Showing posts with label Latin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Latin. Show all posts

Mar 22, 2011

south american curry

It was Asian Night.

While I wanted to make curry, a few of the other family members wanted something a little different. Which is why I decided to fuse South America and Asia. A while ago I made Aji Paste from Viva Vegan! by Terry Hope Romero and froze what I didn't use for the recipe. It was time to utilize it. A good Thai curry is based on a chili paste so it wasn't too much of a stretch to use the aji paste instead and incorporate other Latin flavors. 

In addition to the paste, I used cumin, oregano, garlic, lime juice, cauliflower, mushroom, bell peppers, green beans, cilantro and pressed tofu. Pressing the tofu properly (such as with a Tofu Xpress) will keep the tofu from falling apart in the broth during cooking. Another bonus using this machine. 

Although I used coconut milk, I kept it down to 1 can of lite milk and used vegetable broth to make up the difference. Since this would make for a very thin broth with no body, I added an arrowroot (or cornstarch) slurry to thicken it up to the consistency of coconut milk. This did not distract from the flavor and made it possible to cut down on the coconut milk.

I love lots of vegetables in curries and using the Latin flavors made it a little different.  A very satisfying meal with a twist.

Cost Breakdown

aji paste: $.50
onion, garlic, spices, herbs: $1
cauliflower, green beans, red pepper: $5
mushrooms, tofu: $3
coconut milk: $2
lime, sugar, veg stock: $1
Total to make 6 servings:

Jan 16, 2011

quinoa-corn chowder

This recipe was from Viva Vegan! by Teri Hope Romero. It has been a little while since I've hit this cookbook, and the idea of quinoa in a chowder was appealing. Quinoa "grain" is not really a grain, since it is not a grass, but in fact is the seed of the plant that has been cultivated for over 4,000 years in South America. While the greens of the quinoa plant are also edible, the seeds are what is most available to us.

Quinoa also happens to be a complete protein.

While quinoa can be intimidating to cook the first few times, get yourself a bag and start cooking with it. The ratio of water to quinoa is easy:
1 part quinoa, 2 parts water, cook 20 minutes.
Make sure to rinse the quinoa well before cooking it.

If the quinoa is added to a stew or a soup, it is even simpler since I've yet to overcook quinoa, unlike rice, which is too easy to overcook.

The Quinoa-Corn 'Chowder' I made from Teri's book was very easy to make and delicious. To top it all off, she recommended I add avocado to it.
It's like she read my mind...

Cost Breakdown

garlic, onion, spices: $1
red quinoa: $.75
aji (pepper paste, homemade): $.50
potato, corn: $1.50
beans: $2
tomatoes: $1
non-dairy milk: $1
Total to make 6 servings:

Aug 22, 2010

potato-chickpea enchilada

Wrapping up Terry Hope Romero's Viva Vegan! Cook-athon is a Potato-Chickpea Enchilada with Tomatillo Sauce and Mango-Jicama Salad.

Stu-unning. Awesome flavors in the enchilada filling! We only had one dissenter in the family, everyone else loved it. The Tomatillo Sauce recipe has you boiling the tomatillos to remove the skin, but I roasted them instead and blended everything very well so the skins did not become an issue.

The Pine Crema recipe calls for silken tofu, which I do not care for, so instead I made a Cashew Crema for which I will be posting the recipe. This made the entire meal soy free! Love that! 

In conclusion, while some of the flavors of this cookbook need a little getting used to, don't all ethnic cuisines require some adjustment? If they didn't, honestly, what would be the point of eating them? 

Terry has written a great book, full of practical and needful advice regarding Latin fare. She has written creative recipes that my week of cooking has barely scrapped the surface of - 200 recipes is nothing to sneeze at. This is one cookbook that is needed on the shelf because ethnic cuisines are something we should all try to make at home and when it is written by someone who has lived it, then it becomes a treasure trove of yet-untasted flavors and experiences. 

Cost Breakdown:
chickpeas: $2
potatoes: $1
tortillas: $1
mango, jicama: $3
cilantro, lime: $1
peppers, onions, garlic: $1
cashews: $1
Total to make 5 servings:

chimichurri tofu

For this dinner, I made three recipes from Terry Hope Romero's
Viva Vegan!: (Link through

Chimichurri Tofu, Lime and Cilantro Rice and Braised Brazilian Kale. All three recipes were simple to make and tasted great. Our favorite was the kale, to which I added the rest of the chimichurri sauce after the tofu was done marinading in. Also, I used brown rice for the Rice dish instead of the white. It just extended the cooking time, but the flavors were spot on.

We were very pleased with the meal! Another three great recipes from this book.

Cost Breakdown:
kale: $4
onions, garlic, shallots: $3
parsley, cilantro, lime: $3
rice: $1.50
tofu: $2
Total to feed a family of 5:

dulce de leche crepes

Okay, so this isn't exactly brunch fare, but I've seen plenty of people serve crepes for breakfast, so why not?

This recipe from Terry Hope Romero from Viva Vegan! was sensational. (Link is through Not only does she have an excellent crepe recipe, but also a fabulous caramel sauce. I think my kids could have eaten that sauce all by itself!

As I have already blogged about not having a nonstick pan, I don't mind saying I was a little apprehensive. I used my cast iron griddle and it worked great! I don't believe Indians have nonstick for their dosas, so I figured cast iron would work for me, too. It did. I couldn't tilt the griddle like I have tilted a skillet while making crepes before, but even that didn't prove to be an obstacle - spreading the batter with the back of the ladle was efficient.

We served ours with Rice Dream ice cream and everyone was bouncing off the walls in no time (sugar rush :)

Sometimes you can and should have dessert for breakfast.

Cost Breakdown:
Silk creamer: $1.50
brown rice syrup: $1
sugar: $.50
flours: $1.50
  plantains: $3
lime and Earth Balance: $2
Total to make 5 servings:

Aug 17, 2010

viva vegan! + venezuelan black beans and rice

First up from Viva Vegan! this week is Venezuelan-Style Black Beans and Yellow Rice with Garlic.

I needed to make Sofrito for the beans - which is almost exactly like Lecso in Hungarian cuisine, minus the tomatoes and paprika. Sofrito is slow cooked peppers and onions (or really any vegetables, but for Latin cuisine it is peppers and onions).

I also needed to make Annatto infused oil for the rice, but it seems my annatto seeds are a bit old as the orange-yellow color did not manifest quite as it has in the past when I've made this oil.The beans were a little sweet and that kind of threw the family for a loop, but I though the flavor quite ethnic and unique. I loved it!

This is having beans and rice in style!

Cost Breakdown:
beans, dry: $2
rice: $1
peppers, onions, garlic: $2
spices and herbs: $1
tomato: $1
Total to feed a family of 5: