Monday, September 29, 2008

Where did THAT come from?

DD and I were on our way home from the gym, when all of a sudden we were under water. Well, it was raining hard enough to be anyway. From nothing to rain so hard and fast I couldn't see the road. Sheesh! Getting from the car to the house (two bounding steps when the rain is cold like that) and we were soaked to the underwear. I can't even imagine how it would have felt to be stuck out there on bikes or walking. That rain felt cold enough to chill beer, if you ask me. Last night I tested an idea for thanksgiving. I have seen many "stuffed pumpkin" conglomerations. I thought it would be nice to try a vegan-stuffed pie sized pumpkin. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go with a stewy type thing, bread stuffing, or a wild rice style dressing. After looking at a hundred or so recipes, I decided the stew was NOT the way to go. Nothing inspired me as having particularly thanksgiving-y flavours. I took a small pie pumpkin and cut it in half. Scooped out the strings and seeds, then sprinkled with cajun seasoning. I wanted to make sure the pumpkin itself tasted like something. I roasted them until they were softened but not mushy. Cubed bread, celery, onions, poultry seasoning and a handful of walnuts mixed with veggie stock was packed into one of the halves. TVP sausage crumbles, cooked brown and wild rice mixture, more onions and celery and sauteed mushrooms were packed into the other. These were baked until the pumpkin halves were completely soft and the tops were starting to brown. I have to say, what a disappointment. I liked both stuffings, but the pumpkin had NO flavour whatsoever. And the texture was not that hot either. I don't believe I have ever eaten cooked pumpkin before (other than in muffins or quick breads). Methinks maybe pumpkin might work better in a wetter application like braising or stewing, where flavourful liquids can seep inside it and infuse the flesh with flavour. It won't go to waste, I plan on eating the stuffings themselves then scooping out the cooked pumpkin to use in soup or something. And they looked very nice and festive. It would look even better if I lidded and hollowed the pumpkin, but this was a test of the fillings and I didn't want to do two whole pumpkins. I am glad of that decision! Oh, and browning rice stuffing? Not the greatest idea unless you like reversing all the work you did rehydrating those little grains and returning them back to the bullet-like texture they started with right from the package. If you like broken teeth, then go right ahead. Definitely should have been covered with foil. My workout tonight was "shoulders". Tomorrow will be spent lifting one arm with the other and trying to hoist it up on things because these exercises always kill me. Can I not have at least ONE muscle that is surprisingly strong already? I mean, come on. Sheesh.