October 9, 2012 by culinarysavant
I don’t remember when my obsession with autumn began, but it is undoubtedly my favorite season of the year. The autumn beacons a season of warmth and family. Sweet memories of sitting in a classroom tracing my hand into a thanksgiving turkey, turning my fingers shapes into crude interpretations of feathers, drawing huge cornucopias with the bounty of the harvest spilling off the construction paper and the anticipation of Christmas just around the corner.
But before all of this happens, enter the PUMPKIN. Until a few years ago the only pumpkin I knew was a huge heavy orange globe that came in many different sizes and shapes that had one purpose, jack-o-lantern. There is of course pumpkin pie, which if I ever have to give a request for a last meal, this will be it. Oddly enough, I never associated a jack-o-lantern with my last meal, the pumpkin pie. The pumpkin pie is a multifaceted creature. The three month attention “the can” receives at the end of every grocery store aisle is awe inspiring. The tower of amber cans calls forth the holiday season.
On my personal culinary exploration I worked with a chef eight years ago that introduced me to the Kabocha Squash. This oddly shaped deep green globe was quickly going to become my friend. The velvety texture of the flesh locked inside makes one of the most delicious pies known to man. The kabocha, when seasoned and roasted becomes bright with flavor when pureed into a silky smooth soup. When baked into a quick bread Kabocha gives a tight crumb and holds a moisture content better than any amber can. My friend from Culiacan, Sinaloa shared her grandmothers recipe for Calabasas con Canela y Crema(Kabocha with cinnamon and cream). In this recipe, the Kabocha is roasted with dark brown sugar to caramelization and served with warm cream and dusted with cinnamon. When roasted the flesh becomes fluffy and striated becoming the perfect vehicle for soaking up burnt sugar and cream.
I guess my point is to admire the tower of amber cans of commercial pumpkin puree that kicks off the autumnal festivities, but don’t overlook this strange alien looking thing that can be called so many different things.
PUMPKIN. GOURD. SQUASH. CALABASAS. POMPON
p.s. toast the seeds