Hot and humid… I’m sorry that’s all I can talk about as of late… Seriously, I just don’t do well with heat and humidity, my dream is to move to the Northwest US or the Lowlands in Europe. Anyway, but I can’t just feed my family peanut butter sandwiches and cereals all the time, so here I go!!
Before I start writing down the recipes, did I tell you how my body is appreciating the recent change in our vegetarian lifestyle? Oh no, I don’t think I lost weight, but recently, I told my cousin how my heart and mind just seem to love this vegetarian diet. As the sunflower faces up towards the sun, my heart and mind also open up towards this new found lifestyle! Yeah, call it whatever you want, tacky, corny, mushy, etc, but I’m loving it, and my family is also loving this!
Yellow Rice: serves 4
1-1/2 cups white rice
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon turmeric or a generous pinch of saffron
2-1/4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
Rinse and drain the rice. Heat the oil in a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Add the rice and turmeric or saffron and stir on high heat for a minute or two. Add the water and salt, cover, and bring to a boil on high heat. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook covered for 12-15 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed. Fluff the rice with a fork, cover, and let sit until ready to serve.
Note: Brown rice is fine in this recipe; it just takes longer or cook, about 40 minutes of simmering.
Black Beans with Pickled Red Onions: serves 4
Pickled Red Onions
2 large red onions
3 cups boiling water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce (optional)
Seasoned Black Beans
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 – 15ounce cans of black beans, undrained
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Slice the onions into rings. In a heatproof bowl, cover the onions with the boiling water and set aside for 10 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine the salt, sugar, allspice, vinegar, lime juice, and Tabasco. Drain the onions. Combine the drained onions and the pickling ingredients and mix well. Set aside.
For the beans, warm the oil in a saucepan on medium heat and then add the garlic, cumin, and oregano. Cook for just a minute and then add the beans. Simmer for 5-8 minutes, until the beans are heated through and have absorbed the seasonings. Stir in the cilantro.
Serve the rice topped with beans and pickled onions.
My opinion: Loved the tastes of yellow rice, black beans and the pickled onion, loved how they all blended together, each with their own distinct flavours. I kept on heaping pickled onions, it’s almost addictive:-) After you make it the first time, you can adjust the taste by adding more of vinegar or less, and doing the same with other ingredients. Black bean and yellow rice themselves seem perfect for comfort food!
Chipotle Scrambled Eggs: serves 2-3
1/2 cup minced onions
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil or butter
1 Tablespoon minced canned chipotles in adobo sauce
salt and pepper
1 ounce cream cheese, cut into small pieces, or 1/4 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
In a large skillet on medium heat, cook the onions in the oil or butter until golden, about 4 minutes.
In a bowl, beat the eggs with the chipotles and adobo sauce and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Add to the skillet and cook, stirring to scramble, until the eggs are nearly set. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the eggs. Reduce the heat to low and cover the skillet until the cheese melts, about a minute.
My opinion: By adding more or less of chipotles and trying out different cheeses you can almost have different scrambled eggs every time. This dish paired really well with the above dishes, I’m also thinking it’ll go great as breakfast food! I added Gruyere cheese and it brought good mildness in contrast to the chipotles (you would think all cheeses would do that, I have to disagree).
Preheat the oven to 450F. Lightly oil a baking sheet.
Peel the sweet potatoes and slice them into rounds about 1/2 inch thick. If the potatoes are large, cut them in half lengthwise and then into half-rounds. (You should have 7-8 cups.) In a bowl, toss the sweet potatoes on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 10 minutes. Stir, and return to the oven until they are tender and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
My opinion: Another great accompaniment to the foods prepared here. I actually think this is also a nice snack food (I snacked on them while I prepped). I used the Korean/Japanese sweet potatoes (they have whiter flesh and firmer even when cooked), and I left the skin on because I love the skin and the nutritional value that comes with it.
Realistically, even though this is a vegetarian meal, you want some fresh salad to go with this meal. I drizzled extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and tossed with lettuce, tomatoes, radish, cucumber, cilantro and avocado.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Arrange ten 4 – ounce or seven 6 – ounce custard cups in a baking pan(s) at least 2 inches deep. Bring a teakettle of water to boil.
In a blender or with an electric mixer, beat the dulce de leche, eggs, milk, and salt until smooth and evenly coloured (about 10 seconds in blender, or 1 or 2 minutes with a mixer). Pour into the custard cups. Sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon.
When the water boils, pour it into the baking pan to come three quarters of the way up the sides of the custard cups. Carefully place the baking pan in the oven and bake the custards for about 35 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center of a custard comes out clean. Remove the custards from the water bath so they won’t continue to cook. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.
My opinion: You can buy dulce de leche in the Latin American section at the supermarkets, however, I bought few cans of sweetened condensed milk and boiled the cans under low heat for about 1 hour to 1-1/2 hours to make my own dulce de leche. This is a rich dessert, a great dessert after Mexican or Indian foods. This reminds me of flan but with deeper and heavier flavour, wonderful taste! I will recommend using 4 ounce custard cup since this dessert is packed with deep and intense flavour. I sprinkled with nutmeg, cinnamon will definitely go well, but I prefer nutmeg with this dessert.