Dang kids! Stop smashing those pumpkins! There’s good eats in those orange, cruciferous gourds, and there’s no season like the current season to stock up. Canned, fresh, etc — you can flex your epicurean muscles this fall, and we have the recipes to get you started. Some of Sacto’s top foodie chefs and bloggers reveal their secrets for our readers. So, spare no seed, and blow your holiday party-goers away!
Amber Scott

Amber Scott heads the Sacramento, vegetarian food blog awakeatthewisk.com. She’s the founder of the California Food Literacy center, and her writings can be found in print in the magazine “Edible Sacramento” and online at SacRag.com. A vegetarian of fifteen years and a self-professed “locavore,” Scott has focused on finding delicious dishes that double as healthy options for you and your family.

“Cooking from scratch is one of the most important ways you can help kids build healthy habits at an early age. When you cook, you control the amounts of fat, sugar and salt in your diet. Kids are also more likely to eat the foods they’ve helped make themselves,” Scott says. “My recipes use local, seasonal ingredients, because food tastes best when it’s ripe and in season. That’s good for you, and good for the planet.”

She’s also a local farmer, who has so many pumpkins in the fall that she can’t resist getting creative with her jack o’ lanterns. She spills the beans . . . er, seeds on some of her best pumpkin dishes.

Pumpkin Waffles With Vanilla Whipped Cream

Let’s start with breakfast. Scott can barely keep her whisk away from this light, sweet recipe. Add her signature spice combination to this whole wheat batter. Top it with her signature vanilla whipped cream, and start your morning off right.

“Heaven. This recipe is one of my all-time favorites,” says Scott. “he rich spices, the billowy whipped cream, the crunch of nuts and grains… It’s a fall favorite of mine.”

Get the recipe, here.

Pumpkin Curry With Black Rice

Suited for lunch and/or dinner, this spicy take on an Indian regional classic is a hybrid of black bean chili and spicy curry dishes. Garnish the dish with roasted pumpkin seeds and feed the need. Pumpkin inside and pumpkin on top of this dish make it a lip smacker.

“My friend Heather is an amazing cook and blogs at Eat the Wind. She taught me this recipe, and I adapted it a bit in my own kitchen,” says Scott. “She gets credit for helping me learn to make my first successful curry. It’s delicious!”

Get the recipe here.

Pumpkin Black Bean Chili Recipe

Say you don’t want the kick of a curry, and you’re just looking for a straight up chili recipe . . . with pumpkin. Amber’s got your back with this seasonal spin on a staple of Americana. What better way to fight off the fall chill with, well. chili?

“We eat a lot of chili in my house. The addition of pumpkin to the soup came after visiting a tiny, rural Illinois diner where they thickened their black bean soup with pumpkin,” explains Scott. “In my own kitchen, I combined it with my usual tomato-based stock, and it gives the chili a whole new dimension of flavor. It’s great on cold fall days!”

Get the recipe here.

Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins

Dude, you can’t just eat chili without a side. I mean, c’mon. How about some cornbread to serve as a dipper? Truth be told, Amber’s pumpkin cornbread muffins can go with just about anything. From chili to high tea, these little guys are bomb.

Get the recipe here.

Also be sure to try out her cranberry muffins, a recipe that comes from best sort of inspiration: a family tradition.“These are a holiday tradition that built on a more complicated recipe my mom made when I was growing up. The aroma of her orange rolls filled the kitchen on holiday mornings,” Scott shared. “These muffins use fresh cranberries, whole grains and pumpkin for a healthier version on my mom’s classic.”

Check out the recipe for the cranberry pumpkin muffins here.

Anthony Scuderi
1023 K St, Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 594-9812

Anthony is chef de cuisine of Mother restaurant  — one of the most happening vegetarian restaurants in Sacramento. Anthony is a straight up East Coaster, pulling chef stints in Philadelphia and Atlantic City for the Garces Group of restaurants, where he opened the Amada restaurant. After moving to Sac, he met up with the Selland’s family group of restaurants. Mother is one of those restaurants , and he’s debuting a new seasonal dish with our favorite orange vegetable from the seasonal cornucopia. Get ready to have your mind (and tastebuds) blown.

Pumpkin Vinaigrette 

16oz roasted pumpkin
8oz water
8oz apple cider vinegar
8oz canola oil
8oz olive oil
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 tablespoon roasted garlic
Salt to taste

“For roasting the pumpkin, cut in half and remove seeds.  Season the pumpkin with salt and canola oil, you can use butter if you want but we use the canola oil so we have the option of making the salad vegan.  Blend everything together expect for the olive and canola oil in the blender.  Then slowly drizzle in the oils to emulsify the vinaigrette.   We are currently serving the vinaigrette with farro, red onion, radish, baby kale, walnuts, roasted grapes and point reyes blue cheese.”

Related: Who Started The Pumpkin Spice-Flavored Food Craze?

Christopher Millard is a freelance writer and cultural critic whose music reviews can be found on Examiner.com. He also works as a publicist for Valence Communications Group and is a contributor to the health and wellness magazine, Hybrid. Chris currently resides in Sacramento, California.