- Melissa Pette chart -


Published Friday, October 9, 2020

Spooky recipes time!

By Melissa Pette

I know I sound like a broken record, but I must thank everyone for all your messages. I don't think I said this before, but I'm a full-time worker, so my time as an amateur cooker is very limited. For that reason, sometimes I respond to messages a little bit late. But I always respond.

Halloween is here my dear witches and wizards! It is time for candy, pumpkins and spooky parties in the darkest night of the year. Well... maybe the late-night parties not this time.

Many expats are making plans for cooking delicious pumpkin donuts, pumpkin spice muffins, or pumpkin sweetbread... and the drinks. Yummy! I bet many of you are fondly remembering those days as kids' when you couldn’t wait for the first Fall days to go apple and pumpkin picking.

In Costa Rica, fresh pumpkins are in supermarkets all year round. How wonderful it is to live in a country where you find fresh vegetables all year!

You have no excuse not to enjoy a delicious spooky pumpkin recipe. And this year, more than ever we must cheer up and do activities that make us happy. Things will get better!

Let's celebrate Halloween and start scaring your neighbors with the funny hair-raising house decor.

Spooky Pumpkin

Today we will cook the pumpkin in a different and fun way. In your "social bubble Halloween party " your table will look spectacular with this beautiful baked pumpkin!

The ingredients for 8-10 people are:

• 1 pumpkin of 3 kilos, preferably with a green dark thick crust.

• 1 cup sunflower oil.

• 1 teaspoon of salt.

• 1 teaspoon of white pepper.

• 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.

• 1 tablespoon of butter.

• aluminum foil.

• 1 cup that grated gouda cheese.

• 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese ( or 6 slices of american-type processed cheese).

A tip. If you like cheese a lot, like me, you can add half a cup more of each.

Another tip. I cook this recipe with gouda cheese and American type cheddar processed cheese. If you want to substitute any of the two kinds of cheese, I recommend keeping American processed
cheddar cheese because that is essential to achieve a bright orange color. You can substitute the gouda for mozzarella.

First, with a sharp knife, slice a circle around the "top" off the pumpkin about 3 centimeters  from the stem creating a circular opening with a pumpkin lid. Think of the top of a pot.

Then, with a fork, scrape and scoop out all the pumpkin “meat,” including the seeds. Make sure that only the crust remains without any content. Do not leave the crust too thin to prevent it from breaking.

Put oil in your hand and spread the entire interior of the pumpkin. Add the salt to the pumpkin. Carefully turn side to side the pumpkin so the salt spreads inside.

With two forks, mash the pumpkin “meat” until pureed. Remember to remove the seeds prior to mashing. Add the cheese, the butter,
the garlic and the pepper. Mix well.

Heat the oven to 350ºF (or 180ºC). On a baking sheet, place aluminum foil and cover the entire surface. Place the pumpkin without the top and bake for 25 minutes. Do not bake the carved out pumpkin lid.

Then, take the baked pumpkin out of the oven. Being very careful to avoid burning yourself, add the pumpkin puree. Bake the pumpkin again for about 20 more minutes, until the cheese is melted.

You can make this recipe an hour before serving. The idea is to serve the pumpkin hot.

I spread the puree on bread slices. But it works great with sweet or salty breadsticks, nacho-chips, celery sticks or carrot sticks. It is finger lickin'good!

Pura Vida and Salud!

Editor's note: Email your comments or inquiries to Melissa Pette at melissaamcr2017@gmail.com Do you want to share your recipes with AM Costa Rica readers? Send your homemade recipes with a horizontal photo of the dish to food@amcostarica.com