Pasta ala Chef Michael Chiarello

Look at the beautiful color of that pasta!

So, we were at the Orange County Fair last week and happened to catch Chef Michael Chiarello giving a cooking demonstration. One of the dishes that he whipped up was this amazing pasta that we tried at home. It was out of this world.

You need sliced garlic, olive oil, salt, Kampot pepper, pasta, a bottle of cheap red wine, red pepper flakes and broccoli.

Pour the entire bottle of wine into a sauce pan and reduce it by about half. Set aside.

Get your water boiling in another large pot then toss in the broccoli crowns to blanch. When the water returns to a boil take the broccoli out and set them aside. Keep the water in the pot.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan and add the sliced garlic. Brown the garlic, then add the broccoli, salt, Kampot pepper and some red pepper flakes to saute. Remove broccoli from pan.

Pour the reduced wine into the pan with the garlic and bring the wine to a boil.

Then cook your pasta in the same water you used to blanch the broccoli. Don't cook it all the way. In fact, when it softens up enough to bend, transfer it into the pan with the wine. Cook the pasta the rest of the way in the wine. Mix in broccoli and serve. Top with Parmesan cheese.


Kampot Pepper Ice Cream

Easy and refreshing with lots of flavor!

Here's an easy way to add some zing to your summertime dessert. Sprinkle cracked Kampot pepper over your favorite vanilla or strawberry ice cream. Add fresh, sliced strawberries and you have a unique flavor that everyone will love!


Kampot Pepper Sugar Scrub

Healthy Living

This is a fantastic body scrub made from just 3 natural ingredients...black Kampot pepper, palm sugar and sunflower oil. The heat from the pepper creates a warming action which really helps with aching muscles. Our Kampot pepper is certified organic from southwestern Cambodia along with the minimally-refined palm sugar. 

Kampot Pepper Sugar Body Scrub
8 tablespoons palm sugar
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black Kampot pepper
Sunflower oil to create paste (approx. 2 tablespoons) 

I cut the recipe in half to eliminate a storage issue if I didn't use it all.


No other scarves like these

Day spent seeking out artisans

Seeking out artisans in Cambodian villages is not as easy as it sounds. Yesterday was a perfect example. It took an hour ride in a tuk tuk, a 15- minute ferry trip and an hour on the back of a motorbike to finally locate a family that makes the soft, handwoven scarves we were looking for. Communication is another matter.

Mekong Island is full of weavers. Underneath nearly every stilted house is at least one loom. We found that much of what they make are simply large pieces of silk fabric to be used for various things. We were searching for finished, hand-crafted, cotton scarves. When we located a woman weaving in cotton, she literally cut the fabric off her loom, cut it into scarf-size pieces and hemmed them up while we watched.

Rest assured there are no other scarves in the world like the ones we are bringing home.

Sponsorship Update!

Life is good!

Along with our darling Sokunthea, Pepper Project sponsors Sukunthy. Here is the six month update we just received from Daughters of Cambodia telling how she is thriving:

Sukunthy says that life is good, much better than before. She says has been engaged for two years now and her relationship with her fiancé continues to improve. She says he loves and cares for her so much! She continues to live with her fiancé’s family, and this has been a big financial blessing. In staying with them she does not have to pay for rent and she is able to save money.

Sukunthy’s health has also been improving a lot over the past six months. Her manager at Daughters advised her how to eat healthier and it has made a big difference for her.
At work, Sukunthy is able to be a lot more focused and she is enjoying it more. She has been in the spa for one year now, giving manicures, pedicures and massages. She is now able to design new nail art and she also helps make some of the beautiful jewelry that Daughters produces.

One of the biggest changes has been in her relationship with her father. Sukunthy left home because of her father’s inappropriate advances toward her. He was physically and verbally abusive but she says he has changed a lot now, and he has stopped drinking. She says she believes these changes have occurred because she has been praying for him. Sukunthy would like to reconcile their relationship and she has heard that her father is eager to do so too. Naturally, she still has fears, but she has been encouraged by her friends at work. So she asks that you pray for her, for the courage and the words when the time comes.

It is clear that Sukunthy has also been growing in her relationship with God. She says she has been learning how to be a good person that is kind and honest, and she is coming to understand and know herself more. She says, “Thank you for always sponsoring me. I wish you good health. God bless you.”

Host Your Own Party!

Pepper & Punjammies in Orange County, California!

Camille and Matt Kittridge hosted one of our famed "Pepper & Punjammies" parties this week at their beautiful Anaheim Hills home...and it was a great success!

As you know, the Pepper Project supports the organization, Daughters of Cambodia to help end sexual slavery in Cambodia. But did you know that YOU can host your own party and invite your friends to help? At your party, guests will enjoy shopping, talking and eating, all for a good cause...to end sex trafficking around the world.

For your party, the Pepper Project will provide 100% Cambodian products including Kampot pepper, Bodia Nature spa products and beautiful items created by the Daughters of Cambodia. Everything is fair trade and proceeds go directly to helping young women and girls of Cambodia to start a new life free of prostitution.

The International Princess Project (IPP), makers of Punjammies, will provide clothing made from Indian sari fabric, crafted by women enslaved in prostitution in India. Like the Daughters of Cambodia, these women are taught the skills needed to earn their living with dignity and free from sexual slavery.

And, we are now partnering with Finding Freedom Jewelry who helps fund safe houses in Thailand. As with Daughters and IPP, these young women are provided education and vocational training.

If you would like to host your own party, please contact us 3-4 weeks in advance and we'll make it a success for everyone!  Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Fair Trade and Good Times!

Pepper & Punjammies Party: May 5, 2011

Basically, it was 20 girlfriends gathering for food, wine, conversation, and shopping. Does it get any better than that? Oh yes…it does. 'Cause it was all for a good cause.

The first ever Pepper & Punjammies Party took place at Pepper Project HQ with items including pepper (black, red & white), spa products (Bodia) and Punjammies (all cotton wear, made in India). The good cause part comes in when you know that everything you buy goes to help women make better lives for themselves.

Each purchase of Cambodian Kampot pepper helps support the hard working farmers of southwestern Cambodia—an area devastated by the Khmer Rouge four decades ago—and each purchase of pepper comes in a cotton drawstring pouch created by women rescued from the sex trade of Phnom Penh. Punjammies are 100% cotton pajama bottoms, tees and tanks created by women rescued from the sex industry of India.

We buy the pepper pouches from Daughters of Cambodia. This organization reaches out to girls working in the sex trade and offers them ways out with the ability to learn a trade and to live a life with dignity. They are not only provided the means to earn a living, but also have access to healthcare, child care and social support services. The Pepper Project gives back 100% of the proceeds to Daughters to support their programs.

Punjammies are hand made from Indian Sari fabric by women who were formerly enslaved in prostitution in India. 100% of the proceeds from Punjammies is used to support the women who made them. Like the women at Daughters, these women now have marketable skills and are empowered to live free. Punjammies is an initiative of International Princess Project.

Future parties will include hand made jewelry benefiting safe houses in Thailand.

Join us! If you would like to host your own Pepper & Punjammies Party, please contact me at least 3 weeks in advance of your party date.

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Products for Sale!

Pepper Project is in full swing!

Well, as promised, we now have product availability and the product shots to prove it! Still some details to work out but it's all good. Check out the "Shop Online" page for more information. The Bodia products are on order but we are taking reservations as supply is limited.

We've received great early response from Tom's 3-part story which has been posted on www.ocregister.com and will publish in the newspaper on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Stay tuned. It's never a dull moment at the Pepper Project!



Latest on the Pepper Project

Great things in store for 2011

The recycled rice bag products we are offering have been met with great enthusiasm.

The bags are made by the Daughters of Cambodia, a group that rescues girls (and boys) from the sex business in Phnom Penh.  All the proceeds will go back to the Daughters of Cambodia.

The items will be on sale at two upcoming events:

A reception at Chapter One: the modern local.  A restaurant scheduled to open next month at 227 N. Broadway in Santa Ana's Artist Village area. Jeff  Hall and his partners will sell Kampot pepper and Chef Oge Dalken will incorporate it in some of his recipes. (www.chapteronetml.com)

Then Chef Haley Nguyen will conduct a cooking demonstration featuring Kampot pepper at her Xanh Bistro, 16161 Brookhurst Street in Fountain Valley.  Haley teaches Culinary Arts at Cypress and Saddleback colleges in addition to running a great restaurant with very innovative dishes.

Details to both events should be coming soon.  Stay tuned.




National Day of Mourning

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Today in Cambodia (Thursday, Nov 25) is a national day of mourning for the victims of Monday's tragedy at the water festival in Phnom Penh. This message was posted on the Daughters of Cambodia facebook page:

"All Daughters clients & staff are safe and have been accounted for after the stampede tragedy the other night!! Some are missing family members and one has a relative with severe injuries and is in the hospital...please pray for supernatural healing and for the restoration of families! today is the national day of mourning... let's pray in joyful dancing for this mourning and crowns of beauty over these ashes!"




Death toll approaches 350

Monday, November 22, 2010

More than 300 people were killed and hundreds injured tonight after a stampede broke out among crowds taking part in a festival in the Cambodian capital.

People panicked as they tried to make their way over a densely packed bridge and many were crushed underfoot or fell over the sides during the final day of the Water festival, one of the main events of the year in Cambodia. One witness who arrived shortly after the stampede said there were "bodies stacked on bodies".

Describing the chaos as the "biggest tragedy" to strike his country since the killings under the Khmer Rouge's reign of terror in the 1970s, the prime minister, Hun Sen, said that 345 people had been killed and 320 injured. State television said at least 240 of the dead were women, according to hospital reports.

Ambulances raced back and forth between the river and the hospitals for several hours after the stampede as the dead and injured were taken away from the scene, which was littered with hundreds of shoes left behind by the living and the dead. Rescuers also looked in the darkness for the bodies of the drowned.

Amid desperate scenes at Calmette hospital, Phnom Penh's main medical facility, wards were filled to capacity with bodies as well as patients, some of whom had to be treated in hallways. One doctor said the two major causes of death were suffocation and electrocution.

But despite suggestions that some of the dead had been electrocuted by the lights on the bridge, the Cambodian government insisted that no one was electrocuted. Many of the injured were badly hurt, raising the prospect that the death toll could rise as hospitals became overwhelmed.

In the third of three post-midnight live television broadcasts, the prime minister said that he had ordered an investigation and declared that Thursday would be a national day of mourning.

A Cambodian embassy official in Washington said that 4 million people had descended on Phnom Penh for the three-day water festival, which marks the end of the rainy season and whose main attraction is the traditional boat races.

The last race ended early on Monday evening, the last night of the holiday, and the panic started later on Koh Pich Diamond Island, a long spit of land wedged in a fork in the river, where a concert was being held. Seeking to escape the island, part of the crowd pushed on to a bridge, which also jammed up, with people falling under others and into the water.

The Guardian


A Horrible Tragedy

Monday, November 22, 2010

Our hearts go out to the hundreds of people who were injured and killed in this weekend's horrible tragedy. What started as a celebration of the Water Festival in Phnom Penh left more than 300 dead and hundreds injured. We are deeply sorry for their loss.


Last Day in Phnom Penh

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Well, it's the last day in Phnom Penh before heading home.

Wasn't able to make connections with Esther at Khmer Life as planned.  Hopefully, we'll be able to do our business through emails.

I went to the Russian Market this morning to finish some last minute shopping, returned to the hotel to pack up so I'm ready to leave for the airport at 9:00 am tomorrow.

The hotel (California 2) has worked out really well. The guys who run it are friendly and helpful. The tacos are really, pretty good. The huevos rancheros are good, even though you have to pay extra…they're not included in the free breakfast. There's plenty of cable TV showing old, bad movies. The same tuk tuk drivers are out front all the time so you get to know them.

All in all, a great trip…very productive…have many of the pieces in place to get this business going.


Another Incredible Day!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I had a very enjoyable lunch at Malis with Starling Farm owners, Mark and Anna. They've had an interesting journey starting the farm, creating innovative growing techniques and receiving Kampot Pepper authentication. They are going to be a great partner.

After lunch, I picked up the new packaging from Daughters of Cambodia and it looks great. Ruth gave me a tour of the day center which was an eye-opening experience. They gave me brochures, a copy of the DVD and photos which we can use for promotion. They also sent me off with various items from the shop to sell on consignment.

Another incredible day. I feel like the pieces are in place to make this a great success.



A truly incredible day

Monday, November 15, 2010

Today, I plan to take a walk to the beach and the crab market and still replaying the details of yesterday.

Phary has been incredible. He was so jazzed when we were distributing all the backpacks to the kids yesterday. It was amazing.

And having the doctor come in to the clinic on his day off…on a scooter…was so grateful for everything. He looked at each item, said something to his assistant in Khmer and went on to the next item. He said, "people in the city have money. They don't have money out here and can't afford things like this."

That was truly one of the most incredible days of my life.