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On Your Mark, Get Set: Turn That Pumpkin Pie Inside Out

2011 November 29

By Sarah A. Maine

Kabocha-Squash-&-Delicata-SquashSunnyside, NY – Welcome to the week after Thanksgiving!  Still don’t feel like cooking or eating?  I don’t blame you!  However, by this time, you may find that the piles of left overs are dwindling.  Fighting over the final pieces of pie was over days ago.  And although you might feel a lingering reluctance to fire up the stove, the eternal question is once again hanging in the air, “What’s for dinner?”

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Times like these, busy days crammed between holidays, call for meals that will nourish the body without tiring the spirit.  Rustic soups, hearty frittatas, baked squash with simple stuffing.

I believe all this holiday eating actually addled my brain as I was having trouble coming up with a recipe to relay off Kara’s Vegan Sweet Potato Pie.  Kara’s pie is plenty inspiring (especially in the eating department!), the issue was one of motivation: getting myself out of the post feast day sluggishness and back on the chuck wagon.

With an extremely busy schedule this week, I knew that I’d have to work with ingredients already lurking around the kitchen.  I did have a pile of sweet potatoes, but a failed attempt at a sweet potato rosti (tasted great but was more of a pile than a pancake) spurred me to look for alternatives.

My big break came as I was loitering around the Monkshood Nursery farm stand at the Jackson Heights Greenmarket.  This summer I worked at the stand every Sunday, but as the weather has turned cold, I’ve taken a backseat at the market, mainly filling the role of a pinch hitter, filling in for a few hours here and there.  This Sunday I was a simple civilian, just a shopper, but I can’t help spending a few minutes chatting with the customers I used to serve every weekend.  Also, I’m totally addicted to the vegetables…

I was lucky enough to be standing by the bin of spinach when one of the regular customers asked if my farm stand compatriots had tried out a recipe she had shared with them the week before.  A kind of inverse pumpkin pie – in place of a crust she used the hollowed out shell of a pumpkin, she rubbed the inside with spices and baked it till just tender, then she filled it with a sweet custard base and baked some more.  A pie in a pumpkin – it got me thinking.  What if I relayed off Kara’s pie using this technique?  I have a delicata squash and a kabocha squash that have been waiting patiently on my kitchen counter.  If I took it in a savory direction, it could be just the simple meal I was looking for to solve my post-Thanksgiving blues.  Bake a squash, fill it with custard, bake some more, serve with some winter greens – done!

Come back on Thursday for the result of the inside out pie experiment, and in the mean time leave a comment below and let us know what you are cooking to get over your post-Thanksgiving blues!