First, I want to thank the lovely ladies of the diner for giving me the opportunity to come back and dish at the blog on a monthly basis! I'll be posting on the third Tuesday of the month, I hope you'll join me...it's nice to be back!
Since I just took the kids (hubby included) to pick out some pumpkins, and unfortunately we just didn't have the time to get out to one of the local pick-your-own-farms this year, pumkin carving has become a popular theme in my house. Every year we paint faces on smaller ones and carve one big one for the front window. So, have you ever thought about why we have this tradition?
People have been making jack o'lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice seems to have originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed "Stingy Jack." According to legend, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink and true to his name, Stingy Jack refused to pay for the drinks, he then tricked the Devil into turning into a coin that could be used to pay for their drinks instead. Once the Devil transformed into the coin, Jack kept the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into another scheme involving him climbing into a tree to pick fruit, and while in the tree, Jack carved a cross into the bark trapping the devil in the tree until the he promised not to bother Jack for ten more years.
When Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow Jack into heaven and the Devil kept his bargain with Jack and would not claim his soul. So Jack was off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as "Jack of the Lantern," and then, simply "Jack O'Lantern."
In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack's lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets are used. Immigrants from these countries brought the jack o'lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack o'lanterns.
Whether you carve your own pumpkins and make use of the meaty flesh inside or choose to hop over to your local grocery store and buy a can of pureed pumpkin, here's a recipe for a fall side-dish.
This recipe was taken from "The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American"
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
2 teaspoons flour
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 cups pureed pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper & ground nutmeg
cayenne pepper to taste
4 egg yolks, lighly beaten
6 egg whites at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
In a frying pan, saute the onion in the butter until transparent. Add the flour and cook until the flour and butter begin to turn a very light golden brown. Using a whisk, add the cream and cook until a thick sauce in obtained. Pour this sauce into a medium-sized mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients, except the eggs and cream of tartar. Mix well. Then stir in the egg yolks, one at a time.
Whip the egg whites along with the cream of tartar in a separate bowl and gently fold them into the pumpkin mixture. Do not overmix. Place in a buttered 1 1/2 qt souffle dish and back in a preheated oven at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until the souffle begins to expand and brown ever so slightly on top.
Serve right away as a nice sidedish to any fall meal.
Enjoy this pumpkin season!