Saturday, December 12, 2009

When Decorative Gourd Season Ends

Now that Decorative Gourd Season has ended, The Frugal Hostess continues to be dismayed by the number of decorative gourds and pumpkins she sees piled up on the side of the road.  Now that their season has passed, decorative gourds are being pushed aside like they are trash.  Unfortunately, FruHubs won't let TFH stop and rescue all of the orphaned decorative gourds she spots, but FruHo can give you some ideas for how to save your decorative gourds from an uncertain future on the street.

Soup.  This is obvious, right?  Any decorative gourd or pumpkin can be made into delicious soup.  Here's how.

1.  Hack into the decorative gourd, and remove the pulp and seeds.  Save the seeds.  Put the pulp in your compost pile.

2.  Cut the decorative gourd into several smaller pieces and arrange on a baking sheet.

3.  Drip olive oil into the center of each piece, and then add salt and pepper.  You can't go wrong.

4.  Roast in a 375 oven for an hour and a half.  Actually, FruHo will admit, she has no idea how long or at what temp.  There's a good chance she does it differently every time, because she can't remember.  So, you can't go wrong on this one, either.

5.  Let your roasted chunks of decorative gourd cool, then cut away the [TFH is suddenly having deja vous.  Did she post about this already?  If so, she can't find it in the archives, so.....] rind.

6.  Puree in the food processor or blender.

7.  At this point, you could freeze the puree if you didn't feel like eating soup.  Or, you could make soup.  Put the puree in a pot over medium heat, and add half stock and half milk, cream, or half and half.  You will need to eyeball this based on the amount of decorative gourd you have and the thickness of soup you prefer.  If you don't have stock, add all dairy.  If you don't have dairy, add all stock.  Or use some water.  Really, it's your soup; do what you want.

8.  Serving suggestions: Sauteed mushrooms are delicious with this - nice contrast of flavor - as are roasted seeds seasoned with cayenne pepper and salt and slightly crushed.  For a more decadent meal, put a pile of jumbo lump crab meat in the center of the bowl.

Sausage Bowl.  This idea comes from FruHo's friend Meg and is delectable.

1.  Cut your decorative acorn or dumpling squash in half.  Scoop out seeds and pulp.  Roast about 45 minutes with olive oil, salt, and pepper in the hollowed out part.

2.  Make a Sausage Mixture of Excellence.  This can be ground sausage cooked plain, or mixed with rice or with some sauteed peppers and onions added.  A nice garnish, also courtesy of Meg, is fried sage.

3.  Fill the squash bowls with Sausage Mixture of Excellence.  Grate some Parmesan cheese over the top, and bake for a while (like, 15 minutes or so?) so that the sausage juices soak into the squash bowl.

Looks pretty, tastes pretty.  Right on.

Other ideas. 

1.  FruHubs' risotto recipe.
2.  Roasted wedges as a side dish.
3.  Serve the puree as a side dish (like mashed potatoes), without making the soup.

A note on shellack:  It is not delicious.  If you bought shellacked decorative gourds, well, you are screwed.  Don't eat that crap.

The Frugal Hostess, like an abandoned decorative gourd, gets lonely. Please comment. You can also join the Frugalistas on Facebook for exclusive content, follow on Twitter @frugalhostess, or subscribe so that you always know when a new post appears.

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