Ever heard if you eat enough of something you’ll turn into it? It’s a standard joke at my house. My son is going to take the form of a chicken wing pretty soon, and my husband is heading for a life as a 6-foot potato chip.

Me, I think I actually am going to turn into a pumpkin, and this is no fairy tale. If I eat another piece of Pumpkin Roll, I think a stem is going to sprout from my head, which, oddly enough, I just had dyed a neon shade of reddish orange. My physique is pretty much already there if you removed my delicata squash limbs.

Before I go to heck with this joke, allow me to return to the subject at hand, which is that, well, I love cooking with pumpkin. If you remember Bubba in “Forrest Gump” and how he was about shrimp? That’s me about pumpkin: Pumpkin cookies, pumpkin beer, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, decorative pumpkins. I’m a fan.

It was difficult to choose from the truckload of recipes I found. I settled on a diverse set of three: Traditional Pumpkin Roll, sweet-with-a-twist Pumpkin Bread with Brown Butter and Bourbon, and the healthy and interesting Pumpkin Soup With Ancho and Apple. I loved them all.

Five things I learned:

1. You can’t go wrong with canned pumpkin. It’s cheap, easy, healthy and available everywhere. I, however, had two pie pumpkins (also called sugar pumpkins), so I roasted them. To do this, cut the tops off. Then scrape out the seeds and guts and put the empty, raw pumpkins on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour at 400 degrees until they’re tender when you poke them with a fork. Then let them cool until you can peel them with your fingers. The peels should come off easily. Then chop the flesh into 2-inch chunks. Put those in a saucepan with enough liquid (water or broth) to come up about three-quarters of the way to the top of the pumpkin chunks and heat until boiling. Remove from heat and use an immersion blender (mine bit the dust, sad face) or a standard upright blender to puree the flesh. I had a larger pumpkin, about 6 inches, and a smaller one, about 4 inches, and wound up with probably 7 or 8 cups of pumpkin puree.

2. Let’s call this part “Squash Seeds I Have Known.” A few weeks ago, my CSA sent home a good sized kabocha squash, which is dark green on the outside and bright orange on the inside. I made it into a soup, and while I was doing that, I told my husband, who loves salty snacks, that if he separated the seeds from the guts, I’d roast the seeds for him, which he happily did. The seeds were fatter and heartier than regular pumpkin seeds. I put them on a layer of foil laid over a baking sheet, drizzled them with olive oil, sprinkled with fine sea salt and baked them at 400 degrees for five minutes, stirred and then 5 more minutes. They popped almost like popcorn.

I was hoping to have some to garnish the soup, but John ate them all. I assume they were tasty.

We did the same division of labor with the pie pumpkin seeds, and I didn’t see any of those, either.

These are all different, by the way, from pepitas, which are green. Pepitas are the meat inside regular white pumpkin seeds. They are also found — without the white shells — in some varieties of pumpkins that make shell-less seeds, such as Lady Godiva Pumpkin, Austria Oil Seed Pumpkin and others, according to www.thecookful.com. Pepitas are most easily found at the grocery store.

3. I made the Pumpkin Roll because I wanted to see if I could. They look complicated. I mean, how do you neatly roll a cake? Turns out it’s really simple. First, you bake it like an inch deep in a standard, well-buttered, jelly roll pan (That’s a rimmed baking sheet. What the heck is a jelly roll, anyway?). Then you gently ease it off the pan. (I nudged the dull edge of my big plastic lettuce knife under the cake to loosen it from the pan.) Then you cover the cake — still in the pan — with a cotton tea towel (not terry cloth) and flip the whole thing over so the cake falls out onto the tea towel.

Then you roll the towel up with the cake and let it cool. This kind of “trains” the cake to be rolled later. When it’s room temperature, you gently unroll it, spread the cream cheese frosting on it, and roll it back up — no towel this time. You might have to go slowly and make sure the cake isn’t sticking to the towel, at which point you will understand why you can’t use terry cloth because the cake would have gotten all mushed into it. Then refrigerate the roll so the frosting stays cold and the whole thing holds its shape when you slice it. Don’t forget the powdered sugar.

4. I can promise you that the Pumpkin Soup with Ancho and Apple is different from any pumpkin soup you’ve made before. It’s not really sweet, but it’s very deeply flavorful, almost meaty, thanks to the ancho chile. In Latin American cooking, dried versions of peppers get different names than their fresh versions. For example, dried, smoked jalapenos are known as chipotles. Pasillas are dried chilacas. Anchos, then, are the dried version of a red, ripe poblano. Wait, but poblanos are green. Well, most often they are picked green, when they are spiciest, and this is how we use them most often. But if left on the vine, they turn red and sweeten. When these red poblanos are dried, they’re called “anchos.”

They’re not super spicy, just a little itsy bit spicy — enough to give this soup an edge, as well as its burnt orange color. You could try getting ancho chili powder if you wanted, but it’ll probably cost the same and not taste the same.

5. When the Pumpkin Bread with Brown Butter and Bourbon is freshly made, you can smell and taste the bourbon, and it gives it a nice, smoky layer of flavor. But by the next day, the bourbon flavor will have evaporated, no matter what you store it in, and you’ll just have pumpkin bread. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Just letting you know, for planning purposes.

Pumpkin Roll

Total time, 1 hour; prep time: 15 minutes; cook: 25 minutes; serves 10

3 eggs, beaten

1 cup white sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2/3 cup pumpkin puree

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons butter, softened

8 ounces cream cheese

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 375 F. Butter or grease one 10-by-15-inch jelly roll pan.

In a mixing bowl, blend together the eggs, sugar, cinnamon and pumpkin. In a separate bowl, mix together flour and baking soda. Add to pumpkin mixture and blend until smooth. Evenly spread the mixture over the prepared jelly roll pan.

Bake 15 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle.

Remove cake from pan and place on a tea towel (cotton, not terry cloth). Roll up the cake by rolling a towel inside cake and place seam side down to cool.

Prepare the frosting by blending together the butter, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla.

When cake is completely cooled, unroll and spread with cream cheese filling. Roll up again without towel. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Sprinkle top with confectioners’ sugar and use a serrated knife to slice into 10 servings.

— www.allrecipes.com

Pumpkin Soup With Ancho and Apple

Total time: 1 hour; serves 8

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)

1 medium onion, sliced ¼-inch thick

1 dried ancho chile, stemmed, seeded and torn in small strips

1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon cinnamon

3 cups plain canned pumpkin (about 1½ cans)

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 cups water

Salt to taste

½ teaspoon sugar

Melt butter in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan. Add half the pepitas and the onion and cook, stirring, on medium heat, until the onion is golden and the pepitas have started to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the chile pieces, cook a minute or two, then add the apple, black pepper, cinnamon and pumpkin.


Stir in broth and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, toast the remaining pepitas on medium heat and set aside.

Puree the soup in a blender. (You will need two shifts.) Return the soup to saucepan and season with salt and the sugar. Serve the soup in warm bowls with toasted pepitas and/or a few strips of ancho on top.

— adapted from https://cooking.nytimes.com

Pumpkin Bread With Brown Butter and Bourbon

Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes; makes 2 8-inch loaves, 10 slices each

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

¼ cup bourbon (or use water or apple cider)

1 tablespoon vanilla

1¾ cups pumpkin purée, homemade or canned (1 15-ounce can)

4 eggs

½ cup olive or other oil (such as canola)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1¾ cups light brown sugar

1½ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

Heat oven to 350 F and arrange a rack in the center. Grease the insides of two 8-inch loaf pans with butter or line with parchment paper.

In a large skillet, melt ½ cup (1 stick) butter over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the frothy white milk solids sink to the bottom of the pan and turn a fragrant, nutty brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Brown butter can burn quickly, so watch it carefully. (A tip: You will know your brown butter is almost ready when the frantic sound of bubbling begins to die down, so use your ears as well as your eyes and nose.)

In a glass liquid measuring cup, combine bourbon and vanilla. Add water until you reach the 2/3 cup mark. In a large bowl, whisk together bourbon mixture, pumpkin puree, eggs and oil. With a spatula, scrape all the brown butter from the skillet into the pumpkin mixture and stir to combine.

In another large bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Divide batter between the two greased loaf pans. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet and transfer to oven. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Allow bread to cool completely before removing from pan.

— https://cooking.nytimes.com

— Jennie Geisler can be reached on Twitter: @ETNGeisler.