It is my favorite time of year. Not necessarily because of the weather, but because of all the holidays coming up. I love all the food and crafts and the spirit of the season. Oh yes, this is also my favorite time of year to bake. If I could only bake for one quarter, it would be during the last quarter of the year. I am the most adventurous with baked goods during this time and am willing to try new things.
Usually, in preceding years, I cook for Thanksgiving and bake the rest of my time away. This year, in honor of this blog, I am going to do more than just bake. I am going to cook more and try new recipes related to the season. I'm so excited!
The first recipe I decided to try is a pumpkin cauliflower casserole. Talk about chock full of vitamins. I honestly have never eaten fresh pumpkin (unless you count pumpkin pie made from canned pumpkins), let alone cook with one. And I mean cook with one. That's peel, seed, slice, and chop the pumpkin until it's good and ready. For this recipe, I researched a little bit and found that using pie pumpkins are the best for recipes. Although I also found that jack-o-lantern pumpkins are fine for recipes as well, they are not as flavorful as pie pumpkins. Believe me, you will want to find pie pumpkins. They are smaller (about the size of a human head) and much more easier to manage.
Once I prepped the pumpkin chunks, the rest was a cake walk. The end result was very delicious. The goat cheese that I didn't think I would like, blended with the casserole very well. It was creamy, slightly sweet, and savory. All that in just one dish! This is definitely a recipe that you must try.
Tips on prepping a pumpkin
*Note: this is only the way I did it and the way I think makes the most sense due to the denseness of the pumpkin.
1) Cut off the stem straight across
2) Slice the pumpkin in half from the top of the pumpkin, down
3) Seed the pumpkin
4) Cut each half of the pumpkin in half, lengthwise and repeat with each quarter slice
5) Cut each slice into chunks, about a 1 inch cube
6) Peel each cube by simply cutting off the peel
Pumpkin and Cauliflower Casserole adapted from Delish
1 cup(s) fresh, whole-wheat bread crumbs
1/2 cup(s) hulled and roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon(s) dried thyme leaves
3/4 cup(s) crumbled goat cheese
1 (2 1/2 to 3 pounds) pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and quartered
1 head(s) cauliflower, quartered
2 tablespoon(s) all-purpose flour
2 clove(s) garlic, minced
2 teaspoon(s) mustard seeds
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) kosher salt
1 teaspoon(s) cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon(s) fresh-ground pepper
1 1/2 cup(s) half-and-half
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 1 1/2-quart casserole or baking dish and set aside.
2. Slice the pumpkin quarters into 1/8-inch-thick pieces and repeat with the cauliflower quarters.
3. Combine flour, garlic, mustard seeds, salt, cumin seeds, pepper, and remaining thyme in a small bowl.
4. Spread 1/3 of the pumpkin in the bottom of casserole and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of the flour mixture.
5. Repeat with 1/2 of the cauliflower and 2 teaspoons of flour. Continue layering with the remaining pumpkin, cauliflower, and flour, finishing with pumpkin on top.
6. Pour the half-and-half over the entire casserole, place on a baking sheet, and bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes.
1. Combine the bread crumbs, pumpkin seeds, butter, and half the thyme in a medium bowl, stir in the goat cheese, and set aside.
2. After initial 30 minutes of baking, sprinkle bread-crumb mixture over casserole. Return it to oven and bake until golden and bubbly, about 30 more minutes. Serve hot.