The Return of Miss K…and the Great Stuffed Pumpkin

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Last fall, I wrote a few posts for this website, heading down a path I was sure would lead to fame and fortune as a food writer. It wouldn’t be long before Gail Simmons was calling me to do a story and Rachael Ray was looking to me for advice on new ways to serve chickpeas. But then I hit a literal bump in the road in my relationship with food — pregnancy. I spent the first three months “uneating” my dinner every night at ten only to wake up ravenous at 3 am. Why exactly is it called morning sickness? Then, I took a job as a camp counselor for 3- and 4-year-olds, which left me with exactly enough energy each afternoon to go home and go to bed, sometimes at 7 pm. Eating became rote, done primarily to keep my stomach from devouring itself before I could make it downstairs for breakfast.

My darling boy arrived in September at a robust 8 lbs, 6oz.. I guess someone was getting enough to eat. Now that the haze of the first few months has lifted, I am back to some of my old hobbies, namely cooking and writing. Plus, we finally polished off the last casserole in the freezer. For my return, I have a recipe that represents my life — the same as a year ago, but really not the same at all. Here’s an updated take on last year’s baked stuffed pumpkin:

Apple and Rice Stuffed Pumpkin with Yogurt Sauce

To bake a whole pumpkin:

When choosing a pumpkin, go with a small- to medium-sized one. Fewer bumps are ideal, or you will have to contend with holes when you peel it.

Cut the top off the pumpkin, then scrape out all the seeds and gross stringy bits. If you want, you can save the seeds and oven-roast them. Then put the whole hollowed-out pumpkin on a cookie sheet, place in a 350-degree oven, and bake until a fork goes through the skin easily. Let cool, then peel off the skin. Now you are ready to stuff.

Rice and apple stuffing (adapted from The Moosewood Cookbook)

You will need:
2 cups cooked brown rice (or white rice if your husband is a hater like mine)
1 T butter
1 1/2 c. chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium tart apples, diced
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t allspice
1 t salt
2 T honey
1 c chopped walnuts

Saute onions in butter until they are soft. Add garlic, apples and spices and saute 5 more minutes. In a large bowl, combine rice, saute and walnuts. Fill pumpkin with stuffing and return to oven. Bake until all ingredients are warm. You may also rub the outside of the pumpkin with butter and brown sugar for additional sweetness.

Top stuffed pumpkin slices with yogurt mixed with ground cumin and fennel.

More: 100 Ways to Cook a Pumpkin

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