Pumpkin Boats

Every day, around five in the afternoon, there is a traffic jam on the bridge (AKA causeway) connecting Miami Beach to the mainland. Locals are used to it, we explain to worried guests, nothing alarming is happening, it’s only the boats.

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Somewhere on that narrow bridge, I am sitting in traffic inching along, with the cruise ships – the boats!- to the left of me, looking at downtown Miami where I need to be for an important meeting.  Cars are slowing down or stopping altogether, and people are craning their necks. They want to see the boats!

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But it’s not the docked ships they are interested in. They stop their cars, get out, take pictures, wave, and all because around five in the afternoon…

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… those leviathans loaded with thousands of happy vacationers embark on their adventures.  I can relate to their feelings of sharing extraordinary expectations with those on board, their attempts to catch a spark of excitement by waving and snapping pictures, or at least to slow down and contemplate – what? Escape, perhaps?  Different kind of life, even for a few days? A childhood dream?

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Meanwhile, I am not looking at the cruise ships on my left; I grew up around boats, big and small, so cruise ships don’t hold much fascination for me. I am looking to my right, trying to spot our little sail boat among many others moored at Miami Yacht Club, and contemplating a new recipe. Since I’ve discovered the little delicious Indian pumpkins, I fell in love with their firm white flesh and slight lemony taste. The boats give me an idea.

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First we make the boats. Pierce these cute little guys with a sharp knife around the middle from top to bottom and back up, to create oval, rather than round shapes. Put them into a microwavable dish, as some juice will be coming out during cooking, cover with a paper towel, and microwave for about 10 minutes. You can also bake them in the oven, but then you’ll have to cut them in half first, and it’s a bit tough as their skin is harder than regular pumpkin skin. When softened enough to cut, cool them off, cut and scrape out first the seeds, then the flesh. Cut the white translucent pumpkin flesh into bite size chunks. That would be your first passengers.

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Drain a package of extra firm tofu, pressing gently to get rid of excess water. Cube it into the same bite size pieces. All your passengers are equal!

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You’ve seen people returning from those tropical cruises, kissed by the sun. We need to give our pale passengers some suntan! Stir fry them together for a few minutes, until the tofu bites are slightly browned and the pumpkin pieces are a little softer.

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I’ve heard from some cruise-goers that one of the things they love about being cooped up with the same people on a boat – even a huge one! – is socializing, or mixing of seasoned travelers with “newbies.” Let’s season our travelers with salt and pepper, a splash of olive oil and chunks of garlic, and stir fry some more.

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And now, let’s add some spice to their lives with cinnamon, paprika, and sumac. If you want to sweeten it a bit, you might want to add a splash of agave, but that’s optional.

Where is the crew? We haven’t seen them around because they’ve been so busy, they were literally torn into pieces providing a caring and healthy experience for all. So take some loose spinach, tear it into pieces, and incorporate it into the mass of hot, but happy passengers.

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This exciting mix, loaded into pumpkin shells, garnished with a few spinach leaves and sprinkled with crunchy toasted sunflower seeds, will grace your table, whether hot, warm, or cold, and provide a captivating dinner conversation starter.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 small Indian pumpkins
  • 3 – 4 large garlic cloves, roughly chunked
  • 2 cups loose spinach
  • 1 package (12 oz) extra firm tofu, cubed
  • A splash of olive oil
  • Optional: a splash of agave
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • A pinch of paprik
  • A pinch of sumac
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Toasted sunflower seeds to garnish

PROCEDURE

  • Pierce pumpkins around the middle lengthwise with sharp knife. Microwave in a dish covered with paper towel for ten minutes. Alternatively, bake in oven for 20 minutes. Remove, cut in half, let cool.  Scoop out seeds, scrape out flesh, leaving shells intact. Cut flesh into bite size pieces. Start stir frying.
  • Drain tofu, pressing gently to remove excess water. Cube into bite size pieces.Add to pumpkin pieces, stir fry together until tofu is lightly browned and pumpkin is softened.
  • Cut garlic into rough chunks, add to tofu and pumpkin mix. Add a splash of olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Add cinnamon, paprika, sumac. Stir fry for a few more minutes until tofu is reddish in color. Turn off.
  • Tear or shred spinach, leaving a few leaves intact for garnishing. Add to warm stir-fried mix. Lightly toss together.
  • Load pumpkin shells, garnish with whole spinach leaves and toasted sunflower seeds.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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33 Comments Add yours

  1. Lovely! Sounds delicious! What are Indian Pumpkins?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As you see on the photo, they look just like acorn squash, but they are about half the size of it, the skin is hard, and the flesh is white or yellowish white, not orange, and it doesn’t disintegrate into mush even if cooks what a long time, and it has a slight lemony taste. I get them at an Indian store, haven’t seen them anywhere else.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I will have to keep my eyes peeled. Once I am aware, I usually find that it appears. Good Shabbat 🌸

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Good Shabbos to you and yours!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. These look gorgeous Dolly. I love tofu…I must try this very soon. And yes lovely pics Dolly 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cool photos and yummy foo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Phyzx5 says:

    Great story, inspired, beautiful site. I was wondering about your experiences cooking and eating offshore. What do you think about a food catering truck on water? Any thoughts on your experiences cooking and eating offshore would be very helpful.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your kind comment! Ours is a 26 ft Catalina, so as you could imagine, the galley is tiny. I don’t have a stove (ripped it out and threw it away when we bought the boat); instead, we have an outboard gas grill where we do most of the cooking. I also have a microwave and a crock pot, and that’s it. I don’t know where you are, i.e. how dependent on seasons. I think you have a great idea, but logistics have to be worked out in detail, and, first and foremost, licensing. If you have any specific questions, I’ll be happy to answer – good luck!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Phyzx5 says:

        Ha! First and third, licensing as a restaurant, then as a food truck and again as basically a park hot dog vendor (waterways) so yeah paperwork, but I’m from L.A, never been to Miami and am moving in two weeks to follow through on this idea there. I will Have questions. Happy to have found you,
        Cheers!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Let me get this straight: you are moving to South Florida? The toughest state to get your permits? Are you prepared to make nice to every official that comes your way expecting a “tip”?

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Phyzx5 says:

    Hi!, fixed my settings, my actual page (slap-dash) is SloopKitchen.com for an optic sense of scale and logistics as compared to a food truck.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice boat! Where are you planning to make your base in So Fla?

      Like

    2. Phyzx5 says:

      That’s not a real boat, just a Photoshop for optics. 32′ Trojan I think (set in Singapore). There are a few similar up to 36′ under $10k in FL. Service would likely be via wait staff standing there normally on the aft deck, not through a little window like the truck image pasted. (Or drone delivering offshore to a much bigger craft)
      Gives a sense of “oh, right, of course,” though, like you may have seen one or 100 before.
      California is the sate regulating innovation to death pre-humously, but I understand challenges with novelty. For now I can’t see anything non-compliable it’s just the trade off that we will likely need more licenses to cross all our functions…And no booze.
      I am a disabled wartime Navy vet (been on a yacht only once), so I have some advantages going through certain services, public and private as well, starting with housing and job leads when I get to Miami, as I will be Airbnb . Actually I was hoping to work on a WWOOF farm or something in Florida to learn the land and tastes and save my resources.

      Jan 2018, I would be very happy to officially launch, realistically, possibly from Jacksonville, (Cheaper/free to make berth+) but I’m not moving to the South again after training in Pensacola!

      I hear of cruisers returning from a long trip with a different sense of smell of the land Upon approach. Has this ever inspired you or do you get cravings for something in that sensitive moment (if you’ve had that)?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Drones delivering offshore is phenomenal! Yes, I would imagine it would be easier for you to get permits and licencing. Have you looked at the East Coast around Satellite Beach area? It should be even cheaper, with easy access to both the bay and the ocean. We’ve never sailed for longer than 10 days, simply because of work schedule, and we’ve always docked at our favorite places for re-provisioning. Fish is plentiful, dry beans and root veggies do not spoil. However, most people nowadays, myself included, want fresh greens, fresh fruit, and more sophisticated combinations of flavors. Smoothies, health bowls, lunch salads, and healthy desserts. These are some examples of cravings people might have.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Phyzx5 says:

    Yeah, crunchy/crisp fruit and veg. I had that urge traveling Eastern Europe. I’ve heard of a floating farmers market type boat. That may make more money with less work and overhead.
    Since it’s a boat, it’s base will really be Florida, the state the business is registered in. I hope to keep moving and establish a chain along the state, so Satelite Beach is definitely in the cards. Because of Florida’s abundant docking along the waterways, warm weather and Miami being an offshore cruising world hub and just plain cool, I’m starting there looking to the future. That’s where the P.O. Box will be. I know it would work in other places but there is only one state I think it can gain momentum, if anything, for the weather.
    Who knows what are nich will be for sure. I wanted a high end for truck in 2000/1 before I joined the Navy after 9/11 and I don’t want to do nothing for another 15 years then see the industry boom without me again.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I see what you mean, and your choice of Florida seems to be the best. If I may suggest, look a bit south of Satellite Beach. I wish you the best of luck, and do keep in touch!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Phyzx5 says:

    Yeah, California would be impossible, licenses, they charge property tax for the land under the water under your boat.
    I sent you a message through your contact page hours ago if you didn’t get a notification.
    Happy Chanukah and New Years!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, and Happy Holidays to you as well! Messages sometimes take a little while to get through, but I’ll get it eventually.

      Like

  8. I jumped here from the Moreno/CubaLibre cake you posted in the Chocolate collection (which I can’t eat unless I pay a fortune for a GF cake mix), but I’m always up for anything pumpkin. This sounds wonderful. I’ve never really been fond on tofu, but I can see how it would add to this recipe, picking up the taste and adding another texture. VERY clever segues from boats to ingredients.

    The comment thread was fascinating. Have you heard from him since? His idea sounds like a good one, tho’ it will probably take a great deal of up-front financing & revenue reinvestment before he sees whether the ROI will be rewarding enough to expand – or buy the drones.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Like

    1. I haven’t heard from him. He is looking for a professional chef, and I am not it. I am also not business-minded at all. I also think it’s a great idea, but what it would take to develop it, I can’t even fathom. I wish him best of luck!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My thoughts as well – he has a lot of energy for someone not just starting out in life. It makes me want to take a nap to even think about the non-stop work involved.
        xx,
        mgh

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I just wouldn’t know what’s involved! It looks like he does, or at least he is trying to find people who do.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. All the more motivation for my nap! 🙂
        xx,
        mgh

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Reblogged this on koolkosherkitchen and commented:

    As we are on the subject of pumpkins, here is another one for you to enjoy, Beautiful People. These pumpkins are not ORANGE- surprise! – but totally delicious in their own right.
    https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/orange/

    Like

  10. lghiggins says:

    You have such a creative approach to food (and life!).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Linda; it’s such a lovely compliment! I am simply trying to enjoy both food and life as much as I can.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reblogging.

      Like

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