Garden Picadillo

Picadillo is a different dish throughout Latin America and even into the Philippines. The Cuban version is what most people are familiar with, made with ground beef, raisins, and olives. Plenty of layers of flavor. This version is from the garden. It is totally vegan, but you can add ground meat or cheese if you like.

1 lb bell peppers, any color, chopped
1 lb mild green chiles, chopped, I used New Mexico peppers
1 yellow onion, diced
12 oz pigeon peas, cooked, drained, and rinsed
12 oz black beans, cooked, drained, and rinsed
12 oz salsa verde*
1 Cup sliced green olives
1 TB cumin
1 TB chili powder
3 TB olive oil
1/2 Cup raisins (optional)

Put everything except the salsa and olives in large skillet or chef’s pan over medium heat. Saute, stirring often until onions are soft and translucent. Add salsa and olives. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes to let flavors marry. Serve over rice.

* I make my own salsa verde with chiles from my garden and tomatillos. Trader Joe’s and 365 both have good salsa verde off the shelf.

I don’t put the raisins in for two reasons: I don’t care for raisins and my dogs get people food. Dogs can’t eat raisins. Or grapes.

Sweet Potato Tostadas

Sweet potatoes are pretty much my favorite root. I like making savory dishes with them to help deconstruct the marshmallow casserole culture. I also like serving creamy foods over crunchy foods, which means we eat a lot of tostadas of different sorts. And they are pretty and fun to eat.

For the base:
You can either buy fried tostada shells or make your own from corn tortillas. I brushed a few soft corn tortillas with oil and baked them until crispy. You can brush them with flavor infused oil, like garlic oil or chili oil or use regular vegetable oil and sprinkle with cumin and chili powder. Bake at 375 F for about 10 minutes. ** Put them on parchment paper to prevent sticking and keep char off the tortilla and your pan.

For the sweet potatoes:
1 potato makes 3 tostadas. I bake all of mine when I pick them up from the CSA and keep them in the fridge to use throughout the week.

Mash the peeled sweet potatoes with taco seasoning. Heat through.

 

Pick some fun toppings:

salsa verde, crumbled queso blanco or white cheddar, avocado cubes, chorizo chunks, chopped cilantro, olives

Try it with a poached egg as a brunch tostada!

Nacho Greens and Pigeon Peas

In the South, we eat Collard Greens on January 1st to bring us wealth in the new year. I would prefer tacos. So I made collard greens into tacos. You can put it atop nacho chips, in taco shells, over Spanish rice, as pepper stuffing, rolled into a burrito or enchilada, and so much more.

1 bunch collard greens, washed very well
12 oz cook and drained pigeon peas (canned are easy to find in the Hispanic foods or Caribbean foods section of your market)
12 oz green chile and tomatillio salsa
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp chile powder
3+ cloves minced garlic

I make green chile and tomatillo salsa with peppers from my garden. You can buy a prepared salsa verde or make a quick one by combining 1 cup each chopped green chiles, white onions, and tomatillos with 3 TB white vinegar, juice of 1 lime, and salt and pepper to taste.

For the nacho greens:
After collards are well washed, roll and chiffonade cut them so they are as thin as possible. Cut to the bottom of the leaf. The stalks are not used in this dish. Save them for a veggie pie or crudite. I give my collard stems to the dogs.

Place greens in a large skillet or wok with vinegar and citrus juice. Heat pan on medium. Put lid over the greens to help them wilt. They will cook down considerably.

Add salsa and seasonings. Stir fry to coat greens. Add pigeon peas and turn heat to low. Cover and let heat through 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

I like this served with avocado cubes and Jalepeno Tabasco sauce.

Wild Mayan Nacho Sauce

This is a fabulous cheese-free nacho recipe that all cheese lovers will appreciate. Take some super yum baked sweet potato and turn it into “cheese” sauce. Here’s how!

I made a huge tray of Nachos!

1 baked sweet potato, skin removed
1 Cup nutritional yeast
2/3 Cup filtered water
hot sauce to taste

Whisk together over medium heat until smooth. Let come to a soft bubble. Pour hot nacho sauce over any Latin delight.

My fav combo is seasoned black beans, tomatillo salsa, Wild Mayan Sauce, and chopped avocado– pictured above. This is also a great topping for bake enchiladas, toastadas, or to use as a “cheese” dip. It goes so well with black beans and looks beautiful.

Indian Style Cabbage Salad

It’s cabbage season. Here is something to do with it other than make traditional slaw.

Cabbage Salad Served with Tandoori Chicken and Creamy Lentils

1 head green cabbage, shredded
2 tomatoes, diced
juice from 3 limes – about 4 TB
juice from 2 lemons – about 4 TB
3 tsp garam masala
2 tsp chili powder
1 small diced green chili
2 tsp salt

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. When dicing the tomatoes, transfer juices from cutting board to the salad bowl for added moisture. Coat cabbage well in seasoning and juices. Let rest in the fridge for at least 20 minutes before serving. This can be made up to 1 day in advance.

Pick-a-Filling Enchiladas

Enchiladas are a great make ahead meal. They are always good left overs. Everyone likes them. This is a versatile recipe that can be filled with just about anything.

Served with Guac and Sour Cream!

For the Sauce:

1/3 Cup minced yellow onion (1 small)
3+ cloves minced garlic
1 Cup veggie or chicken stock
1 Cup tomato puree
1 TB cumin
1 TB oregano
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp mexican saffron
dash turmeric

To taste: salt, hot sauce– I add my demon sauce to this for a very intense multi-chile flavor.

Add all ingredients to a sauce pot. Simmer, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. This can be made ahead: up to 10 days in the fridge or frozen for weeks. This makes enough sauce to cover about 8 enchiladas. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for feeding large crowds.

Filling for 8 enchiladas:

1 lb ground chicken, beef, or turkey
OR
8 oz chopped mushrooms and 1 Cup refried beans
OR
your family’s fav taco/ burrito filling

seasoned with 2-3 TB taco seasoning, depending on your taste for heat.

CHEESE! Sprinkle in queso blanco, monterrey jack, pepper jack, cheddar, or a blend of cheeses as you roll your enchiladas. If you are making just cheese enchiladas, a blend is best. 1 Cup of cheese should fill 8 enchiladas when mixed with another filling. For cheese only, you’ll need about 3 Cups.

8 Corn or gluten-free tortillas, 6-8 inch size.

Spread a few tablespoons of sauce over the bottom of a casserole dish. This will keep the enchiladas from sticking to the pan. Fill tortillas with your filling mixture and roll them. Lay them carefully in the casserole dish, squeezing them together to hold the roll closed. An 8×8 inch pan usually holds 6 enchiladas.

Top with shredded cheese.

Pour sauce evenly over rolled enchiladas. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and brown. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with guacamole, sour cream, or you favorite veggie salad.

** For a vegan meal, stuff with veggies, tempeh, and vegan cheese. Commercial steak sauces are often vegan and can add a real kick to sauteed mushrooms, peppers, and onions.

7 Layer Dip

Everyone likes layer dip. It’s easy to make for any party. It’s great to make the day before and let rest in the fridge over night for more intense flavor.

We started eating it and forgot to photograph it... again!

1 Cup cooked pinto beans
3 TB taco seasoning (recipe follows)
4 oz chopped green chilies
2 avocados, sliced thin
lime juice
1/2 Cup chopped black olives
8 oz salsa
8 oz sour cream
8 oz shredded cheddar or Monterrey jack

Layer 1: Place pintos and taco seasoning in your food processor. Blend to creamy. If the mixture seems a little dry, add a little lime juice to thin it out.

Layer 2: Spread chopped green chilies over beans.

Layer 3: Arrange avocado slices over chilies. Sprinkle with salt and lime juice.

Layer 4: Add black olives over avocado.

Layer 5: Spread out salsa

Layer 6: Spread out sour cream

Layer 7: Sprinkle over shredded cheese

Serve with chips, crackers, veggies, or anything that will scoop this out. Like a spoon!

You can use store bought taco seasoning, but it may contain gluten, fillers, chemicals, or non-food ingredients. Weird!

Taco Seasoning

2 parts chili powder

1 part cumin

1 part oregano

1 part garlic powder

1 part onion powder

1 part paprika

1/2 part salt

(1/2 part cayenne for HOT taco mix)

Shake together in a jar and store in a cool, dry, and dark place. Seasonings keep for 4 months.

Demon Sauce

Here is the hot sauce I made for the chili cook off. This fiery red sauce went over a mild white chili so everyone could adjust their heat to taste. However, the sauce is good on everything. This is a GREAT chicken wing sauce.

Into the food processor!

1/2 Cup chile arbol
1/4 Cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
8 cloves garlic
3 TB lemon juice
4 oz tomato paste

Process to make a paste and ensure the chiles are well pureed.

Transfer to 1 qt size wide mouth mason jar.

Add:

1/3 Cup lemon juice
1 Cup distilled white vinegar
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 TB sweet chili powder
2 TB smoked paprika
1 tsp salt

fill jar with red wine vinegar, about 2 1/4 Cups.

Put the lid on TIGHT. Shake to incorporate. Let flavors marry for at least 4 hours. Keeps in the refrigerator for many many weeks.

Sweet and Sour Chicken, Pork, or Tofu

Sweet and Sour is very very easy. Anything can be made with the method- any protein and any veggie. Also, a gluten-free tempura batter is simple and traditional. Gluten-free limits breaded and fried at most restaurants. Here is how to get the ultimate crisped meaty pieces with minimal effort.

Sweet n Sour Chicken over Brown Rice

For the chicken, pork, tofu, or tempura veggies:

Cut 1 lb of chicken, pork, or tofu into equal sized pieces. If using shrimp, medium shrimp are best. Having all the pieces the same size will give you an even cooking time and proper bite sizes. You can also batter and fry broccoli florets, sweet potato cubes, onion rings, zucchini chunks, or other veggies for a soy-free vegan version.

Make a tempura batter from

1/2 Cup corn starch

1/2 Cup rice flour

3/4 Cup filtered water

1/2 tsp salt

cayenne pepper to taste

This should coat at least 1 lb of meat or tofu. Veggies tend to hold batter in their crevasses– see broccoli florets– so you may want to do 50% more batter if you are tempura frying veggies. Also, since this is a very fun meal for guests, try doubling it to feed tons of people!

I fry in sesame oil or peanut oil. Sesame oil has a lower smoking temperature. A blend of the two will give you the best flavor. Sesame is fine to use by itself or with another veggie oil if peanut allergens are a concern. Heat about 1 inch of oil in your wok. Test the oil for readiness by putting a drop of batter into the oil. It should fry up crisp very quickly. Also, you can put the handle of a wooden spoon in your oil. Bubbles will form around it when the oil is hot enough.

Carefully add your battered meat or veg, about 6-8 pieces at a time depending on the size of your wok. Do not crowd the food. Let fry on one side for about 3 minutes until GBD (golden brown delicious). Flip food for another 3 minutes. Transfer to a towel to drain. Repeat until all battered meat and veggies are GBD.

For the sweet and sour:

2 bell peppers (I like red), sliced

1, 14 oz can of fair trade pineapple chunks, liquid drained and reserved

3/4 Cup rice vinegar

3 TB corn starch

soy sauce to taste

Mix rice vinegar, corn starch, and pineapple juice together. Set aside.

Drain off extra oil from wok. Toss in bell peppers and stir fry for 3 minutes. Add pineapple chunks. Stir fry for 2 minutes. Add liquid mixture and stir fry for 3 minutes until mixture begins to thicken. Toss in cooked tempura meat or veggies. Coat well. Serve over rice.

If the red color you see in restaurants is important to you, you can use a veggie based food coloring or beet juice to color your sauce.

Red Beans and Rice

This is a great way to feed tons of people. It’s a phenomenal dish to make ahead because it gets more delicious when it sits in the fridge. The beans can also be made in a crock pot– just transfer the sauteed veggies and simmer on low.

Red Beans over Rice

1 lb dry red beans, soaked, drained, and cooked in filtered water

1 Cup diced celery
1 Cup diced carrot
1 1/2 Cups diced yellow onion
4+ cloves garlic, minced
3 TB evoo
2 TB dried thyme
1 tsp salt

Saute chopped veggies, oil, and seasoning while beans finish cooking. Heating the dried herbs with fat helps develop the flavor. The salt will help the onions sweat and release their moisture, preventing sticking or burning. Let the veggies cook until the onions are translucent and soft.

Add 3/4 lb cajun sausage (andouille is great, I have local pork chorizo that I love!), chopped or crumbled. For a vegan or vegetarian version, use a meatless sausage the crumbles well.

Saute over medium heat to render fat. The veggies will develop a nice orangey glow. If making a non-meat version, add 2-3 TB additional evoo.

Drain cooked beans. Gently add them to veggies and sausage. (Or if you are making this in a crock pot, transfer everything to the crock pot now.)

Add
1 Cup stock (chicken or vegetable)
1 1/2 Cups tomato puree
2 TB cajun seasoning blend

Simmer covered on low for 20-30 minutes until flavors marry. Serve over rice.

**Quick tip: Use canned red beans. Find BPA free canned beans at: http://www.re-nest.com/re-nest/food-and-cooking/product-guide-bpafree-canned-foods-107985

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