Lunch

Leek Potato Charred Poblano Soup

Hello, hello! We are back in the saddle and hope you had a fantastic Holidays and a fresh start to 2017. We have been on a rollercoaster of change and highly focused on our book. Besides some adversities with Miss. Mildred (our stove), we are working on her retirement and the stove transition to make it happen. We are extremely grateful for all the great people who have supported us during this time, whether if it has been a word of encouragement, an e-mail, a phone call, or a donation funding for the new stove to come. To all of you, THANK YOU so much! On the other hand, It is taking a little longer than we expected, with permits and responses, but as soon we have the stove we will shout it out loud and proud!, and of course we will send you a photo.

In the meantime, dealing with our bi-polar weather and stove, soups have been my ultimate effort to save our dinners. One coil burner and a quick prep and 20-25 minutes in the kitchen, can yield the coziest, warmest, and most rewarding bowl of goodness to your table on any given dinner night. This classic velvety soup of leeks, potatoes, and cream has the flavor force of 1,000 horses. It always amazes me how so few ingredients treated with care can yield some of the best soups. Despite the classic version of this soup being one of my favorites, I’m giving this classic velvety soup a rustic and hearty twist. I find this soup much more comforting when its not blended all the way. So I reserved some sautéed leeks, and when it comes the time to pure, I used my immersion blender just a few times, enough to give the desired creaminess from the classic version, and leaving about half of the potato bites. These slight changes give great texture and hearty body to the soup. My irreverence, the addition of charred poblanos, I think is the best thing that could happen to this soup

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Oaxacan Frittata

Oaxacan-Frittata_Yes,-more-please!

Frittatas are the best way to transform simple ingredients into a magnificent meal. It’s the goodness of pie without the crust. With their lightly crusty edges, creamy soft centers, easy comfort, and the fact that almost every ingredient can play and sing along embedded in custardy creamy eggs, frittatas are the perfect Summer companion, and this Oaxacan Frittata is the one you want this summer by your side.

This Frittata is all about the Oaxacan Jewel tomatoes I grew in my little garden. I love how the combination of custardy eggs and “Quesillo” a.k.a Oaxaca Cheese, compliment the flavor of the tomatoes with out masking them. Even when cooked, the tomatoes hold their fresh and juicy flavor. The melted strings of Oaxacan cheese along with fresh herbs and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt make this Frittata the object of my Summer affection.

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Ceviche Verde

Ceviche-Verde_Summer-Recipe_Yes,-more-please!

To hot to cook fish? Let the Limes do it. This Ceviche Verde, is refreshing, light, green, tangy, zesty, crisp and crunchy vegetables, tender tuna marinated in lime juice, surrounded by creamy avocados… are you with me?…Yes!

Ceviche is an original dish from Peru. Peruvians are the kings of making the best out of fresh fish. To corroborate this statement you need to know about Peruvian Chef Gastón Acurio.  Chef Gastón has placed Peru, their culture, and Ceviche at another level in his country and internationally, all through a labor of love that started in the kitchen, that for me, no other chef has achieved with his cooking.

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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!

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Bonanza Bowl

Bonanza-Bowl_shake-up-your-fridge-Yes,-more-please!

One Zucchini, one sweet potato, 1/3 of avocado, 11 cherry tomatoes, some spinach, the heel of a red onion and 2 pieces left from different cabbages, that was what I had in my fridge.
It happens to every fridge. These lonely rangers, the forgotten vegetables that get a little sad and tired looking. You really do not have a plan for them but you know you better eat them before you reload your fridge. All this bits and ends not enough for a complete recipe, you know how it feels when you have potatoes, but not butter, you have pasta but no sauce, or garlic but not oil sometimes your cooking just gets stuck. Some times you have to shake up your fridge and pantry to see what comes out of it.

This is the kind of Non-recipe that saves you. Sometimes if your fridge feels like this, its contagious and you’ll find that your Pantry has the same dilemma. But when your cooking bulb goes on, this bits and ends can be transformed on a blink of an eye and will turn into, perhaps the best dinner of the week.

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Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad

Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad_ingredients_Yes, more please!

Sweet peppers are what you can find at the markets in Austin, Texas right now. Beautiful varieties, colorful, different shapes and sizes. Perhaps one or two sassy ones among the bunch, but mostly they are fleshy, sweet and flavorful.

For me, grilling these kind of sweet peppers bring the best flavors in them. The sweet mild flesh with the charred pieces of skin are what inspired me to make this salad. We love to grill at this time of the year when it does not feel like you are grilling your self over, September its a better Grilling Time for us.

Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad_Grilling-Sweet-peppers

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Black Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna Tacos

Black-Sesame-Seared-Ahi-Tuna-Taco-Party

I’ve been craving Fish Tacos. But not any kind of Fish Taco, I mean Ensenada, Baja California Mexico Fish Tacos. The real deal. These “the” original fish tacos are often imitated, and sad to say but rarely duplicated. How can something so simple in principle, can be so hard to replicate? I really believe its all in the ingredients and the particular sazon of the cook. Have you ever tried the authentic Baja tacos?… If not, please do. Tale says that the Baja tacos were created by the street stand “Tacos El Fenix” in Ensenada Baja California, Mexico. What is so special about a Baja taco? Well, let me describe it. Imagine a tempura-like battered piece of the freshest morning pacific caught white flesh flaky fish, on a Mexican corn tortilla, light mayo-crema, shredded cabbage, pico de gallo, and a spoonful of spicy green or red spicy salsa and a squeeze of lime. The bite is ethereal, crunchy, tender, fresh, savory, acid, spicy your tastebuds go on ecstasy.
I have not eaten Baja Fish Tacos in almost 10 years!, would you believe that?…No?, me neither.

Recreating a craving from a memory of flavor could be a little daunting. I did not want to even attempt to relay into my 10-year taste buds memories to try to replicate these unique Baja tacos.

So I opted for a 360 degree of separation alternative recipe to tease and ease up my Fish Taco craving. I made these Black Sesame Seared Tuna Tacos. Sometimes my taste buds act in mischievous ways. On these tacos, I opted to seared Ahi Tuna steaks covered in Black sesame seeds instead of the deep frying battered fish.

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Summer Rolls with Mango Ginger dipping sauce

Summer-Rolls_cucumber-noodles,-avocado,-shrimp-with-a-mango-ginger-dipping-sauce-Yes,-more-please!

The noodles in my head are fried. August in Texas is no joke. Our Thermostat is on a bi-polar rampage. We are trying to deny the existence of such a thing called “electric bill”. We better stay still and attempt to use the stove much less on these days. Its sad but true, I’m not even craving BBQ or to go out for lunch or dinner when the temperature outside reads 90 F degrees even at 9:00pm. I’m Summernating!

So whats for lunch and dinner these days? The freshest crunchy vegetables, cucumbers, carrots, jicama, crispy lettuce, and thin rice noodles cooked in less than 4 minutes. Summer rolls or Gỏi cuốn which translate in “rice paper rolls, are found all over in East Asia and Southeast Asia cuisine. A fine sticky rice paper is the wrapper which holds vermicelli rice noodles and vegetables. Usually these Summer Rolls are served as a popular appetizer. Odds are you have had them if you eat in Vietnamese or Thai restaurants here in the U.S. But why not make them for dinner as the meal itself?

So what are you going to need? You can find the round rice paper at almost any supermarket with an ethnic foods aisle. Or of course you can shop for them in Asian markets or Wholefoods. They are very inexpensive. If you can’t find them, well you can easily order them online if you are Summernating like me.

These rolls are filled with julianne fresh vegetables, vermicelli noodles and a lean protein, usually shrimp or pork. I used in-season ingredients like fresh cucumbers which I spiralize to create noodles. If you don’t have that handy apparatus you can use a Juliane peeler or your handy-dandy knife skills to make fine vegetable strips of your carrots and lettuce. In this version I added avocado and shrimp.
In addition of the traditional peanut sauce, I prepared a dipping Mango-ginger sauce to make them fresher and add a bit more sweetness. These Summer Rolls are what I’m craving these days.

Summer-Rolls_ingredients

Preparation of these rolls is a sticky affair but I have a nice trick which helps. If this is the first time making Summer Rolls my best advice: “Do Not” follow the instructions on the package, Heheehe. Everything will be easy after that…

Most of the packages and cookbook instructions out there which (for this roll-up process I call them “des-tructions”) call to dip the rice paper in water, to soften and rehydrate. Then to carefully transfer this world’s stickiest, see-thru, delicate, rice paper film into a wood surface or a plate… Let me tell you, this is sticky fingers, crinkled edges, tear apart of a nightmare.

To avoid this situation, I will share with you my secret weapon to make these Summer Rolls, roll easily. I use a spray bottle.

Summer-Rolls_How-to-make-summer-rolls_Yes,-more-please!

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