Camarao na Moranga

Shrimp in a Pumpkin – or Camarão na Moranga, in Portuguese – is a traditional Brazilian recipe that can add a pretty cool twist to your dinner table!

Serves 8


  • 1 medium pumpkin (Sugar Pie Pumpkin or Cinderella work best)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 pounds large shrimp, cleaned and deveined, tails-off
  • ¼ cup Cognac (Brandy or Bourbon also work great)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 or 2 cherry peppers (or other variety of hot pepper, such as habanero, chili or jalapeno), minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • ½ cup scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) Catupiry (if unavailable use cream cheese or mascarpone)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut the top of the pumpkin and remove all seeds. Wrap it in aluminum foil and place on a large shallow ovenproof pan, cut-off side down. Bake it until nearly soft, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and unwrap from foil. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil on high heat until it starts shimmering. Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Sauté shrimp in the hot oil until it turns pink and starts to curl, 1 minute. Add Cognac and cook another 30 seconds (most likely it will flame, so be careful). Remove from heat and transfer shrimp and its liquids to a plate.

To the same skillet, add the remaining olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add onions and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, until soft, 3 minutes. Add hot pepper and garlic and cook an additional minute. Add tomatoes and reduce heat to medium. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are soft and a thick sauce has formed; 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and fold in shimp, cilantro and scallions.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Using a large spoon, spread the Catupiry into the pumpkin. Pour shrimp sauce into pumpkin and return to the oven. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until cheese melts and pumpkin is soft and heated through. Remove from oven and serve immediately, with jasmine rice on the side.

Starting Your Plants Indoors

If you are like me, you’re probably itching to get your hands dirty.  You can begin the garden season (even if you’re knee deep in snow); by starting your plants indoors and then transplanting them to the garden once the danger of frost has passed.

Common plants that you can start are tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers.  If you are interested in cold-hardy vegetables, you can start plants such as onions and leeks.

If you are new to starting plants indoors, here’s a basic list to help you get going:

  • Plastic trays (or you can use recycled egg cartons or any type of cup you may have laying around the house)
  • Plastic Labels & Markers
  • Potting mix
  • Heirloom Seeds
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Watering Can

To make the process as easy as possible, determine how many plants you want to start of each variety.  Fill the allotted number of trays or pots that you want to start with soil.  Plant 2-3 seeds in each pot, ¼ to ½ inch deep.  Lightly cover up with soil, to a depth equal to three times their size.  Label each plant accordingly (do this immediately so you don’t get the plants mixed up).  Lightly mist the plants.  Cover with plastic wrap.

Set the plants in a warm area and check daily.  Continue to mist the plants, making sure the soil is damp.  When you see the seed start to sprout make sure you move to a spot with bright light.  You can use white fluorescent tubes for lighting.

Basic guidelines for the following:

Seed-Starting Mistakes Even Smart People Make

For the beginning gardener, seed-starting can seem so easy. Place a few seeds in a pot of dirt, water them, and watch them grow. Right?

If only it were that easy. As every gardener eventually discovers, seed-starting can be one of the most difficult parts of gardening.

Seed-starting is the subject of this week’s episode of Off The Grid Radio, as we examine common mistakes and look at a few tricks that can help your seeds sprout. Our guest is Craig LeHoullier, the author of two gardening books: Growing Vegetables in Straw Bales and Epic Tomatoes: How to Select And Grow The Best Varieties of All Time.

Craig tells us:

  • What type of soil to use.
  • How much light seeds really need.
  • What types of vegetables he starts early.
  • How to ensure you’re giving the seeds the right amount of water.

If you’re a gardener, then this week’s show is for you!

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