Monday, November 5, 2007

Pumpkin and Black Bean Quesadillas

Black Bean and Pumpkin Quesadillas

Halloween is over, and now the question is: what to do with the pumpkin.

(This, of course is stupid, it is only a question if you happen to have an uncarved, pie-type pumpkin sitting around).

Never the less, I suggest my recipe for quesadillas:

First: a pie pumpkin is harder to get into than I expected. I used a butcher knife, but seriously considered power tools at one point. I figured at least drilling some starter holes might be helpful.

Anyway, scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff, quarter your pumpkin as best you can, and put the wedges on a cookie sheet. Coat liberally with olive oil, and sprinkle on a little salt. Put them in a 350 degree oven and then keep an eye on them. Baking time will vary with the size of your pumpkin, but, basically, it is done when you can easily stick a fork in, and it is not yet mushy.

When you remove the pumpkin from the oven, you should be able to peel it and slice it thinly. This will yield way more pumpkin than you want, unless you plan to make quesadillas for 50. I suggest having other pumpkin recipes on hand. Take some good flour tortillas (I get mine at HEB Central Market in Dallas, where they are made fresh daily), and spread with pureed or refried black beans. Arrange slices of pumpkin thinly over the beans, then sprinkle on the white cheese of your choice, and a small amount of chili powder and sage. Top with another tortilla and toast in the oven.

Not only are these quesadillas very healthy, high in vitamins and fiber, they are beautiful. In contrast with the pumpkin color, the black beans will appear a deep rich purple. Sliced into wedges and piled on a plate these could be a real hit as a party appetizer, and I suspect that children could even be enticed to eat them.

The children I know personally love my quesadillas, but, only if I make them with shredded Colby jack….. and nothing else. So, who knows?

In the interest of using up the rest of the pumpkin, I suggest macaroni and cheese. I made some recently, taking a tip from Jessica Seinfeld’s new book about hiding vegetables in food. She used acorn squash I think, but the idea is the same. I pureed some pumpkin with some milk and threw that into some elbow pasta along with a significant chunk of Velveeta cheese, and a little salt and pepper. I cannot explain why, but it was the best mac and cheese I have ever had. The pumpkin adds substance, and rounds out the flavor somehow. I recommend it.

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