Many of you know I serve on the board of The American Institute of Wine & Food. AIWF is an educational organization devoted to promoting health and well-being through the pleasure of great food and drink. The organization was founded in 1981 by late food and wine experts, Julia Child, Robert Mondavi and Robert Graff.
AIWF supports Days of Taste, a fantastic program that teaches school children about real food, where it is grown and how it is produced … part of the goal is to appreciate fresh food and what it’s intended to taste like. Days of Taste is an interactive series that brings chefs and farmers into fourth and fifth grade classrooms to teach students about the importance of farm fresh food. It begins at the farm and ends at the table.
To support the funds needed for this worthy endeavor, AIWF hosts many educational food and wine related events throughout the year in a variety of venues. The events are created and accomplished by a program committee that meets (round robin) once a month. Last night was our turn to host. We all contribute by bringing a dish and a bottle of wine.
While we were sipping wine and waiting for the appetizer to arrive, I thought I would offer an amuse-bouche (uh-MYUZ-boosh) … a single bite-sized hors d’oeuvre – the term is French, translation – “mouth amuser!” I was eager to share and receive feedback, (who better to get an opinion than from food enthusiasts) as Nick and I had been taste-testing my pumpkin creation for the last few days.
The dish is rather simplistic; tender pumpkin gets lightly dressed with honey and doused with yogurt sauce. What did committee members think? They loved it! After the “mouth amuser” we enjoyed crostini slathered with roasted red pepper hummus. We sat down to a spinach salad, Fresh Tomato and Cheddar Pie (September 16th post) and my recipe for A Maize Zing Corn Pudding, (posted on August 17th) and for dessert we enjoyed carrot cake. By candle light we savored great food, wine and friendship for a good cause.
Pumpkin with Honey and Yogurt Sauce
Tidbits for perfection: Be careful cutting pumpkin, (you might need more than kitchen tools) the skin is hard. It didn’t take a minute to realize my largest and best knife wasn’t going to cut it, (literally) so I placed the pumpkin in the kitchen sink, anchored it in the drain, jimmied a chisel into the skin and hammered the chisel until the pumpkin broke in half. The process made me think about Tom Hanks in the movie Cast Away when he was trying to break open a coconut!
You can also serve as a first course or side dish, allow one quarter pumpkin per person. The temperature of the pumpkin is important, to keep it warm, place it in a pot fitted with a steamer and simmer until serving time.
1 small pumpkin, quartered, seeds removed
Preheat oven to 400°. Place pumpkin quarters on rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until fork tender. When cool enough to handle, carefully remove skin.
Two 6-ounce containers plain yogurt
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried coriander
In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, garlic, lemon juice and coriander.
To prepare for serving, transfer pumpkin wedges to 4 rimmed serving plates. Drizzle with honey and top with yogurt sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley sprigs if desired.