Tag Archives: Latin Cuisine

Ghoulish Peppers say Hello

Hello everyone!

It feels like forever since I’ve written. Though you know what? It probably has been forever!

I’ve just been preoccupied with other things like rating restaurants and such. Which is good, I mean it means I am still writing, however it just means I am not writing and working on my own pride and joy. I’ve been going to restaurants like crazy! All because the new man in my life feels the need to satisfy my belly with good food. Thank heavens that he too is a food enthusiast and finds joy when eating food. Best of all he has a sweet tooth and seems to like the idea of getting fat due to my baked goods! Love it!

Anyway it is my favourite month of the year! The month of Halloween!

Actually I spoke to a woman in line at Starbucks earlier in the month and she said that her five year old daughter said that it was the month of Halloween. She thought it was cute that her daughter said such a thing but  I am pretty sure she thought I was a weirdo for thinking the same thing! Oh well! October rocks!

Now because of this special month I have done all sorts of wonderful things like paint my nails to certain Halloween themes as well as making some Halloween themed suppers!

Spider Nail Art

Tonight was one of those nights!

I made jack-o-lanterns out of bell peppers!

I’ve actually been meaning to buy two pumpkins. One for the beau to do as its been a very long time since having made a jack-o-lantern and the other for myself as I do them annually. Only hard thing about it is carrying them from the grocery store all the way home! Having a car would have made things that much better. Oh well, guess we will be getting our exercise for the day if we buy some pumpkins!

So I ended up making stuffed peppers which I used to strongly dislike when growing up. I remember mom having made rice outside the pepper for my sister and I. Well now I make them inside the pepper!

IMG_2018

I got the recipe from Ceara’s Kitchen, a website on the well-being of living and eating in a happy life. The direct link to the recipe can be found here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups (285g) 7 grain rice
  • 3 cups (750ml) low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups (150g) mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup (150g) red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ (340ml) cups tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon herbs de provence
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 can kidney beans (275g) rinsed and drained
  • 1 can corn kernels (115g), rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup (225ml) tomato sauce 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoon herbes de provence
  • 3 orange bell peppers, deseeded

Instructions:

  1. In a medium pot on high heat, combine rice and broth and cook until rice has absorbed broth and is fully cooked.

  2. In a medium pan, sauté onions and garlic until fragrant. Add mushrooms and sauté until soft. Add all seasoning and mix until combined. Combine rice with vegetables and pour in tomato sauce, beans, and corn. Mix well and set aside.

  3. If you do not have a deep casserole dish or a glass dish wash out your medium pot for the rice and prepare for your bell peppers.

  4. Preheat oven to 350ᵒF or 180ᵒC.

  5. In the casserole dish, pour tomato sauce and combine with garlic powder, cayenne powder, and herbes de provence. Mix well. Grab your bell peppers and cut out little jack-o-lantern faces with a small paring knife

  6. Fill each of the peppers with the rice dish and place in the tomato sauce. Cover casserole dish with tin foil and place in oven to cook for approximately fifty-five minutes.

  7. Once peppers are cooked, remove tin foil and place the pepper lids on top of the stuffed peppers and on broil for five to ten minutes.

  8. Enjoy once browned.

Best of all I had so much leftover rice that I decided to make a burrito! Perfect for breakfast!

Breakfast Burrito

I love being able to utilize the right leftovers for another type of meal!

When I make burritos (or just breakfast wraps) I make a scrambled egg but before scrambling it in the pan, I just let it cook on a the flat surface until it’s a pancake. I then place that flat scrambled egg-like pancake onto a wrap, add some sliced marble cheese (as I can’t just have plain cheddar), and top that with the leftover rice.

Breakfast Burrito Before WrappingBreakfast burrito after

I do the same tortilla wrap and egg thing with normal breakfast wraps, though I add some sort of leafy green, feta cheese, and sriracha sauce. Also all my scrambled egg pancakes are made without milk and with za’atar. Za’atar is an Arabic spice that I was introduced to by my older sister. She married a Leb and due to his family knows so much about Lebanese and Arabic cuisine! Not that I mind! Love it.

My using of the rice is like Bubble and Squeak but better! Well maybe not as I do not refry everything together, but I do reuse it one way or another!

IMG_2016

See! Even this guy agrees! Look at his cute smile!

If any of you give this puppy a go, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Happy eating!

Chicken Tortilla Soup and a Whole Bunch More!

It is a soup sorta day don’t you all think?

Although today wasn’t all that cold. But it still felt like the day to enjoy a Mexican inspired meal.

Today started off with a somewhat cool morning and ended with bright sunshine and warmth. The high of the day was about twenty-two degrees centigrade. Can you believe that tomorrow is said to be twenty-seven?! Yeah, both Friday and Saturday is pretty much bikini weather days! The following day however will end up being thirteen degrees.

Kind of sounds like April in the Netherlands.

Not been to the Netherlands in April? Well around the end of the month right around Koningsdag (King’s Day), we get like three days of really nice and hot weather. It goes up to thirty a lot of the time. Only thing is that the days before that it is like sixteen degrees and the days afterwards it is like nineteen degrees. Both pre and post Koningsdag are rainy days while during it is perfectly wonderful.

That honestly is like it is to be this week. It is even rumoured that we are going to have snow this coming Tuesday!

Speaking of snow and cold, a woman told me something very very interesting today!

The more berries on a tree, the more severe the winter will be!

What tree you may ask? Not a mulberry tree, but a Mountain Ash tree!

Mountain Ash Tree

Apparently the Mountain Ash trees are very much covered right now. So all this talk that it will be an Il Niño type of winter doesn’t seem t actually apply. Or does it? Can one actually tell the forecast for the upcoming winter?

To be or not to be a warm winter, that is the question.

Well back to my soup! Sorry for blabbing on about everything else but the food!

So I made a very simple and quick Chicken Tortilla soup. I’m someone who has made a good few of these soups and thought I would try for this one. I definitely saw why it was a twenty minute soup! I also saw that I am lacking some serious herbs and spices in my kitchen. I mean I have a whole bunch of them but I am missing two of the most critical types of spices!

  • Chilli powder
  • Red pepper flakes

How do I not have these for a soup such as this one is beyond me!

I got the recipe from Nutritionist in the Kitch, the direct link for the recipe can be found here. I added a few more ingredients that I feel really needs to be in every tortilla soup. I also removed a few ingredients.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 breast of chicken (283g), cooked and shredded
  • 1 medium yellow onion (150g), chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper (175g), chopped
  • 1 small jalepeño, sliced and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika powder
  • 1 can (398ml) stewed diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups (940ml) chicken broth
  • 1 can (398ml) red kidney beans
  • 1 can (199ml) corn
  • 1/3 cup (15g) cilantro, chopped
  • ½ avocado, sliced
  • 1 lime, quartered and squirted in each bowl (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small tortilla, sliced

Instructions:

  • In a large deep pot, sauté garlic, onion, bell pepper, and jalepeño in olive oil until soft and fragrant.

  • Add stewed tomatoes to vegetables and mix. Add cumin and paprika powder. Mix well before adding chicken broth to the tomato mixture. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for five minutes.

  • Now add shredded chicken, kidney beans, and corn and reduce heat and allow to boil onwards for five minutes.

  • While soup is simmering, in a small frying pan heat oil up and fry tortillas until chip-like in consistency.

  • Stir through cilantro and ladle into individual bowls.

  • Top with three strips of the tortilla chips, top with several cilantro leaves, and top that with three slices of avocado. Now squirt some lime juice into soup if doing that.

  • Enjoy!

I love love love this sort of soup. But I love anything with shredded chicken such as a normal chicken soup, an arepa, an epanada, avocado chicken salad, etc. Love it all.

Anyway, I ended up enjoying the soup with a very cool and almost luminescent looking juice! One of the best things about being in North America are having those frozen Minute Maid juices! Like this one!

Almost Glowing juice
Almost Glowing juice

And to go with this Limeade I am also enjoying this Limoncello scented hand cream. I now live in a very dry part of the world (however Johannesburg was also very dry), and I am in constant need of creaming my hands. I recently went to Bath & Body Works and bought about three hand creams for just $12. So beside every sink in my apartment (and luckily there’s only three) I have one of these cream bottles to soften your hands up! This is the one I have in my personal washroom.

Limoncello Hand cream
Limoncello Hand cream

By the way, this Limoncello hand cream smells A MILLION times better than the actual Limoncello liquour. A couple years ago I tried to make a Limoncello cocktail for my little sister and I and well…. it tasted much worse than medicine generally tastes! Blegh!

And before I am done, have you all heard of the amazing story that archaeologists found the another humanoid creature that may change history as we know it? They found it just outside of Johannesburg in a cave! This creature being part Neanderthal and part cro-magnon! While watching the news they said that these humanoids had long hands like ours, however instead of being straight in length like ours, they were longer and curved to be able to climb! How cool is that!

I am just amazed by all that is discovered in this fantastic world we live in.

Anyway I am so sorry for just going on and on like crazy today.

Guess I had just so much to say! Hope you all have a fabulous rest of the day and enjoy your meal!

Happy eating… and learning!

My Mexican First – Vegetarian Mushroom and Black Bean Burritos!

“If you are not from Mexico, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you talk about Mexican food?”

Well according to this blog I just read, its burritos. But really? Burritos is what you think about?

I think about beans. Though that may be due to the fact that I know what Mexicans-Americans are called when you want to be rude and disrespectful. In Spanish that word we used to be offensive is “frijolero”, this translates to beaner. It is the Spanish version of the horrible word Chink for a Chinese-American person or Gringo for an American or white person.

Anyway, if I am being fully honest, when I think about burritos I think about Americans. Although I know burritos originally come from Mexico, I think about Americans and how all my American friends love Taco Bell and burritos and all that other good stuff.

I actually don’t think I have ever had a burrito. I can recall most of what has gone in my mouth, but a burrito may not have ever been something I’ve ingested.

So yesterday was the first time I ever got to eat a burrito! Boy are they filling! But now I see why Americans like them so much. The recipe I followed was meant to make the burrito a Sriracha rice infused wrap, but A) I can barely handle spice and B) what exactly is Sriracha? Besides this thing all the Americans are raving about!

I got the recipe from Amuse Your Bouche though the direct link to the recipe can be found here.

Vegetarian Burrito with Chipotle Dipping Sauce
Vegetarian Burrito with Chipotle Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 cups (210g) basmati rice
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 can (425g) diced tomatoes
  • 3 teaspoons paprika powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon Tabasco sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (100g) mushrooms, sliced
  • 5 large flour tortillas
  • 1 can (425g) black beans
  • ¾ cup (86g) cheddar cheese, grated
  • ½ cup (25g) cilantro, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 190ᵒC (375ᵒF)

  2. Boil rice as directed on package, approx. 15-20 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile in a medium wok heat up olive oil and pour in diced tomatoes and begin to cool. Mix in paprika powder, cumin, Tobasco sauce (you can add more if desired), and salt and pepper.

  4. Once rice is cooked, mix tomato and Tobasco sauce mixture into rice and set aside.

  5. In another frying pan (or reuse wok) sauté garlic and sliced mushrooms until fragrant and soft.

  6. To assemble the burritos, place large tortilla on a sheet of tin foil just a bit larger than wrap. Spoon three heaping tablespoons of rice in centre of the tortilla, spoon a couple tablespoons of black beans on rice, one tablespoon of mushrooms on beans, sprinkle with cheddar cheese, and top with chopped cilantro.

  7. Fold tortilla wrap into a large roll and fold tin foil around tortilla roll tightly. Place in preheated oven and cool for twenty minutes.

  8. Serve and enjoy!

Assembly of Vegetarian Burrito
Assembly of Vegetarian Burrito
Rolling of Burrito
Rolling of Burrito

You can also freeze the burritos if you do not want to cook them yet! But I’d cook them – as they are delicious! Though I’m sure they’d be better with Sriracha infused rice, but as a non-American I do not know what that truly tastes like. Though someone recently told me (and I’m quoting him) that it is so hot it makes you shit yourself. He however used less words and more emojis.

Well the recipe that you read above here is on the bland side if you like a kick in your meals, so in case you may feel it is kind of boring so I did make a dipping sauce (which is also a salad dressing)! My dad likes to add some pimiento to his meals, whether it be Sambal bajak or like last night, this dipping sauce. I got the recipe for the salad dressing/dipping sauce from here. Notice that this person has the same background/layout! I’ve not seen it on another persons blog before until now!

If you are wondering how large each of the burritos look like, here is a picture of each of the burritos when laying on our baking sheet before I baked them!

5 Burritos on Baking Sheet
5 Burritos on Baking Sheet

If this is what all burritos taste like, I am hooked. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as my family and I have.

Happy eating!

Spicy Chicken and Cilantro Soup

Well, it’s officially cold in South Africa!

Now I know you will say it isn’t cold, but look at it how I see it – over the summer it was rainy and hot and somewhat humid at a high of 40 degrees Celsius, NOW though it is getting dry and the highs are like 20 degrees.

It is kind of like how people who encounter snowy winters think that 20 degrees is hot. But that’s not hot, hot is the peak of summer along the equator. Yet I know that it is hot when you have lived in the cold that comes with winter. Just like this is rather cold after living in a hot summer in Africa.

So with the cold that has decided to show its face in my life, a soup was needed. A soup with kick? Even better!

Peruvian Chicken Cilantro Soup

With my love for Latin American cuisine, this meal showcases Peruvian cuisine. If you end up loving this meal as much as we have you will surely love Peruvians as well!

I got the recipe from the website Nutrients, You Fools, however the direct link to the recipe can be found here.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons butter (unsalted)
  • 1 (75g) small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 (44g) small leek, sliced
  • 1 (90g) green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 (25g) small carrot, chopped
  • 1 green serrano chili, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon powdered cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 4 cups (1L) warmed chicken broth
  • 4 (520g) small potatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup (275g) baby corn, roughly chopped
  • 4 (1.1kg) breasts chicken, cooked and shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (30g) bunch cilantro
  • 1 green serrano chili
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 2 cups (500mL) warm chicken broth
  • 2 small limes, chopped (optional)
  • 1 green onion, sliced (optional)

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot, on medium heat melt butter and sauté onion, leek, pepper, carrot and chili peppers for five minutes or until all vegetables are soft.Chopped vegetables

  2. Add grated garlic, cumin, and oregano to vegetables and sauté until fragrant.

  3. Add four cups of broth, potatoes, baby corn, and shredded chicken breast to vegetables. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  4. While chicken is cooking, blend cilantro, serrano chili, garlic, and two cups chicken broth in blender. Add mixture to soup and mix.

  5. Once everything is blended through, add additional salt and pepper or adjust additional flavours to mixture if needed.

  6. Serve with chopped lime and green onions. This is optional.

  7. Enjoy!

This soup was fabulous! My body was thoroughly warmed up.

Is anyone else lazy about making broths like I am? If so I made today’s chicken broth with three of these individual packets of chicken seasoning. These packets are pretty amazing and flavoursome!

Roast Chicken Stock IMG_2872

So these serrano chilies, did you know that they are called serenade chilies in English? I didn’t till I Googled serenade chilies!

Anyway, this was a great meal and I’m sure I’ll be sipping at the soup for a few hours to come. May even have some with the housekeeper for lunch tomorrow! It’ll definitely help me with the weather.

Hope you all enjoy it!

Brazilian Rice and Beans with Chicken Sausage

Bom día todo o mundo!

I recently realized that I have cooked so many different cuisine types since becoming a food blogger. And I love constantly learning about the different types of cuisines and dishes each country has to offer. I just love trying new dishes!

But today I decided to categorize the tab on my homepage for “international cuisine” into all the cuisine types. So now if you go to the main page and look above at the tabs you will read “appetizers”, “dinner”, “dessert”, and “learning about the chef”, then within the dinner you will find different tabs and that will then go on to different types of tabs within those tabs!

While thinking about all the different types of cuisines I like and am interested in, I then thought of more foods I lust to try. For tonight’s meal I also wanted to keep up with my international way and keep up with the food I’ve had over my travels.

About thirteen years ago my father moved my family to Brazil for a few years where I tried all sorts of great foods and just enjoyed myself. I did have issues at school, but I had some great friends and would enjoy the beach right down the road from our house as well as all the great amounts of food. We lived in the very popular suburb of Ipanema for a while before we had our apartment in Leblon. Both the hotel in Ipanema and the apartment in Leblon were within two blocks from the beach.

View from Balcony while in Ipanema
View from Balcony while in Ipanema
My sister and I in Rio
My sister and I in Rio

Anyway, after we moved from Brazil, I remembered missing pão de queijo, farofa, coxinhas, freijão preto, and my absolute favourite: biscoito de polvilho. Of all those great Brazilian foods, for this evenings meal I tried to make a meal with beans.

I got the recipe from favourite family recipes, though if you would like the direct recipe just click here.

Brazilian rice and beans

I did tweak the recipe some as the original recipe calls for smoked sausage, but as I do not eat red meat or pork I just used plain old chicken sausage. And as good as the original photo on the recipe looked, I will have to say that the meal itself was pretty bland in my opinion.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 chicken sausages, chopped
  • ½ cup (115g) green onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (210g) basmati rice
  • 2 cups (470ml) chicken broth
  • 1 can (425g) pinto beans
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 bay leaves

Instructions:

  1. In a large skillet sauté sausages, green onions, and garlic in olive oil until onions are soft.

  2. Stir in rice, chicken broth, pinto beans, salt and pepper, and bay leaves and bring to a boil.

  3. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cover. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until rice is cooked.

  4. Remove from heat and fluff rice with a fork.

  5. Remove bay leaves and enjoy!

Brazilian Rice and BeansAlthough I wasn’t all too keen on this dish, it was great to enjoy some Brazilian food again. Though I really do miss biscoito de polvinho. The last time I had that was last April when I went to visit my wonderful Brazilian friend in Paris.

Selfie with Biscoito de Polvilho

Amazing treats those things are! I love my friend Sashinha for treating me with those. I do remember finding a store in Amsterdam or Rotterdam that sold these one year and having boughten so much. Loved them!

Anyway, this was our meal for the night and I hope that you all enjoy it. If not try any of the other links for wonderful Brazilian foods that would be a great addition to your list of meals to try!

Happy eating!

Mexican Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

I love tacos! (dun dun dun dun dun) I love tacos!

In case you are wondering, I was creating the beat in between the lyrics of “I want candy”. But I don’t want candy, instead I love tacos.

Love love love tacos.

The best part about these tacos are that they are super healthy!

For a long time I’ve been interested in the idea of a lettuce wrap but never got around to doing it until today. I am so glad I finally got into it! This was a fantastic meal!

Mexican chicken Lettuce wrap

I got the recipe from the blog Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happy hour which I found on Pinterest after looking up Lettuce Wrap recipes. The direct link to the recipe can be found here. The recipe is quite a small one which I decided to increase in size, but as you already know – I LOVED it.

Ingredients:

  • 3 breasts chicken, cooked and shredded
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ cup (86g) can black beans
  • ½ cup (90g) can sweet corn
  • 1/3 cup (76g) green onion, sliced
  • 1/3 cup (15g) cilantro, chopped
  • 1/3 cup (8.5g) tortilla chips, crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons vinegar
  • 4 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 avocados, sliced (optional)
  • 1 head of lettuce (of your choice)

Instructions:

  1. Combine the chicken, beans, corn, onion, cilantro and chips in a large bowl and mix.

  2. Spoon in vinegar and mayonnaise and mix well.

  3. Wash head of lettuce and pat each of the leaves dry before spooning the chicken salad into the leaves.

  4. Serve and enjoy!

I honestly feel that this may be one of the best tacos I’ve had in a very long time. It reminds me of a deconstructed taco actually as there are tortillas in the salad, and usually a proper taco is held together with a hard shell tortilla.

Mexican Chicken SaladMexican Chicken Lettuce Wrap

Although the idea of a lettuce wrap doesn’t seem all that filling, I can tell you that my mom was incredibly full after her meal! Though I did give her a plateful of five wraps. She also tried the chicken salad with bread and decided that the lettuce wrap was ten times better with the salad than a slice of bread.

About the tortilla chips, I find buying tortilla chips in South Africa to be super difficult. Most the time when we go down the chip aisle we see a variety of assorted flavoured chips but rarely ever do we see basic chips like the ones we bought today. Thankfully we did find what we found today. But most the time it is SO hard to find that here.

Tortilla chips

I honestly adored this and hope you all enjoy it as much as mom and I did!

Happy eating!

Mouthwatering Mexican with Homemade Sauces and a Salad

Oooh Mexican! Now that is one type of cuisine that everyone seems to love! Our family does not exclude that stereotype whatsoever. We definitely love it! Although it seems we prefer homemade Mexican dishes over attending restaurants which serve Mexican dishes. I don’t know about you, but most restaurants we’ve been to seem to have mediocre dishes. Even the guacamole seems to taste so boring at certain Mexican restaurants we have been to!

Well, when I make Mexican influenced dishes, they taste nothing BUT bland!

Before I give you the recipe for my spectacular meal, let me start by telling you that I made all the sauces from scratch. Including the garlic chili sauce (which you can EASILY buy in the store). Why did I make a garlic chili sauce from scratch? Well I mostly didn’t know that could be found in stores here. I mean it is a basic sauce, but so is Sriracha and I only know that to be in the States. So I always need to end up making spicy sauces similar to Sriracha, including this garlic chili sauce.

Garlic Chili Sauce

I got the recipe for the sauce on White on Rice Couple, but the direct link to the recipe can be found here. I mostly followed the recipe, except I used less chilis than the recipe called for. Much less chili’s. The recipe calls for a cup of chilis but I only used two. Just 2. And my mouth was still burning! Not sure how others can handle more than that.

Ingredients:

  • 2 chili peppers, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 head of garlic, crushed and sliced
  • ½ (113g) red onion, chopped
  • 1 can (400g) chopped tomatoes
  • 4 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce

Instructions:

  1. Rinse, clean, and remove stems from chili peppers, dry peppers and then and thinly slice.

  2. In a small sauce pan, heat olive oil and add garlic and onion and sauté until fragrant.

  3. Then add can of tomatoes and chili peppers to garlic and onion and mix. Allow to simmer on low for a minute or two. Now add rice vinegar, sugar, and fish sauce and mix well.

  4. Allow sauce to simmer for five minutes, this will break down the heat from the chili peppers.

  5. Remove pan from heat and allow sauce to completely cool down.

  6. Once cool, pour tomato mixture into a small food processor and blend until smooth.

  7. Pour into a bowl or a sauce boat and use as desired.

When making this much, you make about a cup or so of the sauce. So I used some for my actual Mexican meal, but I’ve got so much that I will use it for multiple things this week! Plus my dad likes spicy so this should be good for him too!

I really do not know how people could handle a cup of chili peppers though, YIKES!

The recipe for the meal itself was found at Simple Roots Wellness, but the direct link for the website can be found here. This recipe calls for a Sriracha sauce, but as I said Sriracha is not found in any of the places I’ve lived as of late so I made my sauce with a garlic-chili sauce flavouring. And delicious it was!

Vegetarian Version

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup (100g) Vegetarian Meat Crumbles
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon molasses
  • 1 ½ teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup (59ml) water

Salad:

  • ½ head lettuce, chopped
  • 1 can sweet corn
  • Roasted sweet potato
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Bunch of cilantro, chopped

Cream Sauce:

  • ½ cup (100g) goat cheese
  • ¼ cup (59ml) water
  • 2 teaspoons garlic chili sauce

Instructions:

  1. In a small Wok, sauté veggie meat crumbles.

  2. Add sliced garlic and garlic chili sauce and mix well. Add molasses, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce to meat crumbles and mix.

  3. Season with dried oregano, cumin powder, paprika powder, salt and pepper, and water to veggie mince.

  4. Mix well and allow to simmer until liquid becomes a light sauce.

  5. Meanwhile combine goat cheese, water, and garlic chili sauce in a mini food processor until smooth. Pour into a small bowl and place in fridge.

  6. When ready to serve, place lettuce in a bowl and add choice of toppings. Top with veggie meat crumbles and slices of avocado.

  7. Drizzle on cream sauce and enjoy!

This recipe was originally meant to be made with actual mincemeat and as my parents do not eat veggie meat substitutes, I made them the original version of the recipe. If you wish to make the recipe with mincemeat then double everything from the chili sauce to the water for the meat. You can also double the ingredients for the salad. The goat cheese sauce is the same for both the veggie crumbles and normal mincemeat.

Ground Beef version

This was the first time I have ever touched mincemeat in years. I hate cooking it. The smell of the meat in a pan is God awful! I actually never even liked it when I did eat meat way back when.

Cooking it today made me think of middle school, when I took Food Economics. I did love that class. I even learnt how to sew in that class! But I also learnt that I dislike the smell of ground beef! Thankfully I still do!

Anyway, that is the meal for the evening! A fabulous meal indeed. One that each and every one of us truly loved. Including mom who dislikes goat cheese and yet she didn’t mind the goat cheese sauce! Lucky me!

If you all end up making this, I hope you enjoy it! It was a good one!

One-Meal Bowl with Quinoa, Cilantro, and Chicken

What is your favourite herb? And do you pronounce the H in the word herb or pronounce it as “erb”? I guess because I was raised by my Canadian mother and speaking her English I tend to pronounce the H in herb. But although I speak Canadian English, there are a lot of American things I tend to do in English. Like I spell color without the U yet I spell a lot of other things with an RE at the end. Or I add the U to certain words like “neighbourhood”.

Anyway, what was I asking? Oh yeah, what is your favourite herb?

Mine is definitely cilantro (or coriander). The fresh stuff. Yum yum yum. Though I can tell you that it is difficult to grow. I’ve failed in Holland and in South Africa. Have any of you successfully grown cilantro?

So cilantro did feature in this evenings meal.

I made a fantastic quinoa and chicken bowls. Bowls being a meal combined in a bowl.

One Bowl Meal

I got the recipe from Eat. Drink. Love. – what a lovely name for a blog! The direct link for the recipe can be found here. I didn’t really make the bowl like the photos on Eat. Drink. Love., but it all tasted grand!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup (170g) quinoa
  • 2 cups (470ml) chicken broth
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons lime juice
  • ¼ cup (15g) cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can (425g) black beans
  • ¼ cup (59ml) water
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cayenne powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (40g) cilantro, chopped
  • ¾ cup (115g) green peas
  • 1 large tomato, chopped

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine lime juice, honey, garlic, and salt and pepper then add chicken breasts to honey lime mixture and allow to marinade for 30 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile bring a pot of chicken broth to boil. Once boiling, add quinoa to bubbling chicken broth and cover pot. Remember to turn down heat to low to allow quinoa to simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes and do NOT remove lid until quinoa has fully absorbed broth. Then turn heat off.

  3. Mix in ¼ cup of cilantro and 1 ½ tablespoons into the quinoa. Add salt and pepper to quinoa for additional flavour.

  4. In a small frying pan on medium heat, add can of black beans WITH liquid. Mix in spices and mix well. Fill ¼ cup water to can of beans and then place in bean mixture. Turn heat down to low and allow black beans to simmer for 15 minutes.

  5. Then take chicken breasts from marinade and place in a frying pan at medium heat and begin to fry. Watch out that honey from marinade can cause chicken to burn easily.

  6. Once chicken is cooked set aside. Once cooled begin to shred chicken for bowls.

  7. When everything is ready begin setting up your bowls. Fill bowls in following order:

    1. Quinoa
    2. Chopped tomato
    3. Green peas
    4. Chopped cilantro
    5. Black beans
    6. Shredded chicken
  8. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Now you do not need to fill your bowls as I have, but my mom isn’t all too keen on black beans so I wanted to remove the bean flavour from mixing in with the quinoa for her. Just to ensure it isn’t all too black bean-y. And if you want you could also add some dairy to your dish (cheese or sour cream), but I kept it simple.

Quinoa, Tomato, and Green Peas
Quinoa, Tomato, and Green Peas

Although it was simple without cheese or sour cream it came out great! I have to say cilantro is definitely the key ingredient in this masterpiece. It just adds so much flavour to the meal!

Quinoa, Cilantro, and Chicken bowl

God, I love cilantro!

Well this meal turned out fantastically. Mom and I even went for seconds after setting up a plate for our housekeeper for lunch tomorrow. It was wonderful! The beans made the dish more Mexican, but the honey and lime made think of a more Asian meal. Which I find weird, but whatever.

If you end up making this I hope you love it as much as we did!

Happy eating!

Empanadas for Days!

Last week I spent my time in the Netherlands and as my Pilates classmates say “got soft”, they’re right. I didn’t eat all that healthy and didn’t feel guilty about it either. My week was spent gobbling stroopwafels! How awful right?! For those of you who do not know Dutch, a stroopwafel directly translates to a syrup waffle, this being two wafers filled with a syrup in between. When you are Dutch or have lived in the country for several years, you will know how heavenly these things are. Especially when you have been without them for three months or longer (as I have).

But because I have been in the Netherlands all of last week I didn’t have a kitchen to cook in so I mostly ate out or got salads from our local grocery store.

So I thought I’d write about a breakfast I had made for my Pilates class one Tuesday just two and a half weeks ago. I’ve been attending Pilates for about two and a half months now and love every minute of it. I’m getting fit while enjoying the company (all of which are women). I’ve also started to see a change in my body (before I went to NL that is), I could even get into a pair of shorts that were a struggle just this June! But the other week they fit perfectly on my problem area (my thighs). It felt great!

Anyway, I spoke to my class about the fact that I had made chicken empanadas the other day and they were really interested in them so I thought “why not make some vegetarian ones for these guys!” as half the class is a vegetarian.

So Tuesday I came to class with a tub of empanadas and little ketchup packets I had collected from some fast food joint!

Empanadas

I can honestly tell you that everyone loved them! My Pilates teacher even sat down with me and gobbled three or four! That’s how much they loved them! Good thing as I never had made these before! Would have been sad if my empanadas didn’t turn out to be a hit.

I got the recipe from here, though I didn’t follow this recipe for the pastry.

Ingredients:

For Pastry:

  • 2 ¼ cup (350g) plain flour
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch baking powder
  • ¾ cup (145g) margarine, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup (100ml) lukewarm water

For Filling:

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1 cup (200g) sweet potato, cooked and mashed
  • 1 cup (172g) canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 5 Tablespoons green onions, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten

Instructions:

  1. Combine all dry ingredients for the pastry and mix well, slowly add margarine and mix until combined. Begin to mix in egg and combine until slightly wet. If pastry is not wet enough for your liking, pour little amounts of water at a time to moisten up and continue to knead dough. Wrap in clingfilm and place in refrigerator to set (for 30 minutes). Meanwhile place sweet potatoes in pot of water and turn heat to high to allow water to begin to boil. Watch pot to ensure water doesn’t boil over. 

  2. Once thirty minutes have been and gone, check potatoes to see if they are soft, if so drain water and mash in same pot that you made them in with a potato masher. 

  3. Combine sweet potato with cumin and cayenne powder until flavoursome. Then add black beans, green onions, cilantro, chili powder, and salt. Mix well. 

  4. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F)

  5. Remove dough from fridge and take off clingfilm and roll out small balls of dough and then flatten them out with a rolling pin or use your hands (as I do). For each flattened roll of pastry, fill with a teaspoon and a half of filling. Fold closed and fold one edge over the other. Then crimp closed with a fork for a nice design. 

  6. Place on prepared cookie sheet (covered with wax paper) and continue making empanadas, rolling out, filling, folding, crimping, etc. 

  7. Once cookie sheet is filled with empanadas, lightly brush with egg wash and pop into oven to cook. 

  8. Bake at 200°C for 16 minutes or until lightly browned. 

  9. Remove and allow to cool and continue process until all filling and pastry is used. 

  10. Enjoy!

Empanadas for Class

It is a shame, I do not have a photo of what the inside of the empanada looked like, but it did taste quite good.

I’ve made empanadas a few times now and I can say that every time I make them I have much more pastry than I do filling, but this time around it all fit perfectly! I was very impressed.

Anyway, if you are a fan of latin cuisine but find yourself more along the lines of a vegetarian, then this may be the perfect recipe for you! It is delicious, full of vitamins and iron, and just overall good for you! Plus I think they make a fabulous breakfast for when you are on the go.

I hope you all enjoy the recipe and have a wonderful weekend!

Buen provecho!

Savory Argentine Treats

¡Qué maravilloso!

I made the best food ever. Food that I grew up on. There are many foods that are popular in South America. Foods that can be found in several Latin American countries, foods like empanadas, arepas, rice and beans, etc.

But I know certain foods as being from one country. To me arepas are only Venezuelan. Arepas con queso blanco – yum! While empanadas are best made in the province of Salta in Argentina. Though the province of Tucumán holds an annual National Empanada Festival, neat right? But according to my Argentine friend Nico, there is a dispute about where the best are from, is it Salta, Tucumán, or Buenos Aires? When I lived in Buenos Aires my teacher informed me that it was Salta so I will stick to that fact. ¡Gracias Paola!

I remember seeing people dressed as giant empanadas dancing downtown in Buenos Aires. Poor guys in those suits in the middle of summer, but the guys sure caught people’s attention to visit the empanada restaurant.

Anyway, I decided to give empanadas a go!

 Trial Empanadas

I’m glad I did it!

I got the recipe from here, but I tweaked it some.

Ingredients:

For Pastry:

  • 2 ¼ cup (350g) plain flour
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch baking powder
  • ¾ cup (145g) butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup (100ml) lukewarm water

For Filling:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 (200g) chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • 8 green olives, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. First make the pastry. Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir in butter and one of the eggs and mix until combined well. Gradually add some lukewarm water if your pastry is too dry. Wrap your pastry in plastic wrap and all to firm up in fridge for thirty minutes.

  2. To make the filling heat oil in small frying pan and add onion. Cook for 3-5 minutes, then add garlic and bell pepper and cook for an additional couple minutes or until soft and aromatic.

  3. Stir in tomato paste, paprika powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper and mix well. Add olives and chicken, don’t forget to season with salt and pepper. Allow flavours to combine for two minutes. If chicken mixture is too dry add a splash of water and set aside to cool.

  4. Preheat oven to 200ᵒC (392ᵒF) and begin to roll out the pastry to 3mm (1/8 inch) and cut out circles of approximately 14cm (5 ½ inch) diameter. Divide the filling between the pastry circles and moisten edges with water to allow to stick.

  5. Fold the pastry over to enclose the filling and pinch the edges together, use a fork to press the edges tightly together. Transfer to a baking sheet and brush with milk to glaze. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

Easiest recipe ever! Except I made my pastry with both eggs that were stated in the original recipe and instead of rolling the pastry and shaping with a circular tool, I just pressed everything together with my hands. I didn’t use additional water or milk either as my pastry was already too eggy/oily.

I can honestly tell you that I hate English recipes. The original recipe comes from a website that ends in .co.uk and it bothers me that it says you’ll need two eggs but instead you only use one! What is the point of that other egg!? The original recipe doesn’t even use the other egg for an egg wash before baking it! They use milk! UGH!! I always have issues with English recipes!

Anyway my pastry is just a bit too brittle, but the flavours are all there. Tastes just like Argentina! I know my sister and father are jealous (neither of them are here to experience my empanadas)!

Empanadas de Pollo

Even with my little mishap, this came out fantastic!

Only thing missing in our house are medialunas (another Argentine pastry)! But those are a little more difficult to make so I may try those another day. Maybe when my sister is in the area. She is the Argentine after all (well, she was born in Argentina).

If you end up making this recipe I hope you enjoy it just as much as my mother and I have!

¡Buen provecho!

P.S.

I know this post had nothing to do with my Pumpkin Everything month, so I thought I’d add my new friend to the mix.

Meet Dr. Rockskin, the Rock’n Roll Pumpkin:

Dr. RockskinDr. Rockskin

I’ve never named a jack’o lantern before, but I thought to do so for a friend.

Anyway, enjoy the food and the remainder of your day!