Pumpkins, what a “cool” vegetable and is there a more versatile vegetable? My opinion no there is not, and the pumpkin has been around for a very long time. The oldest evidence, pumpkin-related seeds dating between 7000 and 5500 BC, were found in Mexico. I am not really sure who or why someone decided that pumpkins were going to be the face of Halloween but what a brilliant idea. The pure joy of watching the competition (some more serious then any professional sports championship) and excitement of the pumpkin carving contest is magical.
Is there anything a pumpkin can not do? We use pumpkins in just about everything from a latte to flavoring beer, savory to sweet and we even toast the seeds that really are simply delicious.
Well I am not going to carve any pumpkins for you today but I have decided to create a very simple dish that I hope you will be inspired by. This dish can be created with out much hassle and I played with the goat cheese a little but you could use crumbled cheese and it would be just as tasty. Hope you enjoy…Jason
Amy’s Wine Picks
For Chef McLeod’s roasted pumpkin and chilled goat cheese ravioli, I recommend a fuller-bodied white wine or a -lighter bodied red to avoid overwhelming the subtle flavors of the goat cheese.
Top Pick: A Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley, France, such as Savennières. Chenin Blanc has naturally high acidity and an aggressive bitterness which pairs well with warm fall flavors. In its youth, Savennières can be austere, dry and rigid. But as it ages, it develops a complex honeyed undertone with a rich palate. Two Grand Cru appellations within Savennières include La Roche aux Moines and Coulée de Serrant. Typical aromas include bruised red apples, chamomile tea, wasabi, tangerine, chalk, limestone and wet wool.
Playing it Safe: A lighter-bodied Gamay from Beaujolais, France, complements the roasted flavors of the pumpkin. Beaujolais has a very distinct flavor profile of banana, bubblegum and pear drop due to its aging process, carbonic maceration. This is when the alcoholic fermentation occurs in whole, uncrushed grapes in an anaerobic environment, under the protective blanket of carbon dioxide. The grapes eventually explode and are crushed under the weight of those above it. Other aromas include strawberries, black cherries, violets, and crushed granite.
Off the Beaten Track: Orange wine. Yes, it exists. They are lush and perfect for fall.
One of the best producers is Stanko Radikon. Located in the small town of Oslavia in the Isonzo zone of Fruilli, the winery is known for hand-harvesting, extended skin maceration, large, older barrel fermentations without temperature control, no added yeasts or enzymes, and little or no use of sulfur.
On the Radikon website: “The winery’s philosophy is to always make a natural, organic wine with the least human intervention possible and with the maximum respect for the soils and nature.”
The vineyards were originally planted by Stanko’s grandfather, Franz Mikulus, with the Ribolla Gialla grape. In 1948, Stanko’s parents, who had inherited the property from his mother’s father, planted Merlot, Tocai Friulano and Pinot Grigio. Today, Stanko, his wife, Suzana and son, Sasa maintain their family’s land. The family produces the Jakot (100% Tocai Fruilano), Ribolla Gialla and Oslavje (40% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Grigio and 30% Sauvignon)