Thursday, 27 September 2012

Mexican corn and bean soup

I love soup. It's great for work lunches, warms you up on these fall days and is perfect for using up any leftovers you have in your fridge. I've made Mexican bean soups religiously for the past year because they are cheap, healthy and delicious. This is a combination of many recipes I've tried. It will fill you up and the flavor is fantastic. If you have some cooked veggies, leftover chicken, cooked noodles or quinoa in your fridge, add it! Can't go wrong with this soup as the base :)


2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced (might I suggest: food processed)
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. Sriracha sauce
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups tomatoes, finely chopped (again, food processor!)
1 pkg. frozen corn
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cans or 3 cups cooked black beans
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
avocado, Parmesan cheese, fresh salsa and tortilla chips for garnish

1. Fry the onion, garlic and spices in the oil for 5-6 minutes.
2. Add the broth, tomatoes and corn; simmer for 20 minutes over medium heat.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste at this point.
4. Add the beans and cilantro, bring to a boil and then remove from heat.
5. Serve garnished with sliced avocado, Parmesan cheese and chips.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Thai salad for normal people

So, this is basically an idiot's guide to Thai food. Most Thai recipes call for weird ingredients that I had to beg my grocery man to help me find: jicama, "spiralized" veggies, yellow beets, sesame oil, sambal oelek, tamari, goji berries...not my normal fare. Sure, if you have it, maybe the food tastes more "gourmet" or something, but I modified this salad to include ingredients I have in my pantry. Therefore, if you are not a Thai foodie and don't have tamari and rice vinegar lying around, you're in luck! It's just as good with soy sauce and white vinegar! Also, don't you hate when recipes call for "organic" stuff? I think that's insane. So, just a disclaimer--if you want to use any organic ingredients, you can, but I'm not going to tell you to.



2 cups egg noodles, cooked (whole wheat spaghetti noodles would work)
2 cups Napa cabbage, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, shredded
1/4 cup cucumber, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
3/4 cup peanuts
1 egg

3 cloves garlic
fresh ginger, chopped
2 Tbsp. cilantro
2 Tbsp. unsweetened peanut butter
3 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
2 tsp. coconut milk (I DID buy a whole can of coconut milk for this, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say it would be fine without it)
1.5 tsp. white sugar
1 tsp. hot sauce (I use sriracha aka rooster sauce)
6 Tbsp. light oil (really light tasting olive or canola would work)

1. Mix all the salad ingredients together, except for the egg.
2. Fry egg with salt&pepa and place on top of the salad.
3. Food process all the dressing ingredients; I kept mine a little chunky which was yummy.
4. Drizzle the dressing over the salad to taste.

SEE. That's it. So painless. I would recommend buying Sriracha sauce--I use it so much and I love the flavor. Other than that, I'm assuming most people have these ingredients in their pantry. I never did like jicama much anyways...

I added the egg for protein, but you could add chicken or more peanuts, too.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Spring rolls with satay sauce

So, I've wanted to make spring rolls for FOREVER. I've had them a few times but never got around to making them, until now. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy they were! I do admit this is the one time I wish I had children--to do the insane amount of prep work for these (chopping, slicing, grating...)

Anyways, here's my recipe! Enjoy!


8 rice paper wrappers
4 large carrots, grated
1 cucumber, grated
2 avocados, chopped
1.5 cups bean sprouts
2 cups egg noodles, cooked
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
fresh ginger, finely chopped (mix this in with the cucumber)


3 Tbsp. peanut butter, unsweetened
1/2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
ginger, finely chopped
1 tsp. sriracha sauce
1 tsp. soy sauce

1. Combine all the satay ingredients together over low heat (a whisk helps). Once they are all combined, slowly stir boiling water in until the sauce is a dipping consistency. Set sauce aside.
2. Dip the rice papers in cold water, one at a time, and let sit for a minute or two until sticky.
3. Place equal amounts of all the veggies in each rice paper. I also drizzled each roll with soy sauce, lemon juice and sriracha to give them a little flavor. Then, fold up like a burrito.
4. Dip in the satay sauce and enjoy! Yummy.


Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Comfort food steak

I've said it once and I'll say it again: this book is fantastic. Sometimes I have to wing it because my small town grocery store doesn't have many specialty ingredients, and I bought a whole $5 jar of sundried tomatoes for this singular recipe, but it was totally worth it and has been for every recipe I've made from this book.

On to the recipe. Coming back to work after the long weekend was rough, to say the least. I needed something to ease the pain and what better solution than steak? I rounded out my meal with some homemade smashed potatoes, a garden salad (as in, from my mom's garden) and an ice cold beer. Needless to say, I feel much better now.


1 serving

Smashed potatoes
1-2 baby red potatoes, scrubbed
1 Tbsp. milk or cream
2 Tbsp. white cheese (I used mozzarella)
1 Tbsp. butter

Deviled steak
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 Tbsp. butter
1 good quality steak (I used flank)
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup red wine
4 Tbsp. beef stock
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 tsp. crushed fennel seeds
1 Tbsp. chopped sun-dried tomatoes
a bit of dried chipotle pepper, chopped
salt and pepper

1. Roughly chop the potatoes and put in a pot with water to cover them. Bring to a boil and cook 10-15 minutes or until soft.
2. When the potatoes are cooked, drain them, add the milk, cheese and butter, cover to keep warm and set aside.
3. Heat the oil and butter over med-high heat. Add steak and cook to desired doneness. My suggestion: rare. As my Louisianian friend says, "All white people like their meat rare." Live up to your potential! Eat rare steak!
4. Remove steak from pan, season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
5. In the steak-frying pan, add the vinegar, wine and stock. Bring to a boil.
6. Add garlic, fennel seeds, tomatoes and chipotle pepper and simmer until syrupy. When the sauce is close to done, pour any drippings from the steak into the pan.
7. Mash the potatoes roughly with a fork.
8. Drizzle the red wine sauce over the potatoes and steak.
"Drizzled" sauce is a bit of an understatement. 

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Bean & beet salad with quinoa

Fall is in the air. Although it was 80 today and I relaxed all afternoon on my lawn working on my tan, the temperature drops significantly at night and the evening chill reminds me of what September should be like.

So, in the spirit of fall, I came up with this yummy dish using one of my favorite fall veggies: beets. It can be served cold or hot. And it's really really delicious. I promise.


1 can garbanzo beans
1 cup beets, chopped
2 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. herbs de provence
1.5 cups quinoa
2-3 Tbsp. honey mustard vinaigrette
1/4 cup fresh parmesan, shredded

1. Cook the quinoa.
2. Coat the beets with butter and herbs; bake at 400* for 30 minutes. Then, raise the temperature to broil and bake for 10 more minutes.
3. Mix the quinoa, beans and beets. Top with vinaigrette and parmesan.