About Me

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Houston, TX
Just your atypical hispanic male living in the big city

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Making a Classic Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving

So it's Thanksgiving week and time for baking. I do love some pumpkin, but I prefer to have fresh pumpkin pie as opposed to the canned stuff. Like most of the post, I do like fresh items as there is so much more flavor than what is typically expected.

My Grandma used to make her own pumpkin pies, but also made many pumpkin empanadas. She used to make fresh pumpkin and roast her pumpkins in the oven. There is nothing like the aroma of roasting pumpkins in the house. It reminds me so much of being at Grandma's house! You can always use the fresh Roasted Pumpkin like I did when making this pie.


9 inch One Crust Pie
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
16 oz fresh pumpkin (or canned pumpkin)
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk

So most recipes call for canned pumpkin. I found this recipe a long time ago using fresh pumpkin. As stated earlier, there is something about having roasted pumpkin added to a recipe. You can puree your pumpkin, but if you remove from the heat and mash it when it is still warm, the pumpkin will be easier to mash.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Make the pastry as directed (especially if you are using a frozen pie crust).

Beat eggs slightly with a whisk or hand beater. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Place the pie plate onto a cookie sheet. This prevents spilling onto the oven. Pour filling into the pie plate.

Place into the oven and allow to bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350. Bake about 45 minutes or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool.

Refrigerate about 4 hours or until chilled. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Roasting Fresh Pumpkins and Pumpkin Seeds

Ever roasted pumpkins? Well, when I was a kid, Grandma would roast pumpkins of different kinds with many variations. Mostly, she would use piloncillo to sweeten a large pumpkin. Most Spanish speaking countries call it panela, but in Mexico it is called piloncillo. Piloncillo is basically an unrefined sugar cane mostly found in a block form.

For the pumpkins I am using, I prefer to use small, sweet pumpkins. These have natural sugar and are rather sweet. So I don't add the piloncillo to these pumpkins. I use these pumpkins for normal baking instead of the canned stuff.

First, start by cutting the top off of the pumpkins. This makes it easier when you are slicing open the pumpkins.

Next, cut open the pumpkins. Scoop out all the seeds and place off to the side. Take out the veins that are attached to the seeds. Make sure you scoop out all the veins and seeds from the pumpkins. Each pumpkin half should be placed onto a foil wrapped cookie sheet. Place the pumpkins into a preheated 400 degree oven.

Allow to roast for about 30 to 45 minutes or until you see the skin starting to shrink away from the meat of the pumpkin. You will notice that these pumpkins have caramelized somewhat. This is great as the natural sugars have just helped in the cooking process. Notice that I have taken the pumpkins onto a wire rack and allow it to fully cool. The skin will pull away from the meat and you can scoop out the pumpkin from the outer skin.


Now, we have the pumpkin seeds. I really do love pumpkin seeds especially with some simple salt and olive oil.

Make sure you fully rinse the seeds in cold water. Place them onto cookie sheets with paper towels lined on the bottom of the cookie sheets. Allow to air dry overnight so that they can evenly dry.

The following day, the pumpkin seeds are dry. Some of the seeds may stick, but you can just flick them off and unstuck them.

In each tray, sprinkle some olive oil and sea salt making sure that the seeds are coated well. In a preheated oven around 375 degrees, add the pumpkin seeds to the oven. Allow to roast for about 30 minutes. Make sure you are checking the seeds as you want to avoid having burnt pumpkin seeds. After for about 15 minutes, toss the seeds and place back into the oven. Once you notice that the seeds are somewhat brown and take it out. Allow to cool. These are rather addictive!!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Vegetarian Chili

So it's that time of year. Time for soup, savory desserts like Banana Nut Bread and of course chili. There are so many types of chili, but very few recipes for veggie chili. This recipe is something I came up with that is truly vegetarian and at the same time rather flavorful.

You can add additional items like bell pepper, corn, black beans and other such items to the chili. This is especially when you are making a chili for vegetarians. I have cooked it with red and yellow bell pepper. When you do that though, the chili becomes a little sweet for my taste. I don't cook with green bell pepper all the time as this affects M's acid, so I just leave that out.


1 large yellow onion
1 small red onion
1 tbsp olive oil
1 can light red kidney beans
1 can dark red kidney beans
4 cups pinto beans
1 can chili ready tomatoes
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp chili powder
black pepper and salt to taste

Start by dicing up the onions. Then in a large enough heated pot, add the olive oil. Add the onions to the heated pot.

While the onions are cooking, add the garlic. Continue to cook until the onions are translucent.

Add the light red, dark red, and pinto beans to the cooked onions. Now with pinto beans, I use pinto beans that I have cooked previously. If you don't have fresh pinto beans, then canned will do. I would rinse them as I normally do when making anything like chili.


After adding the beans and chili tomatoes, add the vegetable stock to the chili. Bring this to a boil first (about 10 minutes), then bring down to a medium heat. Allow this to cook for about 15 minutes.


Add the spices to the chili. Allow to continue to cook for another 30 minutes.

 Again, when I cook chili, I normally like to cook it a day or two before I actually eat it. This lends for the spices to meld together and the flavor is fantastic.