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A Holiday Twist with Peppers

In some parts of the world the temperature has already dropped, and what better way to usher in this change than with those marvelous seasonal vegetables that you can roast, pure, or grill, and the exotic peppers you can use to add that extra umph to your recipes.

I am delighted to talk about those amazing peppers that I grew up eating, but are still relatively new in the States: Aleppo, Maras and Urfa. These three cousins come from the same region and are widely used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. Maras is mildly hot and sweet, and Urfa has a smokier flavor, and is also mildly hot. Both are from Turkey and both were named after the town of the same name. Aleppo is a milder chili with a fruity flavor, but after it is dried, it becomes slightly saltier; this pepper hails from a long-inhabited city along the silk-road in northern Syria close to the Turkish border.

Aleppo, Maras and Urfa are known for their complex flavor and medium heat which adds a zesty taste to many dishes from vegetables to dips to seafood and meat; all three chilies are available at Whole Spice.

Even though we are still enjoying the moderate clime of sunny days and cool nights in California, that wont stop me from buying a pumpkin or two at the Pumpkin Patch for the kids, and for making some extraordinary pumpkin soup at home. The hard part will be deciding which of the three chilies to use, as all three work well with pumpkin giving the soup a deep, exotic flavor.

For now, I'll go with our simple and tasty Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Soup. This easy recipe is always a favorite in our household.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Soup - click link for recipe