I was raised in the 70’s (well, I was a little girl in that era…don’t worry, I progressed to the hair-sprayed bangs of the 80’s during my teenage years) and at the time both of my parents worked full-time. We did plenty of holiday-inspired outings while growing up on Long Island, like trips to local farms to procure pumpkins or even apple picking (still a favorite of mine). Although my Mom was always amazing at getting the house ready for a particularl holiday both indoors and out, she was never a fan of messes. Carving a pumpkin definately fell under that heading. No pumpkin carving means no roasted pumpkin seeds.
She’d give me a black marker and I was instructed to draw a face. Sometimes, I’d use red and black markers. I can remember doing this into my junior high years. (Mom if you’re reading this, I had a great childhood). Anyway, I started carving pumpkins as a single gal in the late ’90’s and with kids, we carve at least two every year. Nothing too fancy, just your basic faces but it’s a lot of fun. And, not a marker in site!
Like most busy parents, there’s never enough time to get everything done that’s on your holiday list. As I writing, I’m thinking of the 5 or 6 things I still need to do before I hit the hay (empty the dishwasher, fold a load of laundry, write a few thank you notes) but I promised my eldest that we’d roast pumpkin seeds this year. I did a little investigation using a favorite site: www.epicurious.com and found one recipe but several reader reviews which yielded some tasty results.
Here’s what I did this evening. I pre-heated the oven to 350. The seeds had alredy been rinsed and spread onto a linen towel to dry overnight. Note: don’t use paper towel, as they will sometimes stick. I drizzed peanut oil and then mixed with my hands trying to spread them out over the cookie sheet into a single layer. I then roasted them in the oven for 15 minutes. Listen for the “sizzle and pop” as that will mean they are practically done. Remove from the oven and while they are still hot, add your seasoning. I added a finely ground French sea salt to one half and seasoning salt to the other half. While I prefer the French sea salt, my husband definately preferred the seasoning salt. My point is you can season them however you like and to suit the tastes of your younger household members.
While we’re talking about salt, do take a moment to check out Saltworks site: http://www.saltworks.us/salt_info/si_gourmet_reference.asp which has a fantastic gourmet salt guide. You can purchase directly from them too. I encourage you to experiment with various salts. A particular finishing salt can really enhance your cooking.