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Radish Pineapple Mint Quinoa Salad

Candela-di-focuo-Radishes_harvest-2016_Yes,-more-please!

Back in February I started a little garden plot at the Mueller Community Gardens in my neighborhood. First months were rough. I started from seeds that my good friend Elizabeth gave me. Imagine all the possibilities when you are handed a box full of incredible heirloom seeds varieties from purple long green beans, carrots, greens, turnips, roman zucchinis, watermelon cucumbers, radishes, lipstick chili, melons you name it. . Little did I know the challenging scenarios of starting a vegetable garden from seeds. But, nothing like five buckets of patience, a couple good days of rain, plenty of steamy sunshine and a little everyday care to make it grow. Also helpful was the good pinch of serious advice from friends and the experts, like farmer extraordinaire from Boogy Creek Farm, Carol Anne. She is always willing to help and giving the greatest advice. From her I learned that planting a row of green beans beside the tomato plants will give tomatoes company and will help them grow together. She also emphasize the importance to give enough space in between tomato plants for best flavor and juicy tomatoes, and pointed that leggy tomato plants need to be transplanted deeper among many other details that have been very valuable to apply on my little, garden. Also every other good samaritan that was visiting the community gardens, like David, who gave me advice from seedling spacing to how to keep the water hose untangled! I’m very grateful for all. Thank you!

Using the best of advice, applying it, and with all my expectations tossed through the window, the garden worked its own magic on a serendipitous way.

Mueller Community Gardens

Ian-McEnroe_Yes,-more-please!

One day Ian and I arrived to our plot to water the plants and take some pictures of the vegetable progress, and all of the sudden we where harvesting our first…Radishes!
I start digging the first radishes out with the same impetus that a kid shows on christmas morning.
First radishes came out easily and they were beautiful long legged radishes that looked like ballerinas, and yogis to me. Ian went crazy on full camera mode!, then I kept digging and digging for about 15 minutes in order to pull out in one piece, what seemed to be a huge radish. When it finally came out, to our own surprise the biggest radish creature with the craziest shape I ever seen. There it was pure Wabi-Sabi Beauty!~ A gigantic Candela di Fuoco heirloom radish with an octopus syndrome, intense pinkish red top, and creamy white tips. Absolutely astonishing. I think the smile this radish put on my face lasted for 3 days. Who knew that a radish could bring you such a ridiculous amount of happiness.

Harvesting-a-radish

Mariana-McEnroe_Cooking-blog_Yes,more-please!

Candela-di-focuo-Radish_harvest-2016_Yes,-more-please!

After the radish harvest, we went home and eat a couple of them, they tasted incredibly crisp, fresh, spicy, with a clean sweet juicy ending. We took some beauty shots, and then I started to imagine on a radish recipe. Fresh, crispy, crunchy, juicy, spicy all the elements I had in that first radish bite. Thats what this salad its all about. No fuss just fresh ingredients.

I know It is a little to late for radish season, but as you can guess I’m on the learning process of timing it right. These radishes were our first and last winter mini crop of 6 radishes! from little ones to the big craziest octopus shaped radish, and we are very proud of it. Last weekend I transformed the plot to Summer vegetables. Tomato season is coming and I am thrilled. Plants are on the go and growing at a good speed.

I hope this little garden adventure brings you some garden inspiration.
I would love for you to feel encouraged to either grow your own vegetables or if that is not the way you groove, get out there on the hunt to buy the freshest Farmers Market vegetables you can, because it will always, always make the biggest difference on flavor when you are cooking.

Enjoy the rest of the radishes while you can!Shaving-Radishes_Yes,-more-please!

Radish-Pineapple-Mint-Quinoa-Salad_fresh-radishes_Yes,-more-please!

Radish Pineapple Mint Quinoa Salad

1 cup toasted, and cooked Red Quinoa
3/4 cup thinly sliced radishes any kind of spicy radish will work, cherry bells, watermelon, crimson, I used what I harvested Candela di Fuoco.
2 cups pineapple cut into small chunky wedges
1/2 small red onion thinly sliced in half moons
1-2 habaneros finely chopped
5-6 sprigs of mint, use just the leaves, and torn with your fingers
3-4 good drizzles Extra Virgin Olive Oil
the juice of one large lime
the juice of half an orange
Sea Salt to taste

A few crushed cashews, pine nuts or peanuts to garnish.*optional

Preparation Method:

1. Toast the quinoa lightly before cooking. 1/2 cup dry quinoa to 3/4-cup water. bring water to boil, add the toasted quinoa, bring to a simmer,lower down the heat, cover the pot with a lid and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, leave the pot covered for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, your quinoa will be al-dente and a bit crunchy, which is the perfect texture for this salad. Fluff quinoa with a fork and extend it on a plate to cool it down. If you have leftover quinoa from the night before , bring it on it works great!
2. Chop, chopp, chop the rest of ingredients.
3. Mix everything on a bowl drizzle with a grassy Extra Virgin Olive Oil, squeeze those citrus, season with Sea Salt, chill for a few minutes before is ready to serve.

Chopping-Vegetables_Yes,-more-please!Radish-Pineapple-Mint-Quinoa-Salad_Best-salad-for-grilled-fish

Radish-Pineapple-Mint-Quinoa-Salad_Yes,-more-please!

This Salad is best served with grilled fish, shrimp, soy marinated thick slices of extra firm tofu, pork chops, grilled chicken…
Enjoy!

Music Pairing: Bia – Mariana

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Vegetable Taco Fillings A Mexican love letter to Vegetables

Vegetable Taco Fillings_Ideas_ recipes _Yes, more please!

Feelings…. nothing more than Fillings”… Hello friends, we’re back.We have been on a roller coaster; from a vacation in Mexico, to Slow Wine Festival, meeting new people, giving cooking classes, Ian giving lots of photography classes…we have been busy, but you have always been on our minds.

Visiting my Mexico after more than eight years was reinvigorating. Being back in my birth country was very fulfilling and I felt my roots strongly. We were welcomed at the airport with a big familiar smile and , thankfully, we did not have to get in the long customs line. During the visit we could eat and breathe the delicious in-season ingredients that Baja produces; from papayas, to avocados, chiles, lettuce, pineapples, limes, guanabanas, tomatoes, chard, radishes, you name it!. I just felt like a fish back in the water, especially walking along the pristine coastline. Now I’m melancholic… its hard to forget the people, the laughs, the air and the sea… and the food. From freshness, flavor, aroma, ingredients, preparations, sazones… can you imagine? Good thing we just visited one little town…Phew!

I have harnessed the melancholy and channeled it into a love letter to every Vegan and Vegetarian who has felt neglected by the Taco Love. Yes baby, not one, not two, but EIGHT vegetable fillings that will add vitamin “V” (vegetable) on any Taco night!

Some are more seasonal than others but I kept in mind vegetables that can be accessible almost all year around. I came up with these delicious and simple variations with strong MEXICAN flavors, no wimpy vegetable tacos here.

You can whip-up these recipes any day of the week, choose one, or two, or three for variety sake or just try one each day and call it the Taco week. Want to go the extra mile? try  making your homemade tortillas here recipe and tutorial.

For this post we decided no step-by-step photos are necessary. These vegetable taco filling recipes are so easy to prepare using basic chopping, seasoning, and sautéing that you can make them faster than you can say chiffonade. All fillings are Gluten free, Vegetarian and Vegan, except for one filling, but I included some vegan substitutions.

I hope you enjoy this vegetable rant of inspiration while my inner Mexican is fully inspired. Enjoy!

P.S Recipes dedicated with love to the Panda’s and their Neighbors, thank you for your friendship. Xoxo

{Lately, we have been reading, and watching many documentaries that have resonated with and influenced our way of eating and cooking. For example we watched one about food production and agriculture. We are of the opinion that its a good idea to put more effort toward cooking a vegetable main dish more than once a week. Perhaps it should be the other way around, one day of meat and the rest days of vegetables as I rant on instagram… What you think?}

Vegetable Taco Fillings, a Mexican love letter to Vegetables

1.Roasted Cauliflower in Salsa VerdeCauliflower-in-Salsa-Verde_Vegetable-Taco-Filling_Yes,-more-please!

Holly shubangwuah!, I can eat this roasted Cauliflower in salsa Verde by the spoonfuls. Cauliflower when roasted becomes sweet and nutty and all this crispy salty edges that when in combination with the tangy spicy tomatillo salsa verde the flavors just warm you up. Leave this little florets navegate in the saucy verde salsa, be generous with the salsa.

A must try. You want to have this quick recipe under your sleeve for any given day of the week. Do not limit yourself using this recipe for just the taco filling. This delicious Cauliflower in salsa Verde can be serve on a bed or rice or a side of whole buttery beans and you have a winner for dinner. Garnish with queso fresco, a dollop of yogurt freshly made tortillas…

Serves 4-6 taco using regular size 5” corn tortillas

½ Medium Cauliflower head separated in small florets.

12 medium Tomatillos peeled and washed.

1-2 Serrano chiles roasted until chard.

¼ white onion roasted until chard.

1 garlic clove

6-8 Cilantro sprigs

sea salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon sunflower or corn oil + more to drizzle.

In a small pot

In a small pot place 1 cup of water, tomatillos cut in halves, a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until tomatillos changed color, look olive-green, and they are smash-able. Set aside.

Pre-heat the oven at 425 F. Place cauliflower florets, chiles, and onion piece on a baking sheet lined with foil. Drizzle some oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Roast the Cauliflower for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown and some chard edges showing. When chiles and Onion are charred, pull the baking tray out of the oven. In a blender add the cooked tomatillos strained, ¼ cup of water in which the tomatillos where cooked, charred onion, chiles, fresh cilantro, raw garlic, and few healthy pinches of sea salt. Blend until pureed.

In a skillet add 1 tablespoon sunflower oil or corn oil bring to heat, and carefully add the green sauce until bubbly, cook for 5-7 minutes. At this point add the roasted cauliflower florets, toss well, adjust for salt and its ready to serve!

2. Cremini Mushrooms Ajillo – GuajilloCremini Mushrooms Ajillo-Guajillo_Vegetable-Taco-Filling_Yes,-more-please! copy copy

Mexico has a great variety of mushrooms and various preparations can be found. Often they are cooked in simple manners to make them shine. Like inside quesadillas, soups, or quick sautéed with herbs. My take on this mushrooms, a little butter, garlic and a hint of chile guajillo wich it adds a very settle flavor, not spicy at all but a punch of color and flavor to the sautéed creminis. I will highly recommend this mushrooms on top of queso fundido, quesadillas a bowl of buttery beans or with a sunny side up egg for breakfast. Honestly once you try these mushrooms you will be making a double batch next time…

Serves 4-6 taco using regular size 5” corn tortillas

16oz. Cremini Mushrooms sliced

2 dry Guajillo peppers

1 teaspoon ancho chili powder

5 garlic cloves finely chopped

2 tablespoons sunflower oil-corn oil

3 tablespoons of butter (for vegans, use coconut oil)

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Using Kitchen scissors cut the guajillo across and into small thin rings. Discard seeds and steam.

Bring a cast iron skillet to a medium high heat. Warm oil, place the guajillo rings and sauté for 2-3 minutes until they are crispy. Remove promptly from skillet into a paper towel. By now the oil color in the skillet looks bright orange. Add the sliced mushrooms, sea salt and black pepper. Saute for 5-6 minutes until mushrooms start sweating and some of them have little golden crisp edges, add one more drizzle of oil if needed. Once the mushrooms start looking cooked, add garlic, butter and 12 pinches of salt. Saute for 3-4 minutes. Add the crispy Trujillo rings back into the skillet. Saute briefly until well incorporated. Remove from skillet and its ready to serve.

If you are on a spicier mode use a Pasilla, Ancho or Cascabel chile to bring out the heat. Or a dollop of this Mucha Muchacha Salsa.

3. Sweet Potato and Pineapple Pastor Sweet Potato and Pineapple Pastor_Vegetable-Taco-Filling_Yes,-more-please! copy copy

Ok hands down my favorite Vegan-Pastor. These Sweet potatoes Pastor are the bomb.

Spicy Pastor adobo and the sweetness in the potatoes are a match made in heaven. The orangey color even helps to make them more visually appealing. The Pineapple is a must on this recipe, plan accordingly. Vegetarians, vegans and Meat lovers are gonna love this one.

Serves 4-6 taco using regular size 5” corn tortillas

2 Medium sweet potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into one inch batonnets

¼ cup white onion diced

2 chile chipotles en adobo

1 teaspoon anatto powder or achiote paste

½ tablespoon ancho chili powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon Mexican dry oregano

¼ teaspoon cumin powder

1 bay leaf

½ teaspoon brown sugar

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

½ cup Fresh Pineapple

2 tablespoons Corn or Sunflower Oil.

On a blender, immersion blender, molcajete or mortar, combine until pureed the chipotles, achiote, ancho chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, cumin powder, bay leaf, brown sugar, salt and vinegar. On a bowl combine the sweet potatoes and this chili pastor paste. Let marinate for at least 30 min. Best overnight.

Heat a cast iron skillet on medium high heat, add the oil until ripples, add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the marinated Sweet potatoes. Cook until the sweet potatoes are tender and they have a crusty golden char exterior. To achieve this crusty potatoes is best not to shake them to often, to allow them to get a crust. Make sure there is enough oil so they don’t scorch before they are tender and cooked, you can add another drizzle. Sweet potatoes should be a little aldente. Remove from skillet transfer to a bowl. Then add Pineapple slivers or little squares into the skillet and sauté for a few minutes. Add sweet potatoes back to the skillet and toss. Transfer to a platter and you are ready to make the tacos. I will recommend this tomatillo avocado salsa verde, it is part of other recipe look for it its amazing!..and of course a squeeze of lime… mmm..

4. Poblano and Sweet Corn RajasPoblano and Sweet Corn Rajas_Vegetable-Taco-Filling_Yes,-more-please!

This Poblano Corn and crema filling is very traditional and often used as filling for sopes, huaraches and tacos. Traditionally this recipe is made with white corn, to be honest if you can get fresh white corn for this recipe it will be fantastic. Living in the States, well you make some concessions and adjust to the best ingredients you can find. I used sweet yellow corn for this recipe and I think the sweetness of the yellow corn balances really well with the smokey and sometimes unexpectedly spicy roasted poblanos. Add an extra pinch of salt and you have one of the most scrumptious taco fillings. Check for Vegan substitutions at the end of the recipe.

Serves 4-6 taco using regular size 5” corn tortillas

2 ear of corn kernels

2 chiles poblanos, roasted or charred, skinned, deveined removed seeds and cut into long stripes. See this method

½ medium white onion

1 garlic clove minced

¼ -1/3 cup crema oaxaquena, mexican crema or heavy cream as last resource*

1 splash of milk.

1 Tablespoon Corn or Sunflower oil

1 tablespoon butter

Salt and Pepper to taste.

On a skillet over a medium heat, warm up oil and sauté the onions, until translucent. Add the corn Kernels, season with salt and pepper and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Add the strips of poblano, and toss well. Add the crema, and a little splash of milk. Adjust salt and pepper, toss well. And bring to slow simmer. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a platter and they are ready to serve!

Vegan Substitutions: unsweetened coconut cream, or ½ coconut ½ tahini paste.

 

5. Kale a la Mexicana

Kale a la Mexicana_Vegetable-Taco-Filling_Yes,-more-please!

The easiest way to Mexicanize your vegetables is the tri-color ingredient, basic mexican recaudo, white onion, chile serrano and tomatoes. This recaudo is usually the base for scrambled eggs, “a la Mexicana, or other quick chicken or fajitas preparation. It is easy and a classic. Kale, Chard, Spinach, Mustard Greens, Purslane, Lambs Quarters, every green  “a la Mexicana” can be delicious.  Use different kinds of tomatoes, or kinds of fresh chiles can be a great variation.  I think is quick recipe is one of my favorite ways to prepare and incorporate kale into the Mexican Table… Breakfast?…Put an egg on it, or make a taco with a scrambled eggs concoction. What you think?

Serves 4-6 taco using regular size 5” corn tortillas

½ medium yellow onion

1 Serrano small diced or thinly slices

3 cups Lacinato kale chopped into thin ribbons

½ cup cherry tomatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Salt and Pepper to taste.

Heat a cast iron skillet, over a medium high heat. Add oil and diced onions, quick sauté until translucent edges. Add Serrano, salt and pepper. Quick toss. Add Kale and vinegar, toss quickly and sauté until kale begins to welt. Add cherry tomatoes toss quickly until they warm up. Taste for salt and pepper, adjust seasoning if necessary. Transfer to a bowl or platter serve immediately.

6. Chipotle Soy Picadillo Chipotle Soy Picadillo_Vegetable-Taco-Filling_Yes,-more-please! copy copy

Picadillo is a typical homemade dish. One pot wonder, the original dish uses a combination of ground meat, lots of vegetables, sometimes you can find sweet picadillos for chiles en nogada, or like this version wich is the homestyle spicy chipotle version. I decided to use texturized soy wich is often used in vegetarian Mexican cooking. The brands I prefer, Bob Red’s Mill or Now Foods are my favorites they are organic and texture and taste is great. Yo also can find this TVP at Natural groceries  on the bulk section. This Picadillo its one pot wonder a great way to incorporate vegetables into this taco situation…I hope you like it!

Serves 4-6 taco using regular size 5” corn tortillas

1 cup texturized soy, follow the package instrucctions to rehidrate.

½ meddium size onion finelly chopped

1 garlic clove minced

4-5 Worcestershire sauce (if vegan, add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste or a couple of sundry tomatoes, and a few more dashes of black pepper)

1 small potato small diced

1 carrot small diced

1 small mexican calabazita (light green zucchini) small diced

¼ cup peas

½ cup small diced tomatoes

2 chiles chipotles en adobo plus about 1 teaspoon of the adobo juices and purée it.

(I like “La Morena” or “San Marcos”Brand)

½ teaspoon dry Mexican oregano

1 tablespoon Corn, Sunflower oil, or extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to your taste.

On a cast iron skillet, over medium hight heat, add the oil and onions until translucent. Add the diced potatoes, salt pepper, cover with a lid until potatoes are al-dente. Add garlic saute for 1 minute. Add the texturized soy and 4-5 dashes of Worcestershire sauce. Saute for 5 minutes. (Make sure the texturized soy is well hydrated, and remove all water excess before cooking) At his point add the diced tomatoes, the chipotle purée, and dry oregano. Saute for 1-2 minutes. Add ¼ cup of water, carrots, zucchini, salt and pepper. Toss well. Lower the temperature, and cover with a lid for 5 minutes, until carrots are cooked but not mushy. At last, add the peas and toss, taste , adjust for salt and pepper if necessary. Turn off and cover with a lid until peas are cooked but still bright green. Serve immediately. This filling can be made in advance and it tastes even better the next day, Enjoy!

7. Nopalitos and Onions in Guajillo – Pasilla SauceNopalitos and Onions in Guajillo-Pasilla Sauce_Vegetable-Taco-Filling_Yes,-more-please! copy copy

Nopalitos Cactus plant is known to have a slimy reputation, but when you cook them right, and utilizing the right ingredients, Nopalitos are delicious. They are tangy and soft, the texture and flavor reminds me like if an ocra and a mushroom had a child. The guajillo – pasilla sauce add great flavor and contrast to the tangy nopalito flavor. Nopalitos beside being a nacional simbol on the Mexican flag, are the miracle vegetable. So many nutritious value and health elixirs attributes, you just want to start researching now!… Seriously, give these nopalitos a chance and you will love them.

Serves 4-6 taco using regular size 5” corn tortillas

6 Tender Nopalitos pieces, cut into small squares.

¼ medium size onion

6 sprigs of cilantro

4-5 tomatillo husks

1 chile serrano

1 teaspoon salt

½ onion diced

2 good drizzles of extra virgin olive oil, or sunflower oil.

For the sauce:

2 dry chiles pasilla

2 dry chiles guajillo

1 garlic clove

1/8 teaspoon cumin powder

½ teaspoon salt

Clean chiles and remove steams. On a small pot, place 2 cups water bring to a boil, add the chiles, simmer for 10 minutes until well hydrated, soft and plumpy. In a blender, purée the chiles, garlic, cumin, salt with about ¼-to a ½ cup of the water in wich the chiles hydrated.

Set aside. On another pot start cooking the Nopalitos. Add at least 4 cups of water, the nopalitos squares, onion, cilantro, tomatillo husks, chile serrano, salt. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to low simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Check for doneness. Nopalitos should look olive-green, and fork tender. Remove cooked onion, cilantro and serrano. Strain the nopalitos and let the heat evaporate the rest of the water in them. About 4-5 minutes. By any chance, rinse them in water. These will make them slimy.

On a skillet, warm up the oil and add the diced onion, along with the dry nopalitos. And saute for 3-4 minutes, until onions are soft. Add the Guajillo-Pasilla Sauce, toss well, add about ¼ cup of water if needed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook on medium low for 4-5 minutes with lid on to avoid splatters. Turn off the nopalitos and they are ready to serve! You can sprinkle some queso fresco or cotija for a delicious accompaniment on the taco, and off course a few drops of lime juice, because what would be a taco with no lime right?…

8. Chard, Potatoes, and Shredded Carrot HashChard, Potatoes, and Shredded Carrot hash_Vegetable-Taco-Filling_Yes,-more-please! copy

This is the easiest of all the fillings. It is almost a hash. You can use spinach, purslane, kale or any type of green in season instead of the chard. Instead of potatoes you can use sweet potatoes, or zucchini. Carrots or/and yellow beets will work divine. This filling with an egg on it and a dollop of my favorite Mucha Muchacha Salsa, a match made in heaven. 

Serves 4-6 taco using regular size 5” corn tortillas

2-3 drizzles sunflower oil or extra virgin olive oil

1 medium wax yellow potato

1 small yellow onion diced

1 garlic clove

1-2 dry chiltepines…optional you can use pepper flakes for a less heated version.

2 carrots shredded or using one of my favorite tools  a  Julianne peeler. click here

4-5 cups Chard, cut into chiffonade

2 dashes of apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon golden raisins

Salt pepper to taste

Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) for garnish

On a cast iron skillet warm up the oil, saute potatoes and season with salt and pepper until potatoes are crispy. At this point add the onions , garlic and dry chiltepines crushed. (crush the chiltepines on a napkin. Avoid using your fingers directly to prevent chili burns.) Add the Juliane carrots, toss well saute for 1 minute. Add the Chard, raisins, apple cider vinegar salt and pepper. Toss well and briefly about 2 minutes. Just when the chard starts to welt, remove from heat and taste for salt ad pepper adjust if needed. Serve immediately, garnish tacos with pepitas, queso fresco or a dollop of greek yogurt.   Enjoy!

Make a Taco Tuesday…Wednesday, Thursday… Weekends…

Have fun and Let’s eat MORE VEGETABLES!!!

Music Pairing: A su Merced el Mercado- Liliana Felipe

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Chocolate Avocado Coconut Mousse

Chocolate-Avodado-Coconut-Mousse_Vegan-dessert_Merry-Christmas_Svetia_Yes,-more-please!

Chocolate, who can’t resist chocolate specially at this time of the year?…Dreaming of luscious chocolate desserts, this Chocolate Avocado Coconut Mousse recipe it’s the ticket for a simple crowd pleaser dessert. You would not believe how free of everything this mousse is. It should be called “Chocolate Freedom”. The truth is, If you want to make a dessert suited for all guests, taste good for all palates, and diverse diets you are at the right place.

For me, Chocolate Mousse is the perfect ending dessert for a dinner party. You can prepare it ahead, its no fuss, looks gorgeous, and suits all crowds. This recipe, especially suits guests with diverse diets: dairy-free, gluten-free,  sugar-free, nut-free, grain-free, egg-free, all free diet situations. I feel people with food sensitivities are often neglected, or end up with fruit as a dessert, why not go the extra mile? On the other hand for the cooks at home its always a little stressful to think or trying to cook or bake with un-familiar ingredients, well I got you covered, this recipe is also easy on the Cook. Simple ingredients, a few simple steps and your guests will appreciate you going the extra mile. Its is always nice to make the effort to make a happy ending dessert for everyone especially during the holiday season.

Read the recipe very carefully, and please, do not make faces; yes I can see you from here frowning about avocado and chocolate. I was one of those people as well. Now I’m converted. To be honest, once you try this combination I know you’ll be converted too. Let’s talk a little about it.

Avocado is a natural source of creaminess and good oils in combination with the coconut cream and the chocolate gives this dessert all the lusciousness by mimicking the texture that cream, butter, and eggs give to a more traditional mousse recipe.

Avocados only mission in this recipe is to give a light body and creamy texture to the mousse. It imparts no discernible flavor. Next ingredient: the coconut cream, which adds that velvety silky soft texture that is characteristic of any mousse. And of course the main ingredient: Chocolate. Almost all the success on this recipe will depend on the chocolate quality you choose. That is what shines: Dark, rich, chocolate. Be splendid and generous when buying your chocolate, choose at least a good 70% cacao bittersweet chocolate. I have some suggestions for you at the end of the recipe.

Chocolate-Avodado-Coconut-Mousse_ingredients

In other recipes you could place almost all recipe ingredients into a food processor and be done but I went ahead and added just a few steps that make this recipe dreamy.  Like, sieving the avocado to make it creamier and remove any fibrous treads. Also by folding some whipped coconut cream at the end, which for me makes a huge difference, giving this mousse a cloudy silky texture.

And last but not least, another great “free” quality about his mousse, is that I used Svetia. Svetia it’s a Natural sweetener made with the Stevia plant. An all natural sweetener. A little of this powerful Svetia Sweetener goes a long way, I like my mousse lightly sweetened and using this calorie free sweetener completes the dreamy dessert, for those guest with sugar sensitivity.

If you are ready to try something new this season, and make your special guests happy! Give this Chocolate Avocado Mousse a chance and surprise all your guests, by revealing the ingredient at the end of the dinner. I bet you they would not even believe that an avocado was incorporated. And on the other side of the table your vegan, dairy free, gluten-free and sugar-free guests will be really happy and gratefully ask for the recipe.
Enjoy
Happy Holidays!

Chocolate-Avodado-Coconut-Mousse_Vegan-Dessert-Yes,-more-please!

Chocolate Avocado Coconut Mousse

Serves 4- 8 servings depending on scoop size.

10 oz fresh ripe Avocado Hass flesh*
1 can coconut cream unsweetened,** I used Chaokoh Thailand brand
2 teaspoons Walnut oil or coconut oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch kosher salt
2 Svetia sweetener envelopes or 2 tablespoon of any other alternative sugar option like coconut sugar, date sugar, or maple syrup.

8 oz of at least 70% Cacao Bittersweet chocolate bar, roughly chopped, melted and slightly cooled. I used Green and Blacks Organic Dark Chocolate.***

1 can coconut cream to make whipped coconut cream

3-4 Sugar free-gluten free Candy Canes to crush and garnish.
You can use fresh berries to garnish, cacao nibs, toasted coconut or toasted nuts in case of no nut allergies.

Important Notes:

*Since avocados differ in size and amount of flesh depending on avocado types, please weigh the avocado flesh, and make sure you buy avocado Hass which are the most creamy and less fibrous.

**When buying coconut cream, I prefer any brand from Thailand, whole foods or Traders Joe’s, because they have the best richness and creaminess. check and read the labels.

***Other vegan bars:Theo 82%, Madecasse 80%, Scharffen Berger 82%
I found an article on line about Green and Blacks Organic Dark Chocolate label in which I read that it does not have any milk powder or solids on the formula, but it is made adjacent to a facility that makes milk chocolate. So by regulation, they had to specify that on the label.

Preparation Method:

1. Cut avocados in half, remove pits, and place flesh on a scale, you need 10oz of avocado flesh. Then on a bowl and holding a fine sieve, mashed the fresh avocado fresh through the sieve until smooth.
2. With a hand blender or on a food processor add the sieved avocado, and purée until smooth and frothy. You should have a silky and lump free avocado purée.
3. To this avocado pure add 1 can of unsweetened cream of coconut, salt, cinnamon, walnut oil and vanilla. Whip until smooth, frothy, and pale green using a hand mixer. Set aside.

Chocolate-Avodado-Coconut-Mousse_sieve,puree,-sweeten-and-puree 4. Melt all the chocolate on a double boiler until warm and smooth. Set aside to cool down.
5. Once chocolate has cooled down a little, add melted chocolate to the avocado coconut mixture. Mix well until smooth and room temp. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes to an hour, or until firm to the touch. It should feel like cold frosting on a cake.
6. Meantime, place the second can of coconut cream on the freezer for at least 30-45 minutes. Make sure the can is standing up. After 45 minutes, Open the can carefully and by now the coconut solids have separated. The coconut fat will rise to the top, leaving the coconut water on the bottom. With a spoon collect all coconut fat and place on a small bowl. Save the coconut water for another preparation, or discard.
7. If coconut solids are to frozen wait until they are soft and cold enough to whip them. When ready to whip Add some Stevia or any other sweetener of your preference and using a hand mixer whip until soft picks form. Reserve some of this Whipped Coconut Cream to garnish.
8. Remove Chocolate mixture from the refrigerator. Whip mixture with hand mixer until smooth and fluffy. Using a spatula, gently fold in the coconut whipped cream into chocolate mixture using up and down folding movements until all the whipped coconut cream is incorporated, and the mousse looks light and fluffy.

Chocolate-Avodado-Coconut-Mousse_Mix,-Refrigerate-whipChocolate-Avodado-Coconut-Mousse-Coconut-Whipped-Cream_fold

9. Chill some glasses, and using an ice cream scooper, scoop one or two servings on each glass or ramekins. Keep mousse refrigerated until time to serve.
When time to serve, add a dollop of whipped cream and garnish with crushed sugar-free candy canes. Enjoy!

Chocolate-Avodado-Coconut-Mousse_Crushed-Sugarfree-Candy-CanesChocolate-Avodado-Coconut-Mousse_Yes,-more-please!Chocolate-Avodado-Coconut-Mousse_Sugarfree_Yes,-more-please!

This post was sponsored by SVETIA.US
The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.*

Thank you SVETIA! for providing the product and sponsorship.

Music Pairing: Love Actually- Christmas its all Around Us.

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Yankee-Mex Bison Chili

Yankee-Mex-Bison-Chili_Warm-up!_Yes,-more-please!

Probably this recipe may offend a few of our Texas cooks. Please don’t let the title of this recipe scare you away… Bare with me, you, dear Texans.

This chili with beans recipe is what results of a marriage, between a South Mexican girl and a Northern Michigan boy. My chili has to have beans. As you know we live in Texas, which I believe there must be a written law somewhere about no beans in chili. We hope we don’t get into trouble, but if we do, with all your respect, heck yeah!, I want a pot of this trouble for any given Texan winter night.

I’m using Ground Bison full of rich meaty flavor, lots of character and the right amount of fat. To complement the ground bison, I used a type of black bean called Rio Zape. They are a bit larger than black beans, meatier, creamy and with a very earthy flavor, than when cook it produces the most delicious cloudy broth. I love this bean flavor win combination with all the chili spices. A dash of Apple cider vinegar to brighten up the chili powders it’s must. Garnish with sour cream, onions, and Colby cheese. A side of freshly baked cornbread is the perfect accomplice. This Yankee-Mex chili has a great depth of flavor, from the ancho chile, a bright mild spiciness from New Mexico chili powder and a hint of lingering spice from a dash of cayenne pepper. Its well balanced flavors and the right consistency will warm up your inside out. Let’s cook!

Yankee-Mex-Bison-Chili_ready-to-serve!Yankee-Mex Bison Chili_Bison the other great meat

Yankee-Mex Bison Chili

Serves 2-4 Yankees and maybe 1 exiled Texan.

3 tablespoons corn oil
1 large white onion diced
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
2 lbs. 90%-10% lean Ground Bison
4 dashes Worchershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground mexican comino
2 heaping tablespoons Ancho chili powder
3 heaping tablespoons New Mexico chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dry mexican oregano
2 pinches mexican cinnamon powder
About 2 teaspoons grated piloncillo*
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 bay leaf
2 cups beef broth, sodium free.
2-3 cups Rio Zape or Black beans cooked*
2 cups of the Bean broth. If you cooked your beans reserve the broth. If you are using canned beans, rinse the beans discard the liquid and substitute for 1 cup of beef broth, sodium free and 1 cup water.
2 tablespoons corn masa harina, diluted into one cup of the broth above.

For Garnish:
Sour cream, Colby cheese shredded, green onions or red onions diced, fresh sliced jalapeño or serranos.
Serve with Skillet Sweet corn Bread. Recipe follows. Or this Corn bread muffins or this honey-jalapeño corn bread.

Preparation Method:

1. In a cast iron enamel pot, sauté the diced onions until translucent. Add finely chopped garlic, sauté until fragrant.
2. Add Ground Bison, break the ground beef into small pieces with a wooden spatula. Add worcestershire sauce, comino a bout 1 cup of the beef broth, salt, and pepper. The liquid will help the ground beef to separate into smaller pieces. Stir constantly until liquid has evaporated in half.
3. At these point the meat looks juicy, lose ground texture and glistening. Sprinkle the ancho, New mexico, and Cayenne chili powders evenly. Stir until the ground bison has a dark red and all meat its well covered into the chili powder, add the tomato paste until well incorporated. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add dry oregano, cinnamon, grated piloncillo, vinegar, and toss well briefly.
4. Add the 2 cups of bean broth, bay leaf, toss well, bring to a simmer and let simmer for 8 minutes. Toss every now and then.
5. Dilute the corn masa harina into one cup of beef broth until no lumps. Add this mixture to the chili, while stirring to avoid clumps. Simmer gently for another 8-10 minutes stirring now and then.
6. At last add the cook beans, add a little more beef broth if needed. Taste and adjust salt. Simmer for another 5 minutes until beans are warm and the consistency is like a lose gravy. At this point you decide if you prefer a more lose chili or a gravy like consistency. Cover with a  lid and Keep chili warm, let all the ingredients talk to each other. before serving. Meantime start baking the corn bread! Recipe follows…Yankee-Mex-Bison-Chili_Step-by-Step_Yes,-more-please!

Quickie Skillet Corn Bread:

Serves 4

1- 6″ cast iron skillet.
2 tablespoons corn oil

Dry ingredients:
1 cup corn flour
1 ear of sweet corn kernels
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar, or honey
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup Colby cheddar cheese shredded

Wet ingredients:
1 cup whole milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, corn oil or melted butter

2 extra teaspoons of corn oil for the pan

Directions:  Preheat the oven at 400F, Add 2 teaspoons of corn oil into the skillet and place the skillet on a baking tray, in the oven to heat up.about 5 minutes.
Mix dry ingredients, Mix wet ingredients and combine, mix well. Carefully open the oven, slide the baking tray and add the cornbread batter into the skilled as fast as you can. Spect splatters. Close the oven and cook for about 17-20 minutes, until center springs back and golden brown top. Sprinkle some smoked paprika to taste. Serve while is warm.

Yankee-Mex-Bison-Chili_Simple-Skillet-Sweet-Corn-bread

7. As soon the corn bread its out of the oven, Serve Chili on warm bowls, garnish with sour cream, colby shredded cheese, green onions.

Yankee-Mex-Bison-Chili_warm-chili-with-Rio-Zape-Beans,-a-Winter-recipe-must!Yankee-Mex-Bison-Chili_and-toppingsYankee-Mex-Bison-Chili_warm-chili-Yes,-more-please!

Eat . Warm up . Repeat . Enjoy!

Music Pairing: Devotchka – You Love Me

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