As a kid, if you would have asked me where (edible) pumpkin came from, without hesitation I would answer: from a can. The thought of chopping up a pumpkin for anything other than decoration and recreation would have baffled me. I always thought that "real" pumpkins were for carving, and canned pumpkin was for eating.
Because of this childhood confusion, I still feel a little weird about buying a pumpkin at the grocery store, chopping it into pieces, and roasting it in the oven. Not to mention, lugging it around new york city with me. Awkward.
The other day I went to the store to buy a pumpkin for cooking purposes. I was scouring the selection in Chelsea Market, trying to pick out the biggest size I could carry home comfortably. Not an easy task. I had a store employee helping me out, we were picking up pumpkins one by one until I found one that fit perfectly in my arms.
If I was going to make the effort to carry a several pound pumpkin home, I wanted to have pumpkin leftovers for days. I wanted to make multiple meals with this one large pumpkin.
I purchased my big orange pumpkin, and several small white ones (for decoration), and I was on my way home, arms stretched long around the pumpkin hoping, praying it doesn't drop and smash on the sidewalk into a million pieces.
When I got my pumpkin home, I sat it outside next to the two little ones. I was still feeling a little conflicted. He looked so happy sitting there with the other pumpkins ... was I really going to chop him up, or could he just stay there happily decorating our front stoop.
Okay, get a hold of yourself. It is just a pumpkin. It does not have feelings, and if I were a pumpkin I would so much rather be an empanada instead of being stoop decor.
It was settled, pumpkin empanadas were the winner.
As I am sure you guessed, canned pumpkin does not makes it's way into my home anymore. I'm homemade all the way here. But because I live in NYC and the whole pumpkin carrying business is less than ideal, I usual roast only one or two pumpkins over the course of the fall with the hopes of getting a few different recipes out of them. And because of their short season and the labor involved in roasting them, I am sure you probably do the same.
Originally these guys were going to be mini pumpkin hand pies, but when I posted a picture on Instagram a few people commented that they looked like empanadas. Sooo, I immediately consulted with my live-in empanada expert (Michael). He tried one and he agreed - these were totally empanadas. Really good empanadas.
As soon as the temperature starts to drop, it's only natural that you and I start to crave certain things. More soups, more roasted vegetables, more blankets, more nights in watching movies, more baked fruits, more fireplaces, more crisp.
It's no secret, I love a good crisp.
Crisp is the prefect dessert for a crisp fall day. Maybe that is where is got it's name? No? Okay ... I know ... it's from the crispy top that pairs so nicely with the soft fragrant fruits hiding underneath.
I'm fairly new to cooking with quince. If you are unfamiliar with this fruit, it is best described as a cross between a pear and an apple, therefore (in my opinion) making it ideal to bake with.
Pears and apples are two of my favorite fall fruits, and now quince will obviously be making it's way to that list as well.
The thing to note about quince is that is has particularly tough flesh which means it is not so good to eat raw, and it needs to bake on it's own for some extra time before being incorporated into a crisp, or pie, or any baked dessert for that matter.
The upside to having to bake the quince longer? You will have that delicious smell of quince baking in your home for for that much longer, creating the perfect ambiance for a fall day.