Battle Pumpkin

In celebration of the bounty of the season, Sejal and Rick hosted this month’s Food Battle…. Battle Pumpkin. To switch things up a bit, we were all to make brunch foods, rather than the typical dinner foods that we have been accustomed to. The versatility of this main ingredient made the challenge so interesting… Sweet? Savory? Spicy? And to add to the questions… Brunch!?

The challenge was accepted by all parties, and here is what we feasted on…

Appetizer Course – Priti and Chirag
Pumpkin Spiced Yogurt with Home-made Pepita Granola
The yogurt was rich and creamy, and was garnished with just a swirl of vanilla and spiral of pumpkin rind. The granola added texture and an incredibly nutty flavor from the almonds and pepitas. Chirag mentioned that the secret behind the texture of the yogurt was using a strained Greek variety, and then adding the fresh pumpkin and spices. This was a lovely starter – so delicious and something that I would love to add to my Sunday brunch repertoire! :)

First Course – Jigna and Piyush
Spiced Pumpkin and Sausage Hash ~ Pumpkin Crepe stuffed with Spinach and Fontina Cheese ~ Poached Egg ~ Spiced Pumpkin Puree

Complicated ingredients and sophisticated plating made an impression even before tasting the dish. But the combination of flavors is what stood out. The slightly spicy hash, the warm zing of the molded crepe, the brightness of the spinach and the perfectly poached egg – it all melded into a harmonious marriage of pumpkin goodness! Super creative use of the ingredient – especially in the crepe – and super tasty!

Main Course – Sejal and Rick
Roasted Spiced Pumpkin with Cream ~ Spicy Pumpkin Hash with Pancetta ~ Pumpkin and Bacon Muffins

Another mouthwatering course – providing the solution to everyone’s brunch dilemma – Sweet? or Savory? The “concern” of the morning was that the two middle courses had similar ingredients – the hash and the egg. But it’s brunch, folks – and two variations of an amazing dish are better than one, in my opinion! :) The roasted pumpkin offered something for the sweet seekers – warm and earthy with just the right amount of sugar. The hash was as savory as could be with the added help from the pancetta and the gorgeous fried egg (good job capturing the dripping yolk, MB!) And the muffin was the perfect balance of both – embracing the sweetness from the fruit and the meatiness from the bacon. Plates licked clean once again!

Dessert – Nita and Manish
Our version of Pumpkin Pie

I refuse to use the “D” word… Deconstructed, that is. I know that it’s what chefs used say, oh 10 years ago or so, to describe their versions of showcasing individual ingredients of dishes and proving that the combination of all of them would be just like the original dish. UGH. I never took well to the term and I hate it even more, now that WE were doing a dish that essentially WAS a deconstructed version of a classic. So, for my piece of mind, let’s say that this was “Our Version of Pumpkin Pie.” ;) We baked strips of puff pastry as the “crust,” created disks of pumpkin pie custard (essentially the filling without a crust,) made some granola using pumpkin seed oil for the “streusel topping,” a quenelle of cinnamon spiced whipped cream, and dotted the plate with some pumpkin caramel. The custards were sprinkled with roasted, then sugared pumpkin seeds. Mission accomplished, in our opinion – and just in time for Thanksgiving weekend… :)

Thanks once again to my co-battlers for an incredible meal. Cheers!

One Comment

  1. Lisa says:

    I am so impressed with the creativity, determination, presentation and beautiful photos here–impossible to choose a favorite! Although I must say that the first course looks absolutely lovely and I, too, would welcome it for a brunch. The “curly” pumpkin rind also blew me away–makes it look so easy and we know it’s not! Lovely, lovely. Thank you!

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