Is anyone else offended by all that good squash going to waste as candle holders? No? I guess it’s just me, then, the Scrooge of Halloween. I used to be into Jack-o-lanterns as a kid, but that was before I learned that pumpkins were a tasty food.
One year my parents and I forgot to carve the pumpkin altogether. I’m not sure how we could have overlooked such a crucial tradition, but Halloween came and went and the big blank orange globe on the railing next to the front door began to sag from the top. The stem started to sink first and before long, the whole fruit lost its structural integrity.
My dad tossed the pumpkin into the former garden in the back corner of the backyard. He used to grow tomatoes and assorted vegetables in there but had given up since he was only feeding the deer who didn’t even give the plants a chance to grow their plenty. So it was probably some nicely fertile soil in there when he chucked the defunct pumpkin in to allow it to disintegrate in peace.
By the next fall, we’d forgotten all about the dead pumpkin until my dad noticed a mysterious vine creeping across the front yard. He followed its curly cord around the house, surprised to find it originating in the garden and shocked to see two orange beauties attached. By Halloween, the vine had spread around the house in both directions, sprouting pumpkins everywhere.
One became our next Jack-o-lantern, but the rest were too small. I’d like to say they turned into some savory pumpkin dish or at least a pie, but I think they went back into the soil. My dad had to cut the vine down, too, since it had pretty much taken over our yard like our own Little Shop of Horrors.
Fortunately as an adult I learned that the pumpkin is a big tasty squash that can be used much like butternut squash. Also, it doesn’t originate in a can.
Pumpkin Curry, Thai Style
- 1/2 small pumpkin (or substitute acorn or butternut squash), peeled and cubed
- 1 large carrot cut into disks
- 1 cup cauliflower florets
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 can chick peas, rinsed and drained
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- small chunk of fresh ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
- 1 can coconut milk
- juice of one lime
- 2 TBS soy sauce (or, if you’re not actually cooking vegetarian, use 2 tsp fish sauce for more authentic Thai flavor)
- 1 TBS brown sugar
- 2 tsp ground corriander
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp fennel
- toasted pumpkin seeds
- fresh cilantro
- Chop the veggies. To cube the pumpkin you’ll need to halve it and peel it and then scrape out the interior first. You can toast the pumpkin seeds while the rest of curry is cooking
- Blend the curry sauce ingredients together until fairly smooth.
- Add the veggies and sauce to a large pot and allow to simmer until the pumpkin is tender.
- Garnish and serve.