Poultry & Pork

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: A Pumpkin Extravaganza

Pumpkins assortment 1-Duo DishesPumpkin assortment 2-Duo DishesPumpkin assortment 3-Duo DishesPumpkin assortment 4-Duo Dishes

All we’ve done this month is go on and on about how we love October.  Hopefully you are not sick of hearing this, but we have to say it again:  We love October!  It’s the fall time, and leaves are falling. The air is crispy and there are orange pumpkins sitting on many steps.  Oh, and yesterday was Amir’s birthday!  When we received the call for submissions for Foodbuzz’s monthly 24, 24, 24 event, to be held on October 24, we had to give it a shot.  Once the proposal was submitted, it was time to plan another birthday party to finish off the month of babies being born!  Amir wanted pumpkins in his menu, and that’s how the pumpkin blowout came into existence.  Every part of the evening’s meal–from starting nibbles to the final cocktail–would contain pumpkin in some form or fashion.  If there’s ever a time to go overboard with the fruity gourd, it would be now!

We are all about some menu brainstorming.  It is one of the most fun parts of our process, if you want to call it that. We both have a million ideas floating in our heads, and when we put them together, it starts out looking very crazy! After a few back and forths, we finally end up with a much more tailored list, albeit it’s usually very lengthy. It was Amir’s birthday, so we had to have a nice sized spread. Plus, he made a lot of the executive decisions on what would finally be on there, including the cake, which was probably the first thing in mind. Here’s a look at how it all went down.

We knew there had to be cake. We knew there had to be cocktails. Although cake and cocktails are a great way to celebrate, we also had to toss in a few other things to round out this dinner party. We needed nibblets for our guests while we finished up dishes, so there would surely be a dip and spread of some sort. Maybe something sweet to whet the appetite. We totally wanted a soup and salad starter course–warm, comforting elements that would get the body ready for more. The main course would feature duck, although how it would be used was unknown. We’d follow it up with a cool dessert–two desserts in fact. And to drink…well the crowd could sip on an iced tea and shoot back an infused liquor. It is a party after all!

Pumpkin Mascarpone Crostini-Duo Dishes

Pumpkin Mascarpone Spread on Crostini with Caramelized Onions, Persimmon and Stilton Cheese – Serves 12
1 cup canned pumpkin purée
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 medium persimmons, cut into 8ths
2 ounces stilton cheese, crumbled
24 premade crostini or mini toasts

1. Whip pumpkin purée, cream cheese, marscapone, honey, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon salt with an electric mixer until smooth. Scrape into a small bowl, cover and chill at least an hour or overnight.

2. Met butter and olive oil in a wide frying pan over medium high heat. When hot, add onions, toss to coat, then sprinkle brown sugar and remaining salt over them. Turn heat down to medium low. Cook for approximately 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally so they do not stick and burn. (If making ahead of time, spoon into an airtight container, seal and chill until ready to use.)

3. When ready to serve, spoon a layer of the pumpkin spread on crostini. Top with a little onion, a persimmon slice and a bit of stilton cheese.

Due to the fact that pumpkins were the made part of the menu, we had to do a little pumpkin research, and we learned a few things along the way. There’s a difference between pumpkins and squash, even those pesky winter squash that look like non-orange pumpkins (ie. kabocha and a few acorns). We were all ready to use up some kabocha squash in the soup. Although it is also known as a Japanese pumpkin, kabocha not a pumpkin. It is, indeed, a squash. There’s no way around that. The other fun fact about pumpkins is that they, like squash, are fruits, and that is due to the seeds inside. That’s probably not mind-blowing to everyone, especially people who know that tomatoes are technically classified as fruits for the same reason. No matter, it’s still a little funny to think of pumpkins as a fruit.

Pumpkin seed hummus-Duo Dishes

Pumpkin Seed HummusServes 12
1 1/2 cups raw pumpkin seeds, toasted
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin purée
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons tahini
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Tabasco
1/8 cup grapeseed oil
1/8 cup pumpkin seed oil
Juice of 2 lemons
Kosher salt

1. Blend pumpkin seeds down in a food processor until they become a very fine powder. Add garlic, pumpkin purée, tahini, cumin, Tabasco, and lemon juice.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together grapeseed oil and pumpkin seed oil. Slowly stream into the hummus while food processor churns until mixture has reached desired consistency. Salt to taste. Chill at least an hour or overnight. Recommend serving with baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, and a sweet brioche bread.

Finally, there are actually a good number of pumpkin farms located in California because it’s one of the top pumpkin growing states. We planned to visit a farm, get buddy buddy with a farmer, roll around in the hay and pick up some crazy looking pumpkins. Unfortunately, none of the farms were close to us. Definitely not close enough to frolic off to in the limited time we had to get ready. We had to scratch off that option and pay a visit to our local farmers markets and grocery stores, which was just fine. We couldn’t roll in any hay, but we got to see fairytale pumpkins, also known as Musque De Provence, sugar pies, jack-o-lanterns, tigers, etc. Pretty pumpkins! If you’re looking for a good run down on pumpkins before Halloween, try this site.

We are all about preparation and doing things before the big day. The first thing we had to do was get our vodka set up to infuse. For best results, we should’ve started it at least a week ahead of time, but we didn’t get it started until four days ahead of time. If you choose to try this, just know that stronger fruits like citrus will infuse quickly, whereas grainier or harder ingredients may take at least a week to really do the job. We were roasted our star ingredient, so we crossed our fingers and toes that this would do the trick. Two of our appetizers could be prepared one to two days ahead, as well as our salad dressing, soup topper, salad garnishes, a dipping sauce and iced tea. We would also have ingredients for our soup roasted and in the fridge, so they could be added to the stock when ready. We love to cook, but we also love to make things easier for ourselves. With all of these little things done, we hoped everything would go smoothly for the weekend.

Pumpkin & Apple Soup-Duo Dishes

Spiced Pumpkin Apple Soup with Goat Cheese Cream – Serves 12Soup
2 sugar pie pumpkins, cut into 8ths
4 medium apples, halved, cored and skinned
1 medium red onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 teaspoon ground curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup maple syrup
Olive oil
Kosher salt

2 1/2 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
Zest of 1 orange, minced

1. Start the soup by covering a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and lay pumpkin and apple pieces on top. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top and sprinkle curry, cumin and cinnamon over the fruit. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven when done.

2. Towards the middle of the fruit’s roasting session, drop butter and a drizzle of more olive oil in a deep pot over medium high heat. When melted, add celery, carrots and onions and cook down until soft and translucent, approximately 15-20 minutes. Pour in vegetable broth and bring to a low boil. Add roasted apples and pumpkin and boil for 3-5 minutes, then reduce heat to low.

3. Stir in heavy cream and maple syrup and mix well. Remove from heat.

4. Pour into a blender in batches and blend down until smooth. Pour back into large pot for easy serving. Salt to taste.

5. For goat cheese cream, use an electric blender to whip goat cheese, orange zest, sour cream and parsley until smooth. Dollop on top of soup.

If desired, use mini pumpkins or small acorn squash to serve the soup.

With so many pieces of the puzzle taken care of before Saturday, we were left with just a few additional ingredients to buy on the day of, including bread, salad greens, and the duck. The search for good duck was not easy. Our first thought was to venture to one of the two better known Asian markets nearby–99 Ranch and Mitsuwa. Before we tried either one, we asked around for any suggestions on where to find good prices on the quacker. People suggested the Farmers Market at the Grove, but one of the butchers wanted $12 a pound for the breast meat. Twelve dollars! For the amount we needed, we’d be sure to spend at least $70 on the meat alone. Not happening. Whole Foods and Gelson’s also had crazy prices that weren’t going to work for our budget, so we went with our initial gut and Amir took a drive to 99 Ranch. They had whole ducks for $2.59 a pound–only whole ducks. Our recipe calls for the breast meat, but we weren’t deterred.

Arugula candied pepita bacon and squash salad-Duo Dishes

Arugula with Roasted Beets and Butternut Squash, Bacon, Candied Pepitas and Pumpkin Seed Oil Vinaigrette – Serves 12
16 ounces arugula
3 medium beets, each peeled and cut into 8 pieces
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and sliced into 1″ pieces
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for roasting vegetables
1/2 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons brown sugar
Olive oil

1 small shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/8 cup pumpkin seed oil
Kosher salt

1. Lay aluminum foil over a large baking sheet and spread beets and butternut squash on top, making sure to keep them separate on different halves of the sheet. (You want to keep the beets from possibly bleeding onto the squash.) Drizzle liberally with olive oil and sprinkle a little salt on top. Roast in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

2. While veggies roast, stir cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, ginger, cayenne, brown sugar and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. Add the butter to a wide pan and swirl to melt. Pour in the pepitas and sprinkle brown sugar spice mixture over the nuts. Toss to coat. Drizzle honey over nuts and cook until they begin to brown slightly, approximately 2-4 minutes. Pour nuts over a parchment paper covered baking sheet and slide in the freezer to cool. When cool, pour into an airtight container and cover until ready to use.

3. For dressing, whisk shallot, garlic, honey, mustard and vinegar until smooth. Slowly stream in pumpkin seed oil, whisking to combine. Salt to taste.

4. Place arugula in a large bowl and drizzle half of the dressing on top. Toss lightly to mix coat the leaves. Add more dressing to taste. Plate salad by placing about 1 cup of arugula on each plate. Top with a few pieces of warm beets and squash, followed by crumbles of bacon and the candied pepitas.

By the morning of the party, the only elements left to finish were frosting the cake, rolling our popcorn balls, roasting pumpkin fries, assembling the salad, plate the appetizers and roasting the duck. When we said the list out loud, it didn’t seem like too much, but we obviously underestimated our time. It was the duck that gave us the most trouble. We pulled two ducks out of the bags, and there were two heads blankly staring back. Heads with eyes, beaks and tongues. Heads still attached to bodies. Oh, and there were webbed feet too. Horror! Chrystal ran out of the kitchen shrieking, leaving Amir to fend for himself, sawing extremities off with a knife. Word has it that he may have screamed bloody murder as well, but we don’t have to talk about that right now. Note to selves (and you at home): Always ask your friendly butcher to get rid of body parts you don’t want to touch.

Tangerine fries-Duo Dishes

Tangerine Roasted Pumpkin Fries with Spiced Tomato Cream SauceServes 12
2 medium pumpkins, peeled and each cut into 1″ wedges
Zest and juice of 1 tangerine
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, roughly chopped

1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5-Spice Powder
3/4 teaspoon Tabasco

1. Whisk butter, olive oil, brown sugar and tangerine juice and zest in a small bowl until combined.

2. Lay pumpkin strips on a foil lined baking sheet in one even layer. Brush tangerine butter over the fries and bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until browned and crispy. Remove from oven.

3. While pumpkin strips roast, whisk ketchup, mayonnaise, Tabasco and 5-spice powder in a medium serving bowl. Chill until ready to use.

4. Once fries are out of the oven, immediately toss with garlic and parsley. Serve with dipping sauce on the side.

Dealing with the duck put us back in time, not to mention the fact that we were just moving slowly in general. When it came to the cake, we had a small mishap. The frosting we made was one that is warm in the preparation, so it formed a glaze rather than a fluffy frosting–a nice caramel-type glaze. It wouldn’t be the end of the world, but it wasn’t what we thought would happen. We popped it in the fridge to cool and took it out again once we were ready to frost. We thought a little whipping would loosen it up to a spreading consistency, but it actually caused the butter to begin to separate! A bad, bad thing. We stopped beating before it was too late. The frosting still tasted good, so we spread a little between the layers and on top, followed by a few candied pepitas for decoration.

Duck & pumpkin en croute-Duo Dishes

Duck and Pumpkin a l’Orange en CrouteServes 12 (Adapted from Maple Leaf Farms)
6-8 ounce boneless duck breasts
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 eggs
4 tablespoons milk
12 frozen 5″ puff pastry squares, slightly thawed
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Ground allspice

2 cups fresh pumpkin, diced
1 cup dried apricots, diced
1 cup sauerkraut, drained, rinsed very well
1/4 cups Grand Marnier
Juice of 2 oranges (about 2/3 cup)
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup duck or chicken stock

1. Place pumpkin, apricots and sauerkraut in saucepan. Cover with Grand Marnier and orange juice. Simmer gently for about 15 minutes. Stir in brown sugar and simmer an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and strain mixture. Reserve both fruit compote and juice. Chill both completely.

2. Lightly score duck breasts at 1/4 inch intervals, being careful not to cut into breast meat. Rotate breasts, score again making a criss-cross pattern. Season meat with salt, pepper and a little allspice.

3. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan. Lightly sauté each breast about 1 minute on each side to render some of the fat away from the meat. Remove skin from the duck breast if desired, and cut each piece of meat in half.

4. Whisk together egg and milk in a small bowl. Set aside. Lay puff pastry sheets out on top of a lightly floured surface.

5. Place about 1/4 cup of the cooled compote in the center of each pastry sheet and top with a piece of duck breast. Brush edges of pastry with egg wash, then mold the pastry around duck breast and seal the edges. Brush tops and sides with egg wash, and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees until puff pastry is a golden brown, approximately 20 to 30 minutes.

7. Place duck breasts en croute on top sauce reserve from making the compote. Serve with Corn Pumpkin Purée.

Corn Pumpkin PuréeServes 12
4 cups canned pumpkin purée
1 medium red pepper, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
8 ears corn, husks and silk removed
2/3 cup vegetable stock
1 sprig fresh rosemary, bruised
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1. In a large saucepan or pot, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Add the red pepper and garlic and cook 2-3 minutes.

2. While the pepper is cooking, remove the kernels from the corn. Stand a corn cob vertically over a large, shallow pan. Using a sharp knife, use long, downward strokes of the knife to remove the kernels from the cob. Use the edge of a spoon to scrape the sides of the cob to remove any remaining pulp.

3. Add the corn to the peppers, adding the stock and remaining butter. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and cover. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the corn is tender.

4. Discard rosemary sprig, and add the sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, maple syrup and cream to the corn. Slowly stir in the pumpkin purée and cook, uncovered, for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

5. Carefully ladle corn pumpkin mixture in batches into a standing blender and process until smooth. Add more cream or stock in needed.

With so many different dishes going on, we were running a little behind schedule. Our guests chomped on the hummus and mascarpone appetizers, along with extra candied pepitas. We also had the wine pouring just to get them ready for the meal. Working restaurant-style, we served the soup as the first course, followed by the salad. Before the main dish, we brought out a small plate with the fries and sauce to keep their mouths busy while the last duck en croute puffed up in the oven.

Pumpkin cake, ice cream and brittle-Duo Dishes

Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Brown Sugar Maple IcingServes 12 to 16 (Adapted from Diana Rattray)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature plus extra for pans
4 large eggs
2 cups flour, plus extra for pans
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups canned pumpkin purée
1/2 cup candied pecans and/or pumpkin seeds, optional

1. Combine sugars and butter with a electric mixer until fluffy, approximately 3-5 minutes. Add the vanilla and eggs and mix well.

2. Sift dry ingredients into a separate bowl, then stir into the wet ingredients until well combined. Add pumpkin puree.

3. Pour batter into two greased and floured 9-inch cake pans. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or when tops of the cake bounce back to the touch. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then invert onto racks to cool completely.

4. When cooled, slice round tops off each cake, then split the layers into two pieces for a total of four layers. Frost cake as desired. (We topped it with a few seeds for crunch.)

Icing (Adapted from How To Cook Like Your Grandma)
1 cup milk
5 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Stir the milk, flour and maple syrup together and mix over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until it thickens. Set aside to cool slightly.

2. Combine the sugar, butter and vanilla with an electric mixer.

3. Beat on medium speed for 5-10 minutes until the sugar is fully dissolved.

4. Add the warm milk to the butter mixture and stir until smooth.

Apricot Pumpkin Ice CreamYields 1 quart
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (do not discard the pod)
1 cup canned pumpkin purée
1 cup dried apricots, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes, then drained and chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Place everything except the apricots in a large sauce pan, and whisk to combine. Turn the heat up to medium high, and bring the mixture just barely to a simmer. As soon as you see a bubble hit the surface, remove it from the heat. (You do not want to bring the liquid to a full boil!) Stir well.

3. Allow to cool slightly on a heat resistant surface, then pour into a separate container and cover with a piece of plastic wrap. (Make sure the plastic wrap directly touches the entire surface of the liquid, so that a film does not form on top.) Chill for at least two hours to overnight.

4. When ready, remove the plastic wrap and vanilla bean pod. Beat with an electric mixer until cream thickens slightly, then freeze for another hour, or until it begins to crystallize at the edges but not fully freeze through to the center.

5. Remove from freezer and re-whip until it becomes creamy again. Freeze again for another 30 minutes.

6. Remove a third time and beat with a whisk. Do this again so that you have beaten the mixture a total of three times while freezing in between each session.

7. Put the mixture back into the freezer for a final time until ready to serve, approximately two hours at the minimum.

Pepita BrittleServes 12 to 16 (Adapted from Hay River)
1 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup pepitas, roasted and salted
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon molasses
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Toast them in an oven at 350 for about 30 minutes with a little oil (¼ tsp per cup) and salt. Transfer into a medium mixing bowl and let cool.

2. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly oil the paper.

3. Toast oats in a skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often until they turn golden brown about 5 minutes. Add to pumpkin seeds.

4. Add butter, sugar, cinnamon, corn syrup, molasses in the skillet, and cook over medium heat, stirring, until butter melts and mixture bubbles, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in salt and baking soda. Pour hot mixture over oats and pumpkin seeds and stir to combine.

5. Spread the mixture on the prepared baking sheet in a thin layer. Let the brittle stand until completely cool, then break into pieces. The brittle can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Mini popcorn balls-Duo Dishes

Mini Popcorn BallsApproximately 2 1/2 balls (Adapted from Paula Deen)
1 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup Torani Pumpkin Pie Syrup
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground curry
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
18 cups popped corn
Unsalted butter, room temperature

1. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, water, the syrups, vinegar, curry and salt. Cook over high heat until mixture reaches hard-ball stage on a candy thermometer.

2. Stir in vanilla. Pour over popped corn, tossing gently to coat.

3. When mixture is cool enough to handle, press popcorn into 1 1/2-inch balls with lightly buttered hands. Cool completely on waxed paper. Dust with ground cinnamon and ginger.

We finished the evening off with dessert and a toast–a toast with vodka shots. Although the vodka seemed as though it would be strong, it was very smooth. We used Grey Goose vodka, which is a very smooth vodka, but when you’re doing an infusion, you can stand to use any mid-level vodka. Nothing from the bottom of the barrel, or you’ll still have a very bad after taste, but a medium grade vodka will do. And if you want to roll with the big boys and use the top notch stuff, go for it!

Pumpkin vodka shots-Duo Dishes

Pumpkin-Infused Vodka Orange ShotsMakes 12 2-ounce shots (Adapted from Daily Candy)
4 sugar pie pumpkins, cut into wedges
2 tablespoons brown sugar, plus extra for shot glasses
1 liter good quality vodka
6 cinnamon sticks
4 whole nutmeg nuts
4 fresh bay leaves
12 whole cloves
4 vanilla beans, split
Zest of 2 oranges
2 oranges, each cut into 12 wedges

1. Lay pumpkin pieces on two foil covered baking sheets. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the flesh of the fruit, and bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until soft. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Remove and discard skin.

2. Pour vodka into a bowl or a large glass jar. Toss peeled pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, bay leaves, orange zest, cloves and vanilla into the vodka. Cover and steep for a minimum of five days.

3. Strain larger solids from pumpkin-infused vodka using a colander, then pour through a smaller filter or sieve to remove any remaining bits. Chill until ready to use.

4. Serve vodka in brown sugar-lined shot glasses topped with an orange slice.

Pumpkin Chai Iced TeaYields 16 cups
8 bags chai tea
8 bags orange pekoe black tea
1 1/2 cup Torani Pumpkin Pie Syrup
2 cups tangerine juice

1. In a very deep pot, bring 16 cups of water to a boil, then add all 16 tea bags. Remove from heat and steep at least an hour or overnight in the fridge.

2. Remove the bags, and stir in Torani syrup and tangerine juice. Keep in fridge until ready to serve.

It’s funny, right before the guests arrived we looked at each other and thought for a moment, “do we have enough food for people?” Well, as you can now see that was obviously a silly question. There may have actually been too much food! People’s stomach’s were starting to get full — ours included — but it was time to sing “Happy Birthday to Amir!” Can’t forget about dessert!

We served the cake in a bowl with a dollop of the ice cream and a piece of brittle. Whatever mayhem was going on earlier in the night with duck feet, sore chopping arms, and time crunches melted away in the first spoonful of cake and ice cream. The word delicious is not even come close to express the pure joy that our taste buds felt. As corny as it sounds, they were dancing, causing us to even bust a move. Yes folks, the cake was that good!

All in all the meal was definitely a success. It seems our friends underestimated us when we told them last night’s event was a for real pumpkin extravaganza. No part of the pumpkin was turned away, and every thing on the menu indeed featured the big orange fruit. If there was a way to eat the stem, it would have been in some kind of dish too. Until next time, y’all!

We’re up for a Foodbuzz Blog Award, and the category is ‘Blogger You’d Most Want to See Open Their Own Restaurant’. Keep us in mind when you put in a vote! And if you’re going to the Foodbuzz Festival in November, vote here to have us present our Menu Item for you in the Bertolli Test Kitchen during the Tasting Pavillion!

Click HERE for printable recipes.


48 thoughts on “Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: A Pumpkin Extravaganza

  1. I’m making a Halloween meal for George and knew JUST where to start my research! You guys are awesome. I’m going to do the soup, the fries, the hummus, – I want to do it all!!

  2. I had to schedule our Thanksgiving dinner early this year (this past Saturday) because of my husband’s work schedule. I live in Germany and cooked a big meal for my German family. I included your recipes for the pumpkin seed hummus, pumkin marscapone on crostini and the arugula salad. All I can say is WOW! and BRAVO! All were so unbelievable DELISH! You both are extremely talented. Can’t wait to try some of your other recipes.

  3. “more popcorn balls” I wondered aloud – then I decided to finally look through this whole “24” post to find them – this is an awesome post and I didnt comment sooner because it was so much to ..digest…ba – dum dum…looks like you had an awesome birthday and you found the great pumpkin

  4. You have to go overboard on pumpkins because you won’t see them again until another year.

    The fries idea rock but the booze lover in me is drooling at those shots…..

    Awesome job!!!

  5. Happy Belated birthday, Amir!!

    Every dish looks so fantastic & I am amazed by your culinary talents!! I so love the soup & the pumpkin fries with the yummie dip!!
    The vodka drink is awesome!!!

    MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM,…A real feast for the eyes!

  6. You’ve totally outdone yourselves, once again! Such a delicious spread of pumpkin delights! I hope you saved a bit of each for me!

  7. Think you’re pumpkin-ed out by now? This does sound like an AMAZING overload of pumpkin dishes! Every dish was so carefully considered. Great job! I only wish I’d been there to help celebrate! Happy birthday Amir!

  8. The Spiced Pumpkin Apple Soup, served in pumpkin bowl – love it, love it, love it!

    Hey, your first picture, the pumpkins on the right side – do you know what variety are they? I’ve been using a pumpkin that looks just like it, but getting conflicting reports on the variety.

  9. I couldn’t agree more, those pumpkins look so tasty. I like how you add up vanilla beans extract, definitely add a great twist that make this dish mouth watering.

  10. holy guacamole, that is a ton of pumpkin stuff!!! i love the idea of pumpkin popcorn balls! genius!

  11. Thanks for your sweet comments! Your 24 post is fantastic. Love all the use of pumpkin (my fave fall food).

    Happy Birthday to Amir, too!

  12. Gorgeous. That is SUCH a spread. I really need to get my act together and enter another 24, 24, 24. I always mean to and then miss the deadline. I LOVE everything you’ve created, especially since duck, my favorite, is included.

  13. My goodness! I have really missed reading your posts and am now bowled over by this pumpkin one. Everthing looks amazing – the duck is something I’ve never attempted before, so fun to read about. The tangerine pumpkin fries and pumpkin seed hummus – very clever, love it!

  14. I feel like I am watching an Iron Chef episode, except there is only one chef! Fantastic job! I love the pumpkin fries, the hummus and the shooters. I would have loved to been at the event.

    Congrats on the feature!

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