Over here trying to contain my excitement!!! I definitely prefer the natural, muted, fall colors of real gourds, as opposed to the stark orange & black combo this time of year. the good news is, you can decorate with your gourds and eat them too. I’m coming at you today with a Paleo/SCD/Whole 30 recipe for each of my favorite seasonal centerpieces. I hope you enjoy!
- Acorn squash agrodulce. I hope you read and enjoyed my acorn squash chili bowl recipe on Mind Body Green. For the leftover acorn squash chili bowls, I slice them thinly up from bottom to top (where you put the chili in) and roast them. They’ve already been baked a bit to soften them for coring, so if you haven’t made your acorn squash chili bowl, then you will need to prebake for 30 minutes at 375 so that you can soften the squash up and remove seeds from the center. For the agrodulce, I used this recipe from The Kitchen, which is SCD/Paleo safe. Honey and Maple syrup are not always Whole 30 approved, but I do use them in very small amounts, as well as agave nectar. I agree that keeping the blood sugar’s stability is important, so I usually cut sweeteners in half, especially honey, so that would be just 1/8 cup in this recipe by Ms. Katie Lee! It is the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving spread, or just a lunch/dinner entree on its own! I especially like this addition to a pork loin meal.
- Butternut squash gnocchi with sage butter sauce. These are some of my absolute favorite flavors in the entire Universe and it creates such a warm and hearty, yet delicate meal. To make your gnocchi, you will need 1/2 cup of roasted butternut squash (seeds removed), combined with 1/4 a cup of mashed sweet potato. I combine in a food processor with 1/4 a cup of sifted coconut flower and 1/4 a cup of sifted almond flour, then add 2 eggs, 1 tsp. sea salt, and garlic salt. Next, you will bring a large pot of water to boil. Remove your dough mixture and sprinkle generously with more coconut flour. Finally, you can follow the simple directions of making gnocchi in this video from minute 3-4 by rolling your dough up into a long tube and cutting 1 inch squares (makes about 30-40 squares). Gently, add your gnocchi to your boiling water, a few at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pot. They will rise to the top when done in 3-5 minutes. While you are doing that, in a pan, you can begin to brown 1/4 a cup of butter or ghee with 2 tbsp. fresh, chopped sage. To brown and not burn butter, you just want to heat it on medium/high and constantly stir until it is a golden, nutty color.
- Neck pumpkin Cinnamon mash. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the neck pumpkin into a baking dish, with the rind pointing up. Add 1/4 inch of water to the dish. Set the baking dish in the hot oven. Bake the neck pumpkin until it is tender. The time will depend on the size of the pumpkin. Poke the rind with a fork. When the tines slide through easily, the pumpkin is done. Remove the rind and mash the pumpkin as it cools to the touch. I like to use my food processor to blend in 1 egg, 1/2 cup of almond or coconut milk, and plenty of Cinnamon and Nutmeg. This dish is reminiscent of my Thanksgiving Acorn Squash Puree from last year.
I also love using gourds as lanterns, rather than (or in addition to) pumpkins. There is some ethereal harvest feel I get from them that somehow surpasses the traditional jack-o-lantern. Good luck with your gourds and your paleo/whole 30 efforts to eat more simply, locally, and healthfully this season!