Tag Archives: cilantro

Quinoa, Beet, and Black Bean Burgers

25 Feb

quinoa, beet, and black bean burgers

Once again, I’m playing host here in Buenos Aires (this time, to Andrew’s parents instead of mine). And, although it’s easy for people to eat out for every meal when on vacation, I think there’s nothing like a home-cooked meal after a long plane ride or a day of sight-seeing. These quinoa, beet, and black bean burgers are more complicated than many bean burgers, but the different components can be cooked ahead of time, and the mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week before being formed into patties. This makes them ideal for serving to guests – I did all the legwork ahead of time and just had to fry up some patties and toast some buns to have dinner on the table. Of course, they’re not just convenient – they also have amazing color, flavor, and texture, and I have to give most of the credit to the beets. I would never have guessed that finely diced beets would make such a great base for a veggie burger, but their earthy flavor and firm texture are perfect here. I always like to add chia seeds to my cooked quinoa, so I went ahead and did it here, too, with the added benefit of the chia seeds helping to bind the burger, eliminating the need for an egg (though if you’re having trouble keeping your patties together, you can always still add in an egg to help). I balanced everything with some rehydrated dates, for sweetness, and lemon juice, for tartness, and couldn’t help tossing in some smoked paprika as well (you can use a chopped chipotle pepper in adobo instead for similar smokiness with a spicy kick). These burgers (which can also be formed into balls and used in place of meatballs or on top of a salad) are so flavorful that they barely need any toppings – but I went ahead and added halved cherry tomatoes and pickled red onions for a little fresh crispness.

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Cilantro Lime Quinoa

16 Jan

cilantro lime quinoa

While I’m still a big proponent of one pot meals, I often feel like I need to round out my repertoire of sides. It can be hard though, since I try not to eat too much rice, bread, or potatoes, foods with notoriously low nutrition values. I love using quinoa in place of rice though, since it’s great for soaking up flavors, but healthier and, in my opinion, tastier. This quinoa is just perfect for serving alongside Mexican food – simple, but tasty with the herbaceous and tart flavors of cilantro and lime a great match to the subtle nuttiness of the quinoa. It can really help complete a meal with grilled fish or meat or with black or pinto beans and is a wonderful base for a burrito (or burrito bowl).

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Roasted Corn Salsa

17 Dec

roasted corn salsa

Did you know the best way to keep sweet corn sweet is to store it in the refrigerator? This helps slow down the conversion of the sugars to starches. I only have a small refrigerator here (think slightly larger than one in a dorm room), so I don’t have a lot of space to dedicate to storing corn. But I can’t resisting buying some when it shows up fresh at the market (currently in season here, of course), so I had to think up a quick easy use for the cobs sitting on my refrigerator shelf. I opted for this take on a basic corn salsa, roasting the corn for extra depth of flavor. The rest of the flavors here are pretty traditional (green onion, cilantro, hot pepper, lime), though I did toast the garlic, which I find mellows it perfectly for things like this. This salsa is great as a dip, on tacos, to add a pop of color and flavor to a plate of beans, or as a side for grilled fish or meat.

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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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Taco Salad

12 Nov

taco salad

Have I mentioned that it’s spring here in Buenos Aires? I’ve always preferred warmer weather, but it’s been a little weird seeing November on the calendar while going through a heatwave – temperatures were up to the mid-90s recently! (That’s Fahrenheit, of course; I still haven’t made the adjustment over to Celsius.) Given the weather, I’ve been eating a lot of salads, but in true Argentine fashion, I just can’t help topping them with meat (like my Thai steak salad) – it’s cheap and good quality here and adds extra protein to the meal. I think this recipe for taco salad could be easily adapted to be vegetarian, however, by omitting the ground beef and adding more beans (a mixture of black and pinto beans would be my suggestion). With or without the beef, this is a salad worth making. With a base of lettuce and cabbage (dressed with a simple red wine vinaigrette), it’s definitely a healthier alternative to the nachos and tacos it resembles, but it doesn’t feel like you’re missing out, especially when you pile on the toppings.

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Basic Black Beans

9 Nov

basic black beans

I know I already posted a recipe for cooking dried black beans (and quite recently too), but I couldn’t resist posting another one. My previous recipe has a long ingredient list and turns out a flavorful bowl of beans ready to be eaten plain, but this recipe is different. It’s much more basic, with a very short ingredient list (even shorter if you leave out the two optional ingredients, cumin and cilantro), meaning that you most likely have all the ingredients already on hand and can make these beans with almost no effort. I like this recipe for making black beans just to have on hand, to use in place of canned beans in recipes (a 15-ounce can is about 1 1/2 cups of beans, so this recipe makes the equivalent of about 4 cans). Onion and garlic give the basic backbone of savory flavors to these beans, and a little red wine vinegar stirred in at the end helps balance them, but it’s nothing fancy here, just a great building block for any black bean soup, black bean salad, or other black bean dish you might want to cook up.

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Thai Steak Salad

7 Nov

thai steak salad

Recently, I was craving Thai food. Not being so lucky here as I was in DC (where two of the best Thai restaurants in the city were within mere blocks of me), I made the 3-mile trek to what is supposedly one of the best Thai restaurant in Buenos Aires. I was unfortunately disappointed with the food I was served – laab gai with more onions than chicken and a red curry that simply tasted sweet rather than complex and spicy. Still yearning for some good Thai food, I turned to my own kitchen and cooked up this Thai steak salad. Surprisingly simple to make, the real key to this salad is the dressing, packed with flavor from fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, chiles, and sugar. The salad itself is extra colorful and flavorful from a mixture of different vegetables, including raw cabbage, one of my salad favorites (I used red cabbage, but any variety should work just fine). Fresh herbs, sliced scallions, and peanuts add even more variety of texture and flavor. And strips of medium-rare steak on top, of course, pull the whole thing together.

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Spiced Cauliflower

10 Oct

spiced cauliflower

I think my priorities might be a little skewed. When I was packing for Buenos Aires, I made an effort to get my possessions down to a bare minimum, to pack only what I really needed. But I decided that, along with a basic wardrobe, laptop computer, and camera, what I really needed to bring along was as many spices as possible. I’d heard that some were hard to find, and I didn’t want to deal with the start-up cost of buying new spices (plus they’re light!). Some people made fun of me for the decision, but when I picked up a head of cauliflower and saw this recipe, I knew I’d made the right decision. For many of the main ingredients, it was just a matter of reaching into my already well-stocked cabinet, and the resulting dish is spicy and immensely flavorful, reminiscent of (though I’m sure not authentic) Indian food. And not only did it taste great hot out of the pan, it was equally tasty eaten cold the next day.

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Anchovy Chimichurri

12 Sep

anchovy chimichurri

Today, I have an exciting announcement. I’m moving to Buenos Aires, Argentina! While I’m certainly going to be sad to leave my hometown of DC, it was time for a little change of scenery. Last week was my last one at my full-time job (yes, I do more than just write this blog), and a week from now, I’ll be on a plane heading to South America. I’m looking forward to new culinary experiences (in between learning Spanish and taking online classes towards my masters) and have big plans for improving and expanding this very blog, so the next year or so should be an exciting time!

In honor of the occasion, here’s a recipe for the classic Argentinean sauce, chimichurri. A pureed combination of herbs and spices, chimichurri is usually used to top grilled meats in traditional Argentinean asado (barbecue). But, although I’ve shown it over a pan seared rib eye here (made with this Alton Brown recipe, by the by), it’s also well-matched to roasted or grilled vegetables or as a spread on sandwiches. Of course, in my usual way, I couldn’t just make a typical chimichurri recipe. So this one has a twist – the inclusion of anchovies. The flavor isn’t overtly fishy, but the anchovies provide extra umami for an intensely savory and rich version of this sauce. Of course, any anchovy haters (probably the group I’m least likely to convert on here) can feel free to simply omit the anchovies.

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Black Bean Dip

10 Sep

black bean dip

After realizing how easy it is to make hummus, I’ve been experimenting with other bean dips, too. They’re quick and simple to prepare, usually a big hit at parties, and great to have around for snacking if you’re like me and sometimes find yourself suddenly hungry and in need of immediate food. This classic black bean dip is packed with Mexican flavors from paprika, cumin, lime juice, and a chipotle pepper. Well-matched with corn chips, but I actually prefer using fresh carrots, bell peppers, and cucumbers for dipping – healthier and, in my opinion, tastier, too.

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