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Healthy eating: Baby pumpkins and Halloween
(Los Angeles Times Syndicate) -- About the size of a large orange, miniature pumpkins appear in markets from September to Thanksgiving. They make tasty and attractive serving and baking dishes for both kids and grown-ups at Halloween parties. One miniature pumpkin is just right for a single-person serving of soup, stuffing or rice.
I like to bake the pumpkins first to tenderize skin and flesh. I cut about 1 inch off the top and place the pumpkins, cut sides down, on a foil-covered baking sheet. I leave the seeds in as the moisture from the seeds will help the pumpkins cook faster. Bake them for 25 minutes at 350 degrees or until you can easily insert a knife point in the side. Remove the seeds and the pumpkins are ready for filling.
Cranberry-Glazed Baked Pumpkins
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Like baked acorn squash, pumpkins glaze beautifully in the oven. This combination of fruit and spices sweetens the pumpkin flesh.
Cut pumpkins in half and remove seeds. Place, cut sides up, on baking sheet.
Combine apple juice concentrate, cranberry juice, cinnamon, brown sugar and nutmeg in small bowl. Brush mixture on cut surfaces of pumpkin, then pour remainder into cavities.
Bake at 350 degrees until pumpkins are soft, 40 minutes.
Makes 4 servings.
Stuffed with wild rice, pumpkins make an elegant side dish.
Slice 1 inch off top of pumpkins, leaving seeds intact. Cover large baking sheet with foil and place pumpkins, cut sides down, on sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees 25 minutes. Let cool, then scoop out seeds.
Place pumpkins on baking sheet, cut sides up.
In 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat juice to bubbling over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until soft but not browned, 5 minutes.
Remove from heat. Stir in parsley, cranberries, rice and stock. Stuff into pumpkin cavities. Bake at 350 degrees 20 minutes.
Sweet Pumpkin Soup in Mini Pumpkin Bowls
Makes 8 servings.
This is a hit with kids -- they love the serving containers.
In large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, bring juice to boil. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, 1 minute.
Add pumpkin, lemon juice and curry powder and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add stock and cook until flavors blend, 20 minutes.
Puree soup in batches in blender and return to pan. Add buttermilk and heat through, but do not boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cut pumpkins in half and remove seeds. Using melon-baller, scoop out enough pulp to create bowls of 1/4-inch thickness. Spoon soup into bowls. Garnish with croutons.
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