Every halloween we buy a pumpkin to carve. Every November, the pumpkin sits outside until it rots or is used in acts of vandelism by neighbourhood hoodlems. This year, I looked at our two jack-o-lanterns and thought, these are vegetables. I could cook these!
I consulted my health-guru friend Natalie about how to cook a pumpkin. She told me to cut it up and put it in the microwave and.... I forget the rest. Anyway, I got out my trusty serated knife and brought the Lion Jack-o-Lantern in from the front porch. I don't know how Adam managed to carve these things (well, actually I do, with a dremel tool) but they are super hard to cut super pumpkins. I couldn't get a dent in it with my weakling muscles and my trusty serated knife.
Then I got an idea. I would use the hedge trimmer, which is basically just a big serated knife only it's electric. The extention cord situation in our yard is designed to faciliate using power tools housed in the shed, so the cords run from the house, behind our hedges along the length of the back yard, then through a hole in the shed. I then plugged in another extension cord and ran it back up to the house from the shed. The end result reminding me very much of the laryngeal nerve on a giraffe.
After about a second and a half of power-tooling with the hedge trimmer it became clear that a) the trimmer was not designed to cut through something this big, and b) I would probably make a big mess and break something if I tried.
So I brought the lion back inside. I knew it wouldn't fit in my microwave as is, but if I removed one rack on the oven... huzzah! It fit! I set the oven to 350 degrees (universal temperature for anything you don't really know how to cook) and waited. I figured that it would be easy to cut once it was soft (you know, like a sweet potato).
After I had played transformers, surfed youtube, and wrote this blog entry up until this point, the house began to smell like pumpkin. I took the hot pumpkin out of the oven. I put it on the cool oven rack on the floor. My trusty knife redeemed itself by slicing easily through the shell. The good bits came off easily, using a process which involved the knife, barbecue tongs, and a large spoon. I declared it a success and put the other pumpkin in the oven.
Now I just have to figure out what to do with four mixing bowls full of pumpkin (two bowls from each jack-o-lantern if the second yields as much as the first). So far, I've pureed some and put it into single serving zip-locks for freezing. I also gave the kids each a small bowl of pumpkin with brown sugar and cinnamon in it. They apparently "liked it" but neither of them ate the whole thing (and they were tiny bowls). I now have the food processor processor going pureeing more and the second jack-o-lantern (a robot) in the oven.
Unfortunately I've never been a big fan of pumpkin pie. Recipes anyone?