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What does Gator, Turtle, and Kangaroo have in Common?

They found their way into my belly. Some of you may cringe at the thought of eating exotic meats, in some cultures it’s a regular staple. I came across a great restaurant called “Luigi Ortega” in Pasadena, California across from the local community college.

The moment you walk into this place you will notice all the kinds of wacky stuff on the wall. The TV’s have sports games, and old Smurf, Scooby Doo, and all those old cartoons on Boomerang. It definitely has a local college restaurant/ bar feel to it. They have some great happy hour prices too.

The food there is superb. The salsa is very fresh and unique. On the menu is everything from pizzas to tacos and burritos. They have a whole menu with exotic meats including alligator, turtle, kangaroo, and ostrich.

I have had alligator before and enjoy it, however the turtle and kangaroo here was my first experience. I have to say I enjoyed both, the turtle was the best as it had more of a unique taste to it. It tasted like seafood and chicken all rolled into one. The meat was not too tender nor tough. The kangaroo tasted like beef and was a bit tough. Hands down these were some of the best tacos I’ve had.

So if you’re ever in the neighborhood make a stop at “Luigi Ortega”, just make sure you don’t press the red button in the bathrooms. Now I just need to get my hands on some turtle to cook at home. I wonder how it would taste fried?

Got Pumpkin?

I thought this was a good piece of news to share. I love pumpkin pie and pumpkin ice cream and like most Americans it’s apart of my families dinner during the holidays.  Does that mean we will see people hording cans of pumpkin and selling it on ebay or selling it on the streets like crack rocks going out of style? So stock up on your canned pumpkin to make pumpkin pies or to make some money.  After the news post are some links to other great pie recipes you might consider cooking instead. Cheers

Pumpkin shortage could mean empty shelves after Thanksgiving

Pumpkin shortage could mean empty shelves after Thanksgiving.  Heavy rains have pretty much destroyed this year's small harvest, says food giant Nestle, which controls about 85% of the crop for canning. Supermarkets say supplies are tight.

Mother Nature may have sneaked off with a sought-after slice of Thanksgiving.

Recent heavy rains in the Midwest are putting pumpkin pie in short supply this holiday season. On Tuesday, food giant Nestle, which controls about 85% of the pumpkin crop for canning, issued a rare apology and said that rain appeared to have destroyed what remained of a small harvest this year and that it expected to stop shipping the holiday staple by Thanksgiving.

Supermarkets say supplies are tight, depending on the store.

Daymond Rice, a spokesman for Safeway Inc.'s Vons markets, said the chain had enough pumpkin to get through Thanksgiving. "However, we are concerned that we may not have enough -- or will not be able to acquire enough -- product to get through the full holiday season. It remains yet to be seen."

Albertsons said it believed it had enough of the canned pumpkin to last through Thanksgiving. It retails for $2.99 for a 29-ounce can. The grocery chain, a unit of Supervalu Inc., does not plan any shortage-related price increase.

The shortage affects the Libby's brand of 100% pumpkin in 15- and 29-ounce cans as well as Libby's Pumpkin Pie Mix filling in a 30-ounce can.

Some chains have been pushing fresh pumpkins as alternatives. At various points during the shortage, Sprouts Farmers Market has featured displays of a smaller, plumper California-grown pumpkin species than what is sold for Halloween jack-o'-lanterns. A sticker with each pumpkin provides a recipe for turning it into pie.

But Sprouts spokeswoman Patti Milligan said the season for pie pumpkins "is pretty much over, and only a few of our stores still have them."

Shoppers are adapting to the shortage.

Amy Davis, a retired art teacher and swim coach from Anaheim, is figuring out new ways to make pumpkin bread. Usually she uses canned pumpkin but this year is using a packaged mix she found at Trader Joe's.

Davis also has figured out how to use other types of squash as a substitute. "Add some allspice and cinnamon and you get something that tastes pretty close to pumpkin," she said. She also said that sweet potato pie makes a good substitute.

Nestle says that once it runs out, it won't have more pumpkin to can until August, when the 2010 harvest starts. This year's shortage started several months ago and was the result of Libby's not having much surplus from the 2008 crop as a carry-over to sell in September. Nestle said in October that it expected the shortage to ease as the 2009 harvest got underway.

But heavy rains saturated the company's 5,000 acres of pumpkin fields in Morton, Ill., making it nearly impossible for tractors and other equipment to operate, Nestle said.

That will leave Libby's without any surplus to sell next fall while the 2010 crop matures and is processed. Libby's uses what it calls the Select Dickinson pumpkin. It is smaller, squatter, meatier, heavier and sweeter than the typical Halloween pumpkin. The company likes the creamy texture of the pumpkin because it lends itself to cooking.

Nestle issued a formal apology to bakers and posted alternative recipes for desserts such as Holiday-Spiced Baked Custard and Chocolate Satin Pie on its website.

"If only we could have changed the weather. We hope Mother Nature is nicer to us next year, hopefully delivering less rain and more sunshine," said Paul Bakus, vice president and general manager of Nestle Baking.

Acres of pumpkins sit unharvested in Morton, and the longer the fruit sits in the muddy fields, the more likely it is that the quality of the pumpkin has declined, the company said. Nestle executives believe it is degrading to the point where they will plow it back under the soil to be used as fertilizer for next year's crop.

News Story Source: Los Angeles Times By Jerry Hirsch

By: Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson

By: Ellie of the blog Almost Bourdain

Libby's Pumpkin shares a bunch of alternative recipes.

60 Tacos: Food and Music

I enjoy hosting dinner parties, and whats dinner without some good music for your ears pallet? Music can sure enhance a dinning experience. Food to nourish the body, good music to nourish the soul, and good company to nourish the heart. Here's a cut I have to share with you that I enjoy "60 Tacoes" by Roni Benise. I love banging this while cooking up some Spanish food. Enjoy and "Stay hungry my friends"

A Billion People Chronically Hungry?

Around this time of year many of us begin to consciously think about the people in our lives, the things we have, and or opportunities given to us  that we are thankful for. It is also a time that we should think about those that are less fortunet than us. Just imagine how fortunet we are to be able to enjoy food rather than just having to eat any food out of necessity.

It saddens me to know that there are billion people out there that do not have the kind of access to food that I have or any of you may have. With the world economic situation as it is now more and more people are going hungry.  Many of these people are starving as a consiquence to our conveinces in first world countries.

Every six seconds a child dies from hunger and hunger related causes. Donating is one sure way to help, but there are many other ways to help. Helping raise awareness about hunger is an important part of the solution.

"We cut back 23 percent on our funding in 2008 over what we did in 2007.  Very frustrating for everybody.  There are some really fundamental problems that take time to resolve. This is life. I don’t think you can look at it and think in three months things are going to be a lot better. Some of these fundamental issues, like the housing market, unemployment, the lending practices, they don’t just go away like a pipeline you can flush out, there’s no way to accelerate that, really."
- World Food Program

Pa's Chicken Curry

If you love creamy curry, this dish is for you. It’s simple to make and will provide leftovers that will taste better than the day you cooked it. My daughter never liked curry until she had her Pa’s curry.

Cooking time: approximately 1hr 30 minutes
Servings: 10
Cost: About $20

2 tsp olive oil
½ large onion chopped
2 medium celery sticks chopped
1 medium green bell pepper diced
2 green onions chopped
1 tbsp garlic
1 brocc
oli chopped
2 cup of frozen peas
3 cups of coconut crème
2 cup of coconut milk
3 tbsp of curry powder

1lb of chicken leg meat boneless
2 tbsp of curry powder
¾ tsp salt
¾ tsp black pepper

Basil (preferable Thai)
Serve with Noodles or Rice



Sautee onions, celery, and bell pepper until caramelized
Add garlic and onions
Add broccoli, peas, coconut crème, and coconut milk to the pot
Cover and keep on low heat

Season chicken with curry, salt, and black pepper
In a separate frying pan/ skillet brown chicken until it has a bit of

crust on the outside.
Once done, chop chicken into chunks and add to the pot.
Keep pot on low and stir occasionally

Cook for about an hour on low stirring occasionally
Serve over noodles or rice (Click here for tips on cooking rice)

Garnish with basil leaves and jalapenos
Optional garnishes
Kimchee, red chili sauce, sliced tomatos, and or mint leaves

*Let it set in the fridge over night for a more intense flavor. You’ll notice the sauce will get thicken too.

Left Overs
Warm in a pot on medium low for several minutes or war in microwave for about 3 minutes
you can also make a delicious sandwich with the left overs, use lava lash bread