Yes, we are back to the P alliterations. I am so happy Christmas is almost here so I can have my annual Mr. Popper’s Penguins grammar fix.
So, today I am writing about …pumpkins, pepitas and pomegranates and why they are so great together.
Here is why: the pumpkin is rich, with an earthy, sweet flavor. The pepitas are crunchy and slightly salty. The pomegranates are a tiny jewel-box, burst of flavor that adds color, pop and interest.
So now you have sweet, salty and savory so you need sour: this comes in the form of dairy. Goat cheese, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, nutty cheese (gruyere). I do love bleu cheese with pomegranates, because of the intense salt matched with the sweet, but not with pepitas. More with walnuts or pecans.
With this in mind, I have made several dishes with this autumnal flavor combination lately:
- a simple breakfast of Greek yogurt whipped with a teaspoon of pumpkin puree, topped with a little tiny bit of honeycomb and garnished with plenty of pepitas and pomegranate;
- a side dish (or snack) of diced butternut or sugar pumpkin, tossed with a little bit of olive oil and sea salt and roasted until caramelized, then garnished with the seeds;
- an entree of stuffed delicate squash, with the pepitas and pomegranate tossed along with various vegetables from the garden.
- and the snack I will get to in just a second.
First I have to say (again) that #2 is just the pickiest eater. He is getting better: he actually ate the noodles from some pho soup last week and he had a little taco meat on a shell last night (like 3 little crumbles, but I guess that counts). So feeding him is a lesson in patience. A lesson I am still mastering.
Since I know how to eat healthy, and since I do try hard to feed my family healthy, I find feeding #2 to be especially aggravating because he only wants food from packages. I have an issue with food from packages. I know this makes me weird…..maybe that’s a post for another day…I need to come up with a word for it….
So I made this snack the other day, and he WENT TO TOWN! He was licking the bowl, the spoon, trying to get to the blade of the processor! So I guess this means I did good. Here is what he doesn’t know: IT WAS GOAT CHEESE. AND PUMPKIN. I think he thought it was cream cheese, so maybe a bagel was coming….instead, he got several colors from the rainbow, healthy pumpkin, (I really DO NOT like the “Super Food” phrase–it’s a dirty word in my lexicon–so I won’t use it here, but you can think it) pomegranate, some vitamins and anti-oxidants and clean protein.
Here is the recipe, which both kids really loved. He wouldn’t eat the pomegranate seeds, even though #1 and I tried to come up with every monster-ish, bloody, gooey and gross name for them we could think of. Small steps on a long path though……I’ll take ’em.
Pumpkin Spread a la #1
- 4 ounces goat cheese, cold
- 4 ounces cream cheese, cold (I used organic neufchâtel–the low fat version)
- 1 TB or so pure pumpkin puree
- pinch pumpkin pie spice
- less than 1 ts maple syrup
- Process cheeses in a food processor until you achieve a creamy, spreadable consistency. Really you can do this with a fork or spatula….Whatever floats your boat. Add in the seasonings and the puree.
- Here is the thing about the puree: it will thin the consistency of your spread, so use sparingly. It’s easier to add than to take away. If your spread gets too thin, add more cheese.
- HelpfSpoon the mixture into a piping bag or baggie with a snipped corner. Pipe onto crostini, crackers, bagel chips, etc.
- Garnish with pepitas and pomegranate seeds.
- If you use this as a dip, just slice apples and pears and let the kids go to town.
- you can make a spread or a dip by adjusting how much pumpkin you use. You can firm it up by refrigerating for an hour or more.
- you can make this elegant for a party by choosing a nice, flavored cracker (like Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Cranberry or Rosemary) or by making a homemade “crostini” from baguette or puff pastry.