Thursday, November 26, 2015

Embrace American culture through PUMPKINS!

Squash: Butternut, Spaghetti, Pumpkin, Kabocha, yellow, orange, white, green, with stripes...How long does it take you to realize that using a word "pumpkin" can be rather simplistic? The more you know about pumpkins and know how to use them, the higher is your level of americanization. (just kidding but I like to think about it this way).

In fact, before moving to the US, I knew that certain American traditions were related to the use of pumpkin. Everybody knows Halloween and carved jack-o'-lanterns! Of course, this was the only clue I had. Soon I learnt that pumpkins can be used in multiple ways and above all, there are many types of them, too!
To discover some of the most popular shapes and their use, click on this brief and explanatory slideshow.

This is my third fall in the US and I am still miles away from understanding different types of pumpkin and the best ways to use them.

When you arrive and start enjoying your first fall in the US, you immediately notice that pumpkins are everywhere: pumpkins at the doorsteps, pumpkins in the shopping windows, you can have a pumpkin latte at the Starbucks, pumpkin products at the supermarket and even a pumpkin beer! My very first approach towards embracing American culture was buying a big orange pumpkin and using it as a decoration in my living room (Note: without carving it or any other crafty effort from my side).

Next year I realized that this fruit/ vegetable is worth discovering so I promised myself to start actually making some recipes. What I really love is that:

- you can make a whole dinner based on pumpkin recipes. In fact, there are plenty of salty and sweet recipes: squash cream soup, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin lasagna but also a pumpkin pie or even pumpkin granola bars or milkshakes!
- pumpkins are extremely nutrient, low in calories but full of vitamins (especially vitamin A) - the best diet food!
- the canned one is just as good as the home made pumpkin pure
- I love their colors! You do not even have to carve them, just put some different types of pumpkins in your house and the fall atmosphere is all around

Finally, if you want some inspiration for a really very good and simple recipe, try this pumpkin roll!

Pumpkin Roll

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin (can also be in a can)
1 tablespoom lemon juice

Stir in 3/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

Blend all well, pur into a greased foiled lined jelly roll pan and bake at 375 for 15 minutes

Line a towel with confectionary sugar, take cake out of pan, lay on towel. Carefully peel off foil, then roll up so it cools, approximately 45 minutes.

8 oz. cream cheese
4 tablespoon butter
1/2 tespoon vanilla
1 cup confectionary sugar

Mix together, spread filling on cake, re-roll and freeze.

Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving, sprinkle with confectionary sugar and slice.

And you? Do you already have a Thanksgiving cake?

Blessed Thanksgiving Day everyone!