My pantry is still going through a serious makeover as boxes full of ingredients I can’t pronounce are being tossed. Processed foods are being exchanged for whole foods; or in some cases, just less processed ones — Rome wasn’t built in a day, after all, and neither is creating how I want to eat for the rest of my life.
Just like building Rome, or so I imagine, I had to get the lay of the land before setting my foundation. Of prime consideration is how I live my life: I travel and eat out quite a bit; am married to a carnivorous maximus who still expects to see meat on the plate; and periodically cook for a new extended family which includes grandchildren with food opinions. In other words, this new way of flexitarian/vegetarian eating I’m determined on must be realistic, sustainable, and flexible. Otherwise it just won’t work.
Revamping the pantheon of pantry helpers in my kitchen has been part of laying that foundation. I’ve written about some of them here, but I’m really excited about this new addition to the group: pumpkin seed meal made from ground pumpkin seeds. Now this might seem like a really small thing, and admittedly it’s barely a recipe, but you’d be surprised how many ways its faintly nutty flavor amps up a dish while ushering in all kinds of health benefits. And it reminds me anew how small things can make such a difference to a day.
Rescuing a spider hopelessly trapped in a bathtub, as it attempts, Sisyphus-like, to climb out.
Walking to lunch instead of driving.
Finding out the car in front of you paid your bridge toll (not insignificant, these days).
A quick story. Years ago, pre-rollerbags, I dragged an over-packed suitcase through downtown Pittsburgh on my way to my dad’s office. I was hunched over the bag, scraping it across the sidewalk, wondering why on earth I had packed so many clothes, and not at all happy about the warm, sunny day. A complete stranger, witnessing my struggle, and perhaps more of my legs than intended, offered to carry it for me. That simple, genuine offer lifted my day immeasurable, and obviously stayed with me.
This pumpkin seed meal is that helping hand. I’ve toasted it and made it into a roux to thicken stews and posoles; scattered a bit over salads; and switched it in for breadcrumbs in recipes to make it gluten-free. Come on back later this weekend to see a recipe I’ll be posting for Quinoa Potato Cakes Florentine that incorporates this new pantry item.
Next I want to try baking with it. I think it would make an awesome bread.
- 1 bag of shelled pumpkin seeds
- Place the pumpkin seeds in a small food processor or spice grinder. Whirl like crazy until it becomes a thick meal.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
To see my other pantry friends, look at the Pantry tab and see what’s there. Or just click on any of the below links to go to a recipe.
Chipotle Spice Mix that’s good for both veggies and Myles’ steaks and pork chops