Cilantro Asiago Pesto

This pesto is one of my favorites, if there could be one!  It has such a bright and fresh flavor from the cilantro along with a richness from the Asiago cheese.  It is great in salads, super tasty in sandwiches, wonderful on pasta, phenomenal in quesadillas and just an all around great dip!

Cilantro-Pesto

I have had a real craving for pesto lately and remembered that I had a lot of cilantro that needed to be used up.   Plus, I like to have a pesto on hand incase we have visitors, like today.  Our friend Beto is coming to visit with wedding cake samples in hand.  Beto’s girlfriend is making us a Spanish almond wedding cake with either a rosemary or plain mascarpone frosting,  I’m so excited!

Cilantro-Leaves-Pesto

 I love cilantro for many reasons, one of course, I LOVE the flavor!  In my opinion, it transforms an ok dish into an extraordinary dish.  It is one of those herbs people seem to either love or hate.  Robby’s mom was one that did NOT like it at all!  I haven’t met anyone who said “it’s ok!”  Another reason why I love it, is that it is so extremely good for you.  Did you know that toxins and heavy metals bind to the cilantro and it pulls it out of the body!  Check out this story about how it can purify water.

Asiago-Cilantro-Pesto

Recipe: Approx. 3 Cups

  • 3 Cups Cilantro Leaves
  • 1 Cup Asiago Cheese
  • 1 Cup Raw Walnuts
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste

Half batch: Approx.1 1/2 Cups

  • 1 1/2 Cups Cilantro Leaves
  • 1/2 Cup Asiago Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Walnuts
  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoons Lemon Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 1 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste

 

Instructions:

Finely shred cheese and pick leaves off the cilantro stems, measure and add to a food processor or blender along with walnuts, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and salt.

Puree until desired texture.

Cilantro-Asiago-Pesto

Health benefits:

Cilantro is an extreme anti-oxidant immune-booster that helps detoxify the body by loosening them from the tissue, binding to and pulling out toxins and heavy metals.  It helps promote a healthy liver function and is an overall digestive aid.  It is a powerful anti-inflammatory that may help symptoms of arthritis and joint pain. Cilantro can lower bad cholesterol level and increase the good cholesterol level.  It also helps with insulin secretion and lowers blood sugar. It is rich in essential oils, vitamins and is one of the richest herbal sources for vitamin K and dietary fiber. It is also an excellent source of omega-3, omega-6 fatty acids and calcium.

Granny’s Apple Spinach Tequila Gimlet

Did you ever hear “Eat your greens” or “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” growing up?”  My Granny’s Gimlet cocktail brings those quotes to a whole new level.  You will get your “greens” and your “apples” with this drink; of course a little tequila never hurt anyone! The healthy green color and the clean fresh delicious taste of this cocktail keeps you honest.

AppleLime. This recipe is flexible, depending on your kitchen tools you can either juice some of the ingredients or muddle the apples and spinach instead.

AppleLimeGimlet- Recipe:  Makes 1 – 4 oz cocktail

  • 1 1/2oz Reposado Tequila
  • 3/4 oz Simple Syrup
  • 3/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 6-8 Fresh Spinach Leaves or 1/2 oz Fresh Juiced Spinach
  •  5-6 Slices of Fresh Granny Smith Apples or 1 oz Fresh Juiced Granny Apples

Glass:  Coupe, Martini or Small Juice Glass

Garnish:  Sliced Granny Smith Apple 

Instructions: 

Add apple slices, spinach and simple syrup to your mixing tin, muddle well mashing apple up.

 Then add lime juice, tequila and ice shake and strain through a fine mesh strainer into your glass of choice.

Garnish and Enjoy!

Cheese and Cilantro Chile Rellenos

These chile rellenos are extremely tasty and are made with minimal ingredients.  One reason I love these rellenos so much is because they contain no eggs.  I substituted the egg with buttermilk.  The mix of poblano, jack cheese and cilantro is one of my favorite combinations of flavors.  The Roasted Mandarin Tomatillo Salsa accompanies them perfectly!

Roasted-Poblano-Relleno

I normally think of poblano peppers as being mild.  Well, these ones were hot and they burned my fingers.  The burn lasted for two whole days.  So next time, I think I will wear gloves.  Ouch!

I have to admit, this isn’t the prettiest dish, but it is definitely one of the tastiest and easiest dishes!  It is a perfect dish to make if you are having company.  You can roast and stuff the peppers ahead of time and just before the guests arrive, you can flour, buttermilk and panko them.  When your guests arrive you simply drizzle them with olive oil and pop them in the oven.  I like to serve them with pico de gallo as well as the tomatillo salsa.  A side of black beans are also a great addition.

Relleno

Recipe: 4 – 6 depends on how big the chiles are

  • 4 Large or 6 Medium Poblano Peppers
  •  2 Cups Jack Cheese – shredded
  • 1 Cup Cilantro Leaves – roughly chopped
  • About 1/4 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • About 1/2 Cup Buttermilk
  • About 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Panko Bread Crumbs
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – for drizzling
  • 1/4 to 1/2 Recipe of Roasted Tomatillo Mandarin Salsa

Instructions:

Roast the poblano peppers.  While peppers are steaming, shred the cheese and roughly chop the cilantro leaves, mix well.  Set aside.

After peppers steam, remove the burnt skin.  Make a slit length wise and carefully remove the seeds with a knife.  Be careful not to cut the top.

Don’t pull on the veins because you can tear a hole in the pepper.

Stuff the poblanos carefully.  You can hold the hole shut by sticking in a couple toothpicks but don’t forget to remove them.

Pre-heat oven to 375

Roll the poblano in flour, then dip into the buttermilk and roll in the panko bread crumbs.

Place peppers on a parchment lined baking sheet and lightly drizzle olive oil over the top.  Place in the oven on middle rack for 25 – 30 minutes or until they are golden brown.

Poblano-Relleno

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 contain lycopene a powerful antioxidant, giving many fruits and vegetables their color, especially tomatoes, which is great for the prevention of cancers in the bladder, prostate, cervix and pancreas. They are also helpful with increasing oxygen so the body can burn more calories 20 minutes after eating peppers.  They’re also full of vitamin A, vitamin K, and potassium.

Cilantro is an extreme anti-oxidant immune-booster that helps detoxify the body by loosening them from the tissue, binding to and pulling out toxins and heavy metals.  It helps promote a healthy liver function and is an overall digestive aid.  It is a powerful anti-inflammatory that may help symptoms of arthritis and joint pain. Cilantro can lower bad cholesterol level and increase the good cholesterol level.  It also helps with insulin secretion and lowers blood sugar. It is rich in essential oils, vitamins and is one of the richest herbal sources for vitamin K and dietary fiber. It is also an excellent source of omega-3, omega-6 fatty acids and calcium.

Roasted Tomatillo Mandarin Salsa

This salsa has a bright subtle tanginess from the mandarin juice and a richness from the roasted tomatillos.

Tomatillo-Mandarin-Salsa copy

 I am completely obsessed with salsa. I have been my whole life!  I use to put it on everything and I mean everything!  While I don’t exactly put it on everything anymore, I do eat my fair share!  Since I keep seeing mandarins everywhere, I thought why not make a green salsa with a bit of mandarin juice.  I like to change it up and make different salsas so that I don’t get bored with the same old same old.  What’s cool about this salsa is that you can serve it warm for those cold winter days or serve it chilled.

Mandarin-Salsa copy

 Recipe: Approx. 2 Cups

  • 10 to 12 Tomatillos 1 1/2 pounds
  • 1/2 White Onion
  • 1- 2 Serrano Chili Peppers
  • 1 Cup Cilantro
  • 2  Cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 Cup Mandarin (Satsuma) Juice –  fresh squeezed
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Mandarin Zest (optional)
  • 1 Teaspoons Sea Salt

Instructions:

Peel the paper skins off the tomatillos, cut the cores out and cut in half then spread them out on a baking sheet cut side down.

Turn on the broiler and broil tomatillos for 6 -7 minutes then flip over and broil for another 3 to 4 minutes or until real soft.

Add the onion to a pot of water and bring to a boil, then remove and put in the food processor.

When tomatillos are done cooking, add to the food processor.

Cut the stem off the Serrano then de-seed and add to the food processor along with cilantro, garlic, lime, and salt. Puree. 

Serve warm or cold

Health benefits:

Tomatillos have been found to have anti-bacterial and anti-cancer properties from the Ixocarpalactone-A, a phyto-chemical.  They contain niacin, which helps convert food into energy. They are a rich source of vitamin C and flavonoids which are powerful antioxidants, vitamin K  that increases bone mass, potassium that helps electrolyte regulation, nerve function, muscle control, and blood pressure, folate that supports red blood cell formation and fiber. They are without sugars, low in salt and cholesterol-free.

Samosas Baked or Fried in Eggroll Wraps

Samosas are a great flavorful appetizer but they can also be enjoyed as a meal.  This is a simple recipe due to the use of egg roll wrappers!  I serve them with a delicious  Cilantro Mint Chutney.  Yummmm!!!

Samosa Growing up, a bunch of us use to go to the Hare Krishna temple almost every Sunday for their free vegetarian feast.  At first, there were just a few of us; but over time, the upstairs balcony was full of friends and friends of friends.  There were so many new people, they started to charge $2.00 a head which was still a great deal.

Samosa-Prep The Krishna’s also had an Indian restaurant named Govindas across the street.  My friend Janelle and I went to cosmetology school right around the corner and we ate lunch there quite often. The samosas were my all time favorite and to this day, when I go to an Indian restaurant, I have to order the samosas.

Samosas

A nice bubbly wine is perfect for these, like a Cava, Prosecco or Txacoli.

Baked-or-Fried-Samosas

Recipe: 10 – 12

  • 3 Medium to Large Yukon Gold Potatoes – about 1 1/2 pounds
  • 1 Carrot – sliced and quartered – about 3/4 cup
  • 1/4 Cup Expeller Pressed Grapeseed Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Coriander Seeds
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1 Teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1/2 White Onion – diced
  • 1 – 2 Serrano Chilis – minced
  • 2 – 3 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 2 Teaspoons Fresh Ginger – micro planed
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro – minced
  • 1 3/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 Cup Frozen Peas
  • 10 – 12 Large 4 by 4 Egg Roll Wrappers
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter or Coconut Oil – for baking
  • Grapeseed Oil – for frying

Instructions:

Filling

Dice potatoes and add to a pot of water then bring to a boil and continue to boil until tender but not mushy.

Slice carrots into 1/4 inch disks, then cut the disks into quarters.  Add a steamer basket to a pan with 2 inches of water, bring water to a boil and steam on high heat until soft.

Measure coriander seeds and pulse in a coffee grinder a few time to just crack the seeds up a bit (you can also leave them whole if desired), add to a sauté pan along with the cumin seeds, garam masala and 1/4 cup oil.  Cook on med heat for about 5 minutes or until spices release their fragrances.

While spices are cooking (keep an eye on them) dice the onions then add to the sauté pan along with the turmeric and salt.  Turn heat down to medium-low. Cook until onions are soft. (about 10 – 12 minutes)

 While onions are cooking, finely grate ginger with a micro planer, mince serranos and garlic.

Make sure to stir the onions and when they are soft and translucent; add ginger, serranos and garlic.

 Sauté for a couple of minutes; then add the cilantro, carrots, peas and potatoes.  Stir thoroughly, cook for 10 more minutes to incorporate all the flavors.

Assemble 

Melt the butter or coconut oil and set aside.

 Place a sheet of an egg roll wrapper on a plate and add some filling leaving at least 1/2 inch around.  Shape the filling into a triangle with the point on the top.

 With your finger, spread some water on the bottom edge of the wrapper, (using the water as a glue to stick together) flip 1 inch of the bottom edge over the filling and press the corners together.

 Spread water on 3 remaining edges, then fold right top corner over the filling sealing the edge onto the bottom fold.

 Then fold left corner over the same way as the right side (you will tuck in the top when you are bringing left corner down to seal, like a present) and seal forming a triangle.  Press down edges softly but making sure it is sticking good and continue with the rest.  Don’t let them sit out to long or they will dry out.

Baked

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

 Brush the melted butter or coconut oil onto both sides of the samosa with a pasty brush or your fingers.

Place samosas on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes then flip for about 4 minutes or until golden.

Fried

 Add about 3/4 inch of grapeseed oil to a straight sided pan and place as many samosas that will fit, leaving a little space between and fry until the bottom is golden.

Flip them over and fry the other sides and remove when evenly golden.

Place onto a few sheets of paper towels to remove excess oil and they are ready to eat!!!

Samosas-in-Eggroll-Wraps

Health benefits:

Yellow Potatoes – Yukon gold’s content of potassium is higher than many foods and can help reduce the risk of hypertension and stroke. They have twice the amount of vitamin C as a Russet, which helps protects your cells from free-radical damage. Yukon’s are rich in B6 and antioxidant properties. It has a bit of Iron but the C helps the body absorb it. They contain fiber that helps reduces cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar, helps prevent constipation and aids in weight loss.