Roasted pumpkin, feta, spinach, parmesan, sunflower seed kernels, parsley, mustard, flour, milk, eggs, baking powder, salt. Hmmm. Where's the stick of butter? Where's the oil? Where's the sugar? That's the wonderful thing. There is none.
Evidently in Australia pumpkin and feta are extremely common. Like our corn and cheddar, or lemon and poppyseed. Why should we care about common food pairings in Australia? Well, this recipe came from some Australian gals who put together a little vegetarian cookbook which you can find here. I found the recipe on www.101cookbooks.com. Thank you, thank you for a great little recipe.
You could use another similar veggie rather than pumpkin, such as butternut squash or probably even a sweet potato? You just need to cook it in a way that wouldn't be too mushy. You will need to cut it into cubes.
However, if you're going for the fresh pumpkin, like I did, buy what's called a "pie pumpkin." Mine came from Green Bean Delivery (to-your-door veggies and fruit in Cincy and Indy). My little punkin was a 3-pounder and it yielded about 4 cups of pulp. This was my first time doing this, so now I'm an "expert." It's that easy.
How To Cook a Pumpkin
Preheat oven to 350o. Cut the stem off and wash pumpkin, cut in half horizontally, remove seeds and strings, place cut-side-down on parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and bake until a sharp knife can be easily inserted through the softened flesh, about 30 minutes, or more for a larger pumpkin.
Remove from oven let cool until able to handle, and using a large, wide metal spoon, scoop out pulp. Scoop out in large chunks that can be cut into smaller cubes. For puree, let the pulp cool and put into a food processor. Add water if needed in very small amounts (teaspoons at a time).
MAKES 12 MUFFINS
You can play with the ingredients but I would make it as is first, to get a feel for the originally-intended product. I'm thinking I'll add some red pepper flakes next time. Also, Heidi from 101 cookbooks used 1/2 spelt flour and 1/2 all purpose flour. Seems white whole wheat would also work.
from Martha Goes Green Cookbook (via 101cookbooks.com) called Pumpkin Feta Muffins
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups cubed pumpkin or butternut squash 1/2-inch cubes
salt and pepper to taste
1 large handful of baby spinach, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro
3 tablespoons sunflower seeds kernels (personal preference-next time I will chop these)
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup cubed feta
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard (I was out and used creamy dijon)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
Preheat oven to 400oF with rack in the top third. Use the butter to grease a 12-hole muffin pan and set aside.
Sprinkle the olive oil and some salt and pepper over the squash. Toss well and turn onto a baking sheet or roasting pan. Arrange in a single layer and bake for 15 - 25 minutes or until cooked through entirely. Set aside to cool.
Transfer two-thirds of the squash to a large mixing bowl along with the spinach, parsley, sunflower seeds, Parmesan, two-thirds of the feta, and all of the mustard. Gently fold together. In a separate bowl beat the eggs and milk together and add to the squash mix. Sift the flour and baking powder onto the squash mix, top with the salt and a generous dose of freshly ground black pepper and fold together just until the batter comes together, be careful not to over mix.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan, filling each hole 3/4 full, top each muffin with a bit of the remaining squash and feta (see photo up above). Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops and sides of the muffins are golden, and the muffins have set up completely. Let cool for a couple minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack.