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Radish Pineapple Mint Quinoa Salad


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 besides the tomato plants will give tomatoes company and will help them grow together. She also emphasizes 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 in a serendipitous way.

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Grilled whole Red Snapper + Mint Lime Serrano Pesto


What a weekend we had of great cooking adventures!; On Sunday we visited one great Korean market here in Austin, recommended by my good friend Andrea. It was lots of fun. We found great ingredients and an awesome little food court with the most incredible Dolsot Bibimbap and the location of the Kin and Comfort . The menu looks divine, peppered beef tongue?, taro hush puppies!, mac and cheese with curry, coconut cabbage slaw… we have homework, but well that is a whole different episode, this post is all about the fish.

Our mission was to find a great whole fish to grill. And as soon as we entered the fish market area there he was waiting for us; a handsome fresh whole Red Snapper with gorgeous eyes looking at me. Sold! I saw it and I knew it was going to be great.

Now, how do you pick a good looking fish? I will share with you my must have fish shopping list. When I’m choosing whole fresh fish it must be odorless, must have plump clear shiny eyes, scales on, bright red gills, flesh that springs back and a perky tale. If the fish is missing one of these… I will be having pork chops instead. How big of a fish you should buy? If you go by weight, a whole Red Snapper wild yield in meat almost half of the weight. This weight  tip is a good point of reference to consider, when you are buying whole fish. We bought a 2 Lb. fish and it was good for two people.(in fact, the fish turned out so good that maybe next time I will get a 3 pounder for sure!) At the market, the fish monger cleaned our fish, removed scales, and butterflied it for us. It was clean and ready to cook when we arrived home.

Ian is the fire master at our house so he lit up the charcoal, while I was preparing the pesto. Red Snapper has great flavor and white flaky flesh. It is a little bony but if you follow the flesh grain it is easy to eat whole. For the preparation of this baby, I went for light fresh herbs to go with the freshness of the fish. I grabbed some mint, lime juice, garlic, olive oil, and a little serrano to add some kick and brighten up the flavor. The pumpkin seeds gave a nutty note and body to the pesto. this pesto paired perfect with the charred-grilled fish flavor.

Now, let’s talk about grilling. The grilling style that is close to my heart I inherited from an Argentinian chef, Francis Mallmann. I had the opportunity to meet him at a book signing here in Austin where I was helping to host his Seven Fires book presentation. I was amused by his premise about grilling. For Chef Mallmann it’s all about developing char. Char adds character and flavor to meats, poultry, fish, vegetables and fruit when grilled. I remember the first time we grilled following instructions from his book, and we were thinking all along we had burnt the dinner, and when we tried those charred vegetables it changed our grilling perspective. So since then, when we grill we use his technique.

For fish like Red Snapper when it’s grilled, it develops a delicious crusty salty and slightly fatty flavor, charred areas add deep of flavor and character to the fish it’s just utterly delicious.
If you never have had a whole grilled fish you are missing big time flavor, and a great cooking adventure from your cooking repertoire, I betcha 100% you’ll love fish even more after this recipe.


Grilled Whole Red Snapper + Mint Lime Pesto

Serves 2, recipe can easily be double or tripled if needed.

1 whole Red Snapper 2lbs. approximately.
1 Lemon
1 Lime
1-2 extra virgin olive oil glugs
Sea salt & Pepper to taste.

Serve with: Red quinoa, rice or couscous. Vegetables of your affection. In this case I grilled red onions, red tomatoes, broccolini, and cucumber slices, dressed with lime salt and pepper.

Natural charcoal
A large grill fish basket, with wood handle.
It is so easy to use one of these baskets and also is prevents your fish from sticking to the gill. You can flip it in a more secure manner with out tearing it apart and it cooks evenly and its safer to handle, a great inexpensive grill gear investment.


Mint Lime Serrano Pesto

1 packed cup fresh mint leaves or mexican hierba buena leaves
(about a medium size mint bunch will yield a packed cup of leaves)
1 small serrano or jalapeno if you prefer.
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons salted toasted pumpkin seeds
the juice of two limes
the zest of one lime
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt


Preparation Method:

1. First prepare the Pesto. Place every pesto ingredient in an immersion blender glass or food processor until pureed. The consistency should be like a loose paste. If too pasty add a bit more extra virgin olive oil and an extra squeeze of lime. Adjust salt and pepper if needed.
2. Prepare your fish. Rinse and wash your fish really well. With a paper towel path dry your fish inside out. With a knife make some slits on the skin of your fish so it cooks evenly.(See picture below)
3. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the pesto in the fish cavity, add some lime slices, and mint sprigs

4. Oil your fish basket with a bit of olive oil. Place the whole fish into the fish basket. Make sure to secure the lock.

5. Light up your charcoal. I always prefer to use natural charcoal because it adds great flavor to the grilling and it avoids the use of chemicals that in my opinion when used transfer an odd flavor to the food. The easiest way I found to start the natural charcoal is by using a charcoal chimney.
6. Once your charcoal is hot and ashed over place the fish on the grill. It will take about 6-7 minutes per side to cook depending on the size of your fish. For a salt water fish like red snapper thermometer should read between 110-120F when cooked.


7. Serve with vegetables of your affection, we grilled red onions, tomatoes, and broccolini.
Serve over tricolor quinoa. Drizzle more pesto on the fish when plated an extra squeeze of lime or lemon, eat with abandon…



Eat good, enjoy the ride!

Cooking Music Pairing: Ultra Lounge- Bossanova Ville

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Sweet Potato Kale and Quinoa Fritters

Kale-Sweet potatoe-and-Quinoa-FrittersKale-Sweet-potatoe-and-Quinoa-Fritters-cooked-quinoa

So many Kale… so little time… root vegetables, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, all kinds of potatoes, carrots; an Autumn cornucopia is here and with it Thanksgiving. So gear up! I will be posting side dish appetizers, entrees, and everything with the potential of being on your Thanksgiving table… I think it’s great to add new dishes to the traditional menu, or revamp old recipes. And even if you are not a Thanksgiving celebration type, this seasonal produce is what you will enjoy preparing, whether it’s lunch, or dinner or a simple snak-petizer like this Sweet Potato Kale and Quinoa Fritters.

These little fritters are scrumptiously good. Loaded with vitamins and flavor, this little patties that have a crispy exterior and a soft creamy interior. The quinoa adds texture and a little crunch. Call them patties, fritters, creatures; you’re gonna love them. They taste equally good when they are warm or room temperature.
They make for a fabulous appetizer, side dish, or if you make them bigger. Two of these patties can be your lunch or sensible dinner with a salad on the side.


Sweet Potato Kale and Quinoa Fritters

Makes 18-20 / 2”mini patties or 6 / 3.5” side patties

1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes steamed and pureed. Makes about 3 cups
2 cups cooked Quinoa, you can use red quinoa if you prefer. Approximately 1 cup of uncooked quinoa yields 2.25 cups when cooked.
2 cups kale finely chopped.  I used Lacinto kale, a.k.a. Dinosaur Kale but, any flat kind kale will work.
2 eggs (vegan: substitute 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons of water)
½ cup panko or any kind of plain breadcrumbs. If you have gluten allergies, ground old fashion oats or almond meal will work.
3 teaspoons cornstarch. If using the almond meal add one extra teaspoon.
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 good pinch paprika or smoked paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt

4-6 tablespoons grapeseed oil, peanut oil, or coconut oil to pan fry them.

*See note for an alternative cooking method on the bottom of the post…

For the dipping sauce:

¼ cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
pinch of kosher salt
pinch of black pepper

In a small cup mix all ingredients and chill.

Hot sauce of your preference. I highly recommend Sriracha Sauce.



Devein the Kale, make it into a tight roll and chop chiffonade style.



In a medium size bowl, place all ingredients and mix well.



In a medium size pan heat up about 4-6 tablespoons of grape seed oil, peanut oil or coconut oil.
With a small Ice cream scooper scoop about 6 patties into the pan and slightly flatten the tops.
Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

 Kale-Sweet potatoe-and-Quinoa-Fritters_pan frying


Cool them on a rack.
Serve warm or at room temperature, with the ginger sauce on the side and some hot sauce of your preference. I highly recommend Sriracha…I love it….Enjoy!


Kale-Sweet potatoe-and-Quinoa-Fritters-delicious!

Kale-Sweet potatoe-and-Quinoa-Fritters_delicious-texture


 *Note:  Many people have asked me about baking these fritters. It never occurred to me to bake a fritter… So I made a batch and baked half and fried half to see the differences in flavor and texture. Here is the veredict:

Baked Version:

I Baked them at 375F on a sheet pan lined with parchment. I brushed each patty with some grape seed oil and baked for 15-20 minutes flipping them half way.

The results:  Texture is more firm and they hold up more like a patty, where the inside is a little more dense. They do not remind me a fritter at all since they have no crispy outside texture.

Pan Fried: 

Well you see the results, they really do not absorb a lot of oil, I love love the contrast in textures, crispy caramelized outside, and creamy less thight inside. For me this is fritter.

I like them both in their own category… but a fritter its a fritter!

5 from 1 vote

Sweet Potato Kale and Quinoa Fritters


They make for a fabulous appetizer, side dish, or if you make them bigger. Two of these patties can be your lunch or sensible dinner with a salad on the side.

Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Healthy, wholesome
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 3 cups Sweet potato, about 1 large-2 medium potatoes, stemmed and pureed.
  • 2 cups Quinoa, cooked
  • 2 cups Lacinato-Dino Kale, chopped chiffonade
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 teaspoons Cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup Panko Japanese style breadcrumbs, or any kind of plain bread crumbs. If you have gluten allergies, ground old fashion oats or almond meal will work.
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 pinch smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4-6 tablespoons grape seed oil, or coconut oil, to pan fry them

Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • Sriracha Sauce, to taste.


  1. 1. Devein the Kale, make it into a tight roll and chop chiffonade style.

    2. In a medium size bowl, place all ingredients and mix well.

    3. In a medium size pan heat up about 4-6 tablespoons of grape seed oil, peanut oil or coconut oil. With a small Ice cream scooper scoop about 6 patties into the pan and slightly flatten the tops. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

    4.Cool them on a rack.

    5. Mix all ingredients of the dipping sauce on a small bowl.

    Serve fritters while warm or at room temperature, with the ginger sauce on the side and some hot sauce of your preference. I highly recommend Sriracha…I love it….Enjoy!

    Happy cooking!

Recipe Notes



Music Pairing: Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps by Cake


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