When our son, now an adult, was in elementary school we’d throw an annual pumpkin carving party at our house. Friends would bring their children, along with a pumpkin or two. We’d all head to the garage to do our handiwork, carving pumpkins for Halloween in – how shall I say it – creative ways. It was a hoot.
It’s easy to remember those days with Halloween nearly upon us. You see plenty of pumpkins around. And you can find loads of pumpkin recipes on the Internet, in the newspaper, and on Twitter.
One thing we hadn’t seen much of was a cookbook focused on pumpkins … until now. Prolific cookbook author and food writer Lou Seibert Pappas has written an excellent cookbook on pumpkins and squash, aptly named A Harvest of Pumpkins and Squash (Chronicle Books, 2008).
The recipes run the gamut – from a sugar pumpkin-white cheddar cheese soufflé to cranberry-pecan pumpkin drop cookies.
We were intrigued to see a baking recipe that relies on olive oil: rosemary-polenta pumpkin muffins. As you might guess, we’re keen on using extra virgin olive oil in baking instead of butter. It’s always nice to avoid putting a stick or two of butter into a recipe.
What’s more, research has produced a wealth of health benefits from eating pumpkins: a reduced risk of developing cancer, as well as protection against heart disease and the degenerative aspects of aging.
These muffins have an herbal note.
“Rosemary lends an intriguing savory flavor to these crust-topped little cakes,” Seibert Pappas writes in the book. “The polenta provides a subtle crunch throughout.”
She suggests serving the pumpkins for brunch or a desert snack. The batter also can be baked in round pan for coffeecake.
And if you’re interested in another baking recipe involving pumpkin and EVOO, check out the pumpkin streusel bread I wrote about earlier this year. Those wanting a gluten-free muffin should try these pumpkin corn muffins.
Good eating and trick or treat!
Claude S. Weiller
Vice President of Sales & Marketing
California Olive Ranch