Pumpkin Soup

When did pumpkins stop becoming food in our culture and became strictly decoration? what a waste! When I was growing up we always carved several pumpkins, baked the seeds and threw out the rest. Then we would buy canned pumpkin to make pies with.

Tonight I made a great pumpkin soup with only the discarded parts (carved out mouth, nose, eyes) from our jack-o-lantern. I cut the tough skin off of the discarded pieces and pureed them in the food processor with a little water.

Not only does pumpkin taste good it is also really good for you!
The Nutrition of Pumpkins and Pumpkin Seeds

This is the fourth year in a row I have made this recipe. Each year it evolves a bit, and has become distinctly Asian in flavor. Once it was done I had to heavily persuade my 3 your old and my wife to try it. once they did they both finished their bowl and asked for more!


Curried Pumpkin Soup

Preparation time: 15 min, cooking time: 30 min
Makes: serves 4-6


1small onion- chopped
2 cloves garlic- minced
2 Tbsp butter
1Tbsp fresh ginger -chopped
2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp celery seed
2 tsp pepper (I prefer white pepper for this recipe, but black will work)
@ tsp salt
1 bay leaf
2 cups pureed pumpkin (or 1 can of pumpkin)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp sugar
4 cups Chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 Tbsp cornstarch (or arrowroot or tapioca powder)

chopped chives, or green onion (as garnish) optional


Heat a large pot to medium, add the butter. add the onion, garlic,
ginger saute until the onion is translucent

Mix in the curry, nutmeg, celery seed, salt, pepper and the bay leaf
Stir in the pumpkin, sugar Stir in the broth and bring to a boil
Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes
lower the heat to simmer and remove the bay leaf
Stir in 1 cup of the milk continue cook over low heat for
a few minutes.

In another bowl, stir together the remaining milk and the cornstarch until dissolved, then add it to the pan.
Stir until thickened and bubbly, cook a couple more minutes.

Serve in a bowl and sprinkle with chives, delicious!

Jamaican Jerk

I usually don't use spice mixes, but one I always have on hand is Jamaican Jerk Seasoning. In the past I have used Helen's Tropical Exotics-All natural Jerk Seasoning, but I recently came across Sauer's Jamaican Jerk Seasoning (www.cfsauer.com).

Last night I didn't have a lot of time to season the chicken breast I was preparing so I sprinkled the chicken on both sides with the Jerk seasoning and right away sauteed it in a pan and the chicken was incredibly flavorful! My kids loved it and it wasn't at all spicy.

I've made this dish a few times before and it's always comes out great.
(picture: Braised jerk Chicken with spinach and carrots over rice)

Jerk Chicken breast with Braised Apples: (serves 2)

I recommend serving this dish over rice and with a vegetable
It goes well with ginger carrots, sauteed spinach and corn.

2 medium skinless/boneless chicken breasts
1 large apple (or 2 medium)-cored and cut in slices (granny smith preferred)
2 cloves garlic -minced
1 cup onion - cut up
1/4 cup Sherry cooking wine
@1/4 cup olive oil
@1 TBSP Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
@1 tsp garlic powder

Saute pan with a fitted lid

sprinkle both sides of the chicken breast with salt/pepper, garlic powder, and most of the jerk seasoning, let the chicken sit @ 20 minutes for the flavors to absorb

Heat a saute pan to medium/medium high, and add olive oil.

Cook chicken breasts in the pan for about
3 minutes on each side

Stir in the onion and garlic to the pan, saute with the chicken
for 1 minute

add the apple, Sherry wine, and the rest of the Jerk Seasoning,
mix all together

Cover the pan, lower the heat to simmer and let it cook
for 15- 20 minutes.

Serve over rice, and enjoy!

Gluten free Halloween Candy

It's Halloween time, here comes the candy!
This is the just the begining of a long season (ending with Valentine's day) where candy is available everywhere you turn. We all know that candy isn't good for you, that being said it's hard as hell to resist. I put together a brief collection of popular halloween candy so the next time you pass that bowl of goodies at your office you won't have to wonder, "Is that gluten-free?" I will say that many of these products are produced in facilities that also produce products that contain gluten, so proceed with caution. Being the chocolate lover that I am I usually stick with a few safe ones (for me): Hershey bars and kisses, Reese's peanut butter cups, and Snickers. (remember to always check the ingredients on the label as they sometimes change.)

Farley’s candy corn
Spangler picture pops
Jellybelly candy corn
All Starburst
All M&M's (EXCEPT the blue package of crisps)
3 Musketeers
Milky Way Dark Chocolate Covered almonds
Snickers Bar
Snickers with Almond
Snickers Cream molded
All Dove Chocolate
Necco Mary Janes
Hershey Kisses
Hershey Milk Chocolate Bar
Hershey Milk Chocolate Bar with Almonds
Jolly Rancher Candy
Jolly Rancher Lollipops
Almond Joy
Reese's Peanut Butter Cup
Reese's Pieces
York Peppermint Patties
Heath Bar
Mr. Goodbar
Babe Ruth
Nestle Milk Chocolate
Oh Henry!
Sweet Tarts
Butterfinger BB's
Tootsie Rolls
Tootsie Pops
Tooties Peppermint Pops
Blow Pops/Super Blow Pops
Charm Pops
Sugar Babies
Sugar Daddy Pops
Junior Mints
Charleston Chew Junior Charms
Original Hot Tamales
Hot Tamales Fire
MARSHMALLOW PEEPS Pumpkin, Spooky Cats and Ghosts
MARSHMALLOW PEEPS DelightFills and Cocoa Cats Snack Pack
Topps Ring Pops
Topps Push Pops
Topps Juicy Bugs
Topps Juicy Drop Chews
Topps Flip & Dip Push Pop
Topps Baby Bottle Pops


Gluten free food

As someone who loves food and cannot eat gluten, (wheat, rye, barley and oats) I do not subscribe to the notion that I should make food that uses substitutes for those ingredients, therefore creating substandard facsimiles of the foods I could once eat. Rather I choose to focus on creating dishes that are based on ingredients and traditions that do not use gluten ingredients and are entirely satisfying in their own right!

food lover

When people ask me, "why I love to cook?" I simply reply,
"because I love to eat!"
When I was younger I loved to cook and eat Italian food, which is my heritage. Next I discovered Southwestern foods with all of its incredible spices that are borrowed from the Mexican tradition. For years I was obsessed with Thai and Vietnamese food and hunting down the ingredients to make
those flavors come to life. I also enjoy Indian, Cuban, as well as the traditional flavors of Louisiana, Greek, North African, Chinese, Mexican and French Cuisines. Having said all of that, I still keep going back to my first love of Italian food. There is something beautiful about the simplicity of garlic sauteing in olive oil, the beginning of so many savory dishes!