Sunday, December 6, 2009
Nuts are so not welcome here.
The food, not people.
This fact is much to the dismay of The Husband, who is a lova of all things peanut butter. Or, I guess you could say he loved it pre-Susan. Because my allergy is now his allergy by association.
In an ironic twist of fate, my peanut-butter-lovin' husband decided to fall head-over-heels-in-love with a gal who will keel over in an anaphylactic state of shock and asthma attack if a jar of evil Skippy or Jif or nutty thing enters my realm. Well, really only if I swallow the said allergen in which case you need to haul my bootie to the ER stat. If a nut or nut-related food touches me, I will break into hives, start wheezing and my eyes will turn into an eerie state of puffiness.
The Husband-then-Suitor knew this going into the first date. That's because we worked together. And well, food is brought into a newsroom a lot. And you ask a lot of questions about the food, or just decline eating it and your co-workers, such as a boy who really wants to take you out, will hear that you will die a painful and horrible death if you eat a nut. And people may snack on peanuts at your desk on your day off because you work Sunday through Thursday during really awful nighttime hours and why would they remember that you have this stupid allergy. And you may break into hives after you touch the desk that they touched. And as this happens you may curse God for this humiliation. You probably also want to hide under your desk or kill yourself or just run down the hall to the ladies room forever because this is your first job out of college and you feel like a huge jackass with hives and heavy breathing and drama surrounding a packet of freakin' Planters.
I'm pretty confidant The Husband wants his hottie, fabulous, amazing wifey to be alive and kickin' it cooking things sans peanuts, peanut butter, cashews, almonds, etc. etc. etc., so he makes due with the nut ban.
I do see his quiet, longing looks when a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup ad appears on TV. He thinks he has me fooled, but I'm so on to him.
So, it was to The Husband's great delight when I bestowed upon him a couple of years ago: The Toasted Pumpkin Seed. This is also known as: The Closet Thing to Peanuts You Will Ever Be Able to Eat Near Me. And, Hot Damn I Will Make Them For You.
He just about fell out his man chair when he tasted one. And, then he proceeded to eat the whole dang bowl.
He was making up for years of lost time, I guess.
If you have a pumpkin lying around from Halloween or Thanksgiving, this is a great use for it. You probably just set it out in your yard to look pretty, right? Then you toss it to the garbage gods.
Toasted pumpkin seeds are totally autumn yuminess. I don't know why I'm not allergic to them. I'm also Kool and the Gang with sesame seeds. So, I'll take what I can get because I love me some hummus and tahini and sesame everything.
Here is a formula I have for making pumpkin seeds. I say formula because you could end up with 1 cup of pumpkin seeds or five cups or more or less, depending on the size of your pumpkin.
I keep the seasons simple: salt and pepper. But you can totally shake it up with cajun seasoning or oregano or make them sweet with cinnamon and sugar. I'm all about the classic savory. So, butter, salt and peppa it is. My style lets the true pumpkin seed shine.
I have to admit that carving out the top of the pumpkin requires patience and mad upper body strength.
(Thank you, Jillian Michaels, for training me with your awesome workout DVDs. You are a goddess.)
With a spoon, you then need to scoop out the pulp, where all the fab pumpkin seeds await you. This job is messy. Cover your countertop with newspaper, and don't be afraid to get your hands dirty.
Place the seeds in a colander and run under water, discarding extra pulp.
Lie your pumpkin seeds out in a single layer on a baking sheet to dry over night. You may place some paper towels on top of them. Shake the sheet every few hours so that they all dry out evenly.
The next day, preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
Melt butter in a a microwave-safe bowl. (For every 1 cup of pumpkin seeds, melt 1 Tbsp. of butter.)
Toss melted butter with seeds on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and fresh black pepper. (I used 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper for 2 cups of seeds.)
Bake for 45 to 60 minutes. Keep a close eye on the oven! Remove the baking sheet every 15 to 20 minutes and toss the seeds with a big spoon.
Toasted seeds should be a gorgeous auburn color. The texture should be crunchy and delicate. They will smell very toasty and dare I say it, nutty.