Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Autumn, Part Deux

Color me weird (der) but there's something really therapeutic about squishing through gourd guts to get the yumminess that is the seeds. Well, eventually the roasted seeds. Right out of the gourd, they are kind of gross. 

Since I had to de-pulp the butternut squash to make my soup, I knew there would be a lot of seeds so it was an excellent excuse. Spouse and I are going on a Very Special Adventure soon and originally, I thought, the seeds will make an excellent snack on our Very Special Long Flight. But, well, they are almost gone. <The Best Laid Plans, etc. etc.>
After I had dealt with the squash/soup, I took the pulp and seeds and separated them as best as I could. The pulp is pretty sneaky though, so despite my best efforts, still some guts left on them. 
Next, I took my find mesh sieve and threw in a few tablespoons of seeds, etc. at a time and rinsed them well. The water helped rinse off the seeds and also dislodge any pulp holding on for dear life. After each batch felt relatively rinsed, I set them on paper towels to drain a little bit, until I had rinsed all of the seeds. 

While I finished the soup, I let them dry a bit, which also helped get the very last little bits of pulp from the seeds. I also moved them, on the paper towel, to a cooling rack, so they were elevated to help with the drying. 

Once they were dry, I took them off of the paper towels and moved them to a mixing bowl. I added a glop of olive oil and stirred them around. Just enough to coat all of them without extra pooling in the bottom of the bowl. 

On a recent sojourn to the North Market, I stopped and talked with my spice nerds at North Market Spices, who recommended a delightful blend of italian herbs with some kick. I thought they would be an excellent companion so threw in a pinch of the blend. I am totally blanking on the name (and not where I can check it out) but it's powerful enough that I really only sprinkled in a little, then did a quick taste to make sure it was good. And it was. The heat is a a slow burn but delightful. 

Once they seeds were all spiced up, and the oven was pre-heated to 350 degrees, I turned them onto a baking sheet and spread them around. You want to try and get them separated as much as possible. Seeds are not good in clumps, when roasting - but oiled and spiced, not as easy as it sounds because they'll stick to your fingers or a spoon, so just do your best. 
Pop the baking sheet in the oven for 10 minutes, stir, check to make sure they aren't burning and pop back in for 5 minutes. Keep doing that until you get your peak roasting. I find roasting seeds is a very personal choice. I like mine roasted but still sort of chewy, so 15 minutes in my crappy oven, seems to be just right. 
I ended up with enough to fill a recycled garlic jar. Technically enough for 2-3 snack sessions. I'm not saying that's how many snack sessions I got out of this batch, but theoretically speaking, were one to exercise more restraint and portion control. <cough, cough>
Do you have any favorite Autumnal treats?
Any short cuts or special seasonings you add, to enhance the flavor?

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