Mango Tamarind Daiquiri

PURA VIDA!

This Mango Tamarind Daiquiri is a refreshing rum cocktail perfect for that summer heat.  It has natural sweet flavors from the fresh mangos that balance well with the tartness from the tamarind.

After a recent trip to Costa Rica, I became inspired to create a cocktail using tamarind.  Tamarind is a leguminous tree that grows in tropical climates, specifically Central, South America and South Africa.  The fruit is found inside a pod with a crunchy outer thin shell, it is sticky and sweet like a date yet tart. 

Mango Tamarind Daiquiri I recently vacationed in Costa Rica with my good friend Ryn, her daughter Angelika and my boys.  We had the privilege of staying in Nuevo Arenal at our friend Michelle and Mark’s beautiful vacation homes called Casablanca, on Lake Arenal.  If you ever plan on visiting Costa Rica, this place was stellar!  We were so close to a lot of great attractions, like the Arenal Volcano, Hanging Bridges, Hot Springs and so many amazing restaurants like The Gingerbread .  The Gingerbread’s Chef Eyal is definitely one of my top three favorite Chef’s of all time!  Everything we experienced was perfectly balanced and spiced.  The typical Costa Rican cuisine is spectacular; consisting mostly of beans, rice, plantain, fresh fish, vegetables and fresh fruit.  A lot of restaurants serve fresh tamarind juice, which almost tastes like a tart apple juice. After tasting it, all I could think about was what kind of cocktail I could make with the unique fruit.

The last day we were there, Ryn and I drove into town to pick up a few things and get some snacks for the following travel day.  We attempted to find tamarind in a jar, but all we were able to find was the fresh fruit. Of course, we could not bring that back to the states.  Needless to say, after I returned home, I couldn’t get tamarind off of my mind, so I went on a mission to find the fruit.  My first stop was the international market, and there it was, I found the fresh tamarind pods.  I was so excited!

Mango Tamarind Daiquiri

Mango Tamarind Daiquiri Cocktail Recipe:

Makes 1- 6 oz Cocktail

  • 2 oz Costa Rican Rum
  • 1/2 oz Orange Curacao
  • 2 oz *Tamarind Puree
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Mango Diced
  • 1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 0z Sparkling Water
  • Fresh Lime for Garnish
Profile: Original, Sweet and Tart
Glass: Collins
Garnish: Lime Wedge
*Tamarind Puree:

Makes 2 cups:

  • 20 Tamarind Pods
  • 1 Cup of Water + 1 Cup
Instructions:
Tamarind Puree

Using a butter knife, crack open the tamarind pod and break away the shell from the fruit.  There are stringy parts attached to the fruit and seeds, pull them off and the fruit will separate easily.  Once you have harvested all of the fruit, seed and all, you can start the extracting process.

 Add 1 cup of water to a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat then add the tamarind fruit. Once the fruit starts to separate from the seed, turn heat to low and continue to cook until all of the fruit has completely broken down.  Add the extra cup of water and mix well. Cool completely. Using a fine mesh strainer pour the juice through to strain out the seeds.  Now you are ready to use the tamarind puree in your cocktail.

Cocktail

In a shaker or mixing glass, add fresh lime juice and mango. Muddle the mango until it’s mashed well.  Fill 3/4 of the shaker with ice; add the rum, orange curaçao and tamarind. Shake well for about 6 seconds. Strain and pour into a collins glass full of ice and top with sparkling soda.

Mango Tamarind Daiquiri

Black Bean Roasted Pepper Salsa Soup

This Black Bean Roasted Pepper Salsa Soup is deeply flavorful and incredibly satisfying with the addition of the roasted salsa.  It’s a vegan soup that can be left as it is or dressed up with chunks of avocado, cheddar cheese, Ancho chips, Pico de Gallo or a dollop of sour cream.

Black Bean Roasted Pepper Salsa Soup This was a great weekend to say the least.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Better Homes and Gardens regrammed my Blueberry Chevre Crostini with Champagne Vinegar Hibiscus Flowers on Instagram.  As a food blogger, you spend so much time learning and practicing photography that when someone like BHG acknowledges one of your photos it feels like a really big deal.  The same photo also won the best photo of the week from Haute Cuisine.  I couldn’t be happier.

Black Bean Roasted Pepper Salsa Soup On another note, how was your 4th of July?  Robby and I had a great weekend with Beto and clan. They arrived early Saturday afternoon to our house and we immediately headed to the beach to give the kids the opportunity release some of their excess energy.  Robby and I had been preparing food for a couple days prior to their visit and when we got back from the beach we set up a taco bar full of all of the fixings. It was delicious! It also happened to be Beto’s birthday so Jill and Paloma decorated a Paloma designed cake after we finished dinner. It was an almond cake with dark chocolate frosting, white and dark chocolate tiles arranged like a checkerboard all topped with dinosaur shrinky dinks. It was one of the coolest cakes I have ever seen and it tasted divine!

After dinner, everyone was so tired that it ended up being an early night, which was good because the next day was jam packed full of adventures.  In the morning, we loaded up our cars with all our bikes and headed to west cliff.   We rode along the cliffs and down to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk where we stopped for lunch at a small cafe called The Picnic Basket.  If you are in Santa Cruz and are looking for a phenomenal sandwich and salad spot, I can’t recommend this place enough!  They have one of the best grilled cheese sandwich loaded with sharp white cheddar cheese. All of their produce is locally sourced.  After we ate, we left our bikes locked up and walked over to the amusement park where we watched Paloma go on a few rides.  She had so much fun!  We then rode our bikes back to the car. We were all so tired and didn’t feel like cooking or cleaning, so we decided to go to Ella’s at the Airport for dinner.  It was delicious as always.  The next day was the 4th and we packed up our picnic food with some wine and kicked it on the beach for quite a while before Beto and clan headed home.

Black Bean Roasted Pepper Salsa Soup This soup pairs really well with a Rosé Sancerre, White Sancerre, Sauvignon Blanc or a Soave.

Black Bean Roasted Pepper Salsa Soup Black Bean Roasted Pepper Salsa Soup Recipe:

A delicious vegan and gluten free black bean soup.

8 – 10 Servings

  • 2 1/2 Cups Dried Black Beans
  • 10 + 5 Cups Filtered Water
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper – roasted – diced
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers – roasted – 1 diced – 1 pureed
  • 2 Poblano Peppers – roasted – 1 diced – 1 pureed
  • 5 Tomatillos – roasted – pureed
  • 2 Large Heirloom Tomatoes – 1 roasted/pureed – 1 diced
  • 1/2 White Onion – cut in half – roasted – pureed
  • 1 Jalapeno – roasted – pureed
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Lime Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 1 Tablespoon Ancho Powder – freshly ground or pre-ground
  • 1 Tablespoon Paprika
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1/2 Cup Cilantro – minced
  • 1 Cup Corn – fresh or frozen – charred (charring is optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon + 2 Teaspoons Sea Salt or to taste
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
Ancho chips
  • 1 Whole Wheat Tortilla (or your choice)
  • 2 Teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ancho Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
Garnish options:
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Avocado
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Diced Roasted Peppers
  • Sour Cream
  • Cilantro
Instructions:
Black Beans

In a 5 1/2 quart pot, put a small hand full of beans in the pot at one at a time, making sure there are no rocks.  Then rinse the beans and add the 10 cups of water.  Bring to a boil then reduce to medium-high heat for approx. 45 minutes or until water starts to evaporates and add the remaining 5 cups of water as needed then cook for another 45 minutes or longer, continuing to check on water levels.

* Add sea salt AT THE END or they will be tough.
* It depends on how old the beans are as to how long it will take to cook, older beans can take longer.
* If you have a problem with gas after eating beans.  Try soaking dried beans in water for at least six to eight hours before cooking to reduce gas formation.  Or place beans in a saucepan with cold water, cover and bring to a boil.  Turn off heat and let sit for an hour.  Turn the stove to medium-high heat for about an hour or until beans are soft.
Roast the tomatillos, tomato, onion and jalapeno.

Turn oven to broil.  Core the tomatillos and tomato and cut in half then place on a baking sheet. Cut the onion half in half and place on the baking sheet along with the jalapeno.  Place the baking sheet on the top rack for 6 minutes then flip for 2 more minutes.  Take out of the oven and let cool.

Roasted peppers
Roast the poblano and bell peppers on the stovetop on medium-high heat.  A gas stove works the best but it will work fine on an electric stove.  Char the peppers on all sides turning with a pair of tongs.  When good and charred, steam them for 10 minutes in a covered dish or a paper bag rolled shut to hold in the steam.
Take a paper towel and rub off the char.  It’s ok to leave a little of the char.  Slice in half, remove the seeds and stems.  Set aside the 1 poblano and 1 red bell pepper for the salsa and dice the rest.
Corn (optional)

Turn oven onto broil

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out the corn in a single layer.  Place on the top rack for 5 minutes.
Ancho Tortilla Chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the tortillas into 16 to 20 wedges.

In a medium bowl, add the tortilla wedges, olive oil, ancho powder and salt.  Gently toss to completely coat the chips.

Arrange the tortilla strips in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake until golden and crispy, about 12 minutes.

Assemble

Add the garlic to a food processor and mince.  Add the onion, tomato, tomatillos, jalapeno (remove seeds for mild heat.) 1 poblano, 1 red bell pepper and puree then pour into the beans.

Add the diced peppers, diced tomato, cilantro, corn, spices, salt and pepper.

Black Bean Roasted Pepper Salsa Soup Health benefits:

 Black beans are high in cholesterol lowering dietary fiber, 1 cup of cooked beans provides you with over 1/2 of your daily requirements and reduces blood cholesterol that helps prevent heart disease.  The fiber supports the digestive tract and the colon, which helps constipation, diverticulitis, and other gastrointestinal disorders.  They also maintain normal blood sugar levels, helping to prevent diabetes.  Black beans are a very good meat substitute because of their 15 grams of protein in 1 cup and contain only trace amounts of saturated fat and no cholesterol.  They contain phytochemicals, substances found only in plant foods that help fight cancer and other chronic diseases.  They increase energy with the good amounts of iron in them and have more antioxidant activity than other types of beans. They neutralize cell-damaging free radicals that may help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other diseases.  Black beans are also rich in B vitamins, Folate, potassium (helps regulate your blood pressure and heart rate), magnesium, calcium (builds and maintains bones) and other heart-healthy nutrients.

Bell Peppers have more nutrition as they mature.  They are super high in vitamin A which helps to support healthy eyesight, especially night vision and are extremely high in vitamin C, so much so they have twice as much as an orange which makes it really good for the skin.  Red peppers are one of the highest veggies in lycopene and have been successfully tested in the prevention of many cancers.  They have a good source of the antioxidant mineral manganese and B-complex and vitamin E.  They help reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol, helps controls diabetes and helps reduce pain.  They are also a good source of fiber, folate, vitamin K, molybdenum and manganese.

Pepper Jack Roasted Poblano Pupusa with Curtido Slaw and Salsa Roja

These Pepper Jack Roasted Poblano Pupusas can be served as an appetizer or main dish.  The vibrancy of the curtido slaw is the perfect balance to the heartiness of the pupusas and the salsa Roja spiciness brings it all together.
I have attempted to make these pupusas a few times but I felt that they were too dense for my liking.  Most pupusas are made with masa but some are made with rice flour.  I decided I would try combining both masa and rice flour.

Pepper Jack Roasted Poblano Pupusa Have you ever tried pupusas before?  They are a well-known Salvadoran street food that is out of this world.

I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of Pupusas prior my moving back to Venice in 2007.  My friends Beto and Brian took me to Lidia’s Pupuseria on Westminster right off of the Venice boardwalk.  It was literally a hole in the wall on the side of a building.  I ordered the jalapeno with cheese and I was in heaven with my first bite.  It was a decent sized pupusa for only $2 served on a small paper plate with a curtido slaw and a small plastic bag of salsa Roja.  They had no tables so the three of us would stand while eating these gems.

Brian and Beto had a chocolate business that I was involved with at the time and at least three times a week we would jump on our bikes and ride to the boardwalk for Lydia’s pupusas.  After inhaling them, we would jump back on our bikes, cruise around the boardwalk, checking out the waves and the skate-park and then we would head back to make more chocolates.  It was always a fun time!  Unfortunately, Lydia’s has since closed down; I am sure it was due to all the crazy rent increases that have been taking place in the Venice Beach area.

Pepper-Jack-Roasted-Poblano-Pupusa I love a sparkling wine like a Prosecco or a Cava.  They are also great with a Pinot Gris, white Rioja, Rueda or a Sauvignon Blanc.

Pepper Jack Roasted Poblano Pupusa Pepper Jack Roasted Poblano Pupusa Recipe:

Makes 10 Pupusas

Curtido Style Slaw – best prepared at least 4 hours in advance or even better, the day ahead.
  • 1 1/2 Cups Red Cabbage – thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 Cups Green or Savoy Cabbage – thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Red Onion – thinly sliced
  • 3 Cups Filtered Water – boiling
  • 1 Carrot (1/2 cup) – grated
  • 1/2 Cup Radish – thinly sliced – cut into matchsticks
  • 1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 – 2 Jalapeño or Serrano Peppers – thinly sliced or minced
  • 1 Garlic Clove – minced
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Black Pepper
Salsa Roja – can be made the day ahead
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 White Onion – 1/2 cup – diced
  • 1 Small Garlic Clove – minced
  • 2 Jalapeño Pepper – sliced – roughly chopped (leave seeds in for a hot salsa or remove for a mild salsa)
  • 1 Large or 2 Small (about 1 1/2 cups) Tomato – diced
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Mexican Oregano (can sub regular)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste
  • Dash Black Pepper – or to taste
  • 3 Tablespoons Filtered Water – or to taste
Filling
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Large Onion – diced
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 2 Garlic Cloves – minced
  • 1 Cup Jack Cheese – shredded
  • 2 Large Poblano – roasted – destemmed – deseeded – diced
Dough
  • 1 1/2 Cups Masa Harina
  • 3/4 Cup White Rice Flour
  • 1 1/2 Filtered Water
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt

Other options

  • Black Beans
  • Roasted Poblano
  • Avacado
Instructions:
Curtido Style Slaw
Place the cabbage, carrots, and onion into a large bowl. Pour the boiling water over, cover, then set aside for about 5 minutes.  Drain in a colander, pressing out as much liquid as you can.  Add the cabbage and carrots back to the bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients.  Let set at room temperature for a couple hours.  Then chill.  It’s even better the next day.
Salsa
Add the oil into a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook for 4 minutes then add the garlic and jalapeño sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the onion is translucent and garlic becomes golden.
Stir in the tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper and simmer for about 8 minutes. Remove from heat.
Puree the salsa in a food processor or immersion blender until smooth then stir in the water.
Filling
Roast the poblano peppers on the stovetop on medium-high heat.  A gas stove works the best but it will work fine on an electric stove. Char the peppers on all sides turning with a pair of tongs.  When good and charred, steam them for 10 minutes in a covered dish or a paper bag rolled shut to hold in the steam.

Take a paper towel and rub off the char.  It’s ok to leave a little of the char.  Slice in half, remove the seeds and stems and dice.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large nonstick skillet, on a medium-low heat.  Add the onions and saute for about 5 minutes then add the garlic and salt then saute until the garlic just starts to become golden.  Add the onions to a medium sized bowl and mix together with the poblano and salt then mix in the cheese.  Set aside.

Dough and Assemble
Combine the masa, rice flour, and salt together in a medium mixing bowl then mix in the water.  Knead the dough into a smooth, moist sticky dough.  If it is too dry you can add one teaspoon at a time of water.  Wet your hands to form 10 round balls about the size of a golf ball.  (I used a kitchen scale and each ball weight was 2 1/4 ounces) With your hands, press a ball into a flat disk by a bit bigger than your palm.  Add 2 tablespoons of filling in the center and form the dough around the filling.  Pinch the edges together, roll it into a ball and then flatten the ball to about 1/2 inch thick.  Try your best to repair any holes.
Place the pupusa on a large nonstick pan with some olive oil and cook on medium-high until each side is golden brown.  About 3 -5 minutes on each side.  Don’t worry if some cheese leaks out.
 *
Here are two other recipes that include the curtido slaw that you might like.  One is my empanadas and the other is this appetizer.
*
  Pepper Jack Roasted Poblano Pupusa Health benefits:

Poblano Peppers are extremely high in vitamin C; just one pepper has 95% of your daily value.  They are great for your immune system and help to reduce inflammation like in arthritis and asthma.  They are also helpful with the increase of oxygen helping the body to burn more calories 20 minutes after eating peppers.  They are full of vitamin A, vitamin K and potassium.

Cabbage is really low in calories, fat and high in fiber. It’s high in vitamin K that helps with brain function.  Red cabbage is the highest in vitamin K than other cabbage.  It’s high in sulfur keeping your hair, skin and nails healthy.  If you have arthritis, rheumatism, skin diseases or gout, cabbage can help with its high vitamin C and sulfur content.  Cabbage is higher in vitamin C than oranges and is a natural antioxidant that helps with premature aging and also helps detoxify the blood and liver.  Cabbage helps protect bones from becoming brittle with its high potassium, magnesium, and calcium content. Potassium is also great for reducing high blood pressure allowing the blood vessels to open and the blood to flow freely. It is also high in beta-carotene needed for eye health.  The pigment in purple cabbage helps lower blood sugar levels and boost insulin production.  It helps your body fight off cancer with the powerful antioxidant anthocyanin.  Cabbage is good for your heart, blood pressure, brain, nervous system, immune system, digestion, bowels, bones, eyes, skin, hair and nails.

Roasted Anaheim Pepper Pesto Farinata (socca) Appetizer with Curtido Slaw

 This “Roasted Anaheim Pepper Pesto Farinata (socca) Appetizer” is a blending of nationalities; Anaheim peppers from Mexico, Manchego from Span, curtido slaw from El Salvador and farinata (socca) from Italy.  The combination of these ingredients is loaded with flavor!  Apparently, this delicious flatbread originated in Genoa Italy.  They are called “farinata” in Italy and “socca” in France.

Roasted Anaheim Pepper Pesto Farinata (socca) Appetizer When I was 5 years old, my mom decided that she needed to get out of L.A.  She was 27 at the time and had just broken up with her boyfriend.  She decided to meet up with my uncle Glenn, her brother, who was living in Italy with his girlfriend Terry at the time.  Unfortunately my mom didn’t have any savings so she had to sell her car to come up with the money for the airfare.  So, she sold the car, bought us tickets, packed two large suitcases and off we went.  We flew into London and stayed the night at my uncle’s friend’s house.  The next morning we arrived at the train station and to my mom’s horror, there was a huge bridge and stairway that we had to cross to get to the correct side of the tracks to catch our train to Rome.  There was no way that she could get two large suitcases and a 5 year old over at the same time.  So, she dragged one of the large suitcases while holding my hand over to the other side and left it there.  We then went back to get the remaining suitcase.  It was quite the ordeal.

Roasted Anaheim Pepper Pesto Farinata (socca) Appetizer My mom had made arrangements to rent a room in Rome from a really nice family who took care of us as if we were part of their family.  The grandmother made me a very special birthday cake for my sixth birthday.  It looked like a bunch of cinnamon rolls stuck together with a cream cheese frosting (most likely mascarpone) and large colorful disk shaped sprinkles.  I will never forget it!  I also remember losing one of my front bottom teeth down the drain while brushing my teeth.  Since we didn’t know how long we were staying, my mom decided to enroll me into the local school.  They wore blue and white uniforms, so my mom cut up some old drapes and made me a uniform.  I was mortified at first because I didn’t speak Italian and I had to sit at the front of the class next to the teacher facing the other students. I ended up making friends with a few of the kids and it didn’t matter that we didn’t speak each other’s language. We spoke the universal kid language of gestures and facial expressions.

Four months later, my uncle was picked for a starring role in a spaghetti western film that was going to be filmed in Spain.  We all packed up into my uncle’s classic green VW van, including two dogs and a cat and we drove off to Spain. I absolutely loved this experience!  We ended up camping out in Madrid for a whole month and then we moved into a triangle shaped house, which had floor to ceiling glass windows on one side.

Roasted Anaheim Pepper Pesto Farinata (socca) Appetizer After two months in Spain, my mom decided that we needed to get back to LA because she was running out of money. She called my grandma, her mother, to see if she would lend her some money to purchase tickets home and she refused to lend her the money.  So crazy!  Terry’s mom ended up loaning my mom the money. We flew into Boston and stayed with Terry’s mom for one night before catching our next flight home.  My grandmother must have felt bad because she called Terry’s mom to see where we were. Terry’s mom wasn’t sure if she should tell her that she lent my mom the money so she said we hitchhiked.  My grandma got so concerned that she ended up calling the state police.  Haha, what a story! Am I right?  We made it home safe and sound.

My mom didn’t want me to tell the last part of the story because she thought it would make her look like a bad mother. Actually, to me she is a badass and way more gutsy than I would ever be.  My mom always taught me to just go for it in life. Her motto has always been to feel the fear and do it anyways!  Sorry mom!  Hehe.  Italy will always hold a special spot in my heart and I hope to visit again someday!

Roasted Anaheim Pepper Pesto Farinata (socca) Appetizer This appetizer goes great with a White Rioja, Rueda, Cava or Txakoli.

Roasted Anaheim Pepper Pesto Farinata (socca) Appetizer Roasted Anaheim Pepper Pesto on Farinata (socca) Appetizer Recipe:

26 pieces

Curtido  Slaw – double if you want some on the side
  • 3/4 Cup Red Cabbage – thinly sliced
  • 3/4 Cup Green or Savoy Cabbage – thinly sliced
  • 1/4 Red Onion – thinly sliced
  • 3 Cups Filtered Water – boiling
  • 1 Small Carrot (1/3 cup) – grated
  • 1/4 Cup Radishes – thinly sliced – cut into matchsticks
  • 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Jalapeño or Serrano Peppers – thinly sliced or minced
  • 1 Garlic Clove – minced
  • 1/4 + 1/8 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste
  • Pinch of Black Pepper – or to taste
Roasted Anaheim Pepper Manchego Pesto – for the whole recipe
  • 1/2 Cup (about 2) Anaheim Peppers – roasted
  • 1/2 Serrano Pepper – or whole for spicier
  • 1/2 Cup Manchego Cheese – finely shredded
  • 1/2 Cup Raw walnuts
  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoons Lemon Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 1 Small Garlic Clove
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
Farinata
This recipe is adapted from David Lebovitz
  • 1 Cup Garbanzo Bean Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 Cup Warm water
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Serrano Pepper – minced
Garnish
  • 1/4 Cup Anaheim Pepper – roasted – cubed
 Instructions:
Curtido Style Slaw
Place the cabbage, carrots, and onion into a large bowl. Pour the boiling water over, cover, then set aside for about 5 minutes.  Drain in a colander, pressing out as much liquid as you can.  Add the cabbage and carrots back to the bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients.  Let set at room temperature for a couple hours.  Then chill.  It’s even better the next day.
Pesto/Roasted Peppers

Roast all the peppers for the pesto and garnish.  Place the peppers on the stovetop on medium-high heat.  A gas stove works the best but it will work fine on an electric stove. Char the peppers on all sides turning with a pair of tongs.  When good and charred, steam them for 10 minutes in a covered dish or a paper bag rolled shut to hold in the steam.

Take a paper towel and rub off the char.  It’s ok to leave a little of the char.  Slice in half and remove the seeds and stems.

While the peppers are cooling, measure all other ingredients and add to a food processor or blender.  Add the pepper to the food processor and blend well.  If you like it hot, you can leave the seeds in the Serrano peppers.

Farinata

Add water, olive oil, serrano and salt into a bowl and whisk in chickpea flour until combined.  Let sit for at least 30 minutes up to 4 hours.

Heat a large, non-stick pan over medium heat, add a little olive oil and let it get hot.

In batches, add a tablespoon of batter, leaving space between each one.  Cook for 1 minute or until bubbles appears, then turn and cook for another minute.  Gently slide onto a plate and keep warm in a low oven or cool to room temperature.  Repeat with the remaining batter.

*Note – If you want them as perfectly round as you can (they will most likely never be totally PERFECT) use a round cookie cutter for a mold.  Pour in the batter and wait a few seconds carefully twist and lift up the cutter.  I used an oven mitt in case the cutter became too hot.  Wipe off any batter that sticks to the cutter and repeat.

Roasted Anaheim Pepper Pesto Farinata (socca) Appetizer Health benefits:

Anaheim pepper are an excellent source of vitamin C, only a 1/4 cup provides you with the daily amount recommended for adults.  They are also very high in vitamin A, which is good for your eyes, skin and hair. Peppers are high in fiber and they are rich in phytonutrients that may help prevent disease and keep your body working properly. They are high in Vitamin K that strengthens bones and helps protect cells from oxidative damage. They also have a significant amount of B vitamins, thiamine, niacin, iron and riboflavin.

Cabbage is really low in calories, fat and high in fiber. It’s high in vitamin K that helps with brain function.  Red cabbage is the highest in vitamin K than other cabbage.  It’s high in sulfur keeping your hair, skin and nails healthy.  If you have arthritis, rheumatism, skin diseases or gout, cabbage can help with its high vitamin C and sulphur content.  Cabbage is higher in vitamin C than oranges and is a natural antioxidant that helps with premature aging and also helps detoxify the blood and liver.  Cabbage helps protect bones from becoming brittle with its high potassium, magnesium, and calcium content. Potassium is also great for reducing high blood pressure allowing the blood vessels to open and the blood to flow freely. It is also high in beta-carotene needed for eye health.  The pigment in purple cabbage helps lower blood sugar levels and boost insulin production.  It helps your body fight off cancer with the powerful antioxidant anthocyanin.  Cabbage is good for your heart, blood pressure, brain, nervous system, immune system, digestion, bowels, bones, eyes, skin, hair and nails.

 

 

Charred Broccoli Cheddar Potato Soup

This Charred Broccoli Cheddar Potato Soup is my kind of comfort food.  What’s not to love? It’s creamy, chunky, cheesy and full of charred broccoli goodness.  I added a little twist with the addition of fresh basil that complements the charred broccoli nicely.

Charred Broccoli Cheddar Potato Soup Have you ever heard of Servas International?  It is one of the coolest non-profits organizations ever!  It’s an international network of hosts and travelers.  As a host, you provide hospitality to travelers from all over the world and as a traveler, you can look up hosts in the country you plan to travel through.  They provide a booklet that lists all the hosts that are available by country.  The host tells a little bit about themselves and the maximum number of days they will provide lodging per traveler.  If they really like you they may allow for longer stays.  The traveler sends the host an email or letter telling them about themselves like their interest, if they are vegetarian etc.  Then the host will ok the traveler if they feel they are someone they would like to host.  The coolest thing about this is that you get to meet local families and experience their culture instead of staying in hotels.

My mom and I were traveling in the south island of New Zealand for two months and we used Servas as travelers.  We stayed with three families, one was an awesome elderly couple named Ann and Tom who lived in Christchurch.  We stayed with them for three nights.  They were so sweet and they made us breakfast every morning.  I returned the favor by making my famous lasagna, salad and garlic bread the evening before we left.

The next morning, we traveled to the north side of the south island to stay with our next Servas family, the Sanders who lived on a kiwi farm in Blenheim in the Marlborough Region (The home of some of best Sauvignon Blanc).  They had a pig named Murray, some chickens, a couple of deer that I was able to pet.  I was 20 at the time and one of the host’s son was named Tristan who was 18.  Tristan took me along with him to a crazy game called Laser Wars, where we met up with 8 of his friends. It was a really fun experience!  Tristan later invited me to his friend’s birthday party, which was on the Marlborough Sounds.  A few of us cruised around the Sounds in a small rowboat.  It is so incredibly gorgeous that words cannot do it justice! It was really great to hang out with some local teens and to see their lifestyle.

The third host lived in the town of Picton.  They made us a really nice dinner that New Zealanders call tea.  After tea, they took us on an evening walk through a trail that ended up at the top of a hill overlooking all of Picton.  It was stunning! Then we hiked down and walked along the beach.  We left the next morning and went to back to Blenheim and stayed at a really nice campground for a few days.  I called Tristan and he came and picked me up to go hang out with his friends again.  The whole Servas experience was phenomenal!  What do you think?  Would you try it?

Charred Broccoli Cheddar Potato Soup This soup is perfect with a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough Region of New Zealand.

Charred Broccoli Cheddar Potato Soup Charred Broccoli Cheddar Potato Soup Recipe:

8 – 10 servings

  • 2 Large Heads Broccoli – 10 Cups – florets roughly chopped – stems peeled and sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Dash of Salt and Pepper
  • 1/2 White Onion – diced
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1/3 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 Vegetable Bouillon Cube – unsalted
  • 6 Cups Filtered Water
  • 1 1/2 Pounds (about 3 medium) Yellow Potatoes – 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons Brown Rice Flour (or regular all-purpose)
  • 2 Cups 1 % Milk or Half and Half (I used 1 cup of each)
  • 8 oz. (2 1/4 cup) Cheddar Cheese – shredded (make sure it’s a high-quality cheese)
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt or to taste
  • 1 Cup Fresh Basil – packed – minced
Garnish
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – drizzle
Instructions:
Charred Broccoli
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Toss together the broccoli, oil, salt and pepper.  Spread out on the baking sheet and place on middle rack.
Roast for 15 minutes, then stir broccoli around for even cooking. Roast for another 5 to 10 minutes. Make sure and check on them every 5 minutes, until broccoli is as crisp as you like it.
Potatoes

 Add the onions to a 5 1/2 quart pot with the olive oil and saute on medium-low heat for 5 minutes, add the garlic and continue cooking for 5 – 7 more minutes until the garlic starts to brown.

Add the white wine and bouillon cube, mash the bouillon, cook until wine is reduced and syrupy.  Add the water and potatoes to the onions then turn on high heat, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft.

Cheese Sauce

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then add the flour and stir for about a minute.   Slowly whisk in the milk little at a time to avoid the flour from clumping and mix in well.  Bring the milk to a boil and turn the heat down to medium-low and slowly add the cheese a little at a time.  When completely melted, add to the soup.

The Rest

Add the broccoli, basil, salt and pepper.  You can leave it chunky, puree half or puree it all.  I roughly pureed half.

Charred Broccoli Cheddar Potato Soup Health benefits:

Broccoli has cholesterol-lowering ability and strong impact on our body’s detoxification system.  It is also rich in both forms of dietary fiber, soluble and insoluble.  It is very high in vitamin C & K.