Roasting Up A Seasonal Snack: Pumpkin Seeds

photo(26)Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins!  Whether they are in baked goods, coffee or homes as decorations, I just can’t get enough.  As decorations, pumpkins have an additional feature.  Carving Jack O’ Lanterns has an added benefit to their luminescent glow, seeds.  The perfect opportunity to roast up some seasonal snacks.

For years, I avoided tackling the seeds, opting to purchase them at the store.  Mostly because of the time it takes to wash them and the inconsistency in baking them.  For whatever reason, the insides would always turn out stringy.  Now, though I’ve figured it out.

Interested?  Here’s a version to try:

Preheat the oven to 320.  Remove the seeds from the pumpkin pulp.  The easiest way to do it is put everything in a bowl of water.  Mix it all together.  And, the seeds will come loose from the rest.  As my son B says, they float!  So, you can just scoop them off the surface.

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Next, boil them in an uncovered pot of water with 1 tablespoon of salt. Boil for about 10 minutes.

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Strain. Dump on a baking sheet.  I prefer the one by Chicago Metallic.   Coat with seasonings.  This can be a fun job for little hands.  My boys loved getting their hands dirty by mixing the seeds and spices.

Bake at 320 for about an hour, mixing around every 15 minutes.  Let cool.  Enjoy!  My boys and even our sweet pug love enjoying these as a snack.

Weekend Dinner: Rose Rissotto

ingredients  As a busy mom, I look forward to being able to cook on weekends.  Weeknight cooking is the bare minimum as far as hands on time, and ingredients.  In fact, we usually eat leftovers from larger weekend meals.  Leftovers merely require reheating.  (yay!)  Weekends enable me to make dishes requiring more extensive ingredients as well as attention to detail.

Since my boys love shrimp, and I love risotto, last weekend I created a shrimp rose risotto.  There’s something so comforting about the  texture of risotto.   Creamy, cheesy and comforting.  It’s like putting on a cozy sweater.

Want to try it? Here’s the recipe.

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup Rose Wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup of chopped greens
  • 1 cup grated dry cheese (Gruyere, romano, Parmesan or mixture)
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 3/4 pound baby shrimp
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (tarragon, oregano, thyme) (optional)

Mix the liquids together and set aside. I like to keep mine in a large measuring cup  like this one so it’s easier to keep track of how much I’m using.

Warm your pan.  I use a Le Creuset shallow brassier.   Add the olive oil, saute the garlic & shallots for a few minutes.  Add the rice and swish it around in the oil and garlic mixture.  Turn down the heat.  Add a cup of the liquid mixture and stir. photo(14)

At this point heat a skillet and  melt a tablespoon of butter and teaspoon of paprika.  I like the flavor of smoky paprika, but a sweet would work well too.  Add the shrimp and quickly saute for about a minute or two, just to impart the paprika flavor to shrimp. Set aside.

Go back to the risotto.  Stir occasionally until mostly absorbed.  When mostly absorbed, add another cup of liquid.  Keep  stirring.  Do once more.  Add the mushrooms and chopped tomato. 

add last cup of mixture.  Add the chopped greens and fresh herbs.  Once liquid is mostly absorbed add the 3/4 cup cheese and shrimp.  turn off.  Let cool for a couple of minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Top with the rest of the cheese. 

I like to serve this with a light brussel sprout salad and thin crust mushroom & Gruyere pizza.  Check back for those recipes.   Of course don’t forget to enjoy with a balanced local Sonoma/Napa white wine like the chardonnay from Roche Family Winery which is still my fav. photo(13)