Tag Archives: mexican

Summer Veggie Tacos with Spicy Fresh Salsa & Cumin Scented Guacamole

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I think I have tried almost every Mexican restaurant here in London. The bottom line is: I can make better Mexican food at home. So why not? Salsa and guacamole are so quick and easy to make, full of fresh ingredients, each bursting with their own distinct flavor.

After having spent so much time eating Mexican food in California, I know exactly what I like and how it should taste. So through memory and trial and error, I have perfected my recipes to suit my taste buds. The amazing thing is, once you have fresh, good quality ingredients, it’s quite simple to make. Smoked chipotle peppers are key, as is fresh coriander and great tasting cumin powder. I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do.

Mexican food has to be one of my favorite cuisines. It’s perfect for summer and thanks to the tasty spices, vegetarian options are a no-brainer. Luckily I found a great little authentic Mexican grocery store right here in London. I can buy deliciously fragrant dried chipotle peppers and homemade corn tortillas. If you are in the area you can check them out. They also have a home delivery service: http://www.casamexico.co.uk

You will need a mini food processor for this. The salsa and guacamole are a one pot dish, therefore they take about 2 mins to make and clean up is a snap!

INGREDIENTS:

SALSA:

  • 3 juicy ripe tomatoes
  • 1 handful of fresh cilantro
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 smoked chipotle pepper (these come dried, so you should let them sit in a bowl of boiling water for 2 min before using)
  • 1 tbsp of dried oregano
  • s&p
  • the juice of 1 lime

GUACAMOLE:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 1/2 tsp of cumin powder
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • s&p
  • 1/2 handful of fresh cilantro

TORTILLAS:

  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 small onion (optional)
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 6 corn tortilla shells (minimum)
  • 1 tsp each: chipotle powder, chili powder and coriander powder
  • s&p
  • drizzle of olive oil

THE FIXINGS:

  • red cabbage slaw (red cabbage shredded, olive oil, 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, s&p)
  • low-fat creme fresh, sour cream or greek yogurt
  • all natural, organic corn chips

INSTRUCTIONS:

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  1. Chop the peppers and zucchini into match sticks about 3 inches long.
  2. Place in a large bowl with the minced garlic, spices and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat thoroughly.
  3. In a pan over medium high heat, sauté the veggies until al dente, about 6 min, tossing frequently.

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  1. In the food processor add all of the guacamole ingredients and blend until relatively smooth, a little bit chunky, or if you prefer creamy and smooth all the way.
  2. Give the bowl a quick rinse under hot water and repeat with the salsa ingredients. Blend until somewhat smooth, “salsa” consistency. The salsa will have a bit of liquid as the tomatoes weren’t de-seeded. I personally like it this way, but to each his own, so if you prefer less liquid simply pour the salsa into to a strainer and strain the liquid out.

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  1. In a small pan over high heat, place the tortilla shells and cook for about 30 seconds on each side. No need to oil the pan.

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Ready to build your tortillas! Creme fresh on the bottom, veggies, red cabbage slaw and a spoonful of salsa. Done. Ready to inhale – I mean “eat” 🙂

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Homemade, fresh, healthy and delicious. Why settle for less than the best at a mediocre restaurant (and pay for it) when you can simply make it yourself, exactly how you like it? Nothing can be more satisfying than that. Enjoy!

Sunday Night Black Bean and Spinach Enchiladas

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When I think of enchiladas I think of rising cholesterol levels…so much cheese! TOO much cheese!
I wanted the same comfort food cuisine, full of Mexican spices and dripping with sauce yet low in fat and good for me. So I came up with this healthy vegetarian version. It has creamy black beans, spinach and fresh cilantro and doesn’t compromise on flavor. I didn’t get rid of the cheese completely, as it is an integral part of the dish, I just gave it a small part and gave the black beans and spinach the starring role. It worked out perfectly 🙂

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INGREDIENTS:

For 2 people

6 corn tortillas
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of black beans
1 cup of frozen spinach or 2 cups fresh
1 small onion
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp each of cumin, smoked chipotle and ancho chili powder
1 tsp each of dried oregano and espazote (espazote is an amazing Mexican herb, traditionally used in bean dishes to reduce flatulence caused by beans, a great ingredient!)
1 lime
Handful of fresh cilantro
1/4 cup of plain low-fat yogurt or soygurt
1/2 cup of grated mature cheddar cheese or Vegan cheese (the sharper/older the cheddar the stronger the flavor will be, therefore you can get away with using less)
S&P

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INSTRUCTIONS:

Turn oven on to broil at about 200 C/400 F

Dice the onion and mince the garlic.

Drain and rinse the black beans.

In a pan, over medium heat, add 2 tbsp of olive oil. Then sauté the onion for about 3 min. Add in the garlic and all of the spices. Cook for 2 min.

Add in the beans, tomatoes and spinach. Cook for about 5 min. Frozen spinach contains some water naturally, so if you are using fresh and find it too thick, add a little water. It should have the consistency of thick chili.

Stir in the yogurt, squeeze of lime juice and add s&p. Turn off heat.

Use a fork to mash the beans a little inside the pan. You don’t want them totally smooth, but mashed together well.

Warm the tortillas in pan on medium heat, 20 seconds on each side.

To assemble: place a scoop of the black bean mixture on the tortilla and roll. Place in a small oven proof dish that has been sprayed with olive oil. Repeat with all of the tortillas. Making sure to leave a few scoops of the bean and spinach mixture. This will be used for the sauce.

Add a 1/2 cup of water to the remaining bean mixture, machining it sauce like in consistency. Poor over enchiladas. Sprinkle with grated cheddar and chopped cilantro.

Place under the broiler for about 10 min until cheese is light brown and melted.

Serve alone or with a green salad.
The healthiest enchilada ever! (Delicious authentic flavor included)

Health Notes:

Black Beans– full of Protein, Fiber, Folate, Vitamin B1 and Iron

Spinach– full of so many Vitamins! Manganese, Iron, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium, Vit C, B2, K, A, B6 and E

Zucchini & Red Pepper Tacos with Creamy Tortilla Soup: low in fat and ready in 25 min



Taco & Tortilla Soup

I LOVE Mexican food. It has to be one of my favorite cuisines. It’s so fresh and expressive in its flavor. It just reminds me of summer and gives you that carefree “I’m on vacation” feeling, no matter what time of year it is.

Living in LA was a definite plus when it came to fresh and healthy food options. Mexican cuisine is obviously a major culinary heavyweight, due to the vast Mexican population and proximity to Mexico. The food is so simple thanks to the freshness of ingredients and simple cooking techniques, you don’t need to go to a 5 star restaurant to enjoy it (small, dive-joint looking places are the best anyway!) and you don’t  need to take cooking lessons to make it at home.

This is my recipe for super easy tacos and delicious creamy tortilla soup. I’ve adapted this recipe from my favorite Mexican hole in the wall in LA called Loteria. Their tacos and tortilla soup are truly incredible.

The ingredients are fairly basic, make sure to get corn tortilla’s instead of wheat (for that authentic flavor). Oh, and no Mexican meal is complete without a refreshing Mexican Beer! 😉

For 2 people

Tortilla soup ingredients

Soup Ingredients:

1 smoked, dried chipotle pepper, soaked in 1 cup of boiling water for 10 min and then chopped (if you can’t find these you can substitute with 1 tbsp of smoked chipotle powder)

1/2 cup each of diced celery, carrots and onion

1 can of tomato sauce or diced tomatoes

1 tsp each of Oregano, Cumin and Epazote  (Epazote has a slightly tangy flavor, reminiscent of oregano. It’s used both for flavor and for its ability to reduce the flatulence associated with bean and vegetable dishes. How COOL!)

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp of low-fat organic yogurt, low-fat organic sour cream or soygurt

1 squeeze of agave or pinch of sugar

1/4 cup of toasted pumpkin seeds

1 corn tortilla, cut up into slices (see photo)

a wedge of lime

Handful of fresh coriander (optional)

s&p

tortilla soup instructions

Instructions:

In a pan over medium heat add a tbsp of olive oil and the diced carrots, onions and celery. Cook for about 3 min until the onions are translucent.

Add in the garlic and spices, cook for 2 min.

Add  can of tomatoes, agave or sugar and s&p.

Chop the chipotle and add it in along with its soaking water. Cook on med-low for about 10 min.

Blend with a hand blender.

Stir in the yogurt, sour cream or soygurt.

Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry pan over high heat until they start to pop.

In a small pan heat 1 tbsp of oil and once hot, add in the tortilla strips. Fry for about 1 min until golden brown and crispy, remove to paper towel and soak up access oil right away.

Taco ingredients

 Taco Ingredients:

6 corn tortillas

1 tsp of oregano, chipotle powder and cumin powder

1 tsp of coriander or handful of fresh coriander (finely chopped)

½ a lime

2 ripe tomatoes

1 zucchini, cut lengthwise into thick match sticks

1 bell pepper (any color will do), cut lengthwise into thick match sticks

1 clove of garlic, minced

½ a small onion, diced

½ head of small cabbage, shredded

2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

½ cup of low-fat organic yogurt, sour cream or soygurt

s&p

(hot sauce optional)

taco instructions

Instructions:

In a medium size sauté pan over medium heat, place a tortilla. Heat for about 30 seconds on each side. Set aside on a plate, covered until ready to serve to keep warm and soft.

Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pan and add in the zucchini and pepper. Cook for 2 min with lid on.

Add the spices (except coriander) and garlic. Continue to cook for about 6 min on med-low heat, covered.

If you have a mandolin (see photo) use this to shred the cabbage finely. Otherwise it can be done by hand. Place in bowl and add the 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar or lemon juice and s&p. Toss and set aside.

If you have a food processor, great! Use that to make the salsa. If not you can certainly chop everything finely by hand. Add the tomatoes, onion, lime juice, and s&p to the food processor and blend until it has salsa consistency.

Add the coriander to the yogurt, sour cream or soygurt.

 READY TO SERVE!!!!

Place the creamy tortilla soup in a bowl and top with a dollop of cream (yogurt, sour cream or soygurt), place crispy tortilla strips on top and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Squeeze the lime wedge over soup and sprinkle with fresh coriander (optional) before eating.

Arrange a warmed corn tortilla on a plate, smooth on some coriander infused cream (yogurt, sour cream or soygurt), then a helping of zucchini and peppers, a scoop of shredded cabbage slaw and finally the salsa. Some hot sauce if you want to give it some extra heat.

No, there wont be any leftovers….. 🙂