Friday, October 30, 2009

Last Minute Pumpkin Carving Tips

If you are like me and waited until the last minute this year to carve your pumpkin, then I have some last minute tips on things to remember:
1. Take your time with this process.... knife safety is very important. Cut slow and watch where you place your hands.
2. Using a sharp serrated knife, carve a hole in your pumpkin, preferably at the top, making a wide circle around the stem.
3. Next, scoop out the guts of the pumpkin. I find that a grapefruit spoon works best to get the inside nice and smooth.
4. Place the pulp and seeds in a bowl for later (see below).
5. It's design time! Trace your design, or draw one from scratch on the face of the pumpkin with a pencil.
6. Carefully, use the serrated knife to cut along the lines of your design, being sure to cut all the way through your pumpkin, unless the design requires you to do something different.
7. Get a small votive candle in a glass jar, and place it inside your pumpkin. Remember to not leave candles unattended.
8. Place your Jack-o-lantern in a place for all to see and celebrate Halloween!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Take the pulp and seeds left over, and with your hands, pull the seeds off the pulp, and put them into a colander in your sink. With warm water, use your hands to rinse the seeds and remove all the pulp. Next, take wet seeds and lay them out on several paper towels or kitchen towels and pat until dry. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray. Once the seeds are dry, spread them out evenly on the cookie sheet. I like to spray the top of the seeds with a little cooking spray as well, and season with salt and a little pepper. Bake for 15 minutes, and then using a spatula or tongs, flip as many seeds as you can. You just want them all to cook evenly. Continue roasting for another 15 minutes until golden brown.
I sometimes like to spice them up. Instead of salt and pepper, I use Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning. You can also make them sweet and savoy by substituting sugar and dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg. Enjoy!

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