It’s that time of year again… Fiesta! I haven’t blogged for a couple months, but I’m now in my final stretch living in California (for a while at least), so I figure I might as well enjoy and share as much of the Golden State as I can! Fiesta is a truly unique Santa Barbara tradition. Officially 90 years strong as of this Wednesday. It’s a unique blend of culture, history, food, music, dance and booze. Basically the world’s best combination in my opinion. This week I’m going to share some of my favorite, both new and old, Mexican inspired recipes.
I love this salad! It’s fast and easy. Light and fresh. And it makes a perfect alternative side dish to a Mexican meal instead of traditional black or pinto bean dishes. I had originally planned on serving this as a side dish with tequila lime chicken, but I was so hungry for lunch that I decided to skip the rest of the meal and just dig in. Excellent decision. If you wanted to add some more bulk to the salad, some chopped romaine would be great. If I had some cilantro on hand (my plants have refused to last longer than 5 days this summer!) or corn kernels (I can’t eat whole corn, but if you can), I know both would have made the best addition .
- 2+ cloves garlic, minced
- 3 limes, juiced
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 15 ounce canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 red onion, finely diced
- 1 medium avocado, diced
- 1/2 jicama, cut into thin matchsticks
- 2 ounces queso fresco (or feta), crumbled
- In a large bowl, combine the garlic, lime juice, oil, cumin, crushed red pepper, and salt.
- Add the black beans, chickpeas, tomato, onion and jicama. When ready to eat, gently mix in avocado, sprinkle with queso fresco and serve right away.
Sticking with this week’s loosely Asian inspired theme, this is a fairly quick , easy and very delicious recipe.
The shrimp stir-fry makes for a quick meal and is great for a weeknight meal. These shrimp are absolutely delicious. I thought the shrimp and their sauce was the perfect topping for the fried rice, but noodles or even a salad could work just as well. I used this recipe to clean out my vegetable door. I just used whatever I had on hand, but you can use any veggies you want.
Drunken Shrimp with Veggie Fried Rice
Shrimp adapted from this recipe from Chow.
For the Rice:
- 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 large onion (I used 1/2 red and 1/2 white to clean out the fridge)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted
- 10 green beans or snap peas, chopped
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 2-3 Tablespoons gluten-free Tamari
- 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
- 3 green onions, finely sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesames
For the Shrimp:
- 3 Tablespoons low-sodium gluten-free Tamari sauce
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed (seeded if you don't like spice) and thinly sliced
- 2 Tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 12 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 lemongrass stalk, tough outer layer removed and cut into 4 pieces
- 1/4 cup vodka
For the Rice:
- Preheat a large skillet or wok to medium heat. Add sesame oil. When oil is heated onion, garlic, bell peppers, peas and carrots and sauté until tender.
- Add the rice to the veggie mixture. Pour the soy sauce on top. Stir and fry the rice and veggie mixture until heated through and combined. Top chopped green onions and sesame seeds and serve.
For the Shrimp:
- Place the soy sauce, garlic, jalapeños, cilantro, lime juice, oil, and sugar in a shallow dish and stir to combine. Add the shrimp and lemongrass and stir to coat. Let marinate for 10 minutes at room temperature.
- Heat a large frying pan over high heat until hot, about 3 minutes. Add the shrimp mixture and cook until the shrimp are bright pink, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully add the vodka. Return the pan to high heat and cook for 1 minute more or until the alcohol smell has dissipated. Remove the lemongrass pieces and serve the shrimp and sauce over rice.
Posted in Cooking, Fish, Food, Gluten-free, Recipes, Side Dish
Tagged gluten free, recipes, rice, shrimp, side dish, vodka
Here’s a quick and easy dip that’s perfect for any of your last minute cinco de mayo needs! All you need is a food processor and a few ingredients that are probably already in your pantry. This dip is easy to make and easy to serve, plus there’s not absolutely no cooking involved, which makes it a perfect summertime dip. I recommend serving it with tortilla chips and veggies, but you could use it with nachos or on quesadillas as well.
I felt that three chipotles was the perfect amount for this dip. It gave it a nice smoky, spicy taste, but it wasn’t spicy to the point that you couldn’t eat the dip. You notice the spice, but it’s subtle. I thought the dip was delicious when I made it, but it tasted even the better the next day. If you have the time, I would really recommend trying to stick it in the fridge for a few hours and let the flavors mingle.
- 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained & rinsed
- 5 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro (mainly leaves, a few stems are okay)
- 2-4 limes, juiced
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek, you can use sour cream too)
- 2-4 chipotle chiles in adobo (depending on your heat preference), coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- In a food processor, combine all ingredients except salt & pepper, and process until smooth. Taste for seasoning, add salt & pepper to taste, and if you prefer a thinner dip, continue processing, adding lime juice 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
- Garnish with 2 Tbsp. of chopped cilantro (if desired) before serving.
Posted in Appetizer, Cooking, Food, Gluten-free, Recipes, Side Dish, Vegan
Tagged black beans, cooking, food, mexican, recipes, vegan
It took me nearly a quarter century to realize that avocados weren’t absolutely vile, disgusting and gross. Up until the time I was about 24, I would act like a three year old anytime an avocado came near my food. If avocado or guacamole touched anything, I refused to eat it. Luckily I have since learned the error of my ways and have grown to love guacamole (I’m still working on plain avocado (it’s totally a texture thing)). This is an ever so slight twist on my favorite guacamole recipe and I have to say it’s pretty amazing.
This guacamole recipe is not for the faint of heart. If you don’t love garlic, you should just skip this one, but if you’re like me and insist on adding inappropriate amounts of garlic to everything, this will be the perfect guacamole for you! Roasting garlic might seem like a bit of a hassle to do, but really it couldn’t be easier! And trust me, it’s definitely worth it. The extra flavor it brings to the guac is out of this world.
- 2 whole garlic bulbs
- 3 large avocados
- 2-4 limes
- 1/2 large red or white onion, diced
- 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 roma tomatoes, diced
- 1 jalapeño, finely diced (include seeds if you want heat!)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste (be generous)
To Roast Garlic:
- Heat oven to 400. With a sharp knife, chop off top 1/4 to 1/3 of garlic head, so that the bulbs are exposed. Place in small oven safe dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with aluminum foil and roast in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes.
For the Guacamole:
- Cut avocados in half, remove pit and scoop out flesh into large bowl. Squeeze in lime juice. Remove all the garlic cloves from bulbs and add to bowl. Mash together (you can use a wooden spoon, fork, potato masher, etc.).
- Add cilantro, onion, tomato, jalapeño, and salt and pepper. Mix together until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Feel free to add more lime juice or salt and pepper to taste.
Posted in Appetizer, Cooking, Food, Gluten-free, Recipes, Side Dish, Vegan
Tagged Appetizer, avocado, food, garlic, gluten free, mexican, recipes, vegan, vegetarian
It’s already getting warm here. We had approximately two days of rain and a maybe four cold-ish (by Southern California standards) days and we are apparently heading right back into summer. I’m not a fan. The only plus side is that I now have a legitimate reason to insist on barbecuing as often as possible. I was all set to grill up a delicious meal the other day and it turned out we had no propane left, which is kind of a major component to using a gas grill. Memo to Self: always check for propane.
The meal was not a total loss because I had made some delicious side dishes to go with the meat. This salad is probably going to be in regular rotation over the next few months around here. It’s a very easy to make and very delicious. I originally used white balsamic vinegar in my dressing for this salad, but I honestly thought it turned out a bit too sweet. I think apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar would be a much better match. I used dill in the potato salad because it had a ton on hand, but you could use just about fresh herbs you have on hand. Parsley or basil would be great and I think arugula really would be great too.
Gluten Free Greek Yogurt & Herb Potato Salad
- 1 1/2 pounds unpeeled red or yellow potatoes
- 3/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 4 scallions, sliced
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh dill
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Bring water to a boil in a large pot fitted with a steamer basket. Add potatoes, cover and cook until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and when potatoes have cool enough to touch, cut into quarters and halves (depending on size). Let cut potatoes cool to room temperature.
- Combine yogurt, scallions, dill, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the cooled potatoes and toss to coat.
Oh, poor little neglected blog, how I have missed you! Last semester was so crazy and so interesting (microbiology!) that I barely had time to procrastinate and since most of my blogging is born out of procrastination, things just kind of stopped around here. Luckily, I have a much easier course load this semester and I have already been accepted to nursing school (yay!), so hopefully things will start looking a little more normal around here…
I made this dip at the beginning of football season to go with some football watching. It was an instant hit in my (play)book and since the season is now only one game away from being over, I guess I better share it before it’s too late (I’m not even going to apologize for those horrible football puns).
Chipotle and ranch are probably two of my favorite flavors. Combining them resulted in what I think is the world’s best dip. This dip is the perfect combination of slightly spicy, tangy and absolutely delicious. I served the dip with some veggies and kettle chips, but I think it would be a great dipping sauce for chicken wings if they are your thing.
Greek Yogurt Chipotle Ranch Dip
- 1 3/4 cups plain Greek yogurt (I used Fage 0%)
- 1/4 high-quality mayonnaise (I recommend Hollywood Safflower Mayo)
- 3 Tablespoons dry ranch dressing mix
- 4 green onions, finely chopped and some reserved for garnish
- 1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1+ canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced (add more if you like it spicy!)
- In a medium sized bowl, mix together yogurt, mayonnaise, ranch mix, almost all the green onions, cilantro, garlic, lime juice and chipotle. Mix until well blended. Refrigerate until needed. Serve with veggies or potato chips.
Posted in Appetizer, Cooking, Food, Gluten-free, Recipes, Side Dish, vegetarian
Tagged Appetizer, chipotle, dip, gluten free, greek yogurt, ranch, recipes, vegetarian
My wonderful friend Zack sent me this recipe last week and told me to “stop what I was doing and make this”. Zack and I have fairly similar palates, so I had a feeling that I would like this salad. I didn’t just like this salad, I loved it. I have yet to find a combination of cilantro and lime that I dislike, so I might not be the most neutral judge, but this salad was pretty close to perfect. Chickpeas make a really great neutral base, which allows the other flavors to really shine through.
I ended up accidentally doubling recipe. I was trying to use up some use it or lose it spinach, which ended up being way more than the originally suggested four cups. It turned out to be a fortunate accident since I had leftovers for days. I upped the amount of garlic and took it easier on the olive oil. I also omitted the sugar the original recipe called for, but that’s just a personal preference. I never add sugar to any type of dressing.
Cilantro Lime Chickpea Salad
- 4 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 6 loosely packed cups fresh spinach
- 1 onion, chopped diced
- juice from 8 limes
- 1 bunch of cilantro (about loosely packed cup)
- 4 Tablespoons dijon mustard
- 8 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 3/4 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Chop the spinach very finely (feel free to use a food processor and pulse 3-4 times). Add the chickpeas, onion, and spinach to a large bowl.
- In the same food processor add the lime juice, cilantro, mustard, garlic, chili powder, and olive oil. Blend until it comes together into a dressing, about 30-45 seconds.
- Pour over the chickpea mixture and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for at least 15 minutes on the counter (or overnight in the fridge) to let the flavors get friend.
Posted in Cooking, Food, Gluten-free, Recipes, Salad, Side Dish, Vegan, vegetarian
Tagged chickpeas, cooking, food, gluten free, recipes, salad, spinach, vegan, vegetarian
At the beginning of my summer break I managed to squeeze in a few quick trips to visit some friends. A long, relaxing weekend in San Francisco and a quick cross-country jaunt to Washington, DC. I first had this salad at Granville Moore’s on H Street. It was a delightful start of a delicious meal.
DC was hot and humid (aka gross), but the muggy weather helped to make this salad even more enjoyable. The icy cold watermelon is perfect anytime during the summer, but paired with the peppery arugula and crunchy pickled onions it was even sweeter and more delicious.
Watermelon & Feta Salad with Pickled Onions & Dill Vinaigrette
For the Pickled Onions:
- 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
For the Vinaigrette:
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 5 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the Salad:
- 3 cups arugula
- 3 cups of baby spinach
- 2 cups cubed watermelon, well chilled
- 1/2 cup pickled onions (drained)
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, or more to taste
- Start preparing the onions. Whisk first 3 ingredients and 1 cup water in a small bowl until sugar and salt dissolve. Place onion in a jar; pour vinegar mixture over. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Cover and chill. Drain onions before using.
- Next prepare the vinaigrette. In a food processor, combine the oil, vinegar, dill weed, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, dry mustard and pepper. Blend until smooth, cover and refrigerate until chilled.
- When the onions and vinaigrette are ready, prepare the salad. Arrange the arugula and spinach on a serving platter. Scatter the pickled onions over the top, followed by about half of the crumbled feta, then the watermelon cubes, and finally the remaining feta. Use a spoon to drizzle dill vinaigrette over the salad immediately before serving.
Posted in Cooking, Dinner, Food, Gluten-free, Recipes, Salad, Side Dish, vegetarian
Tagged cooking, dressing, food, gluten free, onions, recipes, salad, vegetarian, vinegar, watermelon