here’s one thing to do with a pumpkin…

Make risotto. Roasted pumpkin, mushroom and fresh herb risotto to be specific. Sadly, I ended up with only a few pumpkins this year – nothing compared to what I thought I’d have. Some strange insect took over my pumpkin patch and that was the end of my plentiful pumpkins. I ended up with 5. Not very many when compared with what was growing. *sigh*  Oh, the ups and downs of growing your own…but in the end, what’s done is done and I intend to find out what those little buggers were and then do my best to prevent them next year! In the meantime, I’m taking advantage of the few pumpkins that managed to outwit those little creepy-crawlys and risotto made the list.

Risotto, I know is time consuming (I have a 2 yr. old, remember – time is precious, I know) -you have to stand at the stove, stirring – constantly – for up to 30 minutes, but the results are worth it. Pour yourself a glass of wine, a cup of tea, or if your like me, a straight up martini, put on some good music and stir away – sip ‘n stir… Put all those good vibes into the food and well, you’ll have nothing short of spectacular.

Here you go – Roasted Pumpkin, Mushroom and Fresh Herb Risotto;

First step is to roast the pumpkin. If you don’t have pumpkin, butternut squash is a superb substitute.

1 pie pumpkin or small-medium butternut squash;

Cut pumpkin in half, de-seed (separate seeds from pulp, salt, and roast – super yummy snack) and remove peel.

Cut into wedges and then into chunks, roughly one inch chunks (try to keep size uniform, to ensure they all cook equally).

Place into roasting pan or skillet, drizzle with olive oil, toss and coat, place into preheated 400 degree oven for roughly 30 minutes, or until soft (pierce with fork to test tenderness).

Meanwhile, get going on the risotto…by the time your done with the risotto, the pumpkin will be ready to add. By the way, I didn’t use all this pumpkin – only about 1-2 cups of it (roughly half the pumpkin) The rest I froze for another day. But add as much or as little as you’d like.

You’ll need;

12 oz Arborio Rice (1.2 cups)

4 cups heated stock (vegetable or chicken)

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 + a bit more tablespoon butter  (I use a full tablespoon)

1 cup sliced mushrooms

4 oz. dry white wine or 1/3 cup lemon juice

1-2 cups roasted pumpkin

1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon fresh or ground sage

small handful chopped parsley

1 good handful + a touch more, parmesan cheese/asiago, grated

In a medium-sized heavy bottomed pot, saute onion and mushroom in butter until softened and golden.

Add the rice and stir until well-coated and translucent. (this step is a quick one)

Add the wine (or lemon juice) and cook until evaporated. Taking care to continue stirring while wine is reducing/absorbed.

Stir in one cup of heated stock and simmer gently. Again, and most importantly, keep stirring while rice slowly absorbs stock. Once the stock has been absorbed, add another cup and continue to stir…continue doing this until all stock has been used (average 18-20 minutes) and absorbed.

Add sage, parsley, parmasan cheese and roasted pumpkin.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Top with a squeeze of lemon juice, if desired. (I just love lemon juice!)

Serve with a salad or sauteed greens and rustic bread – dinner is served!


love to garden

busy busy busy! Wow – August has taken off with a running start and shows no signs of slowing down… traveling for shows, making deliveries, meeting clients and then simply life in general, well, my time has been limited in my garden – but everything is thriving just the same!

Tomatoes look amazing – still vey green but growing heavier and fuller everyday.

Basil is just going wild – I have plenty of pesto for this fall and winter and more to make! Swiss chard is abundant as is the cilantro and parsley…my corn is doing well – what finally made it that is (I planted three separate times!) – but still unsure if there is enough for pollination (thus actual corn)…just have to wait and see I guess… The pumpkins are out of control and I will have pumpkin for months! They seeded themselves in my very rustic compost as well as one of my flower beds – the oversized leaves are a beautiful addition to my gladiolas and lily’s…I used some of my compost to feed my flower beds (the seeds were dormant and well, are now a welcome and unexpected addition to my flower bed). I also planted a few in my garden – we will have no shortage of jack-o-lanterns, pumpkin pie, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin penne or curried pumpkin soup this year!

Here’s a few pics I took myself the last time I was picking green beans and weeds…thankfully the mosquitos were forgiving – unlike lately!


eat your greens…

My garden feels like it’s taking a bit longer to ‘get going’ this year as opposed to past years. I attribute it to the fluctuating weather we’ve been having these past few weeks…it’s been pretty extreme around here – cold, then SUPER hot and sticky, now it’s cool, balmy and wet … at least I don’t have to worry about watering for the next few days – I just have to contend with the mosquitos and weeds…two things which just love this kind of weather. Before all this wet and sticky weather arrived, we did enjoy a few absolutely beautiful days – thankfully – so before heading to the beach (have to take advantage of every warm sunny day in  Maine – there not always abundant…) to play in the sand and sun, Finn and I did a little garden work…

We pulled a few weeds, planted three more tomato plants, tended to the existing plants and of course picked greens – super delicate lettuces, firm and curly kale and vibrant swiss chard…

swiss chard – love the contrast of colors…

kale is just bursting

carrot greens are thickening

pumpkins are thriving near the compost pile and the borage (below) is great not only for the protection it gives the tomatoes, but also for the vibrant color it exudes among all the green…

The corn unfortunately has had a few set-backs – heavy rains for the first planting, intruders for the second planting and now, thankfully, this third planting is beginning to show signs of life – no pics yet, didn’t want to jinx anything…oh the risks of gardening…

Though the benefits far out way the risks – most definitely. Knowing where your food comes from, understanding and appreciating the dedication needed to grow your own, and most importantly the taste it delivers – there’s nothing like it! Not to mention the convenience.

Mushrooms, vermont cheddar cheese and freshly picked kale all melted together between fresh crispy corn tortillas and then topped with sour cream and salsa make for a quick and simple meal – mushroom and kale quesadillas, yum. Add a margarita and it’s a perfect meal!

Too bad I wasn’t able to snap a photo of them before we devoured them, they were delicious!  You’ll just have to try and see for yourself! Garden to table – everyone should be so lucky!

until next time – enjoy.