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Posts Tagged ‘cilantro’

I love this vibrant salad from its bright colours to its burst of herbal flavours. It’s light enough to enjoy on a hot summer day, yet with the rice and beans, hearty enough to be the star of a meal.   And the jalapeno pepper adds a nice kick.

This recipe comes from Bonnie Stern’s Simply HeartSmart cookbook. It’s a family favourite at the cottage and in the middle of winter, when I need something that reminds me of the freshness of spring, it’s a go-to recipe.

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Black Bean, Corn, and Rice Salad

(Makes 8 servings)

 

Ingredients

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup basmati rice

2 cups cooked corn niblets, either frozen or canned

2 sweet red peppers, diced

1 jalapeno, finely diced

1 bunch arugula or watercress, trimmed and chopped

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives or green onions

 

3 Tbsp red wine vinegar

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions

Cook rice until tender as per package directions. Cool by spreading on plate and placing in freezer for ~15 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine cooled rice with black beans, corn, red pepper, jalapenos, arugula, cilantro, basil, mint, and chives to salad.

To make dressing, whisk together vinegar, pepper, garlic, and salt. Whisk in olive oil.

Toss dressing with salad. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

 

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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By March, I’m tired of winter food: the root veggies, onions, and garlic are at the end of their time, and the new spring crops are far from being ready, unless Maple Syrup falls in the category of a proper food!

Instead I’ve been leaning to dried pulses: beans and lentils, which seem to be timeless. This week, I’ve been inspired to create new dishes inspired by Latin American flavours. This dish came together on its own, from simple ingredients, and requires little effort other than remembering to soak the beans in advance. The result is a delicious bean stew, which can be eaten with tortillas, over rice, or even as a soup if you cook it in large volumes of water or broth!

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Ingredients – 4 servings

-1 cup dried kidney beans, soaked for 1 day or boiled, rinced, boiled again, and soaked for 3 hours
-2 Tbsp olive oil
-1/2 red onion, diced
-1 jalapeño, finely diced (seeds removed if you don’t like it too spicy)
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-2 tsp chili powder
-1 stick cinnamon
-1/2 to 1 tsp salt (to taste)
-1/2 tsp black pepper
-juice from 1/2 a lime
-1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce (omit if vegetarian, and add 1/4 vegetable bouillon cube to replace)
-1/2 red pepper, small dice
-2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
-1L water

Directions:
Soak the beans in advance. When ready, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Sauté the onions until they become soft, then add the garlic, jalapeño, cinnamon stick and the spices. Sprinkle the salt over the top, and stir, until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.

When the onion begins to brown, add the water, and bring to a boil. Add the Worcestershire sauce and the lime juice and simmer on low for 1-2 hours, covered.

Increase the heat to medium and add the red pepper. Remove the cover, stirring and crushing a few of the beans. Allow to simmer uncovered at a mild boil until most of the liquid is either absorbed or boiled off. The beans stew should become a bit thicker, and there should not be more than a ‘sauce’ when it is ready. Finally, add the cilantro, and if you like the lime feel free to add another spritz or two of lime before serving!

-Sitelle

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A few years ago now, I spent some time studying in several communities in Belize. It was a lovely experience, and it set off an insatiable desire to live and work in diverse and distinct communities both outside and inside of Canada.

One of the my favourite aspects about travelling is all the different foods I taste, the flavours of each country, and learning to cook the food in different communities. While this recipe is not identical to any I learned in Belize, it is inspired by the sunny, fresh, and wholesome food cooked in a hard-working Maya community in the Southernmost part of Belize in the Toldeo District. The women there taught me simple ways to cook beans which I use to this day. The ingredients are simple, and the result is ever delicious.

I like to make this with many different types of beans, but black-eyed peas are a favourite with the delicate flavour of cilantro and garlic cooked they are cooked in from the start.

Beans

Ingredients – 8 servings

1 1/2 cup black-eyed peas, soaked for 8 hours at least after a boil

1 onion, dinced

3 cloves garlic, minced or pounded in a mortar and pestle

1 jalapeño pepper, minced (remove seeds if you want less spice)

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 cup shredded cilantro leaves

1 cube vegetable bouillon

1 tsp chilli spice

5 cups water

Directions

To soak the beans, place 1 1/2 cups of the beans in 2L of water. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat for 6-8 hours or overnight (if doing overnight, you don’t need to boil them if you don’t want to). Once ready to cook drain and rinse beans.

Dice the onions, garlic, and jalapeño. If you have a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and jalapeño together with the bouillon cube and the chilli spice.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and sauté for a few minutes until it is slightly browned. Add the garlic and jalapeño (and the whole mixture if you did it in the mortar and pestle). Stir and cook for a few more minutes. Add the jalapeño, chilli and the bouillon cube.

When the mixture smells fragrant, add the beans. Stir to coat, and then add the water. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Keep boiling for two minutes and then transfer mixture over to a slow cooker if you have one. Add the cilantro. Cook on high for 3-4 hours.

If you do not have a slow cooker, continue to simmer for an hour or two or until the beans are tender.

You can continue cooking this as long as you wish, and the dish will change accordingly. At first it is somewhat stew-like, and then it will begin to appear like refried beans, with the beans breaking down more and more. You can eat the beans alone, with rice, or in tacos for example! There are really a lot of options! I hope you enjoy these.

-Sitelle

 

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With spring in the air, I am increasingly turning to salads for dinner.  One of my absolute favourites is black bean and corn salad. I love how quickly this salad can be assembled.  The sweet corn is a perfect complement to the wholesome beans, while the red pepper and onion add a flash of colour.  Best of all is the marinade of lime juice and cilantro – it allows the salad to burst with fresh flavour.

This salad keeps well for a few days in the fridge, and it makes for delicious leftovers.  Have fun fiddling with the seasoning – depending on my mood, I will often sprinkle some chili or cumin powder over the salad or, for a smooth treat, dice in half an avacado.

Black Bean and Corn Salad

Ingredients:

1 can (14 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (14 ounces) corn, rinsed and drained (or substitute frozen)

1/2 red onion, chopped

1 small red pepper, chopped

A large handful of cherry tomatoes, slivered

1/4 cup cilantro, diced

Zest and juice from one lime

Salt and pepper to taste

A generous splash of olive oil, to taste

(OPTIONAL: one or more of the following, to your liking: hot sauce, additional cilantro, a few pinches of cumin or chile powder, half an avacadoo)

 

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.  Refrigerate and let stand for 10 minutes to allow the flavours to deepen.  Toss and serve. Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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Flipping through rebar: modern food cook book, I was captivated by the name of this linguine.  The recipe looked perfect for dinner with peanut-loving vegetarian friends.  I followed rebar‘s hint to make the sauce rich and creamy by adding equal amounts of canned coconut milk.  I also added fried golden tofu to boost the protein content.   With two helpers, the chopping preparation passed quickly.

This pasta was a delight: creamy, peanut-buttered flavoured crisp veggies over noodles.  We ate the leftovers as a cold picnic-lunch a few days later while driving the Lighthouse Route on Nova Scotia’s South Shore. All of us agreed that the peanut-flavour had intensified, making for even more delicious leftovers!

Lotus Land Linguine with wok-fried vegetables and peanut sauce

(serves 4 hungry individuals)

Ingredients:

1 recipe peanut sauce

1 lb (454 g) linguine noodles

1 tablespoon peanut oil, separated

1 pound firm tofu, cubed (optional)

1 yellow onion, julienned

2 carrots, half moon slices

1 large red pepper, 1/2-inch triangles

1 bunch broccoli, florets and stem sliced

4 ounces snow peas, ends trimmed

4 heads baby bok choy, leaves separated

2 bunches scallions, 1-inch long slices

1 can coconut milk (optional)

sesame oil

Directions:

Heat a large pot of water for cooking the pasta.  In a small pot, gently heat the peanut sauce with the coconut milk. Begin cooking the noodles when you start the stir-fry as they will take about the same amount of time.

Heat a wok over medium-high heat.  Add half the oil, and just before it starts to smoke, add the tofu.  Stir-fry  until it is golden brown.  Remove from wok.  Add the remaining oil.  Stir-fry the onions until translucent and then add the remaining vegetables in order of their cooking times, beginning with the carrots and ending with the snow peas, bok choy and scallions.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Continue stirring and tossing the vegetables, keeping them crisp and brightly coloured.  If they start to stick, add a splash of water and cover briefly.

Toss the drained noodles with a splash of sesame oil.  Toss the noodles with the veggies, tofu, and creamy coconut peanut sauce.  Garnish with crushed peanuts, freshly chopped cilantro, and lime wedges, if desired.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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The last few weeks have been busy.  My good friend Dora came to visit from Toronto, and we had a lovely time exploring Halifax and environs. We even had an opportunity to peruse Nova Scotia’s Ice Wine Festival, including a sampling with chocolate.  Then I was off visiting my sister in Montreal – and while it was fabulous to visit with her, the bronchitis that followed has kept me from the kitchen (needless to say having an appetite).

My friend Dora loves all things peanut – but lives with a brother who has an anaphylactic peanut allergy.  When she came for dinner, I decided to make a peanut-inspired dinner menu.

This peanut sauce from Rebar formed the basis of the pasta.  Intensely flavourful, this sauce was a cinch to blend together and absolutely delicious.  I’ll be looking around for more items to dip in it soon!

 

Peanut sauce with ginger, lime and cilantro (from rebar: modern food cookbook)

(makes 3/4 cup sauce)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon peeled ginger, minced

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 cup minced cilantro leaves

juice and zest of 1 lime

1 tablespoon sambal oelek (an Asian hot chili sauce)

1/4 cup smooth, natural peanut butter

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

 

Directions:

In the bowl of a food processor or blender, add all of the ingredients from the garlic through to the sambal oelek.  Blend until smooth.  Add the remaining ingredients, blend and season to taste.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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Despite sleeping for over 10 hours, I woke up Saturday morning with a stuffed-up head and a mild fever.  Looks like Halifax’s wet winter has finally gotten the best of me.  I decided the thing to do – between naps in bed and watching the West Wing – was to make a large pot of comforting soup.

I turned to Audrey Alsterberg and Wanda Urbanowickz’ Rebar – a collection of delicious, inventive recipes out of Victoria, BC – for inspiration.  I was immediately drawn to their African yam soup.  The recipe looked simple, nutrient-filled, and packed with flavour – just what a girl needed when feeling under the weather.  (I note as an addendum that Monday evening, feeling reenergized sleeping off this cold, leftovers from this soup were superb.)

I leave you with Rebar’s description, which describes this soup beautifully:

“Silky smooth richness in this soup comes courtesy of peanut butter – there’s just enough of it blended in to make this soup luxuriant, rather than cloying.  Pineapple, lime and tomatoes add sweetness and tang, while the spices are lively and warming.  This soup can handle a generous dose of spice and heat, so arm yourself with a good hot sauce for last minute seasoning.”

 

African yam & peanut soup with ginger and pineapple

Serves 8

 

Ingredients:

8 cups vegetable stock

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

2 teaspoons salt

6 tablespoons (3/8 cup) minced ginger

4 large garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon hot paprika

1 red bell pepper, diced

4 medium yams (sweet potato), peeled and roughly chopped

1 x 14 fl oz (398 mL) can water-packed pineapple, juice reserved

3 ripe tomatoes, chopped

5 tablespoons natural smooth peanut butter

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

juice and zest of 2 limes, or more to taste

favourite hot sauce, to taste (I used sambal oelek here and loved it!)

 

Directions:

Heat stock and keep it warm on the back burner while you assemble the soup.  In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion and a pinch of salt; saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Next, add garlic, ginger and spices and saute until soft and golden.

Stir in red pepper, yams, and salt and continue cooking until they start to stick to the bottom of the pot.  Add vegetable stock to cover, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer.  Cover partially and simmer until the yams are tender.

Add pineapple with juice, tomatoes, peanut butter and remaining stock and simmer 30 minutes.  Puree the soup until smooth, either directly in the pot with a hand blender or in batches with a food processor.

Return soup to the pot and simmer for a final 10 minutes.  Season to taste with more salt, pineapple juice, and/or hot sauce.  Just before serving, add chopped cilantro and fresh lime juice.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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