I love to BBQ. One of the saddest realities of the changing season is the inevitable end of the barbecue season, unless of course, you're one of those crazy people who brave the bitter cold just to get your flame on. I'm not one of those people. I do try and extend the season as much as possible though. Something that is definitely unexplored in the culinary world is the combination of traditional fall ingredients with summer ones. There's a glorious fusion of ingredients that can and should be considered. Here's my attempt to do just that.
Pumpkin is truly a versatile ingredient whose only limit is the chefs creativity. Thinking outside of the box can be difficult when you're so used to seeing an ingredient used only in one way. There is something great to discover when you can break out of the traditional confinements and think of an ingredient in a new way. This should be exciting work and the potential of finding a new way of using an ingredients should be one of our biggest motivations in the kitchen. It's like what Albert Szent-Gyorgyi once said, "Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else and thinking something different."
Granted, looking at a pumpkin and thinking of something different other then Pumpkin Spice Lattes or Pumpkin pie can be difficult, but it can be done! When you look at the picture to the right, what do you see? Do you see what everyone else sees? or do you see different possibilities? It's hard to do, but worth the time and effort, especially when you're trying to impress the in laws. Have fun with it and create something amazing!
Chill and Ginger Pickled Pumpkin
1/8 Large Pumpkin, Julienned
3 Tablespoons of Sugar
2 Tablespoons Salt
2 Cups Vinegar
1 Scotch Bonnette, Cut into Quarters
2 Garlic Cloves Crushed
1 Lime Sliced
1 Teaspoons Grated Ginger
1/3 Cup Sugar
In a medium sized mixing bowl add in pumpkin, salt and 3 Tablespoons of sugar and mix together for 3-5 min or until you begin to see a good amount of liquid pooling at the bottom of the bowl. Doing this process will ensure the pumpkin remains crisp through the pickling process. Rinse and strain pumpkin once this process is complete.
In the same bowl you just used mix together sugar, chilis, ginger, garlic and vinegar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Place the pumpkin in the mixture and stir gently. Plastic wrap and let pickle for at least 3 hours before serving. The leftovers can be stored in a mason jar and be enjoyed later.