Pumpkin: Supper for a Po’Girl

Behold the almighty, great pumpkin!

Pumpkins grow prolifically, they’re portable, store well, and are exceptionally nourishing. That makes them great food for when times are hard.

And they’re downright rich in nutrition! Although we may think of punkins as starchy, turns out not all starches are the same, and pumpkin’s special starches have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic, insulin-regulating properties. (Who would’ve thunk it?!)

They are through the roof in Vitamin A & Vitamin C and also very full of potassium, fiber, manganese, folate, Omega 3s, and Vitamin B1.

I remember when Chili and I moved after a summer of farm work so that I could accept an internship somewhere else. Our pockets were pretty bare, so we took about twelve pumpkins that we harvested from the farm. When we got to where we were going, strangers took us in while we looked for a place, which ended up taking a month. Each time a new set of strangers let us set up our tent in their yard, we offered them a pumpkin. Then we would roast it and sup together. It always seemed special and festive for the fall season, and it fed everyone. That is the power of pumpkin.

Well, we are really trying to stick to our meager budget these days, so the pumpkin has become a staple these past few weeks. We weren’t able to plant any this year, but there’re plenty available at the markets everywhere right now.

Chili’s at church tonight, and I’m stuck home doing work. So here’s what I made. It turned out so tasty.

First, I started some basmati rice on the stove. I put about five cardamom pods, a dash of chili powder, and maybe a teaspoon of some lemon curry in the pot with it. I have an amazing rice cooker. It’s actually just an enameled cast iron pot. It cooks rice in 15 minutes! I don’t know, but it’s a miracle. I basically only use the pot to cook rice in, though I know it’s not really a “rice cooker.” I do everything the same for cooking rice, except I set the timer on the stove for 15 minutes instead of 45 or 50.

Behold the magical cardamom pod.

In my Lodge cast iron skillet, made right here in Tennessee, I scraped out about a quarter of a roasted pumpkin left over from the other night. I poured in about a half cup of water and simmered the pumpkin while the rice cooked. I added a half package of the store-bought tempeh (maybe we’ll make our own one day) and one diced jalapeño. Then, some dashes of the following spices: cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, smoked paprika, red chili flakes, thyme, white pepper, and allspice. Then a tablespoon of Bragg’s liquid aminos—Chili and I basically put that in everything, just so you know. It adds saltiness without using salt. All that was left to simmer while the rice cooked and I went back to work.

When the timer went off, I turned the rice off and let it sit five minutes while the pumpkin continued.

Then I dished up! It was daaaaaaang good. I crushed some black pepper on top and drizzled a tiny bit of flax oil. Oh my goodness, it was good. And the jalapeño and chili powder warmed me up enough to take my extra sweater off.

That’s the whole recipe, so I won’t include a link.

Here’s to pumpkin season!

—Love, Chow Chow

Our pumpkin harvest some years ago

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