Until I ask "Who wants to help get the pumpkins started for carving?"
Shecky announces "Not me, pumpkin guts are gross." (and he is so right about that!)
Bubba was a bit more subtle - he suddenly "remembered" that he had to go into the office. And he left! Whaaaaat?
So, once again, the despised task of degutting the pumpkins fell to me. Urgh.
These include things like taking out the trash, or capturing the spider and taking it to its new home in the bushes. (or, at the very least, killing it quietly and then pretending to take it to its new home...)
So, I found myself degutting three well-sized pumpkins all by myself.
I do love the roasted pumpkin seed. I really, really love them. And the only way that I can rest assured that I got every single precious seed is by doing the dirty work myself...
So I degutted, and deseeded - and ended up with nearly four cups of seeds! Beautiful, glorious, seeds which are - thanks to my salad spinner, a roll of paper towels, and my OCD - completely free from any pumpkin specks! Enough for four batches of this recipe:
Sugar and Spice Pumpkin Seeds
(or, as Schecky calls them: PowerPuff Girl Seeds
even though they don't have any Chemical X in them)
1 cup of fresh pumpkin seeds
Preheat oven to 250°. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet with sides. (I use my SilPat mat for this, but as long as you stir the seeds regularly, they shouldn't stick...) Bake for one hour, or until seeds are completely dry.
I check on them and stir every 10 - 15 minutes. The drying time can vary greatly depending upon the moisture content of your pumpkin seeds.
5 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 Tablespoons cooking oil
Combine 3 Tablespoons of the sugar, and all the spices in a good sized bowl. Set aside.
In a skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and the remaining 2 Tablespoons of sugar. Cook until the sugar melts and begins to caramelize (a minute or two), stirring all the while to ensure that the seeds are evenly coated with the sugar.
Add pumpkin seed mixture to the bowl with the spices - stir or toss well to distribute the spices. Allow to cool thoroughly, then store in a tightly sealed container. I have no idea how long these should last, since they never seem to last very long around here.
A slight variation: as I was making my final batch of these, I thought to myself "Too bad there's no way to add some vanilla to this"... since my vanilla addiction is legendary. I really was only kidding, but then I remembered that I have some powdered vanilla on the shelf. I added 1/4 teaspoon to the last batch, and I must say it was quite nice. That batch is sweeter, rather than the zingy original recipe. But it was a nice little variation, and one I would try again....
A quick Google search shows me that this is indeed virtually identical to Martha's recipe for Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds - except, her directions are far more well-written! I transcribed mine from the scribbly back of an envelope....
Anyway - I love it! I sometimes wonder if I could make this recipe using the "pepitas" that I sometimes see in the bulk food bin at WholeFoods, so that I could enjoy it year round. I'll probably never try that though - I think that only having them once a year just makes them that much more enjoyable....
*You know, from the old story - the poor little red hen who asks: "Who will help me plant the wheat?" "Who will help me tend the wheat?" "Who will help me (fill in the blanks with some other wheat related task)?" And she gets no help - until the bread is all done, then she's got help coming out the wazoo?
Yeah - well, this little red hen's thinking about getting all medieval and not sharing any of the pumpkin seeds...