Do you think that, if he gets enough criticism for it, John Boehner will rethink his skin color? Will he finally buckle under the ridicule and forgo the tanning booth or the Oscar spray or whatever method he uses to achieve that goofy tan? This burning question came to mind last week when I noticed a jack-o-lantern on my block that looked way too much like the future Speaker of the House.
Last week, when my jack-o-lanterns wilted in the L.A. heat, I finally disposed of them. The Boehner-o-lantern also went to the compost heap, thank goodness. (J.B. gets enough face time already without help from my neighbors.)
Then it was time to address the needs of the other pumpkins I was too lazy to carve pre-Halloween. They had been staring at me from their perch on the front step, the blank stares a constant rebuke for my negligence. Although wrangling with a sizable squash is not a crabby cook’s favorite activity, I finally caved.
I tried cooking one of the pumpkins (halved) in a bain marie in the oven. But I thought it came out tasting like poached toilet paper. I tried a different method with the second pumpkin: I roast the sucker, with much better results.
1 3-4 pound pumpkin
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat your oven to 400º F.
2. Cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin, around the stem, as if you were headed towards making a jack-o-lantern. Scoop out all the seeds and other crap inside the pumpkin. (If you are really ambitious, separate the seeds from the gnarly stuff and set them aside to roast later. See Note below.)
3. Cut the pumpkin (from top to bottom) into 6 or 8 chunks. Place the chunks on a baking sheet lined with foil. Drizzle the olive oil over the pumpkin chunks, then use your hands to distribute the oil evenly over all sides of the pumpkin. Sprinkle the pumpkin lightly with salt and pepper.
4. Place the pumpkin in the oven and roast it until it’s tender and slightly caramelized on top, about 50-55 minutes. Serve warm as a side dish, or mash or puree the pumpkin and use it for pie, pancakes or muffins.
I you have any energy left, click here for 10 ways to make roasted pumpkin seeds.
P.S. Also see The Squash Diaries 2: Butternut.