I love hot peppers, and these big fryers are just spicy enough to make a stuffed pepper with a lot of kick. I did these simply-style – black beans, fresh corn, some chopped tomatoes, fried onions and a little gargonzola. My kitchen was out of commission, but the toaster oven worked just fine with this quick, fresh dinner.
Burritos are made for leftovers. Fry-up anything you have in the fridge, add some protein, and through it in a tortilla with some cheese and hot sauce and you have a seriously hefty breakfast. The above burrito makes us of all the summer vegetables on my counter and in my crisper. Onions fried with garlic and zucchini, egg fried on the side, a few Tbs. of black beans, a pinch of cumin and a chili pepper for good measure, some leftover Chinese take-out rice, chopped fresh tomato, some fresh parsley and my favorite garlic chive cheddar, all in a Frontier tortilla (hey ‘burque!) with green chilies delivered by my aunt. A burrito like this is a brunch burrito, and more!
I believe that almost anything can go into a burrito or wrap. Arriving home with another huge CSA share, and still swimming in vegetables from last week’s late holiday delivery, I made a mission out of using as many vegetables and odds and ends as possible in last nights dinner. I fried garlic scapes and green onions in a wok, then added dandelion greens and some chopped radish greens. Salt and pepper, a chopped habenero pepper, fresh cilantro and parsley, and a drained can of organic black beans went into the walk. I served the beans on whole wheat tortillas with fresh garnishes – sliced radishes, avocado, sprouts, and green onions.
And then I used even MORE vegetables. Red leaf lettuce, topped with a summer squash salad recipe cribbed from Simply in Season – squash, green onions, fresh basil, and Parmesan marinated in red vinegar and olive oil. It felt great to use up the rest of last week’s veggies, and dinner was delicious.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
There’s always room for ice cream. Helados come in wonderful flavors in Central America. I love coconut.
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.
Anglicized, for sure, but this black bean and cheese dip with hot, fried, thick hunks of blue corn tortilla were delicious.
I’ve returned from Guatemala, and am still adjusting to the cold, rainy weather of Philadelphia. While the above photo isn’t of food, the “chicken bus” or public bus is commonly used to transport food from villages to town markets, and then back again, either inside the bus or in large baskets attached to the racks on top. The above bus is in the market at Antigua, and heads to San Lucas.
Breakfast is the easiest meal for vegetarian in Guatemala. The desayuno tipica, or typical breakfast, consists of eggs (in some style), black beans, fried plantains, cheese (though I got the above breakfast, at Las Brisas comedor in Santiago Atitlan, with guacemole instead).
Scrambled eggs, especially with tomato and onion, are called Huevos Revueltos. And fried potatoes in Guate are not messing around. Just look at those hunks of deep-fried goodness. Serves with salsa, and Senor Lanky’s singular “side” of bacon.
Huevos Rancheros, or Mexican-style eggs, are usually just fried eggs served with a side of tomato salsa, and not at all spicy. You have to add your own chili sauce, and I added it plentifully. Shown here shaded by a palm tree at a little place called Posada de Jabailito in Jabailito, Lake Atitlan.
I ordered this very basic breakfast at a small food stand in the center of the Sunday market at ChiChicastenango. Just beans, scrambled eggs and rice with salsa, and of course, fresh corn tortillas. And sweet, instant coffee. Delicious, and around $1.20.
More exciting, these crepes (which are very popular in Guatemala, perhaps due to the international expat scene) were served to me at La Iguana Perdida in Santa Cruz. Sweet, and stuffed with black beans, eggs, and cheese (are you picking up on a theme yet?)
Guatemalans LOVE pancaques, or pancakes. We hiked two hours outside of Antigua to Valhalla, and experimental macadamia nut plantation, for the beauties. Studded with nuts, topped with fresh macadamia nut butter and blueberries, and served with a side of fresh papaya, they were worth it.
The hotel Posada de Santiago in Santiago Atitlan is famous for their blue corn pancakes, and rightly so. I ordered two of these beauties, served with macademia nut syrup, and two fried eggs, which, alongside a bowl of fresh fruit, got me through a long drive to Guatemala City. Notice how orange the yolks of the eggs are. It’s called free-range, and not corn-fed, and infinitely more tasty.
The fruit, especially the papaya, bananas and fresh pineapple, are out this world. I miss it already.