Victoria's Vegetarian Victuals

It's October, and the daytime sky is bluer than it has been all year.  But at night... oh, at night....  "Ghosties and ghoulies and long-legged beasties, and things that go bump in the night...."

Halloween is coming fast.  The stores have been displaying Halloween inventory for weeks.  It is time for ghosts, spirits, witches and black cats to come out of their places again. 

Halloween became a part of Christian celebrations more than 1000 years ago, when the Roman Catholic Church named November 1 All Saints' Day.  The night before the holy day became All Saints' Eve, All Hallows Eve, and finally Hallowe'en.

Halloween became the last chance for evil and mischievous creatures to have a hand in prowling and prank-playing.

Long before Christianity became the religion in France and Britain, early Celts feared when winter came that the sun would be killed by the powers of darkness.  The Celts believed that ghosts, spirits, witches and goblins walked the earth on Halloween, and that cats were sacred creatures that had been changed from human form as a punishment for evil deeds.

Those folks took the whole concept very seriously.  Nowadays, it has a lighter theme. 

Any age group can celebrate Halloween.  Grown-ups as well as children dress up in costumes, as well as children.

No modern Halloween is complete without pumpkins, so this month I am offering you some special vegetarian pumpkin recipes, and a bonus sweet potato recipe as well.

Pumpkin Pudding

  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 2 cups cooked pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered cloves
  • 1 2/3 cups light cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 medium-sized unblemished pumpkin

Mix ingredients in the order given, combining well after each addition. Remove the stem end of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds.  Rinse, dry thoroughly, and rub the inside of the pumpkin with soft butter (or margarine). Place the pumpkin in a shallow baking pan, and pour in water to the depth of 1 inch.  Pour the pudding carefully into the center of the pumpkin, filling to within one inch of the top.  (Any remaining pumpkin can be baked separately on a buttered dish.)

Place in a 375 degree oven and bake until the pudding is firm in the center, about 45 minutes.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes

Pumpkin Bread

  • Solid vegetable shortening
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 eggs (or egg substitutes)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 16-oz can of pumpkin
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup pecan pieces
  • 1 cup raisins

Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease two 8 1/2 " x 4 1/2" x 2 1/2" loaf pans by dipping a paper towel into solid shortening and spreading on the bottom and sides of pans.  Thoroughly mix everything together in a large mixing bow with a mixing spoon.  Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber scraper while mixing.  Divide batter between the two loaf pans and set timer.

Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 1 1/4 hours.  Cool.  Remove the bread from the pans onto a bread board, and cut into thin slices using a serrated knife.

  • Yields: Two loaves
  • Preparation Time: 1 1/2 hours

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

  • 1 large pumpkin
  • butter or margarine (melted)
  • salt

Cut the top off the pumpkin. Scoop out the pulp and seeds from the inside. Separate the seeds from the pulp and put them in a colander.  Rinse well under cold water, and dry with paper towels.  Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  When the seeds are dry, spread them on a cookie sheet.  Put them in the oven and watch them carefully so that the seeds toast but do not burn.  Stir frequently. This should take about half an hour, but start checking after 15 minutes.  Put warm seeds in a bowl, and toss with a little butter (or margarine and salt.

  • Yields: A bowl for snacks.  How big depends on how big a pumpkin you use and how many seeds it has.
  • Preparation Time: About 45 minutes

Sweet Potatoes in Orange Cups

  • 2 - 2 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, cooked and peeled
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup margarine or butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • salt and ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

Mash sweet potatoes.  Stir in orange juice, margarine or butter, sugar, salt and pepper.  Spoon into orange cups.  Sprinkle with brown sugar.  Place in baking pan.  Just before serving, heat in 450 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until warmed through.

Orange Cups

Cut 4 oranges in half.  Use a spoon to remove all pulp.

  • Yields: 8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes
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