Recipe: Cocoa-Chili Roasted Pumpkin/Winter Squash Seeds.

As I speak, there is a roasted butternut squash-parsnip-carrot-sweet potato soup going on in my house.  (My take on this recipe, in which the OP probably didn’t spatter hot soup all over the backsplash and the outside of the front door and the neighbour’s Hallowe’en decorations even though she was really, really careful and wore an apron and a welder’s helmet and everything).

The point of this? (Besides the fact that there is soup happening and it’s perfect for these chilly evenings when snow is threatening).  The squash seeds!  Don’t throw them away.  Grow them in your garden next year or roast them.  I did the latter, and decided I’d use a familiar flavour combination in a new-ish way:

Cocoa-Chili Roasted Pumpkin/Winter Squash Seeds

Do this first: preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius).

Then throw the raw seeds that you just scooped out of your squash (ew, that sounds a tad impolite – my apologies) into a small saucepan.  Add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Turn the heat down and simmer for about 15 minutes. Drain the water from the seeds and pat the seeds dry with a paper towel.

Lay the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.  Now comes the tricky part – adjusting the measurements that I sort of winged in the first place.

For 1/2 cup seeds, add:

1 teaspoon butter or ghee or coconut oil, melted

1//8 to 1/4 teaspoon baking cocoa powder

1/8 teaspoon chili powder

1/8 teaspoon salt*

Stir everything together on the baking sheet and pop in the preheated oven.  Roast for 10 minutes then take the pan out and stir the seeds.  Place them back into the oven for another 10 minutes, then remove.  Cool completely and then dig in.  You may need to make a few batches of these until you get the heat that you want (or just add more spice during or at the end of roasting). I’m a wimp, so this is sufficient on the pepper scale for me.  I think more than one person might consider that the addition of a bit of ground cayenne might kick things up nicely as well….

If you don’t like chocolate (difficult to believe but I’m told it’s true for some folks), I have a lime and chili roasted pumpkin/winter squash seed recipe that you may enjoy – check it out here.

*There are metric conversion tables available here. 

RPSFPNormandeau

Enjoy!

Onion ordeal.

Apparently, when my plot-mates and I planted up our community garden plot this spring, we seeded everything a little too thickly…and then we all sort of (in a very “community” way, it seems) forgot to thin any of the young seedlings out.   This has resulted in a plot that has fairly exploded with a thick canopy of monstrous white-veined Swiss chard leaves that are protectively shading out masses of tiny, twisted carrots; two tight  rows of very coveted tender beets; some crowded nasturtiums which have produced exactly two flowers to date; a handful of robust and densely-packed green bean plants; and a couple of cherry tomato plants that are popping forth oddly-shaped, slightly spotty orange tomatoes.  While I’ve been having a wonderful time cooking up as much Swiss chard as I can eat, I’ve also noticed that our poor white onions have suffered in part due to our planting methods.  When I was out harvesting a couple of evenings ago, I saw that some of our onion plants had flopped over and turned a sickly yellow; when I yanked them up, they were slimy and covered in tiny slithering white maggots.  These are the dreaded onion maggots (Delia antiqua, syn. Hylemya antiqua), and they’re ruining our plants because we’ve got them stuffed in the plot so tightly – this, combined with an abundance of rainfall and relatively cool summer temperatures.   There’s nothing we can do about them now, except destroy the infected plants – by throwing them in the garbage, not the compost.  Lesson learned!

Disgusting beasts, aren’t they?

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On a much more pleasant note, if you’ve got an abundance of Swiss chard, as I have, try this utterly delicious soup:

4 cups chopped fresh Swiss chard

1 cup chopped fresh beet greens

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

2 cups chicken stock

2 tbsp milk

freshly cracked pepper to taste

1/2 cup havarti cheese, shredded

Saute vegetables in olive oil until greens are reduced.  Add stock and simmer 30 minutes.  Remove from heat, cool slightly, and puree with hand blender.  Add milk and cheese and reheat gently (do not boil).  Add pepper to taste.

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Highly recommended:  Gardening, Naturally:  A Chemical-Free Handbook for the Prairies – Sara Williams and Hugh Skinner (2011, Coteau Books)

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