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Chat Leftovers: Thanksgiving Q&A (twofer)

Here are two more questions from our Free Range chat on Wednesdays, 1-2 p.m. There's no Food section tomorrow (because we published on Sunday). But we will be online: same bat time, same bat channel.

Silver Spring, Md.: I like pumpkin and want to use it more often in recipes. I have some recipes that call for peeling the skin and cutting in pieces. Any easy way to do this? If I want the pulp I would bake and scoop but how to peel and chop? I know I could substitute other squashes that are easier to peel but I like pumpkin.

There's more than one way to peel a pumpkin. (Gerald Martineau/The Washington Post)

What size pumpkins do you usually use? Last weekend I attended a cooking class held at Tenpenh that was given by chef Susanna Foo (in from Philly). She made, among several dishes, a kabocha squash soup. Seems to me that kabocha squash can be about the same size as a sugar pumpkin you’d use for cooking….Anyway, she boiled it whole in a large pot of water for about 10 minutes. As soon as it was cool enough to handle, she used a garden-variety vegetable peeler and in a few minutes the thing was peeled clean, with flesh intact.

Of course, the accompanying photo shows what happens when you hack away with a big knife. This pair of hands began by turning the pumpkin on its side, then cutting off the top and bottom so the pumpkin can sit flat on the cutting board and be subjected to a series of downward vertical cuts to get rid of the peel. Seems like touchup would be involved here.

Alt-turkey search: It’ll just be the four of us for T Day and no one particularly likes turkey. Do you have a good recipe for duck? Or...?

Sure we do. Let's start with Steamed and Roasted Duck, a fairly foolproof way to achieve a flavorful interior and wonderfully crisped skin. Duck Breast With Pomegranate Glaze has make-ahead possibilities.

And if you wanted to branch out further from cooking things with wings, I'd recommend: Shiitake Beef Wellingtons, which are very fancy (don't worry; that recipe is easily scalable); Roast Pork Loin With Apricot-Plum Sauce, which is quite delicious and would give you great leftovers; Braised Goat, which would make your house smell fantastic; or Slow-Roasted Beef, which you can cook while you sleep.

-- Bonnie Benwick

By The Food Section  |  November 24, 2009; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  Chat Leftovers , Thanksgiving  
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