Thursday, October 23, 2008

Padaro Pumpkins

Yesterday my sister Barbara and I took a trip out to Carpinteria, got off at the Santa Claus exit and turned left over the bridge, then right onto Via Real and headed toward the large pumpkin balloon we could see floating above the Padaro Floral pumpkin patch. (The balloon lets you know that the pumpkin patch is open.)

We parked and followed a wall sunflowers to patch. The patch was packed with kids.

Many of the kids were sitting on benches listening to Michelle, one of the owners, tell them about pumpkins, and gourds, and Indian corn... all available at the patch.

Interesting shapes and colorful corn and all at really reasonable prices. I think the Indian corn was 50 cents an ear.

I was most intrigued by the bumpy gray Hubbard squash that Michelle and her father both told me was really good for pumpkin pie. Michelle said customers always come back to buy more before it sells out.

Uhh, yeah. I wouldn't have bought it either if my sister hadn't assured me that I could trust their judgement (she knows from experience that Michelle is an excellent baker). It was $8 for this boulder-sized squash.

We lugged it home and then tried to figure how exactly to cut it. It was like trying to open a coconut. The outer skin could be chipped away, not peeled. None of my knives would cut through it.

Using the cleaver like an ax was slightly more successful but a little scary. Together we came up with a plan where I placed the cleaver where I wanted to cut it and Barbara pounded on it with a hammer. Then we forcefully dislodged the cleaver and moved it gradually around the circumference until the squash opened enough that we could crack the two halves apart.

It's a very meaty squash without a lot of seeds or that stringy gooey stuff in the center.

I roasted the hunks in my convection oven. Eventually the pulp got soft and caramellized. The bits that I tasted as I scooped it out and bagged it up were delicious. I'm looking forward to making a pumpkin pie with it. The texture is dense, not watery, smooth, and the flavor is richly sweet.

Apple Pies in November
We will only offer Rosemary Focaccia bread this week again so we can ramp up for apple pie making in November. You have one more week to decide how many ready-to-bake apple pies you want to order in November.

This Week's Special Item
  • Rosemary Focaccia - $6.00
Pickup and Delivery
I can deliver your bread to a place of work on Tuesday morning or you can pick it up from our kitchen at 5392 Hollister on Tuesday between noon and 6 pm.


Nancy & Dave Oster, Starlight Bakers

P.S. Don't forget the I.V. Co-op Fair on Saturday. We'll be baking some Belgian Ginger Rolls (vegan) for you to taste in the morning and Rosemary Focaccia garlic bread in the afternoon.