Tag Archives: cilantro

Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Mango

This soba salad pulls no punches. Piles of fresh cilantro and basil, mango, fried eggplant (and I added tofu) hot peppers, sesame oil, red onion, rice vinegar and fresh garlic (I’m not afraid of fresh garlic. Love me, love my garlic). It has four major components – sauce, noodles, fried things and chopped things – so it takes a little bit of effort. But the flavor is bright and sharp, with a nice earthy balance from soba noodles. The salad itself is so colorful, my camera phone picture is just not doing it justice.

Me being me, I added an extra hot pepper from the garden, some fried tofu, and used some really big garlic cloves. You could adjust as is your want. Another great recipe from Plenty.

Fu Wah Tofu Hoagie

How is it that I’ve never talked about the Fu Wah Tofu Hoagie? Famous through West Philadelphia, this is no bahn mi – it’s made on a soft, short hoagie roll, not a crispy french baguette. In between those soft buns nestles sweet soy marinated tofu, pickled carrots and daikon, dressed with siracha, fresh cilantro and jalapeno peppers, all for under $4. I like to pick one up and head to Clark Park and eat it in the sunshine.

Brunch in the House

While I LOVE to go out to brunch, it can be a big hassle, cost a lot of money, and feel frustrating. Sometimes you’d rather just sit on your couch and watch the Sunday morning news shows (or is that just me?) Either way, sometimes I surprise myself with the ability to quickly whip-up a pretty amazing brunch with ingredients already in my kitchen. Pictured above:

Jalapeno corn cakes topped with black beans (garlic, onion, adobo), fresh avocado, fried eggs, homemade pico, more jalapenos, shredded cheddar cheese, fresh cilantro hot sauce and BAM, breakfast. Of course, I made a bloody mary to go along with it, since that’s how I roll with brunch.

Mexican Chop Salad

Mexican Chop Salad

Mexican Chop Salad

Because I love the Mexican Chop Salad at El Vez, but don’t really like going to El Vez, I’ve been trying to replicate it on my own. And you know what, I’m really really close. I didn’t have any radish or jicama when I made this salad, but a 1/2 cup of either, chipped finely, would add great kick and extra crunchy texture.

Mexican Chop Salad
serves 6

4 cups romaine lettuce, sliced very thinly
1 can (15.5 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped seeded tomato, or sliced cherry tomatoes
1 cup fresh (or frozen, thawed) roasted corn kernels, uncooked

Toss salad ingredients in a large bowl.

3 small corn tortillas, sliced thinly
vegetable or corn oil
1/2 cup queso fresco or goat feta, crumbled
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper

Heat enough oil to fry the tortillas in a medium skillet. When the oil is hot (a flick of water should sizzle) carefully add half of the tortilla slices. Fry slowly, turning every few minutes. When they are golden brown, remove them from the pan with a slotted spatula and drain on paper towels. Fry the second batch, draining on the same towel. In a small skillet, heat just a dab of oil (or a spray of Pam) over medium heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and cumin, tossing to coat. Toast the seed gently until they brown slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool. Add 3/4 of both garnishes to the salad, reserving the rest for final garnishing.

cumin lime vinaigrette
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
large pinch of cayenne pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tbs. vegetable (or olive) oil
1 plum tomato, chopped, or 6 cherry tomatoes

Combine all of the salad ingredients and pulse in a blender or food processor until even in texture and the tomato is fully blended. Add the dressing the salad, toss well, and then top with the remaining garnish. Add a generous grind of fresh black pepper.

Roasted Red Pepper, Garbanzo and Chipotle Salad

Roasted Red Pepper, Garbanzo and Chipotle Salad

Roasted Red Pepper, Garbanzo and Chipotle Salad

I’ve been meaning to post this salad I made for a work lunch, but since I originally made it for 30 people, it took some motivation to decide to cut the recipe down. Michelle, the assistant to the director, says it tastes just like a Chipotle burrito, but without all the fat! Warning – it’s spicy!

roasted red pepper, garbanzo and chipotle salad

serves 5

6 cups of mixed baby greens or red leaf lettuce
1 12 oz. can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
6 oz. roasted red peppers, sliced thinly
3 ripe plum tomatoes, sliced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cumin


2 oz. (or two small) canned chipotle peppers
1 Tsb. olive oil
2 Tbs. lime juice
1/2 tsp. salt

Lightly toss together all of the salad ingredients. Spray a medium saucepan with a touch of olive oil (or Pam), and warm over medium heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and cumin, tossing to coat. Toast the seed gently until they brown slightly, about 5 minutes. Add to the salad.

In a food processor or blender, add all of the dressing ingredients, pulsing until the peppers are chopped very finely. The texture should be smooth, and the color a creamy red. Add to the salad and toss well to coat.

All those pretty salad ingredients, waiting to be tossed

All those pretty salad ingredients, waiting to be tossed

Southwestern Quinoa Soup

Quinoa, roasted corn, and avocado soup

Quinoa, roasted corn, and avocado soup

Always in search of new ways to use quinoa, I’ve run across a few ways to combine quinoa, corn, and avocado in a soup. Here’s my version, which turned out quite tasty, and with a little kick! Leftovers made great lunch all week – just add the avocado at the last minute, or mash it into the soup if you’ll be eating it later in the week.

Southwestern Quinoa Soup
serves 4

2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 red onion, chopped
2 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. cumin
1 cup of quinoa (I often use red, but white works fine)
1 tsp. salt
4 cups of vegetable stock, homemade is best
1 large, dried chipotle pepper
1 cup or roasted corn, frozen of fresh
1 Tbs. of your favorite hot sauce (I used sriracha)
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
handful of greens (I used baby arugula this time)
pepper to taste
1 avocado, sliced and salted
1 lime, quartered

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and fry until the onion is soft, and the garlic is lightly browned. Add the cumin, stirring to coat the onion. Add the vegetable stock, quinoa, dried chili and salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and keep covered, until the quinoa softens and sprouts “tails” – about 12 minutes. Stir in the roasted corn, greens, hot sauce, and cilantro, stir, and heat through. Remove the soup from heat and ladle it into four bowls. Garnish each bowl with 1/4 of the avocado, sliced, fresh cilantro, a wedge of lime, and black pepper.

Carrots and Zucchini with cumin

Carrots and Zucchini with cumin

I had some leftover carrots and zucchini, so I lightly steamed the carrots and gave them both a toss in the skillet with a tad of olive oil, salt, and a generous pinch of cumin.

Roasted Poblano Peppers, stuffed

Roasted Poblano Peppers, stuffed

Roasted Poblano Peppers, stuffed

I love roasted peppers, and goat cheese, and really, everything in this dish. It is based on a this recipe from the March issue of Body & Soul magazine  – finally they focused on vegetarianism as a way to live “greener!”  As is my way, I changed a few things. First, I didn’t read the recipe very carefully, and halved the peppers before I realized I was supposed to roast them whole, then slit and stuff them. Oh well. Different aesthetic, same flavor. I also substituted 4-pepper soft goat cheese for the goat feta, black beans for the black soy beans, red incan quionoa for the white quinoa, a whole dried ancho pepper with the Tbs. of chipotle (I’m not a big chipotle fan), and poured the sauce over top everything, instead of at the bottom of the pan and under the peppers. That said, it was delicious!

Salad with toasted pumpkin seed dressing

Salad with toasted pumpkin seed dressing

I served the roasted  poblanos with a simple side salad of red leaf lettuce, fresh tomato, and a toasted pumpkin seed dressing I found on epicurious.com. I reduced the oil significantly, and while the flavor was top-notch, Senor Lanky grumbled a bit because it was chunkier, and therefor didn’t spread as well throughout the salad.

Roasted Poblanos, casserole-style

Roasted Poblanos, casserole-style

Yum.  You can see all the choppped cilantro from the sauce, nestled on top.

Thai Cabbage Slaw, Mineola Tempeh and Kiwi salsa

Thai Cabbage Slaw

Thai Cabbage Slaw

I’m so glad that I discovered I love cabbage. This recipe is a variation on a recipe posted on 28 Cooks, itself a variation of a recipe from The Daily Raw Cafe. Or course, I made some changes based on what I had in the kitchen and pantry, and what I like best. It was crunchy, delicious, and just the right balance of sweet and spicy. What a way to brighten a winter evening!

Mineola Tempah with Kiwi salsa

Mineola Tempah with Kiwi salsa

You could also make this tempeh and salsa with a tangarine, but I love easy-to-peel mineolas in the winter, and I had a big giant bowl of them on my kitchen counter.

Thai Cabbage Slaw

serves 4 (hugely)

4 cups thinly sliced red cabbage

4 large carrots, julienned

4 Tbs. rice wine vinegar

1/2 c. almond butter

1 Tbs. peanut oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tbs. fresh ginger, minced

3 hot red chili peppers, minced

1 Tbs. honey

juice and zest of one lime

salt, to taste

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

Instructions: Toss the cabbage, carrots, and rice wine vinegar in a large bowl.  In a smaller bowl, mix together the almond butter, peanut oil, garlic, ginger, chilies, honey, lime juice and zest and salt until smooth. Mix into the cabbage mixture, until evenly coated. The sauce is thick, and  you’ll probably need to use your hands to ensure an even distribution. Add the fresh cilantro, and toss. Garnish with additional chilies, or cilantro if you wish.

Mineola Tempeh

serves 4

16 oz. Tempeh

1 Tbs. peanut oil


Juice of 2 mineolas, plus zest

4 Tbs. soy sauce

1 Tbs. sugar (I use demera)

pinch of cardamon

salt, to taste

Instructions: Mix all the marinade ingrediants in a shallow bowl. Divide the tempeh into 4 pieces, then cut each piece into 6 strips. Toss gently in the marinade, and allow to marinate for as much time as you have – 5 minutes to 1 day.  Heat the peanut oil in a large skillet. Add just the tempeh, lightly frying on one side. Flip the tempeh and add the marinade.  It will carmelize quickly, so keep a careful eye on the tempeh to prevent burning.

Kiwi Salsa

2 whole kiwis, peeled

1 mineola, peeled

1 tsp. olive oil

2 diced hot chili peppers

pinch of salt

Instructions: Dice the kiwi and mineola. Add the olive oil, chilies, and salt, tossing gently. Allow to marinate for a few mintues before serving.

Take a look at that gorgeous red cabbage!

Take a look at that gorgeous red cabbage!

Super Fast Buffalo Tofu

Super Fast Buffalo Tofu

While I can’t say that I’ve actually ever eaten a chicken wing, I crave buffalo sauce something terrible. I whipped up this super fast buffalo tofu the other night when I was starving. I like to use local, organic firm tofu because I think that it’s firmer – I don’t even need to press it! Because I was in a big hungry hurry, I served the tofu with some wilted spinach, but garlic greens, mac and cheese, or any traditional southern side would be great.

Super-Fast Buffalo Tofu

serves 4 (or 2, if you can’t get enough)

1 large block (8 oz.) extra-firm tofu, patted dry

1/4 – 1/2  c. Frank’s Red Hot hot sauce (it has to be Frank’s)

3 Tbs. melted earth balance or butter

salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

fresh cilantro

Dice the tofu evenly, and plate in a Ziploc bag or tupperwear. Mix the hot sauce and 2 Tbs. of melted butter, then pour over the tofu. Shake the closed bag or tupperwear until the tofu is evenly coated, and let sit. Fry the onion with the remaining Tbs. of butter in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. When the onion is crispy, set aside. Add the tofu and sauce to the hot pan, and fry until the tofu is  heated through and browned, adding more butter (if absolutely necessary), and salt and pepper to taste.  Top the tofu with the fried onions and fresh cilantro.