Who was it that said "Leftovers are the Mother of invention?" Hmm. Can't recall. But anyhoo, that's just what happened in my (ugly) kitchen last week. I was due to go to Book Club -- hey, watch it, books are cool and so are the people who read them -- and I had it in my head that I should bring something. You know, drop it off in the kitchen in some leftover grocery store plastic container with a modest "Oh, it was nothing" shrug and then WOW! everyone in the room with my culinary prowess. That sort of thing.
Plus, I had canned pumpkin burning a hole in my refrigerator. Two recipes later it still wasn't gone, and I wasn't about to let it get the best of me.
So what did I do? I improvised my Very First Original Recipe!!! I feel like Colonel Sanders. Luckily, it was a smashing success. I took Poco-Cocoa's recipe for spiced pita chips and served 'em with a cumin-spiced pumpkin and cream cheese spread. I prefer the term spread to dip because it's gonna make an amazing shmear on pumpernickel with fat slices of turkey and some peppery arugula in another few weeks.
Cumin-spiced Pumpkin and Cream Cheese Spread
Yield: 1 generous cup
I used roasted garlic and wouldn't recommend you substitute raw unless you want a seriously fiery dip. The roasting process really mellows out the garlic. To roast, cut the top 1/4 off a whole head of garlic, drizzle with olive oil, wrap in aluminum foil and place in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes. The easiest way to mash it for this recipe is to squeeze each clove out of its skin and, in so doing, you'll get a nice paste. With the leftover cloves you can make roasted garlic-infused olive oil by putting them whole in a jar and filling it with olive oil. Easy! And if you don't want to bother with toasting and crushing whole cumin seeds, you can toast ground cumin instead.
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
4 cloves roasted garlic
1 TBSP sour cream
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted till just brown in a toaster oven or skillet, then crushed in a food processor or coffee grinder
1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 scallion, thinly sliced
In a bowl, mix all ingredients together except scallions. Garnish with scallions and serve with toasted pita chips or tortilla chips.