This recipe is in a cookbook I have called Square Table, that has food and stories from Oxford, MS. I’ve always wanted to try these cookies, because the idea of rosemary in a cookie intrigued me, so I knew I would make these when we picked rosemary as our ingredient for the week. They turned out really good. The orange and rosemary are not overpowering, just a nice lovely background flavor to the buttery shortbread.


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons grated orange zest (about 1 large orange)
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2-3 cups flour

In a bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter, rosemary, and orange zest. I cut the butter into small pieces to make it easier to mix. Beat with a paddle attachment until well combined and the butter is very smooth. Mix in the salt and enough flour to make a cohesive dough (I had to use my hands after a
bit to mix it because it was very crumbly). Press the dough into a buttered 9x9 baking dish and bake at 350 degrees until light golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool, and cut into rectangles or squares.

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   Whew! What a relief! To tell you the truth, I wasn't excited about Pumpkin Seed Week, but now that it's over, I realize what nice things we did with it!
   This week, we work with Rosemary. Rosemary is a hearty plant, and a strong-smelling herb that complements meat AND vegetables... and can even be used in desserts! And I feel confident you will be pleased with the results!
   This first recipe I am counting as an appetizer, but it's more of an "amuse bouche". A "mouth teaser". Enjoy!


1 pint figs, cut from top to bottom, in three slices each
2-4 tbsp honey
3 oz goat cheese, room temperature
1 stalk rosemary, separated and diced
gluten free crackers (I used Hazelnut Nut Thins and Back To Nature Multi-Seed Rice Thin Crackers)

 Arrange sliced figs on a baking sheet, and drizzle with honey. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. 
 In a bowl, mix cheese, rosemary, & a tbsp of honey. Spoon about a 1/2 tsp of the cheese mixture onto each cracker and top with a roasted fig.
DONE!!! How easy was that???

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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.


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)
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. 

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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!

2 ¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
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.)


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!


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!


1 package wonton wrappers

1 jar Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread
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!


1 package chicken tenders (about 1.5-2 pounds)
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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   This is an idea that came to me last week when I was brainstorming with Jenny about my ideas for coconut week. I knew that I wanted a sauce or a salsa to go with the pork, and a mango salsa seemed like a perfect match. It’s quick and easy and a nice departure from the norm for dinner. Try it tonight!


1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ cup chopped onion
2-4 Fresno or jalapeno peppers, chopped (I used 3 Fresno peppers)
1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 cup mango, diced (about 1 mango)
1 avocado, diced
Zest of 1 lime
Zest of 1 orange
Juice from 2 limes
Juice from ½ orange
Salt and pepper to taste
Half of a pork tenderloin, sliced into 1 inch rounds
1 egg, whisked with a splash of water
Unsweetened, flaked coconut
Canola or peanut oil for frying pork (I used peanut)

Make the salsa by combining all of the ingredients; set aside. If you want an even quicker dinner, make the salsa a day ahead. If you do, don’t add the avocado until right before serving. Heat about a ½ inch of oil in a skillet. Salt and pepper both sides of the pork, then dredge in flour, dip in egg, then dip in coconut. Fry for 3-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked through. Serve with the salsa on top.

NOTE: I only used half a pork tenderloin because I wasn’t feeding many people. If you only use half, slice and freeze the other half for another time. I diced mine and froze it so th
at I can make a quick pork fried rice later.

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   As soon as I knew we were doing coconut, I knew I would make a coconut cake. While I am personally not a fan of coconut cake, my mother and sister absolutely love it, so I made this for them. I used two different recipes here. The cake recipe comes from Sarah Foster’s newest cookbook and the frosting is a Paula Deen recipe. I delivered this cake to my mom at work today, and the verdict? Everyone raved about it! If you’re a fan of coconut cake, then make it this weekend.


For the cake:
1 ½ cups canola oil
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ cups milk, at room temperature
3-4 cups sweetened, flaked coconut

For the frosting:
1 ½ cups sugar
¼ teaspoon cream of tarter OR 1 Tablespoon light corn syrup (I used the corn syrup)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
2 egg whites
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour three 8- or 9-inch cake pans. (I used 8-inch pans.)
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. Put the canola oil in a large bowl and beat with electric mixer on high speed; add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl each time. Add the
vanilla and stir to combine. Now, add the flour mixture and the milk mixture alternately, starting and ending with the flour, after each addition, stir until just incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between the three pans (fill them about halfway up) and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. (Mine took 35 minutes.) Cool the cakes completely before frosting.

Start the frosting after the cakes have cooled. In the top pot of a double boiler, or a bowl set over a pot of boiling water, put the sugar, corn syrup, salt, water, and egg whites. With a handheld mixer, beat on high speed for one minute, then set over the boiling water and beat on high speed for seven minutes (thus the name). Take off of the heat, and beat in the vanilla. Make sure you don’t let the bottom of the pot actually touch the water, because it could cause the frosting to curdle.

To assemble the cake, cut any rounded tops off of each layer to level. Put one layer of cake on serving platter, then spread some frosting on the top and then press coconut onto the frosting. Add the second layer and frost the top, then add coconut. Finally, add the third layer, frost the top and sides of the cake, and press coconut all over top and sides.

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