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Pumpkin: A Savory Flavor That Spans Seasons

We've got a new partnership with Padma Lakshmi! The host of the Emmy-winning Top Chef, writer, and designer started Padma Lakshmi, a social-networking site that celebrates our favorite topics including food adventures, recipes, and party planning. She'll be dishing up goodies for us here on YumSugar monthly. Today Padma offers creative ideas for cooking with pumpkin during the Winter months.

Pumpkins, or winter squash as many people call it, has many more uses beyond a traditional jack-o'-lantern or filling for pumpkin pie. Aside from a delicious, mellow flavor, pumpkin provides really significant levels of potassium, vitamin A, and beta-carotene making it a healthful, wintry addition to hearty meals and more.

A delicate slice of pumpkin pie or pumpkin cheesecake flavored with allspice, nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon tastes like a nostalgic slice of home for many people this time of year. While a pumpkin puree most definitely lends itself to dessert very well, it’s also great as an appetizer and main course.

Related: My Holiday Gift Guide: Spice Up Your Kitchen

It’s very common to see pumpkin ravioli in Italian cooking or a pumpkin tempura or sushi with kabocha, which is the Japanese variety. In parts of India, you see pumpkin in vegetarian stews or chowders called sambar that is made with pigeon peas and tamarind. Keep reading for Padma's favorite pumpkin preparations.

These perfect little pumpkins are from Queens County Farm and great for baking.

Here’s a simple idea for a savory pumpkin appetizer to add to your table while you entertain during the holidays and through the Winter months:

  • Puree some pumpkin with cayenne and maple syrup
  • Spread it on a slice of crusty baguette with creamy goat cheese
  • Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with pomegranate and chives or dill

How do you enjoy eating pumpkin? Share in the comments.

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