Something strange is happening in our house. Our 6 yr old, Dylan, has been asking what vegan is. My husband is an omnivore, so I cook 3 vegan meals, 3 non-vegan meals and we eat out one day a week. We don’t really use labels with our food, so the kids don’t think about our meals as vegan or non-vegan. They will eat almost anything, as long as it’s good.
He has been hearing the word vegan a lot though, because of the blog, and my husband constantly asking if something I have prepared is vegan (possibly with a grimace on his face). I don’t want Dylan to think of vegan food as different or worse than other food, so I have been naming some of his favorite foods and letting him know they are vegan. He loves tofu! When he asked me what vegan was, the best explanation I could give him was that it was food that came from plants, not animals. He kind of nodded and moved on to the next distracting thing in his path.
Now that the WHO (World Health Organization) has stated that processed meats can cause cancer, it is more important than ever to demistify plant-based food and show others, especially our children, how great you can feel from eating it and how delicious it can be.
The Recipe: Candied Pumpkin (Calabaza en Tacha)
This is another great dish you can prepare for the Day of the Dead celebration. A cinderella pumpkin is cut into thick wedges, and simmered slowly in piloncillo, cinnamon, clove, and orange peel. Once the pumpkin is soft and tender, it is drizzled in its own syrup. Traditionally it is served with milk, but this version is topped with decadent coconut whipped cream. Enjoy!
Candied Pumpkin (Calabaza en Tacha)
- 1 small (4 -5 lbs.) Cinderella pumpkin
- 1 lb. Piloncillo, (2 cones)
- 1 Ceylon cinnamon stick
- 1 Clove, whole
- 1 strip Orange peel
- ¾ cup Water
- Place the piloncillo, water, cinnamon, clove, and orange peel in a large pot or dutch oven set to low heat. Let the piloncillo slowly dissolve, stir frequently.
- In the meantime, rinse the pumpkin well to remove any dirt. With a small knife cut a circle around the stem of the pumpkin. Almost like you are carving a jack-o-lantern. Remove the stem and pull out the seeds and flesh attached to it. Leave the rest if the seeds and flesh inside.
- Following the natural vertical grooves of the pumpkin, cut it into wedges from top to bottom. The wedges should be about 2 ½ “ wide x 3 “ long. You do not need to remove the seeds, but you can if desired. Score the skin of the pumpkin wedges with a small knife to help them absorb the syrup.
- Once the piloncillo has completely dissolved, remove the pot from the heat and layer the pumpkin wedges skin side down on the bottom of the pot. Once you have covered the bottom of the pot completely, add a second layer of pumpkin wedges flesh side down, so that the pumpkin is touching flesh to flesh.
- Cover the pot and set it to medium- low heat. Let the pumpkin simmer for 1½ hours. Don’t worry about not having enough liquid in the pot. As the pumpkin cooks it will release a large quantity of water.
- Uncover the pot and let simmer for ½ hour more or until the pumpkin is a dark brown color and is completely submerged in the syrup. Take off the heat and let cool.
Serve hot or cold and top with coconut whipped cream. (see note)
If you cannot find Cinderella pumpkins, use a sugar pumpkin instead. Here is a super easy recipe for coconut whipped cream.