For some reason, I went completely mental cooking today. I came home from church, went into the kitchen, and stayed there for about 10 million hours, give or take an hour or two.
Don't believe me? This is what I cooked today: a pot of chili, three loaves of banana bread, stir-fried beef with broccoli, and two pumpkins.
Now I'm sure you are all incredibly impressed that I did this, so I'd like to give you some step-by-step directions for cooking pumpkin.
1. Completely clean the kitchen, down to windexing all the counters, because God forbid pumpkin guts should land on a less-than-pristine surface.
2. Lay down a few sheets of newspaper. Pumpkin guts like to keep up with current events.
3. Cut the stem area off the pumpkin. Don't worry about the parts the squirrels chewed on; no one is going to get rabies. Cut around those places if it bothers you. Sheesh. You're such a pussy!
4. Scoop out pumpkin seeds and guts with an ice cream scoop.*
5. Squeeze the pumpkin glop off the seeds. Put the seeds in a bowl of water to which you've added a tablespoon of salt. Leave to soak overnight. Foodies call this process "brineing." Ignore them.
6. Tomorrow you can spread the wet, salted seeds on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and bake them at 350 until they get a tan. But we're not there yet. We need to get back to the pumpkin.
7. Cut the pumpkin into halves or maybe thirds. Put on a cookie sheet. If you're worried about the pumpkin getting burned or dried out or whatever, brush with a little oil.
8. Bake at 375 degrees for an hour. From time to time open the oven and prod at the pumpkin flesh with a fork, curse, and close the oven door.
9. After an hour of this nonsense, remove the pumpkin pieces from the oven and allow them to cool.
10. Try the fork thing again.
11. When that doesn't work, put the pumpkin pieces flesh side down on a china plate. Place in microwave and zap for three minutes.
12. You've got to be kidding me. Three minutes is long enough to bake a potato.
13. Leave baked, zapped pumpkin pieces on the cookie sheet on the kitchen counter. Go talk on the phone, watch a DVD, and fold laundry.
14. Go back into kitchen to shut it down for the night. Realize that the skin peels easily off the now-cool pumpkin.
15. Peel rind off pumpkin pieces.
16. Put pumpkin in Tupperware.
17. Put Tupperware in refrigerator.
18. Shut the door.
19. Go upstairs.
20. Get in bed and blog about it on your laptop.
* The one piece of useful advice in this entire post.