A Cuban Meal


Music and food kind of go hand in hand in our house. Growing up, my parents could not have a backyard summer barbecue without the sounds of  classic Motown hits playing in the background. It was always Good Music, Good Food, Good People ……all in one place. that was the rule in our house and it still is.

And that is how I am feeling about  this song”Havana” right now.

If you haven’t heard the song Havana by now….then you have been living under a rock….literally.

Camila is the eponymous debut studio album by Cuban-American singer Camila Cabello, formerly of the singing group  Fifth Harmony. It was released on January 12, 2018, debuting at number one on the US Billboard 200. While the album is  primarily  contemporary pop, it incorporates elements of Latin music and R&B. Featuring the hit  “Havana“,  which has  topped charts in territories such as Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

And for me, the sultry sounds of “Havana” evokes memories of Cuba, 1950s cars, old dramatic buildings and of course the food, with its blend of Indigenous, African and European cultures that make it authentically ‘Cuban”.

The perfect marriage of music and food with a Cuban themed dinner party.

Make sure you have “Havana” as well as hits by Celicia Cruz and the Buena Vista Social Club playing in the background to set the mood for your  party.



Set the table with colorful eclectic dishes with a mix of modern and old world charm.

 Photo Credit: Williams Sonoma, 2017

Color-blocked linens inspired by the city’s famous cement tiles recall the colorful streets of Havana and add a festive touch to the table.

Start off with the meal with a chicken soup made with plantain dumplings, followed by an easy one-pot braised chicken fricassee that is paired with rice and black beans (traditionally known as Cristanos y Marranos)—a Cuban staple—and crispy fried plantains for a dinner menu that evokes a Caribbean getaway.


                      Photo Credit: Williams Sonoma, 2017



                      Photo Credit: Williams Sonoma, 2017



You should enjoy the meal with a mojito as your choice of drink.

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And last but not least, a caramel flan, as popular in Cuba as it is in Spain, makes a sweet ending to the meal.

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 Photo Credit: Williams Sonoma, 2017



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Thai-Style Pumpkin Soup


This past Summer, I was stuck on cauliflower and all the wonderful edible things that could be made from it.

Well, the  vegetable obsession saga continues. This Autumn, I am obsessed with PUMPKINS.……

Through the fall and  winter months there are a good number of vegetables and fruit that guarantee a seasonal supply of nutrition. Pumpkin is a particularly good example, capable of being stored for several months. Low in cholesterol and sodium, it is also a good source of vitamins A, B6, C and E, thiamin, niacin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese.

Just like with any type of food, people tend to fall into two camps when it comes to pumpkin flavored foods; they either love it or hate it. If you are in the ‘love it’ camp then read on. Because I think that you are going to love this Thai inspired recipe that is perfect for the transitional days of Autumn to Winter.


Serves 6
For the Soup:
4 pounds fresh pumpkin flesh, peeled and chopped into large chunks
1  yellow onion, chopped
Two 15-ounce cans organic coconut milk
4 cups vegetable stock
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt

For the Red Curry Paste:
2 Thai red chillies
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 lemongrass stalks, tough outer leaves removed and chopped
2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
grated zest and juice of 2 limes

1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

To make the red curry paste, simply place all of the ingredients into a blender and process until it turns to a paste.  Remove to a non-metallic bowl, cover  with plastic wrap and set aside.

Place the chopped pumpkin flesh on a baking sheet, sprinkle on the salt and drizzle with half of the olive oil. Put in the pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes or so, until the flesh is soft when pierced with a sharp knife. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of   olive oil in a  Dutch oven or a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until it is soft and translucent. Add the pumpkin flesh and the red curry paste. Quickly stir to combine and then add the coconut milk and the vegetable stock.Bring the contents of the pan to a gentle simmer, lower the heat and cover the pan. Cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then remove from the heat and allow it to cool for a another 10 minutes.

Put the soup into a blender, doing so in several  batches and process until smooth. Return the blended soup back to the  Dutch oven or stock pot and reheat gently, simmering, and NOT boiling.

Serve the hot soup in bowls, garnished with the chopped cilantro.

Photo Credit: Eat Drink Paleo, 2013