Pumpkin Seed Butter

A few weeks ago, before leaving Tallahassee, a couple of friends and I got together for a BBQ. We planned to make the get-together a monthly, if not bi-weekly occasion. Sadly the move to BR limited my attendance. At our first jamboree, our friend Lindsay had recently returned from a trip to Jacksonville. While there she went to one of the most spectacular farmer's markets I have had the experience of hearing about. She brought back a couple of dips and spreads, and I have been on a dip-kick ever since.

There was an Artichoke-Walnut Pesto which everyone seemed to enjoy. The flavors were spot on: a mellow tangy-ness from the artichokes, that was subtly muted by the earthy walnuts. I thought it was a bit too oily, but definitely delicious. I also sampled some raw cashew cheese, which I've been making on a semiweekly basis since that day. All that was in it was raw cashews, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, tahini, garlic, and salt.

All of those spreads and dips were fantastic, but the last one I sampled takes the cake. It was a Pumpkin Seed Butter! I've never had raw pumpkin seeds before, and I never enjoyed the toasted ones my mom made after the Halloween tradition, but this was AMAZING! It was creamy and salty and thick and everything I wanted. Needless to say I slathered it on my portabello mushroom burger, baked potato, and even on the cob of corn.

Since then, I've been working on my own recipe for the infamous Pumpkin Seed Butter. Mine has more ingredients than the one I originally sampled, and it also has a hint of sweetness from the agave I decided to add to it. I decided to add some cashews to this recipe just to give it more volume, so feel free to purely use pumpkin seeds. My partner declared this the "IT" dip for pretty much the rest of his existence. Here the recipe and a photo; I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Pumpkin Seed Butter
makes 1.5 cups
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/8 cup light agave nectar
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3-4 Tablespoons water

Place pumpkin seeds and cashews into a food processor or blender. Pulse the seeds/nuts into a medium-sized crumbs. Add the agave nectar, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Pulse until everything is uniformly combined. Slowly add the water, running the blender until it all comes together as a thick paste. Add more water by the teaspoon until desired consistency is reached.

I prefer my Pumpkin Seed Butter to be thick, so I stick to 3 T of water. At this consistency, it is thick enough to dip and hearty enough to withstand being spread on breads.

Serve this as a dip or spread with crackers, veggies or on sandwiches. I think this would make a really good pasta sauce with a few tweaks. In that case, thin it out with another tablespoon or two of water and throw in some fresh basil for a Pumpkin Seed Pesto (in fact, I think I'll do that for tonight's dinner!).


Moving On + Loads of Food!

Hello again!

These past few months have been nothing but hustling 'n bustling. I'm proud to say that I am now a college graduate, and I'm shaking in my boots. While my day-to-day activities have hardly changed (aside from three or more hours of required reading a night), I'm beginning to understand my life within the "bigger picture." My experiences as an undergraduate were mostly devoted to bettering myself. All of the studying and all of the classes were to foster my interests and expand my capacity for knowledge. Now I'm at a stage in my life where all the lessons and skills ingrained into me are mine. I've learned a great deal from the people I've encountered the last four years, and I'm confident enough in them and in myself to pass these lessons on.

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