Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pumpkin Food - Breakfast

Pumpkin Rice Pudding
with Almond Butter

How do you eat a pumpkin?  I mean Peter Peter (Pumpkin Eater) apparently did it, but there are no details.  But us mere mortals, how does it go down?

Step 0.  Do NOT try to eat the Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkins.  They are not very good.  They make great art, and the seeds are dang tasty, but those big pumpkins are big, watery, stringy and pretty tasteless.

Step 1.  Get some of those cute little sugar/pie pumpkins.

Step 1.5  Roll up your sleeves and get ready for some work.  Getting a pumpkin ready for consumption is no joke, and not fast.  So if you are going to do it, do at least 2, and 4 is not insane.  After all, the cooking takes no longer, and if you are going to drag out your food processor/food mill and get it all dirty, go BIG.  The purée freezes for 2 months and beyond.  (And I'm gonna have lunch and dinner too.  So be prepared with plenty of purée.)

Step 2.  Cut your pumpkins in half, and scoop out the seeds.  If you are having trouble cutting into your pumpkin, check out "This squash is too hard," and return.

Step 3.  Preheat the oven to 375˚F.  Get a pan big enough for all the pumpkin halves to sit in (or enough pans - you get it) face up.

stem on/stem off
it matters not - do what's easiest
Bake until the flesh is easily pierced with a fork, and the skin has browned and pulls away easily.  About 30 - 50 min.  It depends on the thickness and denseness of your particular squash.

When the pumpkin is cooked enough the skin comes away easily.

Step 4. Purée the pumpkin flesh.  Toss your cooked pumpkin in chunks into a food mill or food processor.  Squish it through the middle-sized disk of your food mill (if you have one, you know what I mean - if not, don't worry), or run it through your food processor, adding a little water, broth, milk or other liquid to help the purée form (liquid choice depends on the destination - water is a catch all.  I like milk, or almond milk when cooking for dairy free friends.)

Finally!  Pumpkin purée.
After all of that, it had better be good.
(Also, I can see the attraction of The Can.)

So finally, you have the puree, how do you make breakfast?

The recipe at last:

Pumpkin Breakfast Rice Pudding with Almond Butter
Single serving (& 4 serving) amounts

3/4C liquid (3C) - I like milk the best
1/4C pumpkin purée (1C)
1/4 tsp salt (1tsp)
up to 1Tbs sugar/honey/maple syrup etc. (1/4 C) - to taste
2 Tbs cream of rice* (1/2C)
1-2 Tbs almond butter (1/4 - 1/2 C) - to taste (or other nut butter - cashew would be good to I bet)
(optional - a shake or two of ginger and/or cinnamon and/or nutmeg - to your taste)

sauce pan
stirring spoon or spatula
measuring cups and spoons

Make the pumpkin purée (see above).  Ahead.  It can be done right before, or WAY ahead.  (Rats!  I don't have any!  I won't tell, use the canned stuff.)
Get all the other ingredients together, and ready to go.

Combine the liquid, pumpkin purée, salt and HALF of you chosen sweetener in the pan.  (Add in any optional spices.)  Stir it all together over medium high heat.  Heat to a scald (when tiny bubbles appear around the edge).  Stir in the cream of rice into the liquid.
Keep an eye on the mixture, stirring occasionally.  If it starts to boil and splat, turn down the heat.
Continue cooking until the rice has lost its gritty texture, and the mixture has the thickness of a pourable milkshake.  (It will thicken as it cools.)

Pour into a bowl, top with almond butter, and a little extra sweetener if you feel like it needs it.

(If you made extra, divide in to ~3/4 servings and refrigerate or freeze the extra servings for the next day and the next and...
Like the puree, you can make lots and freeze some for later.  Rice starch does not get gluey in the freeze/thaw transition.  So making 8 or even 16 portions at a time is not nuts.)

*Cream of Rice.  You can get it in the hot cereal aisle right next to the Cream of Wheat.  OR!  If you are adventurous, you can go check out an Indian market and get your hands on "Idli Rava" which is exactly the same thing.  Choose from course grind (for a texture more like polenta) or fine grind (for a more pudding-like texture)

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