Tag Archive | "pumpkin seeds"

Pepita-roasted Tomatillo Dip

Pepitas, or roasted pumpkin seeds.

San Antonio loves a good tomatillo dip, and this version benefits from the addition of garlic, tangy lemon juice, the nuttiness of roasted pumpkin seeds, and the freshness of cilantro leaves mixed with the tart tomatillos.

It’s a  perfect treat, whether you’re looking for something to snack on while cheering on the U.S. Women’s National Team as they play in the World Cup finals or just munch on any mid-afternoon.

“For a special presentation, try serving this smooth, rich-tasting dip in a hollowed-out squash,” say the editors of the new “The Sunset Cookbook” (Oxmoor House, $34.95).

Pepita-roasted Tomatillo Dip

3 fresh tomatillos (about 6 ounces), husks removed
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds or pepitas
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Tortilla chips

Put tomatillos in a small baking pan and broil 4 to 6 inches from heat, turning once, until skins are lightly charred, 5 to 8 minutes.

In a small, heavy skillet over medium heat, toaste pumpkin seeds until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes.

In a blender, whirl tomatillos, pumpkin seeds, garlic, lemon juice, oil, cilantro and salt until combined but still slightly chunky. Scrape into a small bowl; add more salt to taste. Serve with chips.

Make up to 1 day ahead, chilled.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

From “The Sunset Cookbook”

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A Trio of Spiced Nuts Brightens Any Fiesta

A trio of spiced nuts.

During Fiesta or any party time of the year, it helps to have a few recipes you can make ahead and be able to serve whenever guests drop by.

And what goes better with margaritas than something with a little bite?

I recently tried three spiced nut recipes from celebrity chef Rick Bayless, which he has included in his new cookbook, “Fiesta at Rick’s” (W.W. Norton & Son, $35). Each one can be made in advance and stored in an air-tight jar until needed.

A few words to the wise when it comes to making any candied or spiced nut. Don’t let your attention stray, or you could end up with a burnt tray of nuts. If you don’t know if the nuts are ready yet, err on the side of caution and removed them sooner than later. The heat of the cookie sheet will continue to cook the nuts even after it has left the oven.

Chilied peanuts with toasted pine nuts

When I made Garlicky Habanero Macadamia Nuts, I left them on the tray for a second or two too long, and the color darkened. They weren’t burnt, but they weren’t as pretty as they could have been.

My test of the Chipotle-Roasted Almonds also had a little too much sauce on them, which make the nuts sticky in the humidity. The flavor was great, but make sure your almonds are sparingly coated. If they feel too gooey going into the oven, then you may want to add a few more almonds into the mix. (You might also want to blanch the almonds first, a step I forgot somewhere along the way.)

Most importantly, get creative. Recipes are guides, not blueprints. For the Chilied Peanuts and Pumpkin Seeds, I didn’t have pumpkin seeds to go with the spiced peanuts, but I did have pine nuts. I toasted the same amount and tossed them into the mix. You could use anything from buttery Chex Mix to tiny pretzels to fried peas, and get good results.

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Don’t Throw Those Pumpkin Seeds Away


Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

When you carve your jack-o-lantern this Halloween, don’t throw away the seeds. With a little work, you can turn them into a tasty snack that’s loaded with zinc. Boiling the seeds before baking helps the seed retain your favorite seasoning.

Seeds from 1 pumpkin
Seasonings of your choice

Remove the seeds from the pumpkin. Rinse to wash off the strings attached to the seeds.

Boil the seeds in salt water for 10 minutes. While the seeds are boiling, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain.


Spread out on a baking sheet so that no seeds are on top of each other. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from pan into a bowl. Toss with about 1 tablespoon oil (any will work) and favorite seasoning (such as Cajun spices, a mix with ginger, or Chilean merkén).


Spread back on the baking sheet, again ensuring that no seeds are on top of each other. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until seeds are dried and have turned a light golden color.


Scrape into bowl. Let the seeds cool before serving.

From John Griffin

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How to Roast a Pumpkin


That pumpkin you buy for a jack-o-lantern is not just a decoration, regardless of the sticker that may appear on it.

It’s a fruit, like any other squash, with nutritious seeds at the center and firm flesh that you can eat as a side dish or in a pie.

But getting it ready to eat takes a little effort on your part.


The first step is to select a pumpkin. The more colorful heirloom pumpkins, such as those blue-gray or green, are actually better for eating, though some are marked for decoration. The worst for eating is said to the standard carving pumpkin, but those cook up as well as any other, even if they are slightly stringier. (Just run it through the food processor a little while longer and you won’t know the difference.)

Look for a pumpkin without any bruises on the outside; or if there are bruises, cut around them.


Cutting into the pumpkin can take some effort. I’ve seen people use a hammer to drive a knife into the skin. That requires some skill and careful attention. I haven’t tried it. I’m the type who would drive the knife into my hand first. So, I use a bread knife with a serrated blade and a strong handle.


Cut the pumpkin roughly in half first. That way, you can scoop out as much of the seeds and string as possible. I use my hands for that, though a spoon works almost as well. (Don’t throw the seeds, or pepitas, away. Click here for directions on toasting them.)


Then I cut the pumpkin into pieces and place them on a half sheet pan (18 inches by 13 inches) with the skin side up. It doesn’t matter the size of the pieces as long as they lie relatively flat on the pan. Don’t bother trying to peel the pumpkin before cooking, it takes too much time and effort.


About halfway through the carving, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Once the pan is full or the pumpkin is cut up, then pour a little water until the pan, so it is about 1/4 inch deep. Tent the top of the tray with aluminum foil and place in the oven.


Cook for about 25 minutes.

Shortly before the first phase of cooking is up, melt a stick of butter in a small saucepan.


Remove the tray from the oven and uncover the pumpkin. Turn the pumpkin over and brush the slices with melted butter. Return to the oven uncovered and cook for another 20-25 minutes or until the flesh is soft when poked with a fork.


Remove from the oven and drain the water. When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, peel it.

If you are serving the pumpkin as a side dish, season it with more butter, salt or brown sugar to taste.


If you are processing the pumpkin for soup or pie, cut the pieces into 1-inch squares. Process in a food processor or blender, a little at a time until smooth.

I measure out leftover pumpkin into 2-cup freezer bags. The pumpkin will keep for up to 1 year in the freezer.

Why do all this work? Because fresh pumpkin is vastly superior to the canned variety. To find out, decorate your pumpkin on the outside, then cut it up, cook it and discover for yourself just how delicious it is.

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