Monday, October 21, 2013

Pumpkin Carving and Fall Feast

We did our pumpkin patch visit and carving party last night! Drove down to Auburn to pick pumpkins at Mosby Farms. They were a pretty good patch; not super busy (like the Spooner Farms in Orting that held us up in traffic for 20 minutes and made us late to Laura and Mike's wedding the day before), nice variety of carving pumpkins, ghost pumpkins, sugar pumpkins (going to try my hand at pies this year!), and lots of other gourds. I bought an assortment to take home and try.

For dinner, I wanted to make a very fall harvest-focused meal. So, main course was a 5 lb chuck roast from Bill the Butcher. I love them because 1) how cool is it to buy meat from an actual butcher shop? 2) they only sell natural meat. No hormones, antibiotics, or GMO's. I know it's high quality. 3) They source locally. 4) They have a huge variety! Beef, pork, chicken, duck, turkey, bacon, sausage, roast, loin, steaks, burgers, stir fry, jerky...5) plus it's really inviting inside. 6) They know their stuff.

Threw that in the crock pot with potatoes and carrots (had to cut it in half first because it was so big!) and added a can of root beer, water covering most of the fixings, and this amazing herb mix meant for Beer Can Chicken put out by Weber, a little Liquid Smoke, and salt and pepper. I cooked it on high because I was afraid it wouldn't cook in time, and ended up overcooking it. Oh well. Good with all the au jus.

Next, I cut an acorn squash in half and roasted it, flesh-up, for 30 minutes. Took that out, added a pad of butter to each half and a bunch of brown sugar, taking care to scar the flesh to allow the butter to soak in. This turned out pretty tasty for never having eaten it before! I took a chance with roasting the seeds in the acorn squash in the same pan as the squash itself, for the same amount of time. Just seasoned with cajun seasoning, salt and pepper, and a little bit of olive oil. They were delicious! And not as chewy as pumpkin seeds. I recommend this instead of throwing them away!

I wanted to make butternut squash latkes. Sandy was over and kindly took charge of this experiment. The frying method was not so successful, but the results of baking them were pretty good. Definitely required some sort of dipping sauce (yogurt sauce was recommended but I didn't remember to buy any ingredients; ranch worked nicely as a substitute). These were made per a recipe, with the gratings of a whole butternut squach, one and a half minced onions, 3 eggs, and seasoning to taste. When it was apparent that I had no way to remove the high moisture content (probably part of the issue with frying), I added about a cup of coconut flour (was trying to keep this gluten-free for one of the dinner attendees). That pretty much did the trick to at least keep them from falling apart in the oven (still not enough for frying though).

I also made baked apples by cutting out the cores of 4 apples, filling the cores with cinnamon, brown and cane sugar, then baking in an 8x8 pan for 30-40 minutes with a cup of water in the bottom of the pan. Turned out quite tasty (and a good gluten-free dessert option). Those of us who could eat wheat also had ghiradelli box brownies to enjoy.

Friends brought a spinach/goat cheese/apple/almond salad (yummy!) with homemade vinaigrette, and we topped it all off with sweet white wine, hard cider, and Martinelli's.

Now we have 6 pumpkins-worth of seeds to roast tonight :) It was great to pick pumpkins with friends and watch episodes of Are You Afraid Of The Dark? and Hocus Pocus with them while we carved and ate. After they all left, we also watched Children of the Corn. I'd never seen it; it wasn't that scary!

Happy Halloween and Fall Festivus!

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