Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pumpkin Seeds!

Yay!  I LOVE pumpkin seeds!  This is a kind of recipe or rather more a discussion about roasting 'em. 

I have discovered a few things over the years.  The seeds in those big pumpkins sold to be jack-o-lanterns are rather tough and have to be shelled when eaten like sunflower seeds.  The seeds in those little sugar pie pumpkins- the ones sold for baking and cooking- are much more tender.  I don't even save the seeds from larger pumpkins anymore.  But I usually buy several of the smaller ones in October and November, so I always have some seeds to roast. 

When cleaning the pumpkin, I put the seeds and membrane into a bowl in the sink and fill it with water.  I let the seeds soak while I prep the pumpkin flesh.  By the time I come back to the seeds they are pretty clean from soaking.  I run my fingers through the bath and remove any of the flesh or membranes.  Then I pour it through a colander.  I usually give them another rinse then, too.

After they drip in the colander for a while, I line a baking sheet with paper towels.  (I always buy white so that I don't get ink on my food or craft projects.)  Then I spread the seeds on the towels to dry thoroughly, usually overnight.  When the seeds are dry, I remove the paper towel.  Some seeds stick and have to be pulled off.  And then I use the towel to kind of go through the seeds one more time to remove any excess dampness.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Pile the seeds in the center of the baking sheet.  Pour a healthy amount of a good quality olive oil, several tablespoons at least.  Then sprinkle generously with a good coarse salt.  I use Diamond Crystal Kosher salt as my kitchen standard.  And don't forget to pepper them to taste, too.

My recent batch was 2 little pumpkins.  I probably used 3 tablespoons oil and 4 3-finger pinches of salt.  Toss it all together to mix and coat well.  Then spread them out on the pan, so they are mostly single layer.  Don't be afraid to taste one right now before baking to measure seasoning and adjust.  Then pop them in the oven until they are a nice dark golden color.

They really don't need to be shelled.  They are super crunchy and lots of natural fiber.  I don't store them in a airtight container, because I don't want them to lose their crunch.  But that may depend on your location.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Art of Frankenweenie

If you love miniatures, 

           like I love miniatures. . .

Then you shouldn't miss the Art of Frankenweenie exhibit that is showing now at the California Adventure themepark at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA.  The show continues until Nov. 5th.  Then it moves on in an international tour.  Here's some press on it.

I have to admit that when Disney began the campaign for Frankenweenie, I was very skeptical.  We went to Disneyland on Oct. 18 for the Halloween party.  In California Adventure Park, a trailer is showing in 4D at the Muppet Theatre, which was really fun to see.  And an exhibit of the models is in the main lobby of the Animation Studios.  First, this movie is stop-motion, which I did not realize.  And the detail is amazing.  And I mean, every little thing.

From the left, each facial expression modeled.   And all those little clogs, plus fabric swatches, and the detail on the dress.  I really am hoping this is one movie they do some cute marketing for, because I would like a doll. . .

Another example of awesome costuming in miniature and following the grayscale theme.

Here are some of the actual little "dolls."  Just wow. . .

And here are some of the scenes that were set up--

These are not pictures, but actual little models-- aka dolls in room boxes.
This kitchen is so cute with the lighting and all the little details on the counters.

The lab was interactive with switches below to turn on and off different electrical circuits.
A Burton-esque Atomic family.

If you get the chance to see this exhibit, I highly recommend it.  And now that I know what is in the movie, I can't wait to fit it into our busy schedule of Halloween happenings.  First, I have to get over this case of vertigo that I got in Disneyland.    Oooohhhh uuuhhhh.

Happy Halloween!