Pumpkin spice latte in a glass mugIt’s pumpkin time!

Everybody’s favorite winter squash is just as much fun to eat as it is to decorate. And the best part is that you can decide how much effort you want to put into your pumpkin: you can roast it from scratch, or you can open a can or you can use it in slow-baked cheesecakes.  One unique way to use it is to blend a big spoonful of pumpkin into your next batch of homemade hummus to make it extra creamy. If you buy a fresh pumpkin, you can roast the seeds to make a seasonal and healthy snack.  Great with some Celtic sea salt!

Pumpkin gets is pretty orange hue from the presence of beta-carotene, which is the precursor to vitamin A.  Along with vitamins D, E and K, vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin.  This means you need to combine fat with beta-carotene to create vitamin A.

Butter on your roasted pumpkin, anyone?

Most recipes have a source of fat in them, so it’s not hard to make the most of pumpkin no matter how you prepare it.

Pumpkin Latte

When it comes to edible treats made with pumpkin, the pumpkin latte is perhaps the most anticipated item on our national menu. Unfortunately, most commercially made pumpkin lattes are based on sugar—the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks contains 50 grams of sugar—and contain mystery ingredients like “natural flavor.” Fortunately, if you have a milk frother, you can make your own pumpkin latte: along with your milk and cream, just include a big spoonful of pumpkin, 1 teaspoon of maple syrup (which contains 4 grams of sugar), and a sprinkling of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, and/or nutmeg. So simple! Or if you’re hosting a party (or Thanksgiving like I am!) and want to make a pumpkin-themed appetizer, try making these deviled eggs.  This recipe swaps out commercial mayonnaise for pumpkin and makes a hearty, savory addition to your party tray.

Pumpkin Deviled Eggs with Sage & Parmesan

Makes 12 egg halves

6 hard-boiled eggs, preferably from free-range hens

½ cup + 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin

½ cup grated Parmesan-Reggiano, plus a little more for garnishing

1 green onion, green part only, minced

1 tablespoon dried sage

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon sea salt

Carefully cut each egg in half and tip out the yolk into a medium mixing bowl. Mash with a fork and then stir in the remaining ingredients until the mixture is smooth. With a regular teaspoon, scoop the filling into each egg white half, mounding it into a small hill. You can help them stay balanced by placing the filling all along the length of the egg white half rather than just in the indentation left by the departed egg yolk.

Set the eggs into a rimmed dish (or better yet, in a long and narrow serving dish) so that they don’t tip over or scoot themselves onto the floor. Garnish with a sprinkling of cheese.  You can either serve immediately or cover them and tuck them into the fridge for later. Any leftover eggs can be refrigerated for 4 days.