Saturday, November 6, 2010

GTTC - pumpkin seeds, a different chili paste, and giveaway winners revealed

Well, we've reached the point that I thought might be the end. For me, the Garden to Table Challenge has been a source of inspiration, motivation, and fun. I've loved seeing what you all have been coming up with and have cooked many dinners based on ideas or recipes I've seen in the past couple of months! For many garden bloggers, we've reached the end of our backyard gardening season, but my farmer's market runs for the next few weeks, and then there are the leeks, chard, squashes, dried beans, canned goodies, indoor sprouts and herbs to figure out what to do with. As a result, I'm going to keep running the meme - join me if you can! In the spring, we'll launch a new official season, and I may consider a contest again - I have a few months to figure out something fun.

This week, I was motivated to roast some pumpkin seeds and put together this mix that Julie, one of my all-time favorite bloggers made. I was wracking my brain to think of creative things to add without fully COPYING her, and ended up creative mindfail. We ate these with no additions but really enjoyed them. The darker brown were the sweet cinnamony ones Julie described and the lighter ones just had a sprinkling of salt and ground dried garlic.

Then, I noticed on November 1st that the freakishly prolific cayenne pepper plant out back was weighted down by a gazillion peppers so I turned them into a new chili paste I found in the ridiculously GORGEOUS book by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid - Beyond the Great Wall. This recipe calls for chilies (not dried like I usually make my chili paste), salt, a pinch of sugar, rice vinegar, and a bit of water. I mashed the peppers with a rolling pin, but I think a proper mortar and pestle will be going on my holiday wish list. I haven't tried the chili paste yet (in any significant amount anyway), but I have my mind set on some grilled shrimp and broken rice our closest Vietnamese place has. I know it will be lip-smacking (and lip-swelling) good.

And without further ado, today the 3 winners of the giveaway will be announced. I'm not a mathematically-inclined person, but I think I figured out a way to do this without literally making 100 slips of papers and drawing from a hat. The system involved tallying all the posts participant have contributed, then using to pick three winners. The winners are...Meemsnyc, Char's Gardening, and Teresa. Winners will receive a brand new book about food/gardening. I know at least one person will receive a book I've been eyeballing all year - Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods by Ryder and Topalian. I've only cracked the spine in the book store, but covet my very own copy. It's an absolutely beautiful book that I think GTTC participants will like. If I can't get other copies for a reasonable price, you'll get another great book of my choosing - I promise. :)

And on a related note - I just wonder what people think about contests in general. Part of me feels they just add an extra aspect of fun, but then again, there's always an element of disappointment the majority don't win - and when all were great participators! Looking at all the names on my tally sheet, I was honestly regretful that I couldn't send everyone something. I'd love your thoughts on this. Especially for something someone is trying to promote - do contests make it more fun? Or...does it taint the whole activity and cheapen things? Yeah, the GTTC has prompted this, but feel free to get philosophical on me too... :)


  1. I'm impressed in your use of your chili's. The pumpkin seeds look yummy.

    I like giveaways or contest. I know I rarely win...but it's still fun to try. (I did win one once. I got some really cool stamps) It's also a good way to get people to follow you. Sometimes you get stuck on a number and you want to move the needle and a giveaway is a good way to do it.

  2. I am so excited to win something. Personally i think contests are way fun. I know what you mean about wanting to give everyone something tho. I am sorry I haven't added any recipes lately, but we have had so much going on, I am lucky to feed my family, let alone be creative and document it. sorry. I will try harder. I think this is such a great weekly meme and enjoy seeing what you all make. Those seeds look delicious. Wish I hadn't already tossed all of mine from halloween carving. again, thanks Wendy, as always I enjoy visiting your blog.

  3. That chili sauce looks so good. I'll have to make some. I like contests / giveaways!

  4. So far, it looks like everyone is pro giveaways. I think entrants hardly expect to win and are just delighted if they you shouldn't feel bad about the non-winners (no losers here). Your blog is its own prize.

  5. Your chili paste sounds fantastic. I am hoping that our chili peppers do better next year so we too can make powders, pastes, and I really want to make some ajvar out of red peppers for the first time next year. The cinnamony pumpkin seeds sound good too.:)

  6. I think you have a better chance of winning on a blog than some cruddy target or home depot receipt. I have won seeds in the past and that means a lot to me.
    The chili paste looks hot and delicious!

  7. I think contest is fun. Is not about winning but just joining in and feel more inspired to do something new as well. Like your chili paste.

  8. Hi Wendy! Thanks for the kind words, I hope you and your family enjoyed the sweet pumpkin seeds as much as mine did - ours are long gone. :-)
    Huzzah to the winners - congrats! I love contests like this, especially ones that 'require' something of the participants, not just a generic drawing. I enjoyed participating for the fact that it made me think each week about creating something from the garden. Winning a prize or not is kind of beside the point. Thanks for hosting a great meme!

  9. Congrats to the winners! For me, the seeds in darker shades look more appetising ;-) I can finish the whole plate any time...

  10. I just discovered your blog through blotanical and look forward to trying out some of your recipes. I live in tropical north Queensland in Australia and to answer your question - most contests dont include people overseas because of the cost of mailing. I will be following along anyway!

  11. I love to eat those pumpkin seeds but we still import them because we grow squash but not pumpkins in the country. Your contests are okay, it adds fun and traffic to the site. I always come here even if i dont link to your site because my blogs are of different topics, but i surely visit for information and fun. and thank you for that. In the future that i might link mine, then i will do that.

  12. I'm impressed that you have your own cayenne peppers and make your own paste. Wow!

    I think giveaways are fun, but I don't go to particular blogs because of that.

  13. Love toasted pumpkin seeds, Wendy ... what a fun autumn treat!

  14. Your toasted pumpkin reminds of the kuaci we used to eat during the mid-autumn festival. Here, we make chilli paste with garlic and onion bulbs pounded together and citrus (calamansi) or lime juice is used instead of vinegar. To go with chicken rice, we add some ginger to the the chili paste.

    I think contests are an added bonus but the fun is in the participation. Contests and prizes given by bloggers are more genuine and winning and receiving such prizes will include a fond memory to be cherised for a long time. I call this blogger bonding ;-)

  15. I often get sunflower seeds toasted & salted sold here for snacks. Actually I had tough time enjoying pumpkin seed kernels
    (end up biting and chewing the whole thing)

  16. Hi Wendy,
    Your pumpkin seeds look good. I roasted one batch so far. I took them out before they turned brown thinking they may be softer, since my jaw is tender from TMJD. They were good, but I still couldn't eat many at a time.

    I fried a green tomato this evening plain. I had heated a steak thawed from the freezer in a fry pan for my husband, then cooked the tomato slices in the same pan without washing it. They tasted pretty good.

    It's snowing this evening after getting a little over an inch of rain in the last 24 hours. We could get an inch or so.

    I won a very nice book on hellebores from Jan, at Thanks for Today awhile back. Normally, I avoid doing whatever one is supposed to do in order to be included in drawings. I'm not sure why.


My awesome gardening friends...thanks for leaving a comment! I don't typically repond here, but I love knowing who you are so I can visit your blog as well.

btw - if you're trying to show me nude Miley Cyrus photos, sell me nikes or viagra or antibiotics, or encourage my lovely garden readers to visit your site on solar panel construction, or seo-whatevers, sorry, but I'm not publishing your comment. If you want to moderate my blog - well, I can't keep you too busy, and the pay would be horrible. And lastly, no. I'm not interested in Club Penguin cheat codes. Thanks anyway.

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