Monday, October 18, 2010

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds: Once a Year is Worth the Work

Last week my parents came to visit. That in itself is post-worthy. In reality, they were on their way to visit my older sister and we were on the way...with cheap lodgings, decent food and cute grandbabies to tickle, who could say 'no'?  And because they don't often get to visit, they loaded down the car with everything they could think of that would make us happy....including a couple of gorgeous pumpkins that they grew. Well, actually, the pumpkins were "volunteers" (they weren't intentionally planted) and Dad says they just tended them to make sure they were alright--I'd say they were just about perfect. 

The week before Mom and Dad came to visit, I was at the store with the girls and Thing 1 desperately wanted a pumpkin to carve. Quite frankly, it just wasn't in the budget. I hated to say no but paying $15 for something to sit on our step really wasn't practical. My parents knew nothing of this conversation or of Thing 1's request so when they popped the trunk and hauled out two utterly perfect pumpkins, I admit, I got a little teary. 

So this weekend, Mr. Devlin and Thing 1 got down to business and carved some pumpkins. The Devs isn't so happy with his (artists!) so I won't show that one to you but Thing 1's is a jolly little fellow (he's accompanied by the little pumpkin she got from a school field trip this week where she also got to milk cows and would like us to have one please....I'll get on it, dearest).

As I was scraping out the innards, I explained to my elder child that pumpkin seeds are really yummy when they are toasted so we wouldn't be throwing them away. 
*Side note: she, in turn, explained to me that I was actually taking away the pumpkin's babies that the mommy had tried so hard to protect. ggggrrrrrrreeeeaaaaaatttttttt....we eat little roasted babies.....

I separated the seeds (that are very slippery and I wouldn't be surprised if a few are on my ceiling at this point) from the connective elements and placed them in a pot of water to which I added a couple of tablespoons of kosher salt. Why?

Because if you brine your seeds, they will have more flavor because the insides will have absorbed the salt water. 

For every cup of water, add a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. The water will foam up a bit so use a big pot or add a dribble of oil to reduce the foaming.

After 10 minutes, drain the seeds (you don't need to rinse), trying to shake off as much water as you can. Spread on a sheet pan that is covered in a silpat or parchment and coat lightly with a bit of olive oil. Now add the seasonings of your choice....garlic, cumin, cayenne and cinnamon, chili powder and sugar, curry--whatever sounds good. I am a lucky lucky girl with good friends so I possess a bottle of bacon salt. Yeah, you read that right--bacon salt. 

Toss the seeds to coat and pop into an oven that's been preheated to 400. Every 10 minutes or so, stir up the seeds and re-spread them on the sheet pan. Do this for about 20-30 minutes, watching closely at the end to protect the seeds from burning.

Pull from the oven and cool before packing in an air tight container. Mine went into a bowl on the table and I've been snacking away. 
Thing 1  "doesn't eat babies."


Darlene said...

YUM! I chose to do mine sweet/salty, with a mixture of butter, brown sugar and salt. I too was blessed with some PA pumpkins. So glad mom and dad came to visit!

Mother B said...

I don't know....but if you look real close, you can see little faces on those seeds.....who knew?

ness said...

I was all saliva-ed up to make some pumpkin seeds until I saw their little faces....

Seriously, brine, huh? That's wicked clever. I had no idea.

betty crocker said...

this is starting to turn into that episode of Growing Pains "um, I don't eat anything with a face....'