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November 2000 Issue
Unusual for Thanksgiving
by Victoria Smith
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Baked Pumpkin

  • 1 x 4 lb pumpkin
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1" cube fresh ginger root
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 4 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1 x 14 oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup pasta shells
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 tbsp ricotta chase
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut the top off the pumpkin with a large, sharp knife, then scoop out and discard all the seeds. (Unless you want to toast them for snacks, later) Using a small, sharp knife and a sturdy tablespoon, scoop out as much of the pumpkin flesh as possible, and then chop it into chunks. Bake the pumpkin in the oven with its lid on for 45 minutes to one hour, until the inside begins to soften. While the pumpkin is baking, make the filling. Gently fry the onion, ginger and pumpkin flesh in the olive oil, for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the zucchini and mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, pasta shells and stock. Season well, bring to a boil, cover and simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Stir the ricotta cheese and basil into the pasta and spoon the mixture into the pumpkin. It may not be able to fit all the stuffing into the pumpkin shell. If so, serve the rest separately.
  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: About 1 hour and 20 minutes


Camembert Fritters

For Marmalade:
  • 2 red onions, sliced
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp coriander berries, crushed
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp salt
For Cheese:
  • 8 individual portions of Camembert
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup plain white or whole wheat dried breadcrumbs to coat
  • oil for deep fat frying
Make the marmalade first. In a large saucepan, gently fry the onions in the oil, covered, for 20 minutes or so, until they are soft. Add the remaining marmalade ingredients, stir well, and cook, uncovered, for another 10 to 15 minutes, until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Cool and set aside.

Prepare the cheese by first scratching the mold ring lightly with a fork. Dip first in egg and then in bread crumbs to coat well. Dip and coat a second time if necessary. Pour oil into a deep fat fryer until it is 1/3 full. Heat to 375F. Carefully lower the coated cheeses into the hot oil three or four at a time and fry until golden and crisp, about 2 minutes or less. Drain well on a paper towel and fry the rest, reheating the oil in between. Serve hot with the marmalade.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: About 45 minutes


Savory Nut Loaf

  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces of mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 14 oz can of lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup mixed nuts, such as hazelnuts, cashews and almonds, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 aged Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 medium egg, beaten
  • 3 to 4 tbsp fresh mixed herbs, chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • chives and sprigs of flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
Preheat the oven to 375F. Lightly grease the sides and bottom of a 9x3x5 inch loaf pan and line with waxed paper. Heat the oil in a large saucepan; add the chopped onion, leeks, celery ribs, mushrooms, and the crushed garlic.

Cook gently for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables have softened, stirring occasionally. Add the lentils, mixed nuts, flour, grated cheese, and herbs. Season the ingredients with salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly.

Spoon the nut, vegetable and lentil mixture into the prepared loaf pan, making sure that it is pressed into the corners, and level the surface. Bake, uncovered, for 40 to 60 minutes, or until the nut loaf is lightly browned on top and firm to the touch. Cool the loaf slightly in the pan, then turn out onto a serving plate. Serve the loaf hot or cold, cut into slices and garnished with cloves and flat-leaf parsley.

  • Yields: Serves 4
  • Preparation Time: About an hour and a half


Zucchini Fritters with Chile Jam

For the Chile Jam:
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 large onions, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 - 2 Thai chiles, seeded and sliced
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
For the Fritters:
  • 3 1/2 cups zucchini, coarsely grated
  • 2/3 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 4 tbsp unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • vegetable oil for frying
First make the chile jam. Heat the oil in a frying pan until hot, then add the onions and garlic. Reduce heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft. Leave the onion mixture to cool, then transfer them to a food processor or blender. Add the chiles and the sugar and blend until smooth, then return mixture to saucepan. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the liquid evaporates and the mixture has the consistency of jam. Cool slightly.

To make the fritters, squeeze the zucchini in a dish towel to remove any excess water, then combine with the parmesan, eggs, flour, salt and pepper. Heat enough oil to cover the base of a large frying pan. Add 2 tbsp of the mixture for each fritter and cook three fritters at a time. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes on each side until golden, then keep warm while you cook the remaining fritters. Drain on paper towels and serve warm with a spoonful of the chile jam.

  • Yields: 12 fritters
  • Preparation Time: about 45 minutes

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