Chef’s Creations

Chef’s Creations

The Great Pumpkin

As the chefs at Watercrest introduce fall flavors into our culinary creations, take time to carve out a special place on your plate for the seasonal tastes of pumpkin. The golden colors and sweet flavors of pumpkin are a wonderful addition to autumn dishes. Not only does pumpkin appeal to the palate, it also serves as an impressive health benefit.

The chef's corner

That vibrant orange color tells us something about pumpkin’s health properties. It’s an excellent source of the powerful antioxidant beta carotene. Our bodies translate beta carotene into Vitamin A, which is thought to protect us from certain cancers and other diseases. Vitamin A is also key for keeping your eyesight keen. The same free-radical-neutralizing powers of the carotenoids in pumpkin may keep cancer cells at bay can also help keep the skin wrinkle-free, according to Health magazine.

Pumpkins are also a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. The seeds are packed with fiber and protein and provide an excellent source of zinc, magnesium, manganese, iron, and mono-unsaturated fat. Delight your palate even further with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, sage and cummin which contain lots of polyphenols — compounds that offer numerous benefits for memory and brain health. Spices such as these have the ability to eat away at brain plaque and reduce inflammation to prevent cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s.

We invite you to try incorporating this unmistakable icon of fall by crafting your own pumpkin creations.
Here is a Watercrest chef favorite recipe to liven up your meals, while also keeping your brain healthy.

Chef’s Recipe: Savory Pumpkin Hummus

  • 1 3⁄₄ cups dry garbanzo beans
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1⁄₂ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 fluid ounces lemon juice
  • 1⁄₂ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1⁄₃ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1⁄₂ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1⁄₂ cup tahini paste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1. Place the garbanzo beans into a large container and cover with several inches of coolwater; let stand 8 hours to overnight. Or, bring the beans and water to a boil in a large potover high heat. Once boiling, turn off the heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour. Drain and rinsebefore using.
  • 2. Place the soaked garbanzo beans into a large saucepan and cover with several inchesof water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmeruntil the garbanzo beans are tender, 11⁄₂ to 2 hours. Once cooked, refrigerate the beansand liquid until cold.
  • 3. Drain the garbanzo beans, reserving the cooking liquid. Place the beans and 1⁄₂ cup of the reserved cooking liquid into a blender, and puree until a smooth paste forms. Add the pumpkin puree, lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Cover and puree again until smooth. Use additional cooking liquid as needed to achieve a smooth consistency. Season to taste with salt.

Meet our Culinary Team

Introducing . . .
Chef Sheila Fioretti

(Dining Services Specialist)

Sheila comes to Watercrest with over 30 years of culinary and hospitality experience. She has worked in acute care hospitals, long term care rehabilitation units, restaurants, with most of her career spent in senior living communities. She has also owned a successful catering business. Her passion is to humbly serve all customers with superior service, while exceeding their expectations. She is always seeking ways to step things up a notch, whether it be in the foods prepared, new cooking techniques, or innovative serving options as AI. She believes in collaborative teamwork with input from all, being supportive and being a mentor. She believes everyone, no matter what they do, are vital to the organization and strongly believes if we take great care of our associates, they in turn will take exceptional care of our residents, and guests.

Meet our Chefs

Fascinating Food Facts

Fascinating Food Facts
Fun Facts About Chocolate
Did you know . . .
  • You would need about 400 cocoa beans to produce a single pound of chocolate.
  • An average serving of milk chocolate has about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of decaf coffee; you’d need fourteen 1.5 ounce pieces of chocolate to get the same caffeine as a cup of regular coffee!
  • According to the National Institutes of Health, cocoa powder and dark chocolate have equivalent or greater antioxidant capacity, total polyphenol content and total flavanol content . . . and appear to meet the popular media’s definition of a “super fruit.”
  • In West Africa, there are an estimated 1.5 million cocoa farms, averaging 7-10 acres each.
  • Most cocoa farms are not owned by the companies that make chocolate
  • During the 18th century, hot chocolate was deemed a restorative; Benjamin Franklin sold chocolate in his Philadelphia print shop.
  • Ancient Mayans and Aztecs used cacao beans as currency; it is said that 200 beans could purchase a male turkey. Perhaps it was due to the belief that cacao may improve mood, boost energy, and provide sustenance, and was believed to have mystical properties.
  • Generally, one would pair wines with chocolate by matching the sweetness levels; a sweet white wine with white chocolate and red wine with dark.
  • Share your love with your pets but not your chocolate! Chocolate can make dogs and cats ill.
  • According to, Switzerland is the country that is responsible for the most amount of chocolate consumed per person; the average person consumes 22 pounds per year. In the United States, the average consumption of chocolate is about 10 pounds per year.
  • White chocolate isn’t considered to be chocolate due to its absence of cacao solids; it is made from a blend of cocoa butter, vanilla, and sugar.
  • The chocolate chip cookie was actually invented by accident! In 1930, Kenneth & Ruth Graves Wakefield ran the Toll House Inn near Whitman, Massachusetts. Ruth was well known for her delicious homemade desserts. One day, as she began to make a batch of Chocolate Butter Drop Do cookies for her guests, she discovered she had run out of baker’s chocolate. She resourcefully chopped up a block of Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate that had been given to her by Andrew Nestlé of the Nestlé Company. She had thought it would melt throughout the dough, but instead, the chocolate pieces retained their individual form, softening to a moist, gooey melt, and so began the world’s love for the chocolate chip cookie!
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