Category Archives: Mexican

Let’s get saucy!

 
I like sauces; I like adding that wet element to a dish of roasted vegetables, without it always being tahini sauce (although I could easily eat tahini sauce every day of my life); I also like to have things prepared and ready to go in the fridge (I often come home for walking or working out very hungry and I need to be able to grab healthy homemade food quickly!); I like being able to control the oil (coconut oil is my choice), salt (limited) and sugar (none!) by making my own versions of everything; and I like having pots and pans bubbling away in my kitchen and mess everywhere whilst no one else is home, mess that magically disappears before they arrive at the end of their days! It’s magic you know!!  


A couple of days ago I decided to stock up: I made my versions of harissa and enchilada sauce, I made a tomato kasundi from the lovely blog that is Feast Wisely, and I made chipotle en adobe from Thomasina Miers ‘Mexican Food Made Simple’…this stuff is kick ass..possibly because I added a whole huge bag of dried chipotle chillies!!! 

Once again I followed the basics of Kellie’s rose harissa recipe, however, I used a mixture of guajillo (Top photo below) and Pasilla chillies, and in the absence of pepper in the fridge, I used only sun blushed tomatoes, and lots of them.

  
The tomato kasundi recipe is a superfood packed India spiced tomato chutney, with lots of ginger, garlic, turmeric, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar among the ingredients, however, I used 2 x 680g jars of tomato passata instead of fresh tomatoes so that mine was more of a sauce. I used some last night to create a mushroom dish..   

  For the enchilada sauce, I revisited the one I made last week with some amendments; I removed the flour and oil element that often forms the start of echilada sauce recipes and I merged several recipes I’ve read, which I really should have noted but I didn’t!!! From memory, I went down a route of using tomato paste, salt free vegetable stock, garlic, cumin, oregano, and some of the guajillo chillies that I’d softened for my harissa. Apologies for the lack of details!!! What I can tell you is that I kicked it up a notch with some of the chipotle en adobe sauce I made (jeez, that stuff is HOT! A little goes a long long way!), and I thickened it slightly with the guar gum that I was sent from My Protein recently.  

 I can now tell you that when using guar gum as a thickener, you need to sprinkle it over your dish, don’t just throw it in all in one go as it will clump and create a solid block in your sauce. Even with sprinkling it across your dish you still need to stir it in really well, I ended up whisking the sauce to disperse the guar gum successfully. 

And so I created my ‘skyline’ of jars of sauce!  


 

I hope this brings some colour into your day…I’m packing up some of my sauces to take along to this week’s Fiesta Friday blog party…late again, sorry! I hope this week’s wonderful co hosts, a Jess and Caroline,  will forgive me…;) 

The fabulous creator of Fiesta Friday, Angie has now also set up a Fiesta Friday on Pinterest, so you can find endless inspiration from all of the party goers there too now, check out this week’s party post for more details. Have a great day xx

Mexican inspired leftovers for Cinco de Mayo

 I’d never heard of the Mexican celebration of Cinco de Mayo until I had this blog, just another thing to thank many of you for – every day’s a school day! It’s a great time to overdose on fabulous Mexican recipes, which I also seem to be having a run of recently. Today’s recipe was borne of the leftover beans from my pressure cooker experiment last week, plus a selection of vegetables that needed using.

Ingredients 

Leftover cooked pinto beans, I reckon I had about 100g (uncooked) 

2 medium aubergines, chopped into chunks – I had already roasted some which I used up in this dish 

4 medium ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped

2 long red peppers, roughly chopped 

1 red onion, roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

3 oz tomato paste/purée

1 bunch chopped coriander 

1 tbsp dried oregano 

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp Aleppo chilli flakes Or chilli of your choice 

1 tbsp oil of your choice

Salt and pepper to taste 

Water as needed 

Method 

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat and add the chopped onions. Cook until they start to soften.

Add garlic and peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes, add tomatoes and cook down. Add the oregano, cumin, paprika and chilli flakes and stir through. 

Add the tomato paste and a little water (you can always add more later), the aubergine and beans, and continue to heat until they are warmed through. If your aubergine chunks need to be cooked, you may need to add more water, put a lid over the pan and cook for longer until the aubergine is cooked. 

When ready, sprinkle the chopped coriander over the mixture and stir through.  

  

Eat great big bowls liberally whenever hungry!!! Topped with eggs is good too 🙂  

 Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone! See you tomorrow with a mega tasty ‘What would you feed me?’ post x

Mexican style beans, enchilada sauce and cauliflower tortillas: this isn’t just food, this is healthy, homemade food! 

 This week I have read two different magazines, both sharing several cauliflower recipes, as if they were a new invention and the wonders of cauliflower was something new to the world; but us food bloggers know different! Cauliflower experiments and recipes have been around for a while, cauliflower and it’s wonders have been widely celebrated in blogworld, nowhere moreso than my own kitchen 🙂 

It’s been really interesting to see the timeline and see how long it takes new food ideas to start off in home cooks’ kitchens and become mainstream. I wonder how long it will take for BBC Good Food to publish chickpea juice recipes

So, following on from yesterday’s post about my new pressure cooker and the Mexican beans that I made…this is what I did next.. 

  I decided to make some homemade enchilada sauce; funnily enough a few of us have made Mexican dishes recently so I hope mine stands up in amongst such brilliance. And then it was finally time to make some cauliflower tortillas. I’ve wanted to make these for a while and when I saw Sally’s recipe recently, I knew it was time.

These gluten free, healthy, tasty tortillas are basically cauliflower and egg, plus seasoning of your choice. I halved the quantities in Sally’s recipe and it made two quite thick tortillas – it was my first time making them, I’d work on making them thinner next time, but they we still very good. And they could be folded around my filling of beans, sauce and cheese, to make a great big, hand full of healthy, tasty food 🙂  

 Homemade enchilada sauce

Note: I used coconut oil and buckwheat flour to make these healthy and gluten free to suit my taste and choices; you can use any oil and flour. I also left out sugar which you might find in other similar recipes.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons buckwheat flour
  • 1 680g jar of passata 
  • 2 tablespoons paprika 
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder – I used ancho chilli powder 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Heat coconut oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Whisk in flour until well combined, about 1 minute.
  • Stir in tomatoes, chili powder, oregano, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and 1 cup water; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. 
  • I am bringing my healthy Mexican inspired plate to this week’s fabulous Fiesta Friday (better late than never!), this week co hosted by the fabulous Angie and Anna.
  • Enjoy!

Mexican style beans using my new kitchen toy…

 There’s recently been a new addition to my kitchen: a pressure cooker. Now, my memories of pressure cookers was of the great big one my Mum had, hissing away, I assumed that’s what pressure cookers did, made lots of noise and created lots of steam. I couldn’t tell you anything about how it worked or what she used it for. Since entering blogworld, I have read more and more blog posts, mostly from Indian food bloggers, utilising pressure cookers in their day to day cooking. They cook beans and lentils and all sorts in a matter of minutes in a pressure cooker, it sounded amazing and very useful. I would always prefer to use dried beans rather than tinned, but I was never comfortable with having the gas on for an hour plus to cook them, so I would cook large amounts of beans every time so that I made the most of using all that gas, and then I’d get fed up with having so many beans to get through!!! 

So I did some research…and found that there are all sort of pressure cookers available nowadays, they’re not all huge like my Mum’s one was. You can even get electric ones that are programmable. It’s a whole new world.  

I found this cute three litre version to use on my hob/stove. After looking at the box for a few days, then finally unpacking it and looking at the pot for a few more days and reading the instruction manual over and over, I got brave enough to try it out. I tried cooking amaranth in it first, a tiny little grain, the grains are smaller than a pin head, and the experience wasn’t what I’d call successful. Put it like this, I had to hoover those tiny grains up from every corner of my kitchen! As the water had come to the boil inside the pot, it started bubbling and a few bubbles of water and amaranth started to escape from the tiny valve on top of the lid…then a whole fountain of water and grains started erupting, everywhere!!! I had to quickly put the vent whistle over the hole and hope for the best!!

I can state that after two attempts now, cooking amaranth is a challenge..you really need a lot of water in ratio to the grains otherwise they come out quite porridgey…I’ll try again another time..

So I tried again with pinto beans which I’d soaked overnight; it was much more successful this time! And so cool, 250g pinto beans were fully cooked in under 10 minutes – amazing!

 

Pressure cookers save time and money and energy. You can cook everything in one, not just pulses and grains, which is what I wanted one for; meat can be cooked in minutes in one too. And whole dishes can be created. Keep your eyes peeled for more upcoming pressure cooker fun, but for now, it’s all about the beans and what I made with them….
I love the idea of Mexican refried beans and have wanted to make my own for a while, so this was my version of Mexican style beans…  
 

Ingredients

  • 150g (dry weight) pinto beans, cooked and drained
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 bunch chopped fresh coriander/cilantro
  • Juice of one lime
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground cayenne pepper, to taste

Method 

Heat your choice of oil in a pan over medium heat, add the onion and the garlic and cook until softened, then add the water, tomatoes, oregano, paprika, cumin, chilli powder, and the beans.

Mix well together and mash the beans as it all cooks. Keep stirring and mashing until you get the consistency you want.

Cook until the mixture is well combined and heated through, the add the coriander/cilantro, lime juice, salt, and cayenne, and serve. 

I ate these with some roasted purple broccoli – another new experiment, I just sprayed the brocoli with some spray olive oil and roasted them until the tops were crunchy and the stems were cooked, it was really good – and some butternut squash dip that I’d make this week too and the combination was lovely.

   

  In my next post I’ll show you what else I did with them, I think you’ll like it…;) 
Happy Friday!! 

What would you feed me…Sue?

IMG_6100This week I bring you yet another food blogger extraordinaire that I met here, at wordpress, through our blogs, and now call a friend: I bring you Sue from Birgerbird. What a cook, what a photographer, what a star, Sue has brought a fabulous dish and stunning photos, prepare yourself for some serious flavour, I hope you enjoy it…

Over to Sue..

Have you ever eaten heirloom beans, cooked slowly with nothing but water and maybe a bay leaf? If it doesn’t sound too appetizing, scout some out . . . . you are in for a big surprise. Here in California we are lucky to have easy access to Rancho Gordo heirloom beans. Not only do they have an astounding number of beans including Red Nightfall, Yellow Indian Womamn, Vallarta, Tepary (Brown and White), Santa Maria Pinquito, Rio Zape, Ojo de Cabra, Black Calypso, Vaquero, Yellow Eye, Good Mother Stallard, Lilo, Ayocote Blanco, Sangre de Toro, Flor de Junio, Bayo Chocolate . . . you get the picture . . . but their newsletter is always a fun and informative read.

I thought using heirloom beans would be a great starting point for my guest post for my dear friend Elaine over at Foodbod. I started following Elaine immediately upon reading her “About” page and the moving story of how a tragedy brought her to appreciate life and ultimately find peace with her own body and a new relationship with food. Elaine, despite being a vegetarian, loyally favorited my posts and commented on them, even though they were full of bacon and burgers. We’ve always shared a love of roasted vegetables both whole and “mushed,” especially cauliflower and eggplant, or as Elaine calls it, “aubergine,” and Elaine is the master of mezze. And yet now, a year later, my cooking is meeting up with Elaine’s in a more vegetarian inspired slant. I’m not eating near as many burgers or rashers of bacon since my husband and I started our 40 day yoga challenge (I’ll post about that later, it’s been one heck of an awesome ride), and it’s been so helpful to have Elaine’s blog as a recipe guide and inspiration.

I settled on soup for these beans, but not a pureed soup. I wanted to taste and chew the whole beans. I found the most unusual recipe calling for white beans as well as toasted sesame, masa and mint, in the recent tome of a cookbook, Mexico: The Cookbook, by Margarita Carrillo Arronte. I was asked to review the book and I must say that many of the recipes look very good, but I am annoyed by the lack of headnotes. There are no headnotes to any of the recipes, which means you don’t get historical or other background information. Not cool.

IMG_7033The recipe called for toasted sesame seeds, masa, chayote, squash blossoms and mint. I added my own touches — a dollop of jalapeno pepper pesto, a squeeze of lime, and a hibiscus flower. My husband went koo koo for this soup, although I must warn you, as good as it is, it ain’t diet food. You may not eat for a couple of days after a bowl of this stuff. In fact, just for fun I added up all of the calories and it rivals a truck driver’s Thanksgiving plate including dessert. But you do get a heck of a lot of nutrients and it really hits the spot on a cold winter evening, so do give it a try! If you don’t want the truckdriver’s waistline, you could easily use less sesame seed and masa, even less beans, and more broth and vegetables.

As I was cooking up the Ayocote Blanco beans for the featured soup, periodically I tasted them for doneness and I simply could not believe the flavor and texture — buttery, earthy and creamy. No chalkiness or insipid metal flavor, just delicious intact plump beans in a savory broth. I easily could have eaten a bowl solo for dinner. The Ayocote Blanco beans I bought are part of Rancho Gordo’s Xoxoc project that helps small farmers grow their indigenous crops in Mexico, despite international trade policies that seem to discourage genetic diversity and local food traditions.

IMG_7034
A few offerings from my local gourmet market

IMG_7035Soaking after a quick boil, for an hour

IMG_7036-0

IMG_7037Drained

IMG_7038

I started with an onion and chilli, then added the beans and enough water to cover the beans by one inch

IMG_7039For a perfect bean (not to mushy, still firm and intact but slightly creamy) cook the beans with the lid ajar

IMG_7040These little guys took nearly 6 hours to cook and I actually slightly burnt a few of them. They still tasted amazing.

IMG_7041See, they’re not perfect, but as I said . . . delicious.

IMG_7042

IMG_7043Sesame seeds ready to toast

IMG_7044Toasted . . . slightly overtoasted. I not only have an uneven oven but also a kitchen floor that slopes downward towards the Southwest corner of the floor. Thus the heat on my stovetop burners and oven concentrates southwest. Ugh!!!

IMG_7045Toasted sesame seeds added to masa and water and rubbed into a coarse paste

IMG_7046Into the pot with the beans, bean liquid, stock, sriracha, aromatic herbs and salt and pepper

IMG_7047
A dollop of homemade jalapeno pesto stirred in

IMG_7048There’s also chayote squash, lime and mint in this soup

IMG_7049No squash blossoms to be found so I plucked a hibiscus off our tree

IMG_7050

IMG_7051Here’s the recipe:

Pascal de Frijol (Bean Pascal)

Ingredients:

1 cup sesame seeds, toasted
2 1/4 cups (9 oz/250 g) masa harina (masa is naturally gluten free but please check packaging information as to whether it may have been processed near wheat, nuts, etc. for allergens)
2 cups cooked white beans, drained and cooking liquid saved
1/2 onion, halved
2 chayotes, peeled, cored and diced
1 bunch fresh squash flowers (if you don’t have or cannot find squash blossoms or flowers, simply leave them out as they do not have much flavor)
3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
6 epazote leaves, finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 lime
1 tablespoon Sriracha

Preparation:

1. Grind toasted sesame seeds in a blender or food processor. Mix masa with 1/2 cup water, stir well, and add to sesame seeds. Stir well.

2. Pour 4 1/2 cups water into a saucepan, add beans and onion, bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Add masa and sesame mixture to beans and cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Add chayote, squash flowers, cilantro, and mint, season to taste with salt and pepper and cook an additional 5 minutes. Stir in sriracha.

4. Ladle into bowls and squeeze half a lime over each portion. Enjoy!

Note: You can also add a touch of apple cider vinegar to your soup as I often do with bean soups, it cuts the heaviness and I think it helps digestion too. Also, if you have any pesto on hand or some chopped nuts, dollop a scoop onto the top for some added texture.

Oh wow, wow, wow! So much flavour! Thank you so much, Sue, I would definitely leave your table happy and full!! This looks truly fabulous 🙂 x