02 November 2008

Where I Butcher Some Pumpkins

Welcome to the fall addition of "Tales from the Kitchen!"

I got a bug up my ass the other day that I wanted to bake homemade pumpkin pie to being to my families' houses on Thanksgiving this year. Or at least one side of them, since my aunt has a monopoly on the pumpkin pie market for the other side. Which is great, because I'll at least get to chow down on one amazing pie if I manage to screw this up.

But anyway, so to start, I had to make some pumpkin slurry.

Actually, let's call it Pumpkin puree, like the Pioneer Woman (who's tutorial I used for this, and can be found here). Pumpkin slurry sounds like some sort of chemical spill.

I started with three medium to smallish pumpkins, all set to meet their doom.

The carving process completely negated all the precautionary measures I took against tendonitis in the past few weeks, while making me feel kind of like some sort of butcher in a horror movie. The huge knife paired with the absolutely spooky lighting my kitchen took on as the sky grew overcast and the sun went down made it perfect for Halloween. Even if it did gain me some odd looks from my family when they walked in.

"Why is it lit like a mad scientist's lab in here?" they would ask.

"My hands are too pumpkiny to hit the overhead light," I would answer. And with that, they'd raise an eyebrow and walk out. Without hitting the switch for me, might I add. So considerate.

Since the light was staying spooky, I figured I'd take a Halloween butcher photo.

As I got farther into the process, and as my wrist tendons began plotting their revenge, I remembered exactly how slimy and messy pumpkins can be. I hadn't carved one since... well, probably since before high school. That squish between my fingers and the deliciously nutty smell brought back all sorts of wonderful memories from childhood.

Between the scraping and the carving, by the time I got everything done and ready to pop into the oven, about three hours had passed. At this point my mom walked in and asked, "So, what happened to the 'Oh, I've got to spend all night studying. I've got so much to do!' thing?"

I just kind of shrugged. It was, admittedly, taking much longer than I expected. However, I kind of didn't care. The pumpkin smell and the joy of getting my hands all gooky like a toddler playing in the mud was just too much for the academic side of my life to spoil.

But, three hours later, I finally got there. Add about half an hour, and the pumpkin came out of the oven all golden, browned, and delicious. Add another hour and a half where I want to throw our Magic Bullet against the wall, about half a pumpkin never making it to the mashing/blending process due to the rude interruption of my stomach, and I ended up with about 12 cups of wonderful pumpkin bliss.

That should be enough for a couple pies. I hope anyway, because I don't think my wrists will ever let me do that again.

Also, I was left with a wonderful bowl full of pumpkin guts.

The slimy mass was just beckoning me to dig in.

So I did.

And I loved every second.

And that, my friends is the story of why I ended up in double wrist braces for a week, with only some pumpkin puree and some seeds to show for it.


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