A culinary online center dedicated to promoting the importance and the joy of American home cooking with an emphasis on local products and talent, celebrating the unique spirit and energy of the new food world ethos, especially in Vermont.

amuse bouche

I love quotes that add meaning to my life. Here are a few to live by:

Avoid food products containing ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce.
—Michael Pollan

Feeding nine billion people in a truly sustainable way will be one of the greatest challenges our civilization has had to confront. It will require the imagination, determination and hard work of countless people from all over the world. There is no time to lose.
—Jonathan A. Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment, U of MN

The surest way to capture the flavors, colors, and textures of a culture is by using authentic products.
—Lidia Bastianich, from Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen

The most important habit you can develop is to taste as you are preparing something. Take a sample and taste it critically at different stages of the cooking, then correct the seasonings…
—Marion Cunningham, from Learning to Cook

Plant a vegetable garden if you have the space, a window box if you don’t.
—Michael Pollan

Pumpkins of all shapes and sizes

October brings a tapestry of fall colors across our Vermont landscapes with yellows, orange and red blazes.  And on almost every door stoop or walkway, pumpkins sit proudly clamoring to be noticed.  I’m always struck by the fact that it seems way too early to put pumpkins out as Halloween is thirty-one days away.  Won’t they be rotten by then?  As I watch more and more pumpkins all shapes and sizes grace front steps, walkways, and roadside stands, I’m determined not to give in this early – why rush things?

A week ago, I caved, and bought our family pumpkin which now sits proudly on our front stoop. This year I went for a Cinderella pumpkin, which was one of the most popular and common pumpkins grown in France in the 1800’s.  It’s short and ornamental and bears little resemblance to your traditional taller and smoother Jack- o -Lantern pumpkin.  Cinderella pumpkins are known more for their beauty and the flesh is somewhat sweet and its flavor very subtle.

After further research, I discovered that there are British pumpkins, Chinese, Indian and even Australian pumpkins- all somewhat different and something I had never given much thought.

Every country appears to have their version of pumpkins.

My favorite part of a pumpkin is hands down the seeds that you roast in the oven for about thirty to forty-five minutes until they are dry and then tossed with salt. I usually enjoy them this simple and easy way.  For a sweeter taste, you can toss the seeds with cinnamon and sugar. For a spicier flavor, toss with smoked paprika or a garam masala mix. Extracting the seeds from the slimy flesh and lining them in a single layer on a lightly oiled baking sheet can be messy but worth the work.

Pumpkins are one of the most nutritional foods, loaded with anti-oxidants disease-fighting vitamins, they are considered a Superfood that provide a good source of Vitamin A and C.

With an abundance of orange pumpkins available I was determined to create a few dishes. Never a big fan of pumpkin pie, I sought other options. On a recent October weekend, I returned to the quaint cottage, Bryn Teg, with Bronwyn with two recipes in hand- one for Curried Pumpkin Soup and the other, Best Ever Pumpkin Muffins.   In the charming kitchen with a view of an expansive landscape ablaze in color, I made the soup.  And I was reminded of an important lesson – not all recipes you find on the internet are always accurate.  As I questioned the four cups of water listed in the ingredients, I reluctantly decided to only add two cups and even then, the soup lacked flavor.

With Bronwyn at my side, we managed to salvage the recipe adding more spices and pumpkin to create the most delicious pumpkin soup, – a new version that is now ours to claim.   The muffins were gluten free as I substituted almond flour hoping it would not impact the outcome.  It worked.   They turned out lighter and delicious and for someone who does not typically like muffins – I loved these – a recipe from the Lovely Little Kitchen, modified slightly.

We roasted the seeds and ate them like candy.  When I returned home, I went immediately to the Common Roots Farmstand nearby and purchased several more pumpkins to make more roasted seeds.  I highly suggest that before you toss your pumpkins into the compost bin, extract the seeds and roast them!

Pumpkins continue to appear everywhere- loaded up on carts at markets, gracing the entrance to farm stands, on roadsides with handmade signs and on our stoops.  Recently at the market, I stood behind a lady who had one Jack-o Lantern on the grocery belt with 3 packages of stencils and tools to carve pumpkins.   I reminisced the days we carved spooky and goofy faces with our young children. Carving pumpkins is fun for all ages and I need to get a Jack- O Lantern before Halloween.

As we move closer to November, our brightly colored mums begin to fade, and our pumpkins become softer, I hope you will create something in your kitchen.   A hearty soup, muffins, a pumpkin cheesecake or roasted seeds are a few suggestions.  And beware that if a recipe doesn’t seem right- trust your instincts.   My attitude towards pumpkins has shifted – they are not just for décor and carving spooky faces but offer us a healthy colorful food to enjoy in a multitude of ways.

Instead of turning into a pumpkin at midnight, turn your pumpkin into something delicious for your family and friends!

-Laurie Caswell Burke

Posted: 10-27-2019

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October brings a tapestry of fall colors across our Vermont landscapes with yellows, orange and red blazes.  And on almost every door stoop or walkway, pumpkins sit proudly clamoring to be noticed.  I’m always struck by the fact that it seems way too early to put pumpkins out as Halloween is thirty-one days away.  Won’t they be rotten by then?  As I watch more and more pumpkins all shapes and sizes grace front steps, walkways, and roadside stands, I’m determined not to give in this early - why rush things?

A week ago, I caved, and bought our family pumpkin which now sits proudly on our front stoop. This year I went for a Cinderella pumpkin, which was one of the most popular and common pumpkins grown in France in the 1800’s.  It’s short and ornamental and bears little resemblance to your traditional taller and smoother Jack- o -Lantern pumpkin.  Cinderella pumpkins are known more for their beauty and the flesh is somewhat sweet and its flavor very subtle.



After further research, I discovered that there are British pumpkins, Chinese, Indian and even Australian pumpkins- all somewhat different and something I had never given much thought.

Every country appears to have their version of pumpkins.

My favorite part of a pumpkin is hands down the seeds that you roast in the oven for about thirty to forty-five minutes until they are dry and then tossed with salt. I usually enjoy them this simple and easy way.  For a sweeter taste, you can toss the seeds with cinnamon and sugar. For a spicier flavor, toss with smoked paprika or a garam masala mix. Extracting the seeds from the slimy flesh and lining them in a single layer on a lightly oiled baking sheet can be messy but worth the work.



Pumpkins are one of the most nutritional foods, loaded with anti-oxidants disease-fighting vitamins, they are considered a Superfood that provide a good source of Vitamin A and C.

With an abundance of orange pumpkins available I was determined to create a few dishes. Never a big fan of pumpkin pie, I sought other options. On a recent October weekend, I returned to the quaint cottage, Bryn Teg, with Bronwyn with two recipes in hand- one for Curried Pumpkin Soup and the other, Best Ever Pumpkin Muffins.   In the charming kitchen with a view of an expansive landscape ablaze in color, I made the soup.  And I was reminded of an important lesson - not all recipes you find on the internet are always accurate.  As I questioned the four cups of water listed in the ingredients, I reluctantly decided to only add two cups and even then, the soup lacked flavor.



With Bronwyn at my side, we managed to salvage the recipe adding more spices and pumpkin to create the most delicious pumpkin soup, - a new version that is now ours to claim.   The muffins were gluten free as I substituted almond flour hoping it would not impact the outcome.  It worked.   They turned out lighter and delicious and for someone who does not typically like muffins – I loved these – a recipe from the Lovely Little Kitchen, modified slightly.

We roasted the seeds and ate them like candy.  When I returned home, I went immediately to the Common Roots Farmstand nearby and purchased several more pumpkins to make more roasted seeds.  I highly suggest that before you toss your pumpkins into the compost bin, extract the seeds and roast them!



Pumpkins continue to appear everywhere- loaded up on carts at markets, gracing the entrance to farm stands, on roadsides with handmade signs and on our stoops.  Recently at the market, I stood behind a lady who had one Jack-o Lantern on the grocery belt with 3 packages of stencils and tools to carve pumpkins.   I reminisced the days we carved spooky and goofy faces with our young children. Carving pumpkins is fun for all ages and I need to get a Jack- O Lantern before Halloween.

As we move closer to November, our brightly colored mums begin to fade, and our pumpkins become softer, I hope you will create something in your kitchen.   A hearty soup, muffins, a pumpkin cheesecake or roasted seeds are a few suggestions.  And beware that if a recipe doesn’t seem right- trust your instincts.   My attitude towards pumpkins has shifted – they are not just for décor and carving spooky faces but offer us a healthy colorful food to enjoy in a multitude of ways.

Instead of turning into a pumpkin at midnight, turn your pumpkin into something delicious for your family and friends!

-Laurie Caswell Burke"
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October brings a tapestry of fall colors across our Vermont landscapes with yellows, orange and red blazes.  And on almost every door stoop or walkway, pumpkins sit proudly clamoring to be noticed.  I’m always struck by the fact that it seems way too early to put pumpkins out as Halloween is thirty-one days away.  Won’t they be rotten by then?  As I watch more and more pumpkins all shapes and sizes grace front steps, walkways, and roadside stands, I’m determined not to give in this early - why rush things?

A week ago, I caved, and bought our family pumpkin which now sits proudly on our front stoop. This year I went for a Cinderella pumpkin, which was one of the most popular and common pumpkins grown in France in the 1800’s.  It’s short and ornamental and bears little resemblance to your traditional taller and smoother Jack- o -Lantern pumpkin.  Cinderella pumpkins are known more for their beauty and the flesh is somewhat sweet and its flavor very subtle.



After further research, I discovered that there are British pumpkins, Chinese, Indian and even Australian pumpkins- all somewhat different and something I had never given much thought.

Every country appears to have their version of pumpkins.

My favorite part of a pumpkin is hands down the seeds that you roast in the oven for about thirty to forty-five minutes until they are dry and then tossed with salt. I usually enjoy them this simple and easy way.  For a sweeter taste, you can toss the seeds with cinnamon and sugar. For a spicier flavor, toss with smoked paprika or a garam masala mix. Extracting the seeds from the slimy flesh and lining them in a single layer on a lightly oiled baking sheet can be messy but worth the work.



Pumpkins are one of the most nutritional foods, loaded with anti-oxidants disease-fighting vitamins, they are considered a Superfood that provide a good source of Vitamin A and C.

With an abundance of orange pumpkins available I was determined to create a few dishes. Never a big fan of pumpkin pie, I sought other options. On a recent October weekend, I returned to the quaint cottage, Bryn Teg, with Bronwyn with two recipes in hand- one for Curried Pumpkin Soup and the other, Best Ever Pumpkin Muffins.   In the charming kitchen with a view of an expansive landscape ablaze in color, I made the soup.  And I was reminded of an important lesson - not all recipes you find on the internet are always accurate.  As I questioned the four cups of water listed in the ingredients, I reluctantly decided to only add two cups and even then, the soup lacked flavor.



With Bronwyn at my side, we managed to salvage the recipe adding more spices and pumpkin to create the most delicious pumpkin soup, - a new version that is now ours to claim.   The muffins were gluten free as I substituted almond flour hoping it would not impact the outcome.  It worked.   They turned out lighter and delicious and for someone who does not typically like muffins – I loved these – a recipe from the Lovely Little Kitchen, modified slightly.

We roasted the seeds and ate them like candy.  When I returned home, I went immediately to the Common Roots Farmstand nearby and purchased several more pumpkins to make more roasted seeds.  I highly suggest that before you toss your pumpkins into the compost bin, extract the seeds and roast them!



Pumpkins continue to appear everywhere- loaded up on carts at markets, gracing the entrance to farm stands, on roadsides with handmade signs and on our stoops.  Recently at the market, I stood behind a lady who had one Jack-o Lantern on the grocery belt with 3 packages of stencils and tools to carve pumpkins.   I reminisced the days we carved spooky and goofy faces with our young children. Carving pumpkins is fun for all ages and I need to get a Jack- O Lantern before Halloween.

As we move closer to November, our brightly colored mums begin to fade, and our pumpkins become softer, I hope you will create something in your kitchen.   A hearty soup, muffins, a pumpkin cheesecake or roasted seeds are a few suggestions.  And beware that if a recipe doesn’t seem right- trust your instincts.   My attitude towards pumpkins has shifted – they are not just for décor and carving spooky faces but offer us a healthy colorful food to enjoy in a multitude of ways.

Instead of turning into a pumpkin at midnight, turn your pumpkin into something delicious for your family and friends!

-Laurie Caswell Burke"
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October brings a tapestry of fall colors across our Vermont landscapes with yellows, orange and red blazes.  And on almost every door stoop or walkway, pumpkins sit proudly clamoring to be noticed.  I’m always struck by the fact that it seems way too early to put pumpkins out as Halloween is thirty-one days away.  Won’t they be rotten by then?  As I watch more and more pumpkins all shapes and sizes grace front steps, walkways, and roadside stands, I’m determined not to give in this early - why rush things?

A week ago, I caved, and bought our family pumpkin which now sits proudly on our front stoop. This year I went for a Cinderella pumpkin, which was one of the most popular and common pumpkins grown in France in the 1800’s.  It’s short and ornamental and bears little resemblance to your traditional taller and smoother Jack- o -Lantern pumpkin.  Cinderella pumpkins are known more for their beauty and the flesh is somewhat sweet and its flavor very subtle.



After further research, I discovered that there are British pumpkins, Chinese, Indian and even Australian pumpkins- all somewhat different and something I had never given much thought.

Every country appears to have their version of pumpkins.

My favorite part of a pumpkin is hands down the seeds that you roast in the oven for about thirty to forty-five minutes until they are dry and then tossed with salt. I usually enjoy them this simple and easy way.  For a sweeter taste, you can toss the seeds with cinnamon and sugar. For a spicier flavor, toss with smoked paprika or a garam masala mix. Extracting the seeds from the slimy flesh and lining them in a single layer on a lightly oiled baking sheet can be messy but worth the work.



Pumpkins are one of the most nutritional foods, loaded with anti-oxidants disease-fighting vitamins, they are considered a Superfood that provide a good source of Vitamin A and C.

With an abundance of orange pumpkins available I was determined to create a few dishes. Never a big fan of pumpkin pie, I sought other options. On a recent October weekend, I returned to the quaint cottage, Bryn Teg, with Bronwyn with two recipes in hand- one for Curried Pumpkin Soup and the other, Best Ever Pumpkin Muffins.   In the charming kitchen with a view of an expansive landscape ablaze in color, I made the soup.  And I was reminded of an important lesson - not all recipes you find on the internet are always accurate.  As I questioned the four cups of water listed in the ingredients, I reluctantly decided to only add two cups and even then, the soup lacked flavor.



With Bronwyn at my side, we managed to salvage the recipe adding more spices and pumpkin to create the most delicious pumpkin soup, - a new version that is now ours to claim.   The muffins were gluten free as I substituted almond flour hoping it would not impact the outcome.  It worked.   They turned out lighter and delicious and for someone who does not typically like muffins – I loved these – a recipe from the Lovely Little Kitchen, modified slightly.

We roasted the seeds and ate them like candy.  When I returned home, I went immediately to the Common Roots Farmstand nearby and purchased several more pumpkins to make more roasted seeds.  I highly suggest that before you toss your pumpkins into the compost bin, extract the seeds and roast them!



Pumpkins continue to appear everywhere- loaded up on carts at markets, gracing the entrance to farm stands, on roadsides with handmade signs and on our stoops.  Recently at the market, I stood behind a lady who had one Jack-o Lantern on the grocery belt with 3 packages of stencils and tools to carve pumpkins.   I reminisced the days we carved spooky and goofy faces with our young children. Carving pumpkins is fun for all ages and I need to get a Jack- O Lantern before Halloween.

As we move closer to November, our brightly colored mums begin to fade, and our pumpkins become softer, I hope you will create something in your kitchen.   A hearty soup, muffins, a pumpkin cheesecake or roasted seeds are a few suggestions.  And beware that if a recipe doesn’t seem right- trust your instincts.   My attitude towards pumpkins has shifted – they are not just for décor and carving spooky faces but offer us a healthy colorful food to enjoy in a multitude of ways.

Instead of turning into a pumpkin at midnight, turn your pumpkin into something delicious for your family and friends!

-Laurie Caswell Burke"
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    string(258) "Pumpkins are part of autumn tapestry, brightly colored and proudly clamoring to be noticed on stoops, walkways, and farmstand displays.   Instead of turning into a pumpkin at midnight turn your pumpkin into something delicious for your family and friends!  "
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6 responses to “Pumpkins of all shapes and sizes”

  1. Kate Burke says:

    Great job! I loved the pumpkin soup.

  2. Thanks, Kate. We had a lot of fun “saving it” after the recipe glitch!

  3. Janet says:

    Send the soup to Boston, please. Yummmm.

  4. I love this article so much and all of the enthusiasm for the simple joys Autumn in New England that the pumpkin season brings! A stop at Lucky Finn’s for a Pumpkin Latte in Scituate MA has become routine twice a week until pumpkins fade into the new season…. Julia Child’s Baked in a Pumpkin Soup with luscious Gruyere and fresh breadcrumbs is a favorite — and freezes well too!
    Always love Laurie’s recipes and am enjoying this blog!

  5. Dear Anne, Thank you so much! And that pumpkin latte sounds really good!

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