Tag Archives: Halloween

Delicious Roasted Pumpking Seeds (that I was too lazy to make myself)

All these years I passed up on this???

Every year we carve multiple pumpkins and every year I think, “I should really roast the seeds”.  But that is a fleeting thought as I look at the goo-covered, stringy harvest.  And into the green bin it goes.  But not this year!  This year there was Donna.

Pumpkin Carving Contest chez nous

We held a pumpkin carving contest for Felix’s 4th birthday and had a few friends over.  And we also had the innards of 10 pumpkins.  Donna suggested we roast them and give them away as loot bags.  She even offered to come over early to scoop them out and do all the dirty work.  An offer even a lazy scooper like me could not refuse.

See what you’re pulling the seeds out of?  Though I admit that in a strange way once you sink your hands into the goop it feels kind of nice.

The harvest

Once Donna had pulled them out of the pumpkin she rinsed them and cleaned them in a strainer and got off all the stringy bits.  This is the hard work part.

Boiling the pumpkin seeds

Once clean the seeds were boiled in a large pot for 10-15 minutes in well-salted water.  This helps ensure a crunchier seed once roasted.

We then spread the seeds onto a couple baking trays and dried them with some paper towels.  Not bone-dry but you want them dry enough that olive oil will stick to them.

We then put the seeds back into a bowl and tossed them with 1 teaspoon olive oil for 1 cups seeds ( approx.) Since we had so many seeds we flavoured them.

Donna came with some Kernel shakers and we did various batches; a Kosher salt batch, dill, cheddar cheese and all-dressed.   We sprinkled on the topping generously (you can also use paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper or curry powder plus salt).

We  then we lay them on clean parchment and roasted them at 375°F for about 30-40 minutes (less if you have fewer seeds, you want them golden and crispy).  We tossed every 10 minutes or so.  Be vigilant as they can burn easily.  You can turn the over to °350 if you feel you may be distracted (aka Donna is not doing your work).

While we waited there were some antics like this:

Dancing Dollar Store Monster

And of course, this:

Classic Halloween Alien

The seeds came out in batches and we let them cool…

Pumpkin Seeds sorted for loot bags

And I am now munching away on the wonderful bounty of crunchy, flavourful snacks and  I swear to Never, Ever, Ever (on Taylor Swift’s life) throw out Pumpkin Seeds again!

Yes, I always have fall foliage on my cutting board.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!!

PS  If you have any opinions of boiling vs not boiling and the difference it does or does not make please let me know!  And see the comments for a non-boiling recipe from Lisa that she used and it worked great.

 

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Curds and Eh: Exploring the scary depths of blue cheese and Frankenstein

Blue Frankenteins only get better-and stronger–with age.

Welcome to Curds and Eh, where cheese brain Kelsie Parsons shares his scarily cheesy thoughts for Halloween….SR

If I had to pick a cheese to hand out for Halloween it would be a blue. Imagine the look on the kids’ faces! I think it would qualify both as a trick and a treat. Blue cheese has the unique ability to scare and totally gross people out while tantalizing others with its distinct aroma and look. Despite my hypothetical Halloween prank I’d never force blue cheese on anyone.

“C’mon, how was I supposed to know the  Roquefort was for the guests?”

As a cheesemonger I often get asked, “why do you eat it?” and “do they actually let the mold grow in the cheese on purpose?” followed up by, “when the cheese in my fridge turns that colour I just toss it out!” I totally understand where they’re coming from and I know blue cheese isn’t for everyone. The blue cheese family is very much like the misunderstood Frankenstein‘s monster. They both posses a depth of character beyond what meets the eye and a desire to be loved though they are often rejected. Personally I love blue cheese. It’s powerful and delicious.

Tame a blue cheese’s roar with honey

For people that are just getting acquainted with blue cheese or want to try something new, here are a few tips:

  • Try something different. You’re probably thinking, “sure but it’s still a blue cheese!” Some of the most common blues such as Danish blue or Roquefort are common at dinner parties however they’re both incredibly strong. These two cheeses have their qualities but I don’t recommend them for someone trying blue cheese for the first time.
  • Ask your cheesemonger to guide you to a mild blue. Quite often the milder blue cheeses are creamy and lack the intensity of their more potent relatives.
  • Pair blue cheese with something sweet. A sweet accompaniment takes the edge off and balances the saltiness typical in blues. Drizzle a bit of honey on blue crumbled on toast, serve with pears, or enjoy with a sweet beverage such as port, late harvest riesling or ice wine.

Cabrales–for the less faint of heart

Now let’s get to know Frankenstein’s monster A.K.A. blue cheese a bit better. Blue cheeses actually aren’t always blue. Depending on the strain of Peniciullium roqueforti added to the milk the cheese could have blue, yellow, grey or even green spots on it. With the various colours come different levels of intensity and flavours ranging from sweet to savoury to spicy. In fact, after a wheel of blue is cut into the colours intensify over the next 15 minutes because blue cheese needs oxygen to thrive. If you examine a wedge of blue you’ll often see blue lines. This is where the cheese has been pierced to allow oxygen to enter the cheese so the blue can flourish.

Blue Haze-see the line where the needle pierced the cheese?

One of my favourite Canadian blues is called Blue Haze. It begins its life as a Ermite, a mild blue cheese made at the monastery of l’Abbaye St.-Benoit-du-Lac in Quebec, the same place where Bleu Benedictin is made. Once it has matured and developed its blue veining it’s brought to Cayuga in Southern Ontario and smoked over a harvest blend of wood. A smoked blue cheese! This is one memorable cheese! The smoke gives the cheese a brown rind and meaty flavours reminiscent of bacon and bbqs. Blue Haze is awesome crumbled on burgers or steak, or simply served with a cold dark beer. This is one cheese I just can’t get enough of.

Kelsie sailing this summer

If you come visit me on Oct. 31st at Sobeys Ira Needles (Kitchener) we can share a wedge of Blue Haze. I’ll be the one standing at the cheese counter with a green painted face and bolts in my neck.

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The Grossest Thing I’ve Seen in a Long Time

I discovered “Blood Syrup” at the Dollarama today while looking for loot bag treats for a Halloween party.

I don’t know what part of BLOOD SYRUP  most repulsed me the most:

*the fact that corn syrup is the first ingredient followed by sugar

*the fact 100G (1/2 the bag) of blood syrup is considered a “serving”

*or just the fact that this is meant for consumption at all.

I picked it up thinking it was fake blood.  My plan was to smear it on my face and head and lie limply at the bottom of the stairs on Halloween morning.

But then I saw that the bottom tube ends in a straw/ tube which kids can suck on. You know, I bet the Frankenstein gummis I just consumed  are also made of the same ingredients, but in liquid form, I can’t handle it.

Yet I was raised on corn syrup.  My mother would mix it with milk and put it in my bottle as an infant (this is true–it was cheaper than formula).

But she never dyed it red.  That’s just GROSS.

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