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The Great Pumpkin

Its hue is bright orange, it’s shape spherical and portly, and its taste is absolutely delicious. I am of course referring to my favorite Fall fruit: pumpkin. I love eating pumpkin. From pumpkin bread to pumpkin ravioli, just the mention of pumpkin makes my mouth water.

While I have always enjoyed eating pumpkin, I have never considered cooking pumpkin myself. Honestly, I wouldn’t know where to begin. So when I saw that LA Food Works was offering a pumpkin-inspired cooking class- The Great Pumpkin, I was there!

This was my first cooking class. I am not an expert cook, but do enjoy my many adventures and misadventures with R in our kitchen. This class was the perfect opportunity to hone my skills and finally learn how to prepare pumpkin in an array of recipes.

The class was held in the beautiful kitchen of LA Food Works. The magnificent Rachael Narins of Chicks with Knives led the class.

On the cooking menu:

Pumpkin Lasagna

Curried Pumpkin Soup

Roasted Pork with Pumpkin Seed Sauce

Sweet and Sour Pumpkin

Pumpkin Gingersnap Tiramisu

Rachael started the class by talking pumpkin to us. The different varietals and what you can make with them. Next, as a group, we prepared the Pumpkin Lasagna.

For the lasagna we scooped and mashed a roasted sugar pumpkin. While one person was scooping, another was beginning a Béchamel sauce that would be the base of the lasagna. Then we layered the pasta with the sauce, mascarpone cheese, pumpkin puree, fontina cheese, and dotted with salty thin proscuitto. We were taken through the recipe step by step. The process was interactive and fun. The result was a decadent, bubbly, and creamy lasagna. It was so rich, so delicious, so perfec
tly oozing with pumpkin.

While our lasagna cooked we divided into little groups to prepare one item from the menu. I got the Sweet and Sour Pumpkin. Our sugar pumpkin was too hard to work with so we roasted it before cubing it. We also, added a can of organic pumpkin puree, which is not included on the original recipe. Next, we placed the cubed roasted pumpkin and canned pumpkin in a skilled over medium heat, sprinkled with garlic, red pepper flakes, sugar and red wine vinegar. Our Sweet and Sour Pumpkin turned into a dip rather than an entrée, but it was a pleasant surprise. We toasted up so pita chips to scoop the hot pumpkin mash and it was bursting with flavors. It is similar to a babaganoush in texture, but with pumpkin instead of eggplant, and a few flavorful sour notes from the vinegar and spices. Garnished with fresh mint, this recipe if beautiful and appetizing. It would be a perfect Fall party starter.

While I did not participate in the other recipes from start to finish, everyone in the class was able to watch and help each other with their recipes. The Pumpkin Seed sauce was fragrant and light. The Curried Pumpkin soup was smooth and comforting. The Pumpkin Tiramisu was a pillowy pumpkin custard layered with gingersnaps brushed with brandy, need I say more.

the sweetest dog and her name was Pumpkin!

When everything was finished cooking, we sat together and enjoyed the afternoon’s work. Everything came out perfectly – and I’m not just saying that because we cooked it. I left full from all of our creations, but more than that I left with new skills and new friends. I can’t wait for the next LA Food Works class!

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1 Comment
  • The Healthy Apple
    November 3, 2009

    Great post and wonderful pumpkin ideas just in time for Thanksgiving; thank you. I'm looking forward to meeting you at the Foodbuzz Festival in San Fran on Friday!

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