Pumpkin Soup from Mi Comida Latina

Illustrator Marcella Kriebel Shares A World of Colors and Food

-From Edible DC's Fall Issue. Story by Marcella Kriebel, special to Edible DC.

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Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 10.23.51 AM

It is a great time of year for buying fresh local pumpkins. There are so many heirlooms varieties of squash and pumpkin that are great for cooking, that choosing one is half the fun. We're sharing "Locro de Zapallo" from illustrator and cook Marcella Kriebel as an inspiration for a fall soup. The other recipes she mentions can be found in our digital issue here at edibledc.com!

I’ve been blending the concepts of travel and art for most of my life. I remember making my first journal—actually, a sketchbook full of illustrations—documenting a family car trip to Yellowstone when I was 8 years old. It must have been fun, because I’ve been doing it ever since.

Fast-forward 10 years to college, where I majored in studio art and anthropology with a minor in Spanish. Since graduation, my interests and educational background have come together in a complementary way; I’m actually using my education and have been fortunate to earn a living from it.

My cookbook, Mi Comida Latina, is comprised of 100 hand-lettered, illustrated recipes inspired by my travels throughout Central and South America and documents the recipes I collected while cooking with Latin American home cooks and chefs. I found that cooking with the locals was the best way to understand their unique cultures and form friendships. The cookbook allowed me to share their recipes in an authentic way, beginning with family and friends and now to a wider audience.

I’ve always enjoyed exploring art in just about any medium, and especially drawing. I carry a sketchbook most everywhere and wouldn’t consider traveling without one. Whenever I learn a new recipe, I sketch little images in the margins to complement it. As I worked on the final cookbook illustrations, I used watercolor to illuminate the pages, as I do in my travel sketchbooks. I used one little two- by six-inch watercolor set for the majority of the cookbook, and discovered how versatile it truly could be. It was also fun to hand letter and vary the type of text for each recipe. I considered each page from a design standpoint; it’s always a challenge to have the recipe look colorful and visually appealing while including the technical information needed to make a truly tasty dish.

I didn’t necessarily set out to be a food illustrator, but I do enjoy drawing and painting food, whether it’s a beautiful Salade Niçoise or a portrait of the vegetables in the nightshade family. In 2014, I challenged myself to produce a daily illustration and called it Art Every Day, featuring all kinds of foods, from a single artichoke to a steaming bowl of udon noodles. These paintings form the basis of my current print collection of over 60 designs available in an open edition. So I’m still growing and learning both about food and cooking and illustration, and it is a process I love.

I chose the following recipes to share from Mi Comida Latina. The first is Causa, which is a variation on classic Peruvian dish. Salsa Roja is one of the many, many methods of making a classic Mexican tomato salsa, but the key is to blacken the tomatoes, which lends a tremendous flavor to the salsa.

Finally, Locro de Zapallo showcases pumpkin, but can be made of a variety of ingredients. “Locro” simply means stew; this was an Ecuadorian version but others can be found throughout South America—every home cook has his or her favorite recipe.

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Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 10.30.04 AM

Mini Pumpkin Bundt Cakes with Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

 by AJ Dronkers, Associate Publisher EdibleDC

I was enjoying my weekly tradition of watching Whine About It video series - the topic this week, "The Worst Things About Fall".

Between laughing and listening to an internet rant about fake pumpkin favors a la Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, I realized I've seen far too many basic pumpkin recipes being spread across the internet. These pumpkin popups sometimes even just use pumpkin spice as a stand-in for the real thing, too many of these things are really just lazy cooking where brands pay online sites to gin up recipes so that they too can hop on the pumpkin spice train in the hope they go viral.

To restore my faith in cooking I reached out to our baking muse, Meredith Tomason, of RareSweets, and asked her for an inspired pumpkin recipe. What she gave me defied my expectations - mini pumpkin bundt cakes with bourbon cinnamon glaze. Also the spiced pumpkin seeds were a crunchy surprise and are now my go-to fall snack.


Pumpkin Bundt Cake (enough for 4 mini bundts)

  • 7 oz. butter
  • 6.5 oz. sugar
  • 6 oz. light brown sugar

Cream together in mixer with paddle attachment.

  • 4 eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Add and combine well to butter mixture.

11 oz. pumpkin puree

(We prefer to roast our own pumpkins to create the puree, but canned can work fine too.)

Add to mixture, it may look broken but it is fine. Just make sure the puree is evenly distributed

  • 9 oz all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 oz buttermilk

Sift dry ingredients together, and alternate adding to butter mixture with the buttermilk.

Preheat oven to 350, spray mini bundt pans and dust with flour. Pour batter evenly into each pan and bake for approximately 20-30 minutes, until cake springs back.

Let cakes cool in pans for 5-10 minutes, then remove and let cool completely on wire rack.

Bourbon Cinnamon Glaze

  • 6 oz butter
  • 6 oz confectioners sugar
  • 2 Tbs bourbon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 ½ Tbs milk

Melt butter, set aside until room temperature. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and then add the butter, followed by the bourbon and milk. Whisk together and pour over bundt cakes while on a wire rack. Top with Spiced Pumpkin Seeds when set.

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

  • 2 cups pumpkin seeds
  • 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tbs dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg white

Set oven to 300.

Mix dry ingredients with a whisk into the egg whites. Add the pumpkin seeds, toss until well coated and spread evenly onto a silpat, baking mat or parchment paper.

Bake 5-7 minutes until dry and lightly golden.

*Can be stored up to 10 days in an air-tight container

Meredith Tomason is Pastry Chef and Founder of her bakery, Rare Sweets, located in DC's City Center. After stints at Tribeca Treats and Magnolia Bakery, she joined the pastry department of Craft Restaurant and ultimately became Pastry Chef of Craft Restaurant.

Farro Risotto with Roasted Pumpkin and Pepitas

Chef de cuisine Harper McClure’s day job is managing the seasonally changing menus and culinary team at BRABO and BRABO Tasting Room, but he was happy to provide a specially designed appetizer for FRESHFARM Market’s annual fundraiser. The “First at the Feast” cocktail party precedes the Farmland Feast dinner, and cocktail party attendees will have small bites designed by eight of DC's top chefs along with seasonal cocktails concocted by three of DC's best bartenders. Attendees can also taste local wines with listening to Bluegrass Hall of Fame inductee Tom Gray and his band, the Appalachian Flyer.

harperChef Harper McClure

This event is near and dear to Robert Wiedmaier’s heart and his team, and Chef Harper was happy to participate as one of the featured chefs at the event. A big supporter of farm markets, Chef Harper grew up outside Syracuse, and has had experience working on a strawberry field and farm, and exposure to what farm fresh and quality ingredients mean. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of American, Chef McClure started his career in DC at Vidalia, and in addition to working at DC’s Equinox, he appeared on Iron Chef America in 2010. As executive sous chef at Marcel’s, left briefly to open The Federalist before returning to the Wiedmaier team and assuming his current role at BRABO.

Chef Harper was inspired to make a farro risotto as a pairing with seasonal cocktails—this savory dish uses farro, a grain often used as a substitute for pasta or rice.  It has a great chewy quality, a nutty cashew-like flavor and is rich in fiber, magnesium and vitamins A, B, C, and E.  If you’ve never tried it, this is your chance!

A few notes: Time starved? Used pre-peeled butternut squash—we’ll be honest—it can stand in but won’t taste as fresh as a peeled winter squash (pumpkin or other variety…) Also, roast the pumpkin while you are making the risotto

Farro Risotto with Roasted Pumpkin and Pepitas

(Makes 4 Entrée Portions)

This is a delicious dish that is savory, nutty and creamy all at the same time—and the pepitas offer a little crunch. Roast the pumpkin while you are making the risotto—it will be ready for tossing and plating when the risotto is done.

For The Risotto:

2 cups Farro

1 onion, minced

6 cups vegetable stock, simmering

2 TBSP canola oil

Kosher salt

Black pepper

1 bunch thyme


  • In a large saucepan, sweat the minced onion in canola over medium heat until translucent; add the farro, season with salt and black pepper and sweat together for a few minutes until the grains are shiny and warmed through
  • Add about 2 cups of hot vegetable stock and bring to a simmer; add the bunch of thyme. Slowly cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until the stock is absorbed into the farro; repeat this process until the farro is tender and all the stock is absorbed. Remove the sprigs of thyme and reserve for the risotto for next steps.

 For the Pumpkin:

1 small to medium cooking pumpkin or winter squash, peeled and cut into 1” chunks (At Brabo, we are using pumpkins grown by Steve Turnage at Northern Neck Farms.) This should yield about 2 ½ cups to 3 cups of chunks

1 Tbsp thyme, picked and chopped

2 Tbsp sage, picked and chopped

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Black pepper


  • Preheat an oven to 450 degrees; Toss the pumpkin with the chopped herbs, olive oil and seasoning; spread in a single layer on a large sheet tray or roasting pan and cook in the oven until tender and well caramelized (about 30 minutes); make sure to stir every 10 minutes or so to ensure even browning

To Finish the Dish:

2 Tbsp toasted pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)

½ cup mascarpone

¼ cup chives, minced

Warmed vegetable stock, as needed

  • Reheat the risotto in a large saucepan, adjusting consistency with vegetable stock; remove from heat and briskly stir the mascarpone into the risotto and finish with ½ the chopped chives; check the seasoning and divide between 4 large bowls
  • Toss the pumpkin chunks with the rest of the chives and arrange on top of the risotto; finish the dish with the chopped pumpkin seeds and a touch of olive oil over the top