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The Great Pumpkin Commonwealth Spring Seminar will be held in Las Vegas at the end of this month (February 24 -26).  Jim Bryson, who currently holds the World Record for Growing the Largest Pumpkin will give a talk about “The 1818.5 Monster”.  There will be other speakers on the topics “How to Make your Weigh-off a Success” and…”Really Big Melon”.  Novice growers may attend “Pumpkins 101-Beginner Seminar”.  Big Pumpkin Growers are also invited to join Pumpkin Cruise 3sailing to Hawaii in January 2013 for a good time of “fun, fellowship and a ‘little’ pumpkin talk.”

Towards the end of this year (November 2 -4) the World Championship Punkin Chunkin occurs in Bridgeville, Delaware.  “We’re gonna hurl!” is their motto and Chunkers will get together, as they have every year since 1986, to see whose team can devise a machine that will throw a pumpkin the farthest.  The WCPCAssociation’s stated mission is to cultivate “the odd, challenging and competitive quest for distance that inspires creativity, ingenuity, teamwork, and passion”.  Their yearly event makes money and supports scholarships and charitable programs. 

Pumpkins are a fruit with entertainment value.

Also they are very good to eat in many different ways, including the one described here:  drizzling them with olive oil, giving them a sprinkle of garlic, roasting them in a very hot oven, and finally crusting them with some maple syrup and a little Parmesan.  Eating pumpkin this way is liable to increase the pumpkin’s popularity further.

Maple-crusted Roast Pumpkin (for 6 people and very easily increased or decreased to accomodate any number)

Ingredients:

  • a Pumpkin (a Winter Squash will be very  good roasted in this way, too):  whatever amount of the Pumpkin isn’t used, may be covered and refrigerated and will keep for a long time this way
  • several Tablespoons of minced Garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • Maple Syrup
  • freshly ground pepper and salt
  • about a Tablespoon of fresh, grated Parmesan:  even if the Roast Pumpkin is being served with the cheese dish Tartiflette, as in the diplomatickitchen’s Lunch on a Winter’s Day Menu, a little Parmesan still is nice to add along with the Maple Syrup for a crisp crust

Equipment:

  • an ovenproof baking dish or a rimmed baking sheet, big enough to hold the pumpkin cubes in one layer without crowding them 

1.  Preheat the oven to 450 F. and brush the baking dish with some olive oil.

2.  Turn the pumpkin sidewise and cut a couple of rings from it.  The number of rings you will need depends on the size of the pumpkin.  Once the pumpkin is cut into chunks it is easy to estimate if you have enough for the number of people who’ll be eating it.  A suggested amount is a handful for each person.  Place each ring flat and cut out its center:

3.  Cut the peel from the slices:

4.  Cut the rings into chunks and cut the chunks into 1-inch cubes (an approximate size):

5.  Spread the cubes in the baking dish, drizzle them with some olive oil, sprinkle the minced garlic over them and some generous grindings of fresh black pepper and salt:

6.  Roast the cubes in the very hot oven for about 15 minutes.  Half-way through the roasting time, loosen the cubes from the dish with a spatula and mix them around a bit.  At the end of the roasting time, a skewer will pierce a cube through easily if it is done….

…Then take the pumpkin cubes from the oven and drizzle some maple syrup over them…and also a little Parmesan…

…and return them to the hot oven for another 5 minutes.  The Pumpkin is done when the syrup and Parmesan have crusted over the cubes and the garlic bits are brown:

A Note:  Maple-crusted Roast Pumpkin is served with Tartiflette in the Lunch on a Winter’s Day Menu.  Although it is a fruit, the diplomatickitchen categorizes this recipe  under ‘Vegetables’ because, in this case, it is treated like one.

A Second Note:  You can read about the odd and fascinating history of ‘The Chunk’ here at punkinchunkin.com.  Growers of big pumpkins meet and discuss their common interest on bigpumpkins.

© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011-2012

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