There’s a large bag of raw pumpkin seeds in the freezer. Normally, they would’ve been used as toppings for cakes or muffins. They remain in the freezer, because my body feels unbalanced after consuming large quantities. I discovered this reaction when a Tomatillo Gazpacho with Pumpkin Seed Pesto was made. It was so good. I felt the discomfort of my body was worth the pain, for a few more bowls were enjoyed the following days. By the third day, I realized the side effects were not normal. It’s been known for a while large quantities of pumpkin seeds make me feel uneasy, but that pumpkin seed pesto was heavenly savory. After that dish was made the pumpkin seeds sat in my freezer, barely touched.
Occasionally, a visitor will stop by the apartment without offering a fair notice, but I don’t mind the unexpected visits. I only feel bad there’s no fancy cheese and crackers to be served. The first time a visitor came to the house, I quickly scanned the freezer and the refrigerator for a few simple snack ideas. I thought about toasting a few pumpkin seeds. An uneasy feeling of anticipating my body feeling unbalanced overwhelmed me. Then, it was realized that although I can’t have pumpkin seeds, it doesn’t mean other people have the same reaction. Time and time again, serving toasted pumpkin seeds with whatever spices are in my cabinet has been a big hit. The guests love it. The seeds only take around five minutes to toast. When I hear the first pop sound, it means they’re ready.
They’re simple snacks that taste good with strong, milky black teas or fancy beers. Occasionally, they make a nice garnish over a few dishes, such as the Saucy Enchiladas with Amaranth Greens and Corn. Sprinkle a few over a green salad as well for a salty crunch. Of course, these suggestions are friend approved, for I wouldn’t know.
If pumpkin seeds are the only food that offers a mild reaction, then I’m quite lucky. There was a roommate that had a serious allergy to nuts, only cured with a can of soda. I also have a friend who can’t eat raw fruits and vegetables. The first time I heard of someone having an allergy to strawberries, I thought, “God can be cruel.” Then there’s a couple I once knew, in which she loves sushi while he has a deadly allergy to all seafood. I’m sure she thinks twice before giving him a kiss.
So, here’s a simple, quick recipe for serving toasted pumpkin seeds to your unexpected visitors. When I come to visit your house, please don’t serve them to me.
Toasted Spicy Pumpkin Seeds
1 to 2 cups raw pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp. harissa
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. ground caraway seed
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. Spanish smoked sweet paprika
1 tbsp. olive oil
1. Over medium heat, place all ingredients in a skillet.
2. Stir frequently until seeds begin to pop.
3. Remove from the stove and cool.