Pumpkin Boats

Lovely Carol of https://carolcooks2.com has informed me that October is a National Pumpkin Month. Since I am not on pumpkin track yet, and neither are the stores here, I am repeating an old nostalgic recipe, posted in the B.C. before Covid) era, when cruise industry was booming and our little boat had not been swallowed by hurricane Irma yet. Let’s hope and pray for life to come back to normal, Beautiful People!

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!

62 Comments Add yours

    1. Thank you for giving me a shout-out, dear friend.

      Like

  1. BERNADETTE says:

    The recipe and the writing are very, very clever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Bernadette.

      Like

  2. BERNADETTE says:

    I can’t wait to see what you come up with for my holiday edition.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But you haven’t answered my question, darling: do you require a brand new post, or would a re-run suffice?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. BERNADETTE says:

        Oh a rerun would definitely suffice. I just want to make sure Hanukah is included in the holiday edition and your writing is so entertaining and recipes always top notch.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you, dear Bernadette. I will send you a link.

        Like

  3. CarolCooks2 says:

    Thank you for the mention dear, Dolly…I love it when food is served in a fruit or vegetable it looks so much more inviting …delicious recipe 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, darling; I am so glad you like it.

      Like

    1. Thank you so much, dear Mimi!

      Like

  4. lghiggins says:

    I love your story. What a creative cook, teacher, and storyteller you are!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Linda; you are too sweet!

      Like

  5. GP says:

    An oldie but a goodie, Dolly!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, GP. Have a great weekend, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Gail says:

    Sounds tasty, especially this time of year. (I didn’t realize it was Pumpkin Month.) 🍁🍂🌾

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Gail! If it weren’t for Carol, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with all these funky holidays.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Gail says:

        Time flies! 💫

        Liked by 1 person

  7. What fun! The little passengers are delightful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Dorothy,

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Americaoncoffee says:

    The dish looks very healthy, yummy and seasonally perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, darling!

      Like

  9. purpleslob says:

    I so love your storytelling, cooking style!! If ever I decide to write an autobiography, I want you to write it! lol ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, you clever purple person! You want a shadow writer, like a major celebrity! It’ll be my honor and pleasure, but you have to get to it. 😻

      Liked by 1 person

      1. purpleslob says:

        Yes!! A ghost writer, exactly!! I love your style!! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am not a ghost – I am a cat! Cats make good shadows.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. purpleslob says:

        BWAHAHAHA!! BUT I never heard of a cat writer~~ 😉 True, ok a shadow cat writer it is, then!! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      4. What do you mean, never heard? You regularly read my posts, and then you claim that you never heard? Shame on you, my favorite purple person!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. purpleslob says:

        I meant a cat writer as a ghost writer. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Many years ago, when I was not allowed to hold an official job because my exit visa application from the USSR kept being rejected, I made a living as a ghost writer of speeches for various government officials.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. purpleslob says:

        You’ve done everything!! WOW!! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Well, not everything. I still haven’t learned to fly a plane, but I am not losing hope.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Why, at some point years ago I had bragged that I could drive everything that moves on land and water, and all I still had to learn was to ride a horse and fly a plane. You’ve seen my photo on a horse but the plane is still something to look forward to.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. purpleslob says:

        You’ll do it too!! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Was ready to be trained by a pilot friend when Covid struck!

        Liked by 1 person

      12. purpleslob says:

        Well, soon it will be over, please God!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Lulu: “Our Dada says he doesn’t do boats! But he might do pumpkin boats!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, Lulu girl, we also don’t do boats, but I try to steal some spinach from Mama! Tell your Dada to enjoy pumpkin boats.
      (this was Pyshka talking)

      Like

  11. jkaybay says:

    What a fun story / recipe! Can you do a train adventure next?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What an idea! I have not been on a train for many years so I have to think about it. Thank you for stopping by, dear friend!

      Like

  12. chattykerry says:

    What an imagination you have, Dolly! I love the way you wound the recipe around a cruise trip – so fun. IRL, I would never set foot on a cruise ship but I remember how excited the travelers were about them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! We took an evening cruise around the harbor once, and, even though it was a salsa cruise with two live bands to dance to, I was ready to dive overboard and swim back after the first couple of hours!
      Thank you for stopping by, darling!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. chattykerry says:

        The only boat I have enjoyed was a whale watching one out of Monterey. I was scared but it was worth it to see the humpbacks. 🐳

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That was awesome, I am sure! I am very much a boat person, and we have truly enjoyed our sailing years, until hurricane Irma ate our little sailboat. We are still hoping to get another one, though. I just don’t like cruises with hordes of people.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. chattykerry says:

        Good luck on replacing your sailboat!⛵⛵

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Thank you, darling!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. chattykerry says:

    BTW, I lowered my dangerous cholesterol to borderline in three months. I ate like a squirrel and my teeth are getting longer with all the nuts. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am sure it helped, though – right? 😻

      Liked by 1 person

  14. chattykerry says:

    I am very happy that I fit into all my clothes…😁

    Liked by 1 person

  15. My grandmother looked on pumpkins w/ disdain. They were, I take it, in the “old country” the food of the poor. But I love the taste and aroma of pumpkins this time of year. Stay well, Dolly. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Than you so much, dear Anna. You be well and stay safe too!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I don’ t like those gigantic cruise ship s . They didn’ t look at all like the ancient beautiful liners .
    Love
    Michel

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely agree with you, Michel. I think those huge monsters look like shopping malls on water.
      Yours,
      Dolly

      Like

      1. You say this better than me, Dolly!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Why, thank you, dear friend.

        Like

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