Fall is harvest time here in West Michigan; and we sure do love it. Right now the focus at our house is on the greens: Swiss chard, wild cabbage (ancestor to kale, collards, etc.) and turnips. The lower fall temperatures remove the bitterness that’s present during the summer. And my how the greens are thriving these days!!
Nice thing about all of these is they can withstand temperatures that have already killed much of the garden. They all survive the autumn frosts just fine; and can even be harvested in the dead of winter if protected properly.
Here’s a picture of some I picked today. One of the wild cabbage leaves was pretty big!! I put my Pyrex bowl, cutting board and chef’s knife in the photo for size comparison. Click the photo for a better view.
Of course, I’m also killing two stones with one bird: I wanted to share how I make my lunch for work. My “standard” cooking receptacle is a 4 cup Pyrex bowl with a vented lid; perfect for cooking in the microwave. Tomorrow’s lunch will be very simple, yet very delicious:
1 small leftover broiled chicken breast (about 4 ounces), cut up into chunks
1/2 of a medium sized yellow onion
Chopped greens, enough to fill the bowl to the top.
And yes we eat the stems too!! I sprinkle a little Kikkoman Gluten Free Soy Sauce to “kick it up a notch,” as Emeril might say. Keep refrigerated until it’s time to eat, then nuke it for 3 minutes. Mix the contents after cooking to toss the flavors all about. MMmmmmm good!!
Every year we carve Jack O’ Lanterns, and that of course yields plenty of seeds. Over the years, I’ve kept some for planting, but most were roasted. This year I posted a picture of the finished product on BookFace, and a friend of mine asked for the recipe. Well I’m sorry to say that I don’t really have a recipe; although they come out pretty darned good most of the time. We like our roasted pumpkin (or whatever other squash) seeds a little salty and spicy; and sometimes I get a bit exuberant with the condiments.
In other words, some batches come out better than others.
Anyway, here’s my basic process. First of all, I try to reduce the amount of squash guts that cling to the seeds when I gather what will go into the colander for washing. After the pumpkin is opened, I cup my fingers and press them against the inside wall of the pumpkin. I start at the bottom and pull my hand up the inside, which scoops the seeds but leaves a lot of the squash guts behind. Takes a little practice, but saves work when washing.
OK!! Without further ado, here’s how I roast the seeds:
- Wash and drain your pumpkin seeds
- Coat the inside of a large, shallow baking pan with olive oil. We use an old enamel coated broiling pan we’ve had for many moons. It measures 12 in. wide by 18 in. long and 1 in. deep.
- Pour the seeds into the pan and spread evenly.
- Now it’s time for the seasoning: sprinkle with Kikkoman Gluten Free soy sauce (the only one I’ve found with no garbage in it), garlic powder, chili powder, and a very light sprinkling of salt.
- Place in the center rack of your oven and turn the heat on (I do NOT preheat) to 350 F
- Allow the oven to come to temperature (about 6 minutes) and turn the heat off.
- Leave the seeds in the heated oven for about 20 minutes with the heat still off.
- After about 20 minutes, take the pan out with your pot holder or oven mitt with one hand and stir the seeds about with a butter knife with the other hand.
- Spread the seeds evenly again and place back in the oven.
- Turn on the heat again for a minute or two, and then off again.
- Repeat steps 8 thru 10 until the seeds are crunchy enough for your liking.
Often for the last step I’ll turn run the oven at 275 for about 3 minutes and leave the seeds in the oven overnight (or for a few hours). This really draws the moisture out and makes them delectable when eaten whole, husks and all.
Obviously the seasoning quantity will vary depending on your preference. And of course you can add other spices not listed here. Be adventurous! Enjoy!
Here’s a picture of our finished product… minus a few handfuls that were devoured before the photo was taken.