Ginger Gold Apples
Evening in Missoula Tea
Kimms Organic Potatoes - Manhattan
Three Hearts Farm - Bozeman
Moss Farm - Rollins
Amaltheia Organic Dairy - Belgrade
Harmina Dykstra - Four Corners
Renee's Gourmet Salsa & Dip - Bozeman
Montana Tea & Spice Traders - Missoula
Pumpkin Purée for Pie (or whatever you want to make)
Pie pumpkins are smaller and more flavorful than your typical carving pumpkin, making them better for eating. Pumpkin puree is pretty simple to make, and once you have it, you can use it in your pie filling or in pumpkin bread, cookies, cheesecake, etc. Most pie recipes call for 2 C fresh puree. Pumpkin purée also works great in soups, pastas, and other savory preparations. It also freezes well, so my recommendation is make the puree, and if you don't have a use for it right away, freeze it for later:
Preheat the oven to 350℉. Give the pumpkin a quick rinse. Using a smaller serrated knife, cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise by starting at the top and sawing downward on one side and then the other. I find this way easier (and safer) than trying to muscle a large flat blade through a whole squash. You can also cut the top off, but you don't need to.
Once the pumpkin is halved, scoop out the seeds. Save them to roast or discard them. Put the pumpkin cut-side down on a baking tray. You can put some oil on the pumpkin flesh if you want - it might prevent sticking but isn't necessary. Roast in the oven until the halves are easily pierced with a fork. This could take anywhere from 45 minutes to more than an hour. Check it at 45 minutes, and then every 15 minutes or so until it's done. If you notice more browning on one side, rotate the pan periodically.
Remove from the oven and let cool until you can handle it. The flesh should peel easily from the skin with a spoon or your hands. Purée the flesh using a food processor, a blender (either immersion or standing), or run it through a food mill until it's smooth. Go in batches if you need to. If it's too dry to blend well, add a few Tbs of water. On the other hand, if it's watery after blending, let it drain in a fine mesh sieve or colander for a while. Then use as needed or freeze.
Braised Parsnips & Carrots with Dried Cranberries
I borrowed this recipe from Cook's Illustrated. It's a nice change from roasting veggies
(although parsnips might be my favorite roasted root), and has all the makings of a good side dish for Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, or any ol' day. Parsnips have a lot in common with carrots, but are nuttier in flavor and a little lemon-y. They're more often cooked, but if shredded or sliced thin with a peeler, they could definitely be used raw in a slaw or salad. Larger, more mature parsnips can be woody in the center. If yours are, cut around the core and discard it.
What you'll need:
3 Tbs butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 shallot or small onion, minced
1 C chicken or vegetable broth
1 C apple cider
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
1 lb carrots, sliced into 1/4 inch thick coins, or on a bias (the recipe suggests peeling the carrots and parsnips, but unless they're really blemished I wouldn't bother. Just give them a good scrub and rinse to remove any dirt)
1 lb parsnips, sliced same as carrots
½ C dried cranberries
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
2 Tbs minced fresh parsley (optional)
Melt 1 Tbs butter in large Dutch oven or braising pan over high heat. Add shallot/onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and just beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add broth, cider, thyme sprigs, bay leaves, 1 tsp salt (+1/2 tsp if you use unsalted butter), and 1/2 tsp pepper; bring to simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add carrots and parsnips, stir to combine, and return to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, 10-15 minutes.
Remove pot from heat. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaves and stir in cranberries. Push
vegetable mixture to sides of pot to make space at the center. Add mustard and remaining 2 Tbs butter to center and whisk into cooking liquid. Stir to coat vegetables with sauce, transfer to serving dish, sprinkle with parsley, and serve warm.
PUMPKIN PIE NOTES: There are SO MANY different variations on pumpkin pie, and although I've made a few, I can't begin to sort through all the possibilities! While daunting, it also means that no matter which version you try, chances are it will turn out fine. Below are a couple suggestions to get you rolling, but I'd also recommend turning to a trusted cookbook, or call someone whose pie you love and get their version.