Pumpkin couscous + Mail!!

November 30, 2010 § 10 Comments

 

I recently got the chance to spend some time with my lovely friend P. out in the desert. We hiked, hot-tubbed and ate, because eating is what we love to do best. We’re both veg. these days, so our first night at the restaurant in the resort proved to be a bit of a challenge. Items on the menu that looked vegetarian, turned out not to be so on further questioning, and since we hadn’t given advance notice concessions couldn’t be made and we just settled for truffled mac ‘n cheese for dinner. I know, life could be worse. It was also one of the best mac ‘n cheeses I’ve ever had. Very creamy, very rich, and full on flavor thanks to the truffle oil and assortment of mushrooms. On our last night the chef made a vegetarian pumpkin risotto just for us, which he served in a baked pumpkin, which I loved. I’ve been wanting to recreate it at home ever since, so today was my attempt, although I warn you mine was nowhere near the quasi-spectacle (my glee is partial to food served in food containers) of the original.

 

This was my absolute first time working with pumpkin. Never carved one for Halloween or made a pumpkin pie, so this was an experience. I started by cutting a top off of the pumpkin of about 1/3rd of the area. I then scooped out the seeds. Saved those, seasoned them and then baked them for about 10 minutes to snack on later. I then rubbed my two large pumpkin pieces with olive oil and salt and pepper then baked them with the hole sides facing down for about 15 minutes which is how long it took for the meat to become tender. Once tender, this pumpkin meat is ripe for cooking. I just scooped it out and used it in the Pumpkin Couscous recipe I found. When the couscous was done I spooned it into the cavity of my baked pumpkin and served! The presentation is interesting, but I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of pumpkin…yet. I’ve got to figure out how that chef made his pumpkin shell so tender but sturdy…and yummy. I think its hard to hate a creamy risotto, and easier to dismiss a wholewheat couscous, but that’s the price you pay when you’re trying to keep the daily food intake on a level that won’t permanently damage the waistline.

Pumpkin Couscous
(adapted from Epicurious, serves two)

Meat from a small pumpkin (should be about 2 cups)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 small shallots minced
2 cloves garlic minced
3/4-1 cup water
1/2 cup milk or half and half
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup whole wheat couscous
2 handfuls of fresh spinach
1 tbsp. parsley (fresh is best)
crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Scoop out the innards and season (w. olive oil, salt and pepper) before baking face down for 15 minutes at 350 degrees

Over medium heat, saute shallots and garlic until the shallots are translucent. Add the crushed red pepper flakes, baked pumpkin meat and sautee for 3-5 minutes. Add the spinach and 3/4 cup of water and then let this mixture cook until the spinach wilts. Don’t forget to season!! Add the milk and couscous and allow this to simmer until the couscous absorbs the liquid (add the last 1/4 cup of water if necessary). Sprinkle with grated parmesan. Serve.

My new vintage cheese cloche, or lemon bar storage, I should say =)

I also received a small surprise in the mail today!! A few weeks ago I won the Birch+Bird giveaway hosted by City Cradle Design. Lily + Rachel from Birch+Bird were nice enough to giveaway a $50 credit to their Etsy store, which I won. Winning things is quite an immediate mood elevator, and I highly recommend it =) I picked out their vintage cheese cloche, due to its brownie and lemon bar storage functionality, which I just received today along with a nice note from Lily + Rachel and recipe cards b/c they know I’m a kitchen girl!! Thanks to Lily + Rachel and to City Cradle for hosting this awesome giveaway.

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§ 10 Responses to Pumpkin couscous + Mail!!

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