Friday, September 27, 2013

Chai Spice Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

When I picked up my life and drug it across an entire continent as well as an ocean, I had no idea what would happen to this little ol' blog of mine.  I really still have no clue, but I promised myself that I would try to post a recipe or photos once a week.  As much for my sanity as for those of you who enjoy reading along with my crazy life. The truth is that I'm really still just winging it over here and the familiar moments of fiddling with recipes until they are just right for me, finding the best light for photos in this new house and slogging through a hundred shots of the same thing to find the one perfect picture are comforting and grounding for me.

I guess what it all boils down to is that I'm still working out the kinks in my life.  I have no idea how this blog will reflect those changes yet, but I'm not going away just yet and I hope those of you that I lost during my long hiatus will hop back on board and ride this roller coaster with me. 

Along those same lines, I've also decided that what I really want to focus on are recipes that are simple. Family recipes.  That is why I started writing the blog in the first place after all.  Maybe being here in Germany where simple comfort dishes are the norm has influenced me more than I realize.  That's not to say that the occasional more ambitious recipe for a fabulous European pastry (like the apple strudel I'm working to perfect that may or may not include an option for making your own pastry) won't make it onto these pages.  But I realize that most folks don't have the time to be making multi-step whole wheat pear and olive oil challah bread.  And I don't mean that there shouldn't be room in the day for everyone to make said bread because it's glorious.  But it's just not practical. (If you want the recipe for that challah I'd be happy to share- just say the word.  It's what almost made it here today, so I'm set to write it up.)

In the spirit of simple snacking, today I've got pumpkin seeds tossed in my favorite blend of spices.  It's been fall around here for weeks with apples, pears grapes and squash everywhere I look.  This one seemed a natural fit.  Oh, and we're headed to a pumpkin fest at a castle this weekend (I kid you not), so could there be any more perfect snack?  Maybe I should set up a stand and start roasting seeds for all the hungry tourists. 

Chai Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Makes 1 1/2 cups of seeds.
You can find the printable recipe here.

I love pumpkin seeds, either sweet or spicy.  These are decidedly sweet with just enough salt to balance the spice and sugar.  You can roast pumpkin seeds fresh out of the pumpkin (get busy carving those jack-o-lanterns carving friends) or use purchased shelled seeds from the grocery store.  If you use seeds straight from the pumpkin, make sure they are washed and dried before you start.

1/2 tsp ground allspice (or cardamom)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp white pepper (optional)
scraped seeds from half a vanilla bean, 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs sugar
1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds
2 tbs olive oil

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and set aside.

Stir together the allspice, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt, pepper, and sugar in a medium bowl.  Add the pumpkin seeds, vanilla and olive oil.  Toss until all the seeds are well coated.  Spread the seeds out on the prepared baking sheet. 

Bake for 25-30 minutes (stirring once or twice) until the pumpkin seeds have puffed and have become a toasty brown.  Be careful not to burn the seeds!  Let them cool completely before eating.  Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week at room temperature.

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