Spicy Baked Pumpkin
You will need:
1 cooking pumpkin. (The kind marketed as "sugar pumpkin" is what I usually use. It's the traditional shape but about as big as a toddler's head. Make sure you buy a pumpkin that's meant for cooking, not decoration.)
1/2 cup pepper jelly
1/4 cup cooking oil (almost any veggie or nut oil will do. Olive oil is okay, too.)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly butter or oil a large glass pan, or two small ones.
Rinse the pumpkin and pat dry. Use a heavy, sharp knife to split the pumpkin lengthwise. Cut into quarters, then scrape out the seeds and strings. (Rinse the seeds and roast them later, if you like. See below.)
Cut the quarters into eighths and then cut the eighths again, crosswise. Set aside.
Combine the other ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Add the pumpkin wedges and toss lightly to coat them with the mixture. Remove them to the baking dish and pour any remaining mixture over them.
Bake about 1/2 hour, turning at least once halfway through. (You can add a few tablespoons of water during this time if the jelly looks like it might burn.) Pumpkin is done when a wedge falls easily off a fork's tines and/or peels easily away from its rind. (You can eat the rind, or not. It's strictly a matter of preference.)
Serves 2-4. A great side dish with your favorite poultry or to contrast with the pungency of your favorite stewed greens. Leftovers (if any) will keep covered in the fridge a couple of days.
"Fire" Pumpkin Seeds
For each 1/2 C of raw pumpkin seeds, you'll need:
1 1/2 tsp. olive or other vegetable oil, plus a little extra for oiling the baking tray
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/8-1/4 tsp. Cayenne pepper, depending on how hot you wanna' go...
1/4 tsp. Coriander
1/2 tsp. ground Cumin
After you've scooped the seeds from the pumpkin, put them in a strainer and rinse under cool water to remove most of the strings, etc.
Shake off the water and spread the seeds out on a big plate or tray. Let them dry for at least an hour or two or overnight (ideally).
When ready to roast the seeds, preheat oven to 300 F.
Lightly coat a large baking tray with oil or non-stick spray. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oil, salt, and spices. Stir well to combine.
Add the seeds and stir well with a spatula or wooden spoon, so they are coated thoroughly with the oil-salt-spice mixture.
Spread them out on the greased baking tray and bake for about 1/2 hour, turning them every 10-15 minutes so they roast evenly. Seeds will turn golden brown on the outside, and the inside will change from green to brown as they bake.
Remove from tray to a large plate to cool the seeds before eating. (About 5-10 minutes.) Store any uneaten (ha!) seeds in an airtight container or zip-up plastic bag.
As a post-holiday bonus, Astropuppees sings "Orange."