When my door attendant handed me my CSA box this week with the little orange surprise sitting on top, I think I may have squealed with delight or made another approving sound, because she laughed at me. I’m sure she was thinking, “this girl is crazy…who gets excited over pumpkins?” My boyfriend responded in much the same manner as she did, but when it finally came time to cook the pumpkin last night, he refused to eat it after it had adorned our table all week (I guess he got a little attached – it was a cute little pumpkin). I, too, was reluctant to cook our new friend, but I figured that if I had to, the best way to honor it’s life was to use it in a recipe from Vegan With a Vengeance.
This is the first time I’ve ever cooked a pumpkin…really. It’s strange to me that my entire life I thought of pumpkins as nothing more than Halloween decorations. Sure, we ate pumpkin pie, but the pumpkin came from a can. It was a bit shocking to me to realize that pumpkins can indeed be cooked and consumed, although I believe there are separate varieties raised for eating vs. carving.
So anyway, back to the recipe. Unfortunately, I tend to make recipes that contain ingredients I’ve never eaten before (in this case, pumpkin and cranberry relish…if you don’t count that gelatinous red goo that comes in a can), so the results can turn out a little willy nilly. I think everything actually turned out the way it was supposed to (success!) and it looked and smelled great, but I’ve discovered that I don’t really like plain, cooked pumpkin, and I’ve reinforced the notion that I don’t care for tofu all that much, either (unless it’s diced up and in something, like a stir-fry). The cranberry relish was superb – I would definitely make it again, although I’m not quite sure what I’d pair it with. I almost thought it would taste good with some vanilla non-dairy ice cream (I simply must get an ice cream maker). The breading on the tofu was magical, but the tofu itself was flavorless and very…tofu-like (for lack of a better description) in texture. I think it would have been better if the tofu had been marinated first. Tofu would be better in general if it weren’t so darn mushy (and yes, I’m too lazy to press it - it’s messy! This probably would have helped the texture, though).
I don’t consider this a failure. I did my work and it came out well, so I am pleased overall, even if my palate is a bit unsatisfied.
pumpkin seed-crusted tofu with baked pumpkin, cranberry relish, and brown rice
On a totally unrelated note, I have been using the adjective “cute” way too much this week (referring to Moosewood shirts, cat paws, and pumpkins, in case you weren’t keeping track). I think I’ve lost my edge…and not even Isa can save me with her punk-inspired cooking style. I guess I should just accept my fate, don my apron, and go bake some pink-frosted cupcakes (but alas, I can’t even do that because I don’t have VCTOTW yet! *sigh*).