Be Inspired Seasonally with Rita Calvert

While we are still weeks away from full fall color in nature, a definite undertone of yellow and bronze, red and maroon is creeping over the meadows while a few leaves are tumbling to the ground. However, the big riot of color is at Homestead Gardens Fall Festival each weekend!

Right after the extremely popular pumpkin carving...I'll be cooking and baking with the different varieties. Come and taste!

The recipes below are just the beginning of Cook It, Color it Pumpkin. Next week I'll offer more!IMG_6853

Now for the Cooking

Preparing these fall icons may seem a chore to some who tend to use pumpkins and squash as decor. Actually it’s a breeze if you understand how to roast the pumpkin or squash so you can have the foundation to make a myriad of recipes. I did this and had a ton of the vegetable to use for desserts, dips, salad and just simply grilled. You may want to freeze a portion of the puree and use it all winter. I experimented with the Neck Pumpkin for many of these recipes. I also worked with the Turks Turban as I had never cooked it before.

 P.S. Don’t forget the seeds, if you’re taking the time to roast the pumpkin or squash, you might as well yummy toasted seeds.


 From the produce department, “It is our goal to provide fresh-from-the-farm produce and goods from local farms and orchards”!

Apples… 6+ varieties! Selection depends on what the farms are harvesting that week.

Pumpkins… 10+ varieties! Homestead Gardens brings in a wide selection of pumpkins each fall. From decorative, to the perfect pie-making pumpkin, each variety offers a different taste.

  • White: light, nutmeggy flavor
  • Howden: rich flavor
  • Neck: little pulp, nice light sweet flavor…Best for everything and pies! 

 How to Roast A Fresh Pumpkin by Pioneer Woman

The best way to understand how to accomplish this is to see an article with lots of photos. Pioneer Woman does just that. Click on the title above.


Pork, Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili

Serves 8

All the robust flavors of the ingredients come together and make a delicious, unique chili. Serve it over rice or with flour tortillas. This recipe is awesome and you really can't taste the pumpkin it just gives it a great texture and lots of nutrients!

  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 12 -ounce bottle Mexican lager
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 to 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped
  • 3 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin (about 1 3/4 cups fresh, mashed)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 medium summer squash, diced
  • 1/4 cup chili powder, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch kale or mustard greens, stems removed, leaves roughly chopped

Combine the pork, beer, 2 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt in a large pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat, skimming the foam off the surface. Add the chipotles and 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano, cover and cook about 30 minutes.

Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, poblano, summer squash and 1 teaspoon salt; cook until soft, 15 minutes. Add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano, the chili powder, black beans and garlic; cook 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin and cook 5 minutes.

Add the tomato mixture to the pork and simmer until the meat is tender, about 30 minutes. Add the greens and cook 10 more minutes. Season with salt. Ladle the chili into bowls; sprinkle with more chili powder.



Frozen Fudge Drizzled Pumpkin Rice Crispy Treats 

There are a few tips here to get this fabulous mixture to the correct consistency to avoid a soggy mess. Above all, I like to keep these treats frozen and pull them out as a surprise!

Blotting the moisture out of the pumpkin works and will prevent your treats from getting soggy. There is SO much moisture in pumpkin puree, so you want a lot of it out. What I usually do is explained below in the recipe, but here it is: measure 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree (fresh or canned) and then blot it between two paper towels  and squeeze the moisture out.

Another necessity is to allow the pumpkin/marshmallow mixture to cool before adding in the rice krispies.  Usually you can add the cereal right into the hot melted marshmallow, but you’ll want today’s mixture to slightly cool and thicken back up before the cereal goes in. 

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree (or fresh)
  • 1 (10 ounce) bag mini marshmallows
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups crispy rice cereal
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate, melted
  • 24 mallowcreme pumpkins or candy corn (optional)

Generously spray a 9x13 baking pan with non-stick spray. Set pan aside.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add the pumpkin puree and continue to cook until it is warmed through. Fold marshmallows, stirring frequently until almost completely melted. Stir in vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt, and remove from heat.

Allow the marshmallow mixture to cool for 20 minutes or until it is at room temperature (failure to cool the mixture will result in soggy rice krispie treats.) Add the cereal and stir until combined.

Pour mixture into prepared baking pan and gently spread out evenly. (Spray the back of a large spatula with non-stick spray and gently pressed the mixture without packing it down). Allow to set for about 30 minutes-or freeze, before cutting into squares.

Store in an airtight container up to one week.  You could even cut these treats into pumpkin shapes or decorate with regular candy corns.


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