nostalgia– haha) and said, “You know… with Thanksgiving next week and all… I think it could be nice… ifwehostedabigpartyhereandgoteveryonetocomeandyouknowIdon’tteachonFriday-soIcouldcomehomeanddoallthecleanup…”

“Okay.” Okay! So I plopped down and did what any modern girl would and made a Facebook invite. And then got to stressing. What to make?! I had some ideas, but as I’ve mentioned before living in Thailand can present problems of its own in terms of ingredient obtaining. Ever since learning to make ricotta I’ve been dying to do a lasagna, but alas, no lasagna noodles to be found. So we stuck them on the list of things-we’d-appreciate-oh-so-dearly-if-Taryn-brought-from South Africa, and we appreciated it oh so dearly when she came through. In the meantime I came across this mouth-watering post about a home-made pasta night, in which one of the courses was pumpkin-ricotta ravioli. And I began to think… Pumpkin lasagna? I Googled it and was both disappointed (“Shucks! I thought I invented something!”) and excited (“Woo hoo! Recipes exist already!”) to find that recipes, well, existed already.

Whence came a new challenge: the fact that Libby’s Pumpkin Puree just doesn’t grace the shelves of Thai supermarkets (especially when half the country’s flooded, in which case there are many supermarkets where not much at all graces the shelves). But the Internet came through again, plopping this easy-enough sounding recipe for home-made pumpkin puree in my figurative lap. And I just so happened to have this recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds on hand (anyone catching onto the fact that I check WordPress’ “Freshly Pressed” on the daily?), so I thought I’d try that out as well.

And since attempting pumpkin puree seemed like both a time-consuming and potentially disastrous thing on the first try, I thought I’d better do so a few days ahead. And that’s what I did last night.

half a funky-looking green-rinded thai pumpkin (i mean... is this even a pumpkin? some kind of squash perhaps?), available for 60 baht (us$2) at the local market, gutted.

i realized after cutting it into these pieces i'd perhaps made a fatal flaw in that it looked like the flesh wasn't really meant to be exposed as such... didn't seem to have any negative effect though. oh, and because it's definitely not obvious that the cup of water she calls for in the recipe is poured in the pan around the pumpkin, i'll include that detail here. you know, should you ever find yourself making pumpkin puree.

clean seeds!

nice and roasted. took about... 35 minutes?

mashing it took a bit of work. i don't have a food processor, but rather a small attachment for the blender that serves a similar purpose. using it as intended was tedious (had to blend each piece individually). i did find about three pieces in that the pumpkin was so soft i was able to mash it in the small container by hand with a spoon and get a similar consistency. also, almost NO water drained off, even though it was left/mashed in the strainer for quite a while.

finished product! it tasted pretty decent already but i threw in a bit of sea-salt and just a touch of cinnamon thinking it might help it age gracefully in the fridge for two days.

with a free oven and clean pan it was time to toss in the soy sauce-marinated seeds.

fifteen minutes and a few stirs later...

unfortunately, the seeds of half a pumpkin, shared between two people, only have a life expectancy of about an hour. less, i would imagine, if you're not in the middle of cooking your actual dinner.


About Angela

I'm not actually a sleeping monk (though if I had my druthers...).
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3 Responses to Thanksgiving Dinner, Part One: Pumpkin Puree (and its Delightful Bi-Product, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds)

  1. The Rowdy Chowgirl says:

    Oh, my goodness! That is a funky-looking pumpkin, but still a pumpkin! Very intrepid cooking…

  2. Pingback: THAInksgiving | i'm [still] having the THAIme of my life!

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