The Great Pumpkin

(originally posted on on 1/22/12)

I made something new that is, really, just divine.  Especially on a cold winter’s night (hey, it gets cold in Los Angeles…relatively….)


I put a pumpkin patch in my front yard this summer.  I planted it around the end of June, hoping for pumpkins for Halloween.  At the very least by Thanksgiving.  Well, I just harvested them last week.  In January.  All the vines had died, and still the 7 pumpkins in my patch were just barely ripe.  My deaf, Korean, non-english speaking gardener pointed at my pathetic patch, telling me “March” as in “Hey, you idiot, if you want your pumpkins to ripen at the appropriate time plant them in March”.  Noted.  This year they shall be planted at the right time.
Nevertheless, I did get 7 glorious pumpkins.  I’ve twice made Weight Watchers pumpkin soup, and was searching online for something else to do with pumpkin.  I had seen a baked pumpkin in Martha Stewart before, and thought a variation of that would be fun to make.  We’re trying to go low-carb here on Lull Street, after a carb-laden holiday, so I thought quinoa would be a nice, healthy option instead of bread.  I found quite a few lovely recipes online, and decided on a “little bit of this, little bit of that”.  Here’s what I came up with.  I enjoyed it, and I think you will, too.  This recipe is easily adapted to what you have on hand.  You’ll notice there aren’t specific measurements.  I’m more of a “dash of this, dash of that, season to taste” kind of gal.  This gives you more opportunities for tasting as you go.  🙂
one large pumpkin
2 cups uncooked quinoa
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (or water)
one onion, diced
one apple, peeled, cored and sliced
half cup golden raisins
half cup toasted walnuts
juice and zest of 2 tangerines
2 tbsp maple syrup (the real stuff!)
ground ginger
salt & pepper
olive oil
handful shredded cheddar
shredded parmesan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut hole in top of pumpkin and scoop out stringy flesh and seeds (I saved the seeds to plant…yes, in March Mr. Kang, I understand now).  Score inside of pumpkin, brush inside and outside with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake upside down about one hour.
Meanwhile, prepare quinoa per package instructions.  I substituted chicken broth for water for a bit more flavor.  Heat olive oil in pan and saute onions.  Add onions, apple, raisins, tangerine juice and zest, walnuts, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt and pepper to quinoa and stir well.   Transfer quinoa mixture to pumpkin and continue baking for another 30 minutes.  Last 10 minutes add shredded cheese to top of mixture.
Serve, scooping out pumpkin as you go, and enjoy!