Archives for posts with tag: Recipe

Decorative pumpkin and sqashHalloween is over and if you did not carve a jack-o-lantern, there is a good chance you have a nice, ripe piece of fruit sitting somewhere in your house. Pumpkins make wonderful fall decorations, but they are more than just the big chunk in the cornucopia. They are much like a squash, and as such, they make delicious dishes. As long as your pumpkin is not too old (it should still be firm) and has not been sitting with its flesh exposed, you can cook it.

Pumpkin pie is the obvious seasonal treat, so instead of using canned pumpkin, cook the one you already bought. You may not need the whole thing, so here are a couple of ideas for what’s left.

Fresh pumpkin seeds from the ovenPumpkin Seeds:

You will need:

  • Seeds from one pumpkin
  • Sea salt (about a handful)
  • Seasoning
    • Cayenne pepper
    • Garlic
    • Onion
    • Madras curry
    • Whatever you like!



  1. Scooping out pumpkin seeds with an ice cream scoopScoop the seeds from a pumpkin set the pumpkin aside. An ice cream scoop works well for this.




  2. Rinse seeds under hot waterPull the seeds from the membrane and rinse in a colander under hot water until the seeds are white.




  3. Place the wet seeds into a medium-sized bowl and mix the sea salt in. Stir until all the salt dissolves to create a brine with the water still in the seeds from cleaning them.


  4. Divide the seeds for flavors. If you only want plain, salted seeds, skip to step four. Otherwise, put a small amount of seeds into a smaller bowl for each flavor. We made five: cayenne pepper, garlic, onion, madras curry, and plain. The amount of seasoning depends on the size of the flavor batch and on personal preference, but remember, you started with a brine, so they are already going to have salt.


    cayenne pepper:
    Season the seeds with your choice of spicessprinkle enough cayenne pepper over the top of the seeds to make a good layer, then stir.


    We used the garlic mix from a tube, so ours came out very salty, but delicious. Squeeze the garlic mix onto the wet seeds and mix well. This will create a paste on the seeds.


    For this we used dried onion from the spice rack. It turned out well, but the onion bits became a companion to the seeds more than a coating. But again, toss in a handful and stir with the wet seeds.


    madras curry:
    This is delicious! Add enough to coat the top of the seeds and stir. It should coat them well and turn the seeds a bit yellow.


  5. Spread the seeds on baking sheets and bake at 350 until dried out and crispy. This may take a while, but check them every five minutes and stir them around so all sides cook evenly. (You can make over a camp fire as well, you would just use a skillet, aluminum foil, or whatever cooking item you have handy.) When they are crisp, dry, and starting to brown, they are ready.


  6. Remove from oven and serve.


Try not to burn your fingers, but these are amazing warm out of the oven. Any flavor will do, so experiment and find your signature way to make these. Betty from Betty’s Kitchen has a video on how to make sweet pumpkin seeds that sound delicious.


Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin soup garnished with seeds
You will need:

  • One pumpkin
  • Water
  • Dried onion
  • Parsley
  • Thyme
  • Garlic blend (from a tube)
  • Olive Oil
  • Vegetable Broth
  • Salt
  1. Remove the seeds and membrane from the pumpkin and either discard or use to roast pumpkin seeds.


  2. Steam the pumpkin to remove the skin. While you can do this by cutting your pumpkin in half and placing face down, you might not have a large enough steaming bowl. If this is the case, go ahead and cut your pumpkin into manageable chunks and place them into a microwave safe bowl with a lid, or a microwave steamer.


  3. Remove the pumpkin skin with a spoonSteam in the microwave for about 30 minutes, checking at 15 a 25 minutes. If the meat is soft and the skin pulls away easily, the pumpkin is ready.


  4. Remove the skin with a spoon and discard.


  5. Puree pumpkin in food processorPurée the pumpkin meat in a food processor or blender and set aside.




  6. In a soup pot, rehydrate the onion in vegetable broth over medium heat. Amounts will determine on the amount of soup you are making, but we find that adding a couple of extra shakes of onion to whatever we think we need turns out best.


  7. Add a turn of olive oil and let that warm for a minute or two.


  8. Sauteed seasoning for pumpkin soupAdd parsley, thyme and garlic to the onion and mix and saute until it makes a thin paste.




  9. Add the pureed pumpkin and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until all is well incorporated.


  10. Pumpkin SoupAdd vegetable broth one cup at a time to achieve desired thickness. Stir in each cup until well blended before adding the next. The final amount of broth will depend on the size of the pumpkin you cut. The thinner you want your soup, the more broth you will use.


  11. Add salt to taste.


  12. Ladle into bowls, top with roasted pumpkin seeds and serve.

As most pumpkin soups require half and half, cream, butter or milk, we experimented with this vegan version. We were happy with the result and look forward to hearing what you think.

As with any fruit or vegetable, make sure to use a fresh, ripe pumpkin for cooking. Any pumpkin variety will work, even those knotty, funky ones, so you can rotate them out to keep your decorations changing and have pumpkin dishes all season long.

Until next we meet, enjoy great food and keep a happy heart.

Come back next Sunday for another ride through cattle country.

It’s been a busy week around Dallas. The Texas State Fair is winding down, we lost Big Tex to a fire, and local vegetarians and vegans are ramping up for the Texas State Veggie Fair. Our plan was to hit the standard fair, then head to the veggie fair, but with Big Tex burning down, we’re not sure we’ll make it to the standard one.

We’ll miss Big Tex, and people who aren’t from here definitely don’t understand why. Honestly, it’s a 60-year-old giant Santa Claus skeleton turned cowboy, so why should we care? But we do. Those of us who grew up meeting at his giant boots every year, who were welcomed by his giant “Howdy, Folks,” and who had our first stolen kisses in his shadow, will miss him terribly. There is talk of rebuilding, but when you make it bigger or better, it reminds us all of what we’ve lost.

But the fair, it’s meant to roll with the times, and that’s what it’s doing. Good Karma Kitchen brought the vegan option to the masses this year. Vegans and vegetarians were able to skip the fried (insert random near-food here)s in favor of something a bit more healthful. Maybe this will be a trend and other vegan and vegetarian food vendors will start popping up next year. We’ll have to see.

The biggest excitement for us this week is definitely the veggie fair. From what we’ve seen so far, this is a great place to go and just be ourselves. A place where we can partake of the food without asking what’s in the fryer, and where nobody will look at us strange for skipping the barbecue. Since the veggie fair is Sunday (today), we’ll fill you in later with our impressions and takeaways.

For now, though, enjoy a beautiful recipe submitted to us by Melinda Stone of Denton. We’re calling it Portobello Bliss.

Portabello, pepper, onion and squash

One portobello mushroom top
One red pepper
One summer squash
Half an onion
Near east pine couscous
Handful of toasted pine nuts
Spoon full of minced garlic
Olive oil
Red pepper flakes

Slice veggies into thick chunks, spread on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle on garlic, red pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Bake in 425 degree oven for 20 minutes or until soft. Prepare couscous as box instructs. Top couscous with veggies and pine nuts and enjoy.

Portobello, peppers, onions, and veggies over couscous

Thanks Ms. Stone for the amazing recipe. Pine nuts and garlic are a pair made in Heaven by anybody’s standards. Great job.

Until next we meet, enjoy great food and keep a happy heart.

Come back next Sunday for another ride through cattle country.


The 2012 Texas State Veggie Fair was wonderful. We were definitely at home there with so many vegan and vegetarian options. Mercy for Animals handed out recipes (with industry pictures, of coures), the Vegan Black Metal Chef gave a cooking demo, and we finally caught up with Good Karma Kitchen.

The food smelled wonderful as we wandered through rows of vendor tents taking it all in. Food trucks lined a street near a stage where live bands played throughout the day, kids bounced in a bounce house, and a few brave souls took to a bungie swing. Overall, this was a modern lifestyle version of a small town or county fair from an idyllic time; quiet and calm, people talking to friends and strangers alike, kids dancing around, and nobody worrying about much of anything. If we could pick a favorite way to spend an afternoon, this would be it.

We’ve been trying to get to Good Karma Kitchen for months, but every time we are in Fort Worth, they are in Dallas, or the other way around. We finally crossed paths at the Veggie Fair and are glad we did. This food truck is completely vegan, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a bit of down home Texas cuisine. With Barbecue Tacos and Frito Pie on the menu, we knew we were in for a treat. After asking which was better, we went with the pie. A mountain of chips covered some of the thickest chili we’ve had in a while. Yes, it’s vegan, but the texture is beautiful. Chunks of fresh tomatoes and green peppers, black beans, and what we guessed was TVP or another veggie meat gave this a depth we didn’t expect to find on a truck. It may look like a little cup of chili, but that is one of the most filling meals we’ve had in a long time. If you ever see this bright yellow truck, no matter the time of day, it’s lunch time. Trust us.

Capital City Bakery offered a selection of vegan treats, so we naturally went there next. An oatmeal cream pie with vanilla cream (vegan, of course) frosting proved to be more than we could handle in one sitting. That sucker was HUGE! But it came wrapped, so we carried it around and nibbled throughout the day until it was gone. Pumpkin cupcakes were amazing as well. The ability to make things like this that taste so good, so much better than what we remember from our childhoods, is what brings people to realize that being vegan doesn’t mean have to resign yourself to accept that you will lack anything in your food life. Again, if you ever see this truck, make sure to stop and visit.

Inside the rec center, we attended a couple of cooking demos. A vegan bartender removed any and all animal products from some delicious beverages, some of which we didn’t even know weren’t vegan. She offered tips for some popular items. Jello shots, for instance, are obviously not vegan. But you if you use Agar Agar (available at any Asian market) instead, you are in business.

We were surprised to see that her entire audience left and the Vegan Black Metal Chef’s following came in. We figured there would be some crossover, but we may have been the only ones to see both demos. (We are the lucky ones.) He made Aloo Palak and Buffalo Seitan Bites in his demo with nothing precooked accept the boiled potatoes. The spices from the seitan filled the packed room, so definitely use the stove fan if you make this. Watching him make two vegan dishes from scratch in under an hour made us think we might actually have time to cook dinner, even on the busy days. Shocking videos aside, this guys is quite funny in person. Oh, and all the armor he wears in his videos is made of rubber, not leather.

If you get the chance to go to the veggie fair next year, do it. You don’t have to be vegan or even vegetarian to attend, so bring your friends. This is an eclectic group of people with one thing in common: we accept each other’s choices not to eat meat. Enjoy the adventure!

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