Chipotle-Spiked Mango Cantaloupe Gazpacho

12 Aug

I’m back!  I finally stopped being lazy and decided to start blogging again.  It took a really tasty summer soup to motivate me.  This soup is inspired by a wonderful gazpacho I had last week at my favorite food trailer ever, Counter Culture.  I tasted the gazpacho and immediately knew I had to try to replicate it at home.  I asked Sue, the mastermind behind Counter Culture’s deliciousness, what the ingredients were, and I wrote down a list.  I think I included everything but the papaya juice, and replaced the mint in the original soup with cilantro.  My gazpacho turned out very refreshing and tasty, so I thought it was time to share a culinary success on my blog.  This fruit gazpacho turned out much better than most of my attempts to make a savory, tomato-based version.  Here goes….It’s yummy!


3 mangoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

3 cups chopped cantaloupe (I used most of this melon, with about 1 cup to spare)

Juice of one large lime

Juice of one medium orange

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder (I found this in the bulk spices section of the grocery store)

1/4 tsp-1/2 tsp sea salt

2 -3 cups water


Prepare fruit.  Put about half the fruit in a food processor or blender, along with the orange and lime juice, the cilantro, chipotle powder, and salt.  Put remaining fruit chunks in your serving bowl.  Puree the fruit with the indicated ingredients, and add to the serving bowl.  Add water until you have your desired consistency.  Chill for several hours before serving unless your fruit was already cold (mine was at room temperature).

Makes about 4 or 5 bowls of gazpacho.


Everything Quinoa Salad

21 Feb

I love quinoa salads.  There, I said it.  I realize I already have a few other quinoa salad recipes on my blog, but I keep coming up with new versions of the quinoa+beans+vegetables and/or fruits formula.  Today I made a salad that was sort of tropical, because it has some mango and plantain, but it’s special because it really has a little of everything.  Raisins, peas, mango, plantains, red and green onion, and more.  It also has a lime juice-based dressing, which I adore.  There is no super strong flavor in this salad.  It’s really a mix a many equally wonderful flavors and textures.


1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained

2 cups water

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 cups of cooked chickpeas, or 1 can, rinsed and drained

1 small mango, diced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

2/3 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 cup raisins

1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

4 scallions, sliced thinly

1/4 cup chopped red onioin

1/2 sliced steamed or sauteed plantain

Pepper and salt to taste

Juice of 2 limes, about 1/4 cup

2 T extra virgin olive oil

1 T red wine vinegar

1 T agave nectar or honey


Cook the quinoa (this is a good step to do the day before, since the quinoa needs to cool completely).  Bring the water and salt to a boil, add the quinoa, and turn down to medium low heat.  Cover, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the water is completely absorbed.  Set aside to cool.

Combine chickpeas, cooled quinoa, mango, pepper, cilantro, raisins, plantain, peas, red onion, and green onion.  Make the dressing.  Combine the lime juice, olive oil, vinegar, and agave nectar in a bowl and whisk together.  Add to the salad and mix until well-combined.  Taste, and add salt if needed.  Add pepper to taste.

Colombian Beans

16 Feb

This recipe is loosely based on the Colombian-Style Red Beans from Terry Hope Romero’s Viva Vegan, though I made several small changes.  I’ve been intrigued about traveling to Colombia, and until I can actually go, I plan to make Colombian food!  So far I’ve made these beans and arepas (like really thick corn tortillas–heaven!  I’ll post about those some other day).  I made a special trip to my local Fiesta Supermarket, which sells anything Latin you can imagine.  Previously I had searched for the beans I needed for this dish, bola roja or cargamanto beans, which are both common in Colombian cooking, in several grocery stores.  However, Fiesta seems to be the only store in Austin that carries these beans, though they can also be ordered online.  I bought a bag of the Goya brand bola roja beans, and they are so beautiful!  And they are definitely bola roja (red ball)-shaped.  They are definitely more expensive than other varieties of red beans, but totally worth it, at least for the novelty factor.

I cooked my own beans for this, but if you are pressed for time use canned red beans for this recipe.  Beans can be cooked a day or two ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to complete the remaining steps.


8 oz. dry bola roja or cargamanto beans, or 2 cans of red beans, rinsed and drained (should be about 4 cups of cooked beans)

1-2 T olive oil

1/2 large green bell pepper, chopped

1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped

1 tsp dried oregano

1 1/2 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

3-4 cups vegetable broth or water

Salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper


To cook the beans:

Soak the beans in plenty of water for at least 3-4 hours, or overnight.  When ready to cook, drain and rinse the soaked beans.  Place in a medium to large pot, cover with water (about 5 or 6 cups of water).  Turn the burner on high and bring the beans to a boil.  Once the beans start to boil, turn the heat down to medium low, cover, and let cook for about 2 hours.  Check occasionally to ensure there is enough water.  Beans are done once tender. 

To prepare the final dish

Heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the pepper, onion, garlic, and carrot.  Cook for around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the oregano, paprika, cumin, and then the beans and water or broth.  Add salt, about 1 tsp to start.  You can always add more later if needed.  Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, turn down to medium low, cover, and cook for about 30 minutes.  Remove from heat, taste and add salt if needed. 

Simple Cabbage Salad

14 Feb

I make different variations of cabbage salad quite often.  This latest version I made today based on ingredients I had around, including fresh dill, which I’d never used for this type of salad before.  I tend to think of cabbage salads as going well with Latin food, and dill is not what I think of when I think of Latin food.  I bought some at the farmers’ market yesterday to use for the borscht I plan to make sometime this week, but it’s really too much dill for one recipe.  A tip I always give people about fresh herbs is to use them in salads.  They really do add a lot of flavor.  Here, I use cilantro and dill.


4-5 cups shredded cabbage (either buy the pre-shredded bagged kind or shred your cabbage using a box grater or food processor)

1 medium carrot, shredded

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (don’t bother to tear the leaves from the stems–use the stems too)

1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped

4 scallions, thinly sliced, using the green parts too

1 cup grape tomatoes (I recommend keeping these out of the refrigerator and adding them upon serving the salad.  Refrigerated tomatoes are not very good.)

1/2 large avocado, sliced

Combine all ingredients.  Add avocado upon serving.  Do not add the avocado directly to the salad if you think you will have leftovers.  Next, make the dressing.


Juice of one lemon

Juice of one large lime

3 T extra virgin olive oil

1 T agave nectar or honey

1/2 tsp sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Add all ingredients in a bowl and whisk.  Add to the salad and toss.

Gluten-Free Buckwheat Pancakes with Strawberry Jam

7 Feb

I made these pancakes last week on my snow day, when all of Austin basically shut down due to ice and snow.  They were a perfect antidote to the cold, along with a steaming cup of coffee.  This recipe is from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Vegan Brunch. I have been experimenting a bit with gluten-free baked goods.  The ingredients are almost the same as Isa’s recipe, though the instructions are not word for word.  They turned out quite well, and I’m excited to try more gluten-free recipes.  Any syrup or whatever you put on pancakes works of course, though I used some of the strawberry jam I made last May after picking pounds and pounds of them at a local pick-your-own farm.


1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 cup oat flour (recipe calls for 1/4 cup quinoa flour and 1/4 cup corn flour, but I had neither)

2 T tapioca flour, arrowroot powder, or cornstarch (I used arrowroot)

1 T ground flax

1 T baking powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup almond milk or other nondairy milk

1/2 cup water

2 T brown rice syrup or maple syrup

2 T safflower oil or other neutral oil, like canola

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Extra oil or cooking spray for the pan or griddle.


Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.  Add the wet ingredients and whisk together.  Let sit for about 10 minutes.

While the batter sits, heat your skillet or griddle over medium heat.  Add a bit of oil or cooking spray to your pan (you may need to add additional oil or cooking spray between pancakes to prevent them from sticking).  Use approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake.  Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.  Adjust the heat if the pancakes are taking a long time to brown (up) or if the outside gets too dark before the inside is cooked.  Serve with jam or fruit butter, honey, maple syrup, almond butter, or your favorite pancake topping.  Store any leftovers either in the refrigerator if you plan to eat them within a few days, or freeze them.

Green Juice

6 Feb

Since I got my juicer last fall, I drink a 16-oz. green juice about 4 or 5 days a week.  I change up the recipe daily, though some elements are always the same, such as the apple, lemon or lime, and cucumber.  I like to add a beet sometimes, though the green juice then becomes red juice!  You’d be surprised how good this juice is.  The key is the apple to add sweetness and the lemon to cut through the bitterness of some of the vegetables. For the last week I’ve been loosely following Kris Carr’s 21-Day Adventure Cleanse….I’ll post about that later.  I’ve fallen off the coffee wagon because it was cold and I REALLY wanted coffee, but have managed to implement most of the other elements of the diet.  You can read about it on Kris’s website and/or buy her book, Crazy Sexy Diet.

The amounts in the recipe are imprecise, because I’ve never measured anything.  This recipe should yield about 16-20 ounces of juice, enough for one person.


1/2 cucumber, peeled

1 stalk celery

1 carrot, top removed

3 leaves Romaine lettuce, or 2 or 3 handfuls of green leaf or red leaf lettuce

1 or 2 handfuls kale

1 or 2 handfuls spinach

About 1 cup green cabbage

1 lemon, halved and peeled

1 medium apple, quartered


Juice.  Drink.

Roasted Broccoli and Rice Salad with Tahini Lemon Dressing

6 Feb

This is one of those improvisational dishes that turned out well.  It is an iteration of the grain/bean/vegetable template that makes a satisfying and healthful meal.  I cooked up some brown rice for this ahead of time, though if I had any leftover cooked grain I would have used that.  Quinoa, for example, would make an excellent replacement for the brown rice, as would millet or bulgar wheat.  In place of broccoli you could use cauliflower or any vegetable really, depending on what you might need to use up or what’s in season.  The dressing has become a favorite of mine–a very simple combination of olive oil, tahini, and lemon juice.  In place of tofu, any bean would work, particularly chickpeas.



2 cups cooked brown rice

1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed for a minute in the microwave

1/4 cup chopped walnuts or almonds

1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 lb broccoli

Olive oil

Salt to taste

6-8 oz. extra firm tofu or 1 1/2 cups cooked beans, such as chickpeas


2 T tahini

2 T extra virgin olive oil

Juice of one lemon

2 twists freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 F.   Prepare the broccoli by washing it and cutting it into small trees.  Toss with olive oil and salt (about a tablespoon of oil) on a cookie sheet or glass baking pan (I prefer the cookie sheet–easier to clean).  Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender.

While the broccoli is roasting, prepare the other components of the salad.  Chop the walnuts, tomatoes, onion, parsley, and olives, and add to the rice in a medium bowl.  Microwave the corn for 1 minute on a small plate or in a bowl.  Add to the salad.  Make the dressing by whisking the tahini, olive oil, pepper, and lemon juice together.  Toss with the salad.

Mix in the broccoli and tofu.  Serve.

Smoky Black Bean Quinoa Salad

9 Dec

I recently started volunteering at the Sustainable Food Center.  My first major task was helping with a project to test several recipes for the revision of the Happy Kitchen cookbook, and important part of the SFC’s Happy Kitchen cooking class program.  I picked Smoky Black Bean Salad and Cranberry Sauce.  I had a lot of fun doing this and testing the recipes with different groups to get their feedback.  This particular recipe I’ve made my own, by upping the chipotle and cilantro, and adding some more color with the carrot and red bell pepper.  The salad makes for a really nice, light meal paired with some soup or a vegetable dish, or by itself.  Last night I ate a plate of this salad with some roasted acorn squash I had left over with some honey drizzled over the top.  Yum!  Healthy dinner after a nice run. 


1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

2 cups cooked black beans, or 1 can, drained and rinsed

3-4 green onions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup cilantro

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1 medium carrot, grated with a box grater or finely chopped

2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped

1 tsp adobo sauce

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp fine sea salt


First, rinse and drain the quinoa.  Bring the water and salt to a boil.  Add the quinoa, lower the heat to medium or medium low.  Cover and cook for approximately 20 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.  Remove the pan from the heat, and allow the quinoa to cool completely before proceeding with the remainder of the recipe.  If you use hot quinoa to make the salad, the texture becomes mushy. 

Place the quinoa in a large bowl suitable for mixing.  Add the black beans, green onions, carrot, red bell pepper, and cilantro.

Next, make the dressing.  Combine the chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cumin, and salt in a small bowl.  Whisk together until everything is well combined.  Add to the quinoa mixture and stir to mix until the dressing is well distributed.  Serve cold or at room temperature.  Use the salad within a week of making it.

The CSA Challenge Part III: Peppers

23 Nov

Here are a few recipes to show some examples of how I’ve used the peppers I got in my CSA box a few weeks ago (yes, I still have some of the veggies, but they’re almost gone!).  Besides these recipes, I’ve also used the serrano and Anaheim peppers for the following:

  • 1 chopped Anaheim pepper to mix with my cornbread batter
  • 2 serranos for a batch of refried pinto beans
  • 1 chopped Anaheim pepper for a raw collards salad

Roasted Pepper Hummus


1 Anaheim pepper

1 bell pepper or other mild pepper (mine was an Italian Ringo pepper, an oblong yellow sweet pepper)

2 T olive oil, plus more for brushing the peppers

2 cups cooked chickpeas (1 can, drained and rinsed is good too)

Large handful cilantro (no need to chop, the food processor will take care of that)

2 whole peeled garlic cloves

2 T tahini

1/2 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste if necessary


Heat oven to 400.  Brush peppers with olive oil, and place on cookie sheet.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until the peppers are cooked and brown, like this:

Let peppers cool completely before using in the hummus.  Remove stems and seeds.  Combine all ingredients in the food processor, and whirl until everything is well combined, scraping the sides once or twice if needed.  Serve on bread, on sandwiches, or as a dip for crudite.

Salsa Verde

This green salsa was inspired by Kippy Nigh’s recipe in her cookbook A Taste of Mexico.  The salsa was fantastic with some molletes (toasted bread slathered with refried beans, salsa, and cashew/tofu cream) and the seitan tacos I made a few weeks ago.  Though I used the serrano peppers I got in my CSA share for this, I also found some tomatillos at my local farmers market, so this was a mostly local salsa! 


3-4 tomatillos, peeled

2 serrano or 1 jalapeno pepper

1 clove garlic

1/2 white or yellow onion, chopped

1/2 tsp sea salt

About 1.5 cups water

Handful of cilantro


Place all ingredients except the cilantro in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Turn down to medium high heat and cook for about 8-10 minutes, or until the tomatillos are cooked (they’ll be tender instead of firm as when they are fresh).  Once done, place the pan contents in a food processor along with the cilantro, and whirl until you have salsa.  Add water if you want a thinner consistency.

Baking with Vegetables: Pumpkin Muffins and Sweet Potato Brownies

21 Nov

My original thought for making a vegetable-added brownie was to make a beet brownie.  I eventually will, but I had a sweet potato to use.
Sweet potatoes in particular add sweetness to the brownies such that less sugar is necessary.  I also had to make pumpkin muffins because I had yet to make them this fall, though they are one of the things I most look forward to making in the fall and winter.  The pumpkin muffins are inspired by the Yammy Muffins recipe from the Sustainable Food Center’s The Happy Kitchen cookbook, which I’m currently doing some recipe testing for.  I changed up that recipe quite a bit, reducing the amount of sugar, increasing the pumpkin, eliminating the oil, and using pumpkin in place of sweet potato.  Overall, using vegetables in baking adds moisture so that less oil and eggs are necessary, and in the case of beets and sweet potatoes, adds sweetness so that you don’t need to add so much sugar.  Of course, there’s also the added nutrition factor.

Pumpkin Muffins


1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinammon

1/2 cup barley malt syrup

1/2 cup almond milk (or any milk will do)

1 15-oz. can pumpkin

2 T ground flax mixed with 6 T water, or 2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup grain-sweetened chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 400.  Line a 12-cup muffin pan with papers, or dab some vegetable oil or butter in the cups to keep the muffins from sticking.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  In another smaller bowl combine the pumpkin, flax mixture or eggs, vanilla, barley malt, and almond milk.  Then, mix the dry and wet ingredients together, until just combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  Evenly distribute muffin batter in the muffin pan.  Bake for 30 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.

Sweet Potato Brownies


4 T (1/2 stick) butter or non-hydrogenated margarine (I think coconut oil would be good here too, though I haven’t tried it yet.)

1  4-ounce bar of 100% cacao chocolate (I used Ghiradelli brand)

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup turbinado sugar

About 1 cup mashed sweet potato (about 1 large sweet potato)

1 T ground flax mixed with 3 T water, or 1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract


Peel the sweet potato, cut into chunks, and boil until tender.  (Another alternative is to cut a few slits in the potato and microwave until it’s cooked, usually about 10 minutes.)  Mash in a medium bowl.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Melt the butter with the chocolate bar in a medium saucepan or skillet over medium low heat until completely melted.  Stir during the process to facilitate the combining of the butter and chocolate.

Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and salt) together in a small bowl.  Mix the flax mixture or egg with the sweet potato, vanilla, and sugar.  Add the chocolate mixture, then add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Place in a square 8×8 pan, or a loaf pan for thicker brownies (that’s what I did).  Bake for about 25 minutes.  The brownies will be very fudgy, not cakey.