On Your Table: Pumpkins & squash, of course!

Fall’s bounty yields wonderful decorative and edible options

By Cathy Branciaroli, Food Correspondent

Right now we are celebrating the fall season with dishes that take advantage of seasonal colors and flavors.  Think orange and bright yellow colors along with hearty greens.  And then there are more whimsical approaches. The Chadd’s Ford historical society recently conducted their annual Pumpkin Carve.  Artists from around the area were given 800-1,000 pound pumpkins from which to carve fantastic creations and thousands came from around Chester County to see the outcome of their imaginative work.


pumpkin image

A pumpkin array at the annual Chadds Ford pumpkin carve.

When it comes to this time of year I think of pumpkins or winter squash.   Most folks first think about pumpkin pie, but that dessert I reserve for Thanksgiving (more on this later).  But pumpkins can be served up in many ways to tempt a family’s appetite. Cut into one-inch chunks, drizzled with olive oil and garnished with rosemary, roasted at 400 degrees, these are an easy to make and very appetizing side dish.  Or, with a similar texture, a more unique side dish would be orange Kuri squash, which can be prepared in a similar way.  These can be cut into chunks as well and then roasted or they can be mashed like sweet potatoes and served topped with melted butter.


Of course if you are not that keen on savory dishes, then there always is the pumpkin dessert option.  One that is so easy to make is a pumpkin roll made like a jelly roll with a cream-cheese inter-layer.  The batter is spread across a baking sheet in a thin layer, baked, cooled and then rolled up in a kitchen towel.  When it has cooled the roll is unrolled and the filling is spread across the surface.  A great and easy-to-prepare desert.


And for those who enjoy gardening as much as vegetable growing we can still get a touch of bright color in the kitchen by pairing remaining garden flowers such as zinnias with herbs and greens for a great countertop display.


Pumpkin Roll (Courtesy of Libby’s)


Recipe Ingredients for Cake:

1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin

1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)


1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Powdered sugar (optional for decoration)



oven to 375° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.

COMBINE flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.

BAKE for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. (If using a dark-colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes.) Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.

cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

Be sure to put enough powdered sugar on the towel when rolling up the cake so it will not stick.

Cathy Branciaroli also writes about her adventures in the kitchen on her award-winning blog Delaware Girl Eats



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