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I’ve been meaning to post this salad I made for a work lunch, but since I originally made it for 30 people, it took some motivation to decide to cut the recipe down.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

dressing

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
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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.

Clementine Cranberry Scone

clementine-cranberry-scone1

Scones were some one of the first things I learned to bake, back in the early 80s when I was obsessed with tea parties. I don’t make them often anymore, because they are so darn unhealthy, but I had an early morning meeting and thought that I would bring these, still warm, to cheer everyone up. I also made them healthier – hurray!

Clementine Cranberry Scones

1.5 cups all purpose flour
1.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup demerara sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoon grated clementine peel
1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter (or Earth Balance), cut up
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup chilled buttermilk or soy milk
1/4 cup fresh clementine juice
2 Tbs. demerara sugar (for sprinkling)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda into large bowl. Stir in the grated clementine peel. Add butter and rub in with fingertips or a pastry tool until mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix in dried cranberries. Add the clementine juice to the milk, then gradually add the wet mixture, tossing lightly with a fork until the dough forms moist clumps. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead briefly to bind dough, about 4 turns. Form dough into 1-inch-thick round, and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Cut into 8 wedges, transferring the wedges to prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake 20- 25 minutes, until tops of scones are golden brown. If you don’t have parchment paper, place the round in a 8 inch cake pan and bake before cutting into wedges. Carefully remove scones from the baking sheet and cool on a baking rack. Serve scones warm or at room temperature, with butter, jam, clotted cream or cream cheese.

Guatemala, chilis!

Dried chilis and spices
Dried chilis and spices

While Guatemalans, in general, don’t enjoy very spicy food, they do use a wide variety of chilies in cooking. The above spread of dried chilies and spices illustrates ingrediants used at the restaurant La Fonda de la Calle Real in Antigua. Every single time we ate in Guatemala we received a chili sauce different than any other we had seen. I only began documenting the diversity of salsas about midway through our trip, and I missed some of my favorites, but I can easily say that I enjoyed them all.

chili bowl
chili bowl

The one on the left had a bright, medium spicy flavor with cilantro.

bottled chili sauce
bottled chili sauce

Every comedor as, at a minimum, a bottle of this green chili sauce. I used it as liberally as ketchup. Medium-spicy, it has a complex flavor.

Salsa Fresca
Salsa Fresca

This salsa had a light, mild flavor similar to a salsa fresca, but was made with lightly cooked plum tomatoes.

pickled chilis
pickled chilis

Barely more than pickled peppers, carrots and onions, I piled this salsa on chips and the vinegar ran down my palms.

chili-4

This salsa was both spicy and had a strong, sweet flavor, similar to an Javanese sambal, but with a reduced tomato flavor.

rich salsa
rich salsa

At the same time spicy, oily, and full of a bright vinegar flavor, I could’nt get enough of this complex flavor.

chopped salsa
chopped salsa

This fresh, chopped salsa (seen behind Senor Lanky’s meal at the Chichicastenango market) was simple sliced green chilis and onions in vinegar. Wonderful, fresh and simple.

Guatemala, Almuerzo y Cena

cimg1096I love to visit markets in different parts of the world where I can see how people buy the food that cook. The above photo was taken at the Saturday morning market in Santiago Atitlan. Many villages in this area of Lake Atitlan grow the small onions you see above, meticulously cleaning them at the lake shore before transporting them to market in large baskets.

Vegetables with Pepin Sauce
Vegetables with Pepin Sauce

Vegetarian lunches and dinners were easy to locate in Guatemala. While larger tourist centers offer a wide range of international food, there are also traditional Guatemalan dishes that have no meat. The above is a dish that I ordered at La Fonda de Calle Real in Antigu – potatoes, green beans and chaote in pepin suace, served in a banana leaf with a side of rice pilaf. Pepin suace is made with roasted pumpking and seseme seeds, cloves, cinnamon, and roasted plum tomatoes.

Rice
Rice

Rice is usually prepared with finely diced carrots and green peppers, peas or green beans. This preparation is so popular, you can buy carrots and beans pre-diced, in bulk, at any food market.

Plato Vegetariano
Plato Vegetariano

This plato vegetariano from Comida Tipica Kaquikel (a type of people in and language in the Lake Atitlan region)in Panajachel incorporates many of the food items the also appear in breakfasts – rice, beans, cheese and guacemole. Rice and beans is perhaps the most common dinner in Guatemala, but this “plato” added steamed vegetables, a half of a boiled plantain, and a dab of mayonaise (which I skipped). It was just the right amount of food!

Cucumber Salad
Cucumber Salad

This basic cucumber salad with onions and yogurt gets dressed up with the addition of black sesame seeds, tomato, and a sprig of cilantro.

Corn Tortillas
Corn Tortillas

It’s not a meal without a basket of hot, fresh, handmade corn tortillas. The smell amazing, and the quick grilling on a large griddle sears them with a toasted corn flavor.

Fresh Salad
Fresh Salad

Cucumber, vine ripened tomatoes, avocado, onion, red onion, grated carrot, and just a dash of oil and vinegar. Heaven.

Schezuan Eggplant
Schezuan Eggplant

The restaurant at Posada de Santiago does international food right. While my schezuan eggplant was’nt at all spicy, it was coated in in yummy sweet soy sauce and the pieces of eggplant were still firm with an almost thick, yet still tender skin.

Thai green curry
Thai green curry

On the other hand, international food can go horribly wrong. This green thai “curry,” served at La Casa del Mundo, was the only dissapointing meal I had my entire trip. It was not spicy, it did not taste at all likely curry, I don’t know where the “green” description came from, and it was served on a bed of spaghetti. This meal is a perfect example of why I avoid “international” food when traveling – what the locals cook best is food traditional to the region.

Cheese Quesadillas
Cheese Quesadillas

Not at all native to Guatemala, the cheese quesadillas, picked up in Zona Viva, Guatemala City, were still a tasty late dinner for Senor Lanky, served with an assortment of salsa, mild grilled green onions, guacemole and fresh pineapple.

Guatemala, bocadillos

Cow on Pacaya
Cow on Pacaya

Snacks are plentiful in Guatemala. Many of them lean towards the sweeter side as Guatemalans, especially city-dwellers, typically take an afternoon snack and coffee break. But savory snacks (more my style) are also popular. Tostadas, little sandwiches, and my favorite (and sadly unpictured) the licuado, or fruit shake with yogurt, ice, or milk. Pictured above is a cow on the mountainside of Pacaya, an active volcano between Guatemala City and Antigua. Perhaps it is having late-afternoon grass snack?

Michaladas
Michaladas

Mmmm, michaladas. One of my favorite afternoon snack, the michalad (lime juice, beer, tomato juice, salt and chili) is one of my favorite afternoon snack, extra spicy please. Shown here with Gallo, lo mejor cerveza in Guatemala.

Soda in a Bag
Soda in a Bag

Guatemalan sodas are made with pure cane sugar – not that corn syrup crap we pour into everything here. The real sugar makes it much more delicious (especially in cola form). If you buy a soda  “to go” at a small store, they will pour it into a bag and give you a straw for it. That allows them to recycle the glass bottle. Nice and also fun. Shown above is a Rica soda in pineapple flavor.

Fruit Cart
Fruit Cart

Fresh fruit, served mixed in cups or chopped in bags, can be purchased off of fruit carts, like the one pictured above, or at tables in the market. I love fresh pineapple or mango sprinkled with salt and cumin.

Icies
Granizadas

Eating fresh ice in Guatemala can be a little risky, but if you’re up to it, these fancy little hand-powered machines with grind the ice fresh, and then you can choose a (real sugar) syrup to pour on top.

Tamatillos
Tamatillos

Tamatillos, or little tamales, are a perfect snack served with spicy tomato sauce. These little goodies are made of white corn, filled with roasted red pepper and cheese.

Helados
Helados

There’s always room for ice cream. Helados come in wonderful flavors in Central America. I love coconut.

Snack Cart
Snack Cart

Little carts like these, also seen as box tiendas and even baskets that enterprising Guatemalan carry around heavily populated areas, sell home-made candies, chips, gum, lollipops, and cigarettes. The one above also sells granizadas, or icies.

Black bean and cheese dip with blue corn chips
Black bean and cheese dip with blue corn chips

Anglicized, for sure, but this black bean and cheese dip with hot, fried, thick hunks of blue corn tortilla were delicious.