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   Whew! I'm making this post by the skin of my teeth here on Sunday evening... We hope you have enjoyed our offerings for Pumpkin Seed Week. This last one is my Tex-Mex take on Cobb salad. Cobb salad typically has chicken, bleu cheese, bacon...
   Well, here's mine. The photo shows a big jumble, but it's a big jumble of salad goodness! Enjoy.
---Jenny


TACO COBB SALAD

1/4 pound ground beef, cooked
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp 
salt to taste
lettuce (I used spinach and a spring mix)
tomato
avocado
yellow bell pepper
quesadilla cheese (in the Latin food section)
pumpkin seeds

Cook up the beef and add spices. Build salad: greens first, then the goodies, then meat. Grate cheese over salad, and sprinkle seeds. I used an avocado ranch dressing. You can also mix even amounts of salsa and sour cream (or yogurt) for something a little spicier. 
BON APETIT!

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This is one of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes; it’s from Martha Stewart. The pumpkin seeds are a nice change from the usual nuts that you might add. Enjoy!
---Karly

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES WITH PUMPKIN SEEDS
2 ¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Salt
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
¾ cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips
½ to 1 cup pumpkin seeds

Whisk the flour, baking soda, and a pinch of salt together in a bowl; set aside. In a separate bowl with a mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Stir in the chocolate chips and pumpkin seeds. Drop onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 14-16 minutes.


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Poor little pumpkin seed. So underestimated. So under-utilzed. When will people truly appreciate your awesomeness? I know! I will create a pesto out of you. A pesto that showcases your warm nutty goodness, while paired with spinach and garlic. Why hasn't anyone else thought of this before??? No matter. The feat has now been accomplished!
Ode to the Pumpkin Seed - by Jenny

   Now back to the real world: Look, people. I realize that pumpkin seeds may not seem very exciting. But this pesto IS. This stuff goes with almost everything. The first thing I ate with this was mashed potatoes. Can you imagine mixing this in with mashed potatoes? A big hit with kids: GREEN mashed potatoes. 
   Then I thought about doing breakfast - BETTER than Mickey D's, and much better for you!
   Since Pesto is technically a sauce, we'll call this my Side Dish offering for the Week of the Pumpkin Seed. (By the way, pumpkin seeds are also known as pepitas, the Spanish pronunciation.)
---Jenny

BREAKFAST TACOS WITH SPINACH & PEPITA PESTO

2 corn tortillas, lightly buttered and warmed in a skillet
2-3 tbsp pesto, recipe follows
2 slices bacon
2 eggs, scrambled
a few tbsp onion and diced jalapeno, sauteed in butter or olive oil
 
   Assemble as pictured above.

Spinach & Pepita Pesto
1 cup pumpkin seeds
About 3 handfuls fresh spinach
2 cloves garlic, diced
about 1/4 cup olive oil

In a food processor, blend seeds until the consistency of crumbs. Add spinach and garlic. Slowly stream olive oil into mixture as it processes. Will keep refrigerated at least a week.

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   I got the idea for these when I thought about the cheddar cheese wafers I love so much…cheesy, a little crisp, and topped with a pecan. I thought a Mexican version of them would be good using the pumpkin seeds, and then thought of using pepper jack cheese instead of cheddar. 
   They turned out fabulously! I’m on vacation right now and made them for the crew here, and they were a huge hit…they disappeared super fast!
---Karly

PEPPERJACK-PUMPKIN SEED CHEESE WAFERS

2 sticks butter, softened
4 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
2 cups flour
½ to 1 cup pumpkin seeds

Grate the cheese and put it in a bowl. Dice the butter and sprinkle it over the cheese; sprinkle the flour on top. Mix with a mixer until a dough forms. Stir in the pumpkin seeds. Form the dough into a log and chill 4 hours or overnight. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350, slice the dough into ¼-inch to ½- inch thick rounds and bake on cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden brown on top.

NOTE: Being on vacation, I don’t have access to my usual oven, and this one is even crazier than mine at home…in this oven, these took more like 20-30 minutes…the key is to watch them and make sure they are a nice golden brown color.


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Oh, yes, these were tasty! When I first started making these, I had seen Giada Di Laurentis make them. But she didn't dip them in white chocolate and pumpkin seeds! 
   Granted, without my additions, they're pretty stinking good when you sprinkle a little powdered sugar over them. They taste like chocolate chip cookies with one HUGE chocolate chip inside! Everyone who has tasted them has raved about them!
---Jenny


CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT RAVIOLI DIPPED IN 
WHITE CHOCOLATE & PUMPKIN SEEDS

1 package wonton wrappers

1 jar Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread
oil
white chocolate for melting and dipping
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

   Use two wonton wraps at once. Spoon about a teaspoon of Nutella onto the center of one wrap. Dip your fingertips into a dish of water, and run water around the edges. Use the other wrap to cover and seal. 
   Meanwhile, heat vegetable or peanut oil over medium-high heat. Drop wontons into oil, and fry about 30 seconds on each side, or until both sides are golden brown.
   Crush or process pumpkin seeds. Set aside. Heat white chocolate in a sauce pan or microwave. Dip or spread white chocolate onto wonton and dip in seeds. DONE!


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   We are keeping in mind the purpose of our weekly ingredient challenge: make great-tasting food from things anyone can find and afford in their own markets. Things you may not expect! We hope you are happy with our Pumpkin Seed presentations this week! 

   The idea of crusting chicken tenders with a mixture of breadcrumbs and pumpkin seeds just seemed like a natural for me. I wanted to do a nice sauce that would complement the nutty texture and flavor, so I made a maple mustard dipping sauce. It’s a great combination, and something that the kids (and adults) will enjoy!
---Karly

PUMPKIN SEED CRUSTED CHICKEN TENDERS WITH MAPLE MUSTARD DIPPING SAUCE

1 package chicken tenders (about 1.5-2 pounds)
Flour
2 eggs, whisked with a splash of water
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
Canola oil for frying
¼ cup Dijon mustard
¼ cup coarse grain mustard
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
2-3 Tablespoons maple syrup (I used 2)
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat about ½ inch canola oil in a skillet; when a drop of water sizzles when it touches the oil, it’s ready.
Get three bowls ready, one with the flour, one with the egg, and one with the panko and pumpkin seeds mixed together. Salt and pepper the chicken on both sides, then dredge in flour, then egg, then the bread crumb mixture. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, put on paper towel lined plate to drain, and salt while hot. Mix the mustards, thyme, maple syrup, and salt and pepper together and serve the dipping sauce with the chicken.

NOTE: If you’re not a fan of maple syrup, try adding honey for a quick honey mustard or orange marmalade for a spicy orange mustard sauce.



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