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Monday
Apr272009

TasteSpotting

If you like eye-candy (eye-food?), here is a recipe website to check out: TasteSpotting.

Try searching for ingredients like quinoa, or words like "summer".

Saturday
Mar282009

Chorizo & Black Bean Soup

Maybe I should set up a Husband Rating scale for these recipes. I didn't think Sean would like this one because of the black beans, but he devoured the whole bowl and said it was good, hurray! 

This is a hearty, warming soup; by substituting the chorizo and chicken broth, it also makes a great vegetarian soup. 

Photo: Chorizo & Black Bean soup. I'm not good at taking food photographs yet; it looks less tasty than it is.

Ingredients: 

1-2 large links of chorizo (spicy cured pork sausage)

1 medium onion, chopped

3-5 garlic cloves, minced or put through a garlic press

1 small green bell pepper (or another colour), chopped

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp chili powder

0.5 to 1 can black beans, drained, but leave the mushy stuff in the bottom of the can

1 can tomatoes, crushed or whole (cut up the whole tomatoes with a fork, knife, or potato masher)

2 cups chicken broth

1 bay leaf

A few sprigs of herbs such as thyme, oregano

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Cilantro or a bit of cheddar to garnish. 

Steps: 

  1. In a soup pot, saute the onion and garlic. 
  2. In a separate pan (or also in the soup pot to save on washing), cook the chorizo. I like to either cook the whole link then slice it into coins, or slice it while slightly frozen then cook it. 
  3. Add the vegetables to the pot, as well as the cumin and chili powder, and saute them for a few minutes. 
  4. Pour in the chicken broth, tomatoes, beans, and herbs. Simmer the soup for at least 10 minutes. 
  5. Remove the bay leaf and sprigs of herbs. 
  6. Garnish and serve!

 Variations: 

  • Add more vegetables! Bell peppers in different colours, mushrooms, celery, spinach. 
  • Use ham or bacon instead of chorizo. 
  • Omit the chorizo, and use vegetable broth, for a vegetarian variation. 
  • Epicurious.com's Black Bean and Chorizo soup adds chili flakes (or you could add chili paste) garnishes with lemon. 
  • SimplyRecipe's Black Bean Soup also sounds really tasty. 
Wednesday
Mar182009

Mango salsa

I learned how to cut up a mango from a Hercule Poirot TV mystery. If it's firm you can try to peel it, but Poirot's method is far less messy when the mango is very ripe. 

Hercule Poirot: The Theft of the Royal Ruby 

Forward to 4:25 for how to slice a mango.

Ingredients: 

1 mango

1/2 onion, red or white, finely sliced

1 garlic clove (optional), minced or put through a garlic press 

1 jalapeno, minced (optional) - omit the seeds to make the salsa less spicy

2-3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice

A few tablespoons of chopped cilantro leaves

Salt & pepper to taste 

Note the raw garlic will lend spiciness, so you may want to reduce how much garlic or jalapeno you put in. 

Steps: 

Mix everything together! Leftovers will the next day will have time for the garlic and jalapeno to infuse the mango. 

Use with: 

Fish, chicken, or with nachos!

Photo: Not mango salsa, but pineapple salsa!

Variations:  

  • Simply Recipes' Mango Salsa adds cucumber and suggests avocado. 
  • Add chopped tomato. I can eat tomatoes with anything. 
  • Mint might be interesting instead of cilantro.
  • For pineapple salsa, substitute pineapple for the mango. Pineapple bought in Canada tends to be acidic (I pine for Caribbean pineapple!) so add less lemon juice. 

 

Tuesday
Mar172009

Zesty quinoa chickpea salad

Quinoa is a tasty, nutty grain (technically a seed) that is full of fibre and protein. Here we can buy it at the supermarket but you can also try your local organic, health, or bulk food market. Sean & I cook it when we want something hearty yet healthy; it's more expensive than rice or couscous but so much more satisfying. I first learned about it from Gluten Free girl

This recipe is an adaptation of Real Simple Magazine's Minty Chickpea Salad with Couscous

Ingredients: 

1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked (about 1 cup cooked)

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 teaspoons grated lemon or orange zest

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

A large handful of ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges: I like to use halved or quartered cherry tomatoes

1/2 small sweet onion, such as a white onion but red is good too - thinly sliced

1/4 cup fresh mint or basil, rolled into a chiffonade and sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

Lemon or orange juice to taste

Steps:  

  1. Cook the quinoa according to the instructions. Set aside to cool in a large bowl while you prepare the other ingredients. 
  2. Mix together the quinoa, chickpeas, tomatoes, onions, herbs, and olive oil. 
  3. Season with salt & pepper, and squeeze in some lemon or orange juice to taste. 

This version has cilantro and actually doesn't have quinoa, but you get the idea...

 Variations:  

  • Instead of quinoa, use couscous or bulgar wheat. Or skip it all together. 
  • Instead of mint or basil, use fresh thyme. Fresh herbs in this are awesome!
  • Use yellow and orange tomatoes for more fun colours. 
  • Toss in some nuts (almonds, pine nuts, walnuts).

 

 

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