Happy Halloweekend, y'all!

Full disclosure: I hate carving pumpkins. I'm not very good at it, I hate touching the pumpkin innards with my bare hands, and painting them is just so much easier. However, I do love one part of this Halloween tradition: toasting pumpkin seeds. Growing up, we just toasted them in the oven for that light, autumnal flavor, but this year I wanted to try something different, so I went to my spice rack to see what I could come up with. The finished product was scarily delicious and hardly any more effort than the originals. Quick tip about toasting pumpkin nuts: don't rinse them. The pumpkin guts I hate touching so much (ick!) adds a ton of flavor and keeps the seeds from getting too crispy.

Sweet Heat Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Toss pumpkin seeds in a bowl with melted butter, sugar, salt, cinnamon and cayenne pepper.
  3. Spread seeds in single layer on a baking sheet and place on middle rack of oven
  4. Bake, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes or until nicely browned.

Since I prefer to hang out on the "treats" side of the trick or treating season, I've mostly opted to serve these little dudes with a tawny port as dessert, but they'd be an excellent addition to something more savory, like a charcuterie plate or on top of butternut squash soup.

There are still plenty of pumpkins around town, but who doesn't love a pumpkin patch trip? To get into the spooky spirit of the season, head down to Moriarty to visit McCall's Pumpkin Patch (2 McCall Lane, Moriarty, 832-9137). By day, it's a family-friendly pumpkin patch with a ton of activities to choose from—hayrides, duck races, princess makeovers, a 16-acre corn maze—and tasty fair foods, like turkey legs, funnel cakes and caramel apples. Nighttime brings some more grown-up fun (if you consider getting the bejesus scared out of you fun) when the property transforms into a haunted farm.

If you'd rather stay local and grab your gourds in town, St. John's United Methodist Church (982-5397) at the corner of Old Santa Fe Trail and Cordova always has pumpkins at the ready.

Forkin’ Around

It’s the spookiest time of the year, when tiny ghoulish figures take to the streets to beg for candy and their not-so-tiny counterparts head out to get trashed while wearing costumes. If you’re amongst that second group, there’s plenty of fun to be had lined up via SFR’s culture calendar. One Saturday night event not to be missed, though, is the Halloween Masquerade Ball at the Eldorado Hotel and Spa’s Casa España (8 pm Oct. 28, next to the hotel at 321 W San Francisco St.), hosted by Gruet Winery. Getting in is $15, and Gruet Wine Club members get a complimentary first glass of still or sparkling wine.

And there's nothing quite like hair of the dog to fix any spooky hangovers. You can get your fix in more than one way on Sunday (4-10 pm Oct. 29). at the Halloween party benefiting the Santa Fe Animal Shelter at Second Street Brewery—Rufina Taproom (2920 Rufina Street, 954-1068). Come in costume and with Fido in one, too: Prizes will be given to humans and canines alike, and a portion of proceeds from the beer and food specials will go to the animal shelter.

News Bites

Events in Santa Fe are about to get a little less tasty: Dr. Field Goods Kitchen (2860 Cerrillos Road, 471-0043) is sending their food truck out to pasture. But, as is often the case, with the bad comes good. Some lucky Wine and Chile Fiesta goers had the opportunity to sample Chef Gerwin’s newest culinary endeavor—authentic tacos al pastor, roasted on the spit and served with pineapple. According to Gerwin, they’re they only restaurant in the state to get it right. The tacos aren’t on the menu and are only offered certain times, but I hear it’s often a Friday Happy Hour special. You can find out on their Facebook page, calling or just cruising by to see if their taco cart is out front.

And let's not forget that SFR's annual Restaurant Guide has hit the streets. A veritable smorgasbord of culinary delights, this glossy (and separate from the regular issue) magazine brings you that sweet, sweet taco knowledge, crowns a Restaurant of the Year, samples from the Top 10 establishments in town and totally teaches you the things to avoid foisting on local bartenders. There's lots more, too, and you can read about it here or pick one up all over Santa Fe.

Anyway…

Lately, there's that nip in the air that means we won't be fully warm again till April, so I've accordingly switched my cold brew in for something hot.  What are your go-to warm beverages to chase away the chill? Bonus points for boozy creations.

That's all for this week!

Eli