Tag Archives: bell pepper

Thai Pumpkin and Salmon Red Curry

18 Feb

thai pumpkin and salmon red curry

Pumpkin and salmon might seem like a strange combination, but all doubts will leave your mind once you taste this curry. I first had this curry at Thai X-ing, an amazing DC restaurant, where it was one of a variety of courses on their set menu. While everything there was delicious, this dish in particular stood out and still comes to mind (I spend a lot of time thinking about food). The tender and sweet pumpkin melts into the spicy, creamy, curry sauce, thickening it, and the salmon adds another dimension of richness. This version captured my memory of the dish well and was far easier than I thought it would be to throw together. The most time-consuming part was chopping up the pumpkin (I think what I got was actually a kabocha squash, and it had a particular thick, knobbly skin) and prepping the salmon (it seems to be the trend around here to leave the bones in the fish when selling it). I’ve been eating this curry for just about every meal since I made it, served over quinoa (though rice will be just as good and more authentic), and I’m already planning for when I can make it again.

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Tropical Black Bean Quinoa Salad

6 Feb

tropical black bean quinoa salad

Inspired by the coconut breakfast quinoa I recently cooked up, I decided to try a savory preparation using quinoa cooked with coconut milk. I added black beans for extra substance and played off the tropical flavor of the coconut with mango, avocado, fresh mint, and lime juice. The resulting salad was colorful and delicious (not to mention healthy) – perfect for serving my parents for dinner at the end of a hot day of sightseeing.

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Black Bean and Corn Salad

3 Dec

black bean and corn salad

On some days, it feels like a burden to cook something, especially something healthy. I want to be creative, to dedicate time to an elaborate recipe, but can’t stand the idea of actually doing so – there are lots of other more important (or just more exciting!) things to do. But we all need to eat, and a tasty dish can be easy as this salad. A fresh mix of black beans, corn, and diced vegetables, pulled together by lime juice and Mexican spices. Even with the chopping, it only takes fifteen minutes or so to throw together. And this recipe is incredibly versatile – serve it as a salad over lettuce (as pictured here), mix it with rice or quinoa for a twist on a burrito bowl, or use it as a side to accompany fish, meat, or grilled vegetables. Make this, and then you can quickly get back to everything else you have to do, with a delicious and healthy meal fueling you!

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Mongolian Beef

29 Oct

mongolian beef

I recently took a trip to Buenos Aires’ Barrio Chino (Chinatown) and was pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of Asian ingredients available. Finally, I could get my hands on hot sauce, soy sauce not made in Argentina (the versions made here are really quite bad to my taste), sesame oil, and more. They even had my favorite brand of soy sauce – Kimlan. But, unlike in the US, these bottles weren’t re-labeled with English and only had the most basic information written in Spanish on stickers attached to the sides of the bottles. So what I thought was my trusty Kimlan Super Special soy sauce turned out to be thick soy sauce instead. Thick soy sauce (not to be confused with dark soy sauce), also known as soy paste or soy jam, is sweetened and quite thick, often used for dipping sauces and, apparently, to color fried rice in many Chinese restaurants. I wasn’t sure what to do with the stuff, but when I saw this Mongolian beef recipe that called for large quantities of soy sauce and brown sugar, I knew this thick soy sauce would be the perfect alternative. This classic Americanized Chinese dish (despite the name, it is most certainly not Mongolian) is very simple to make, and although I wouldn’t quite call this recipe healthy, I’m sure it’s better than the usual take-out versions. In addition to the thick soy sauce, cornstarch further thickens the sauce (while tenderizing the beef as well). I also tossed in thickly sliced onions and bell peppers for color and variety of texture. I served mine over cauliflower rice, though of course, regular rice will work just fine, too.

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Tomato and Bell Pepper Eggs

22 Oct

tomato and bell pepper eggs

I love when combining basic ingredients in a simple way results in something fantastic, and that’s just what happens here with these tomato and bell pepper eggs. The ingredient list is short, and the recipe only takes about 15 minutes to throw together, so it’s great for a quick breakfast. But it feels much more sophisticated than plain ol’ scrambled eggs and looks much more exciting and colorful, too. And the tomato and bell pepper also add some healthiness – can’t go wrong with that! This is also an easily adaptable recipe (only a few steps away from Turkish menemen or North African shakshouka) – toss in a jalapeno or other hot pepper with the bell pepper if you like it spicy, add your favorite spices or herbs, or use soy sauce instead of salt and pepper for an Asian twist.

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Spanish Red Lentil and Vegetable Soup

19 Oct

spanish red lentil and vegetable soup

I love walking down the streets here and seeing lots of little verdulerias and fruterias with colorful produce piled high. Most people here don’t buy their produce in chain grocery stores, but instead stop by these neighborhood vegetable and fruit markets on a regular basis. It’s been a bit of adventure adjusting to this mindset, thinking ahead to what I need for an upcoming recipe (at these places, you tell the shopkeeper what you’re looking for and how much, which, with my limited but expanding Spanish, takes a little preparation) and trying out the multiple places near my apartment to find the best quality (and the place most willing to put up with my bad accent). I think I found my go-to verduleria though – an especially friendly place where the quality is great, and the prices unbelievably low. It was a cold, rainy day when I went to buy the vegetables for this Spanish red lentil and vegetable soup, but I came away feeling excited to prepare this bright, colorful recipe. Packed with roasted red bell peppers, bright orange carrots, fresh diced tomatoes, and green spinach, this soup is a visual treat compared to the often drab-looking (although tasty) bean and lentil soups I like to make. Not to mention the intense flavor packed in here, with the vegetables adding a lot of sweetness (really!), complemented by the spiciness of cayenne pepper and smoked paprika. Red lentils add some extra heft (I like to cook them until they’re falling apart), making this recipe perfect for a hearty meal, especially on a rainy day.

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Spicy, Citrusy Black Beans

3 Oct

spicy citrusy black beans

On my first trip to the supermarket in my new neighborhood here in Buenos Aires, I was surprised to see hardly any canned beans – and the small cans that were there (I’m used to stocking up on large 32-ounce cans) were quite expensive. So I decided to make this into an opportunity to try my hand at cooking dried beans. I bought some dried black beans, looked up a promising recipe, and was amazed at how easy it was to cook these up. Admittedly, they took quite a long time to cook (though I suspect they had been sitting in the supermarket bulk bins for some time), so I still have to perfect the process (I may try soaking them for two days next time), but the flavors here are amazing. Enough spice for quite a kick, and the tartness of orange juice, lime juice, and red wine vinegar help round out the flavors. I would have really liked to use chipotle peppers in adobo here, so if you have some, definitely toss one in, and I hadn’t yet found a place with cilantro (luckily, I’ve been able to get my hands on some since cooking this), so there’s no pleasant sprinkle of fresh chopped cilantro on top. But even without those ingredients (as I’ve written the recipe here), these beans were delicious topped with salsa and sour cream and served alongside fried eggs for breakfast. Even plain, they’re fantastic.

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Corn and Roasted Pepper Empanadas

27 Sep

corn and roasted pepper empanadas

In continuing with this week’s theme of empanadas, here’s yet another tasty filling. There are a lot of steps here, from roasting peppers to grating and cooking down corn, but although they aren’t so easy to make, the sweetness of the corn and roasted peppers makes the resulting empanadas incredibly easy to eat. I’d never grated fresh corn before, but I can see myself using this technique in the future for other corn fillings or dips or even just a savory (or sweet!) corn puree.

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Antipasto Salad

5 Sep

antipasto salad

I know I’ve been posting a lot of salads, but this one is different. No greens, for one, which is a nice change of pace. And unlike most salads, these ingredients stand up really well to storage in the refrigerator, with the flavors melding and the vegetables pickling slightly to actually improve the dish. The mix of vegetables (which can be easily swapped out for whatever crisp fresh vegetables you have around) and spices is reminiscent of giardiniera, an Italian pickled relish usually served as an antipasto, but with the addition of chickpeas which means that this can easily serve as a meal. Of course, this salad is equally at place as a side (and would be amazing at a picnic or potluck).

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Roasted Pepper Hummus

22 Aug

roasted pepper hummus

I’ve long thought that the hummus my dad makes is far superior to any other hummus. For a while though, since my dad is Lebanese, I thought this just meant that I really liked authentic Lebanese hummus. But then I spent a summer in Lebanon and still found the hummus not to be quite up to what I was used to at home. When I asked my dad about it, he smiled and said, “paprika.” It’s not truly authentic, he admits, but I have to agree that it adds a little something extra. So, even though this isn’t my dad’s recipe, I knew as soon as I set out to make it that I had to add paprika. Alongside roasted peppers and garlic, a little bit of this spice really does seem to complete the flavors here, and I love sprinkling extra on top for visual effect.

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