Arcimboldo – Weird, Wonderful, Food Art

Thanksgiving in Washington, DC with my family included a trip tot he National Gallery of Art.  I wanted to see how the 16th century artist, Arcimboldo, turned food into art.  His work is bizarre, amamazingly accurate and with a great sense of humor.  Here’s one of his reversible pictutres.

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie – Like Biting into a Pumpkin Cloud

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie by Linda Gassenheimer

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  There are certain dishes that I have to make every year or my family thinks they’ve missed Thanksgiving.  One of these is my Pumpkin Chiffon Pie.  It’s a light dessert that has the traditional pumpkin pie flavors and that is welcomed at the end of a large meal.  I make it with a sweet pastry crust that is flavored with orange zest.  This is the grated skin of the orange without the white pith.  The crust can be made ahead, baked and frozen.  You can also make the pie with a simple graham cracker crust.  Add some orange zest to it for extra flavor.

The pumpkin mixture is lightened by folding in stiffly beaten egg whites.  For safety, I use pasteurized eggs.  These are whole eggs that can be found in the egg section of the market.

This recipe makes 1 8-inch pie and can be doubled for 2 pies or for one 12-inch pie.

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

Sweet pastry crust (see recipe)

3/4 cup sugar, divided use

2 eggs, separated

3/4 cup canned pumpkin

1/4 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (about 1/2 gelatin envelope)

2 tablespoons cold water

1/2 cup whipping cream

1/2 tablespoon honey

Place 1/2 cup sugar, egg yolks, pumpkin, milk, salt and spices into the top of a double boiler and stir until well blended.   Place over boiling water and cook until thickened, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Soak gelatin in cold water for 1 minute; stir into hot pumpkin mixture until dissolved.  Cool in refrigerator.  Beat egg whites in an electric mixer until stiff; gradually beat in remaining 1/4 cup sugar until mixture stands in stiff peaks. When pumpkin mixture is cool and begins to thicken, fold in the beaten egg whites.  Pour mixture into baked pie crust. Refrigerate at least 4 hours to set.  Whip cream and honey together until cream is stiff and pipe or dollop onto pie.  The pie can be returned to the refrigerator or served.

Sweet Pastry Crust

This sweet dough is a cookie-type of pastry.  It is easier to handle than regular pie dough.  It can be re-rolled and re-shaped without spoiling the quality and can be frozen raw or after it has been baked in a pie plate.

4 ounces softened butter (1 stick)

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Zest from 1 orange

4 egg yolks

2 cups flour

Place butter and sugar in a bowl and cream together.  Add the vanilla and orange zest and mix in thoroughly.  Add the egg yolks, one at a time, to the mixture and blend until the mixture is smooth.

Place the flour on a counter top in a circle leaving the center empty. Add the egg mixture to the center hole and draw the flour into the egg mixture and knead with your hands until a dough is formed. Place in a plastic bag and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and place on a floured surface.  Roll out and line the pie plate. Prick the dough with a fork. Place parchment paper or foil in the pie plate and fill it with pie weights, rice or dried beans to weight the pastry down.   Bake for 15 minutes.  Take out of oven and remove the false filling and paper.  Return to the oven and finish baking for 8 to 10 minutes.  It should be a light golden color.

Judging the Nascar Firefighters Cooking Contest

Congrats to the Coral Gables Fire Department.  Their recipes won against stiff competition from fire departments throughout Miami Dade County.    I loved their fillet with a citrus, mushroom cream sauce.

Great dinner at Ocean Prime Adventura

Dolphin Asst Coach Birthday Party at Ocean Prime

Dinner was great and we were delighted to say Happy 47th Birthday to Dolphins Asst Coach, Todd Bowles.  He was there with his team mates.  His wife says, “this is Todd’s favorite restaurant so I planned his party here.”

November is Diabetes Awareness Month

I’m excited and delighted that USA Today recommended my book, Mix ‘n Match Meals in Minutes for People with Diabetes.  It has a month of quick and easy recipes — breakfast, lunch and dinner.  You can mix and match the meals throughout the month and still follow the American Diabetes Guidelines.  20 % discount on books from

Fred Tasker’s Beaujolais Nouveau Notes

Beaujolais Nouveau is a tempest in a tea pot. It’s a modest wine, always the first wine made after the harvest, bottled six weeks after harvest, while some really big wines get years of aging before they’re bottled.
So it’s a simple wine. Usually very crisp and fruity, without the complexity of wines that will be released later. In fact, the regular. Non-Nouveau Beaujolais that will be released after the first of the year is bigger, more powerful and a far more serious wine.

Still, the Nouveau is a good excuse for a party. It’s unveiled by French law after midnight on the third Thursday in November. That would be today. You can find South Florida Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau parties at

Easy pork and bean chili in 20 minutes

The great thing about chili is that some like it hot, some like it mild, but almost everyone likes it. And you can put together today’s pork and bean chili in just 20 minutes.

The first chili was probably based on a Mexican meat dish called mole de guajolote, which was made with cubed pork accompanied by fried beans and rice. Americans crossing the border added their own touches. Today there seem to be as many styles of chili as there are chili makers. The degree of heat is up to you. Add more chili powder or fresh chili peppers to suit your taste.

Complete today’s meal by heating a package of microwaveable brown rice. Serve sour cream and chopped fresh cilantro on the side.

Chili freezes well. If you have time, double the recipe and freeze half for another quick dinner. I have called for red kidney beans, but white cannellini beans work well and give a softer, lighter texture to the dish.

To view this recipe

Buttercream as heard on Linda’s Food News and Views

From Tina Cocolina, Queen of the Cupcakes
By Pablo Cartaya and Martin Howard

Enough for 24 medium cupcakes

4 egg whites
2/3  cups sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk together egg whites and sugar in a bowl.

Place bowl in a double boiler on low heat.  Whisk occasionally until sugar is dissolved and mixture is very warm, about 150 degrees.

Remove from double boiler and whip with mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form.  Put mixer on a lower speed and add butter in small pieces.  Add vanilla and mix until smooth.  For banana buttercream, add 1/2 teaspoon banana extract and a few drops of yellow food coloring.

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