Avocado Tomatillo Salsa

Why buy salsa when you can make your own? Well, at least, that’s what I think. I haven’t really found a good enough (IMO) tomatillo salsa at the store, so, I made my own. Bring this to a BBQ and you’ll make some new friends and keep your old ones.

  • 4-5 medium size tomatillos
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 avocado, mashed
  • handful of cilantro
  • dash of salt (optional)

Remove the husks from the tomatillos and thoroughly rinse off the sticky residue. Place tomatillos and jalapeño in medium-sized pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and let them simmer for about 5-7 minutes, or, until the skins wrinkle a bit and they are soft. Drain in a colander and let sit for a few minutes so they cool off a bit. Place tomatillos and pepper in a blender or food processor, along with a dash of salt, lime juice and cilantro. Process until blended.(It won’t take long). A word of caution: be careful and don’t stick your face over the bowl/blender after you’ve removed the lid to smell the salsa because one will be hit with the full on power of the jalapeño scent like a brick wall (my eyes were burning, lesson learned!). Put salsa in container and in the fridge to cool off even more. Once chilled, add the mashed avocado & stir. All done. Now, go grab a beer, or a glass of rosé and some chips and enjoy.

tomatillos and peppers

So pretty!

salsa, pre avocado

Raw Brussels Sprouts and Chickpea Salad

brussels sprouts & chickpeas

Raw brussels sprouts and chickpea salad with lemony dressing.

I really like a nice, crisp salad and this brussels sprouts salad hits the spot. I think it would also be good with a few roasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds.

  • 1lb bag of brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed
  • 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2TB mayonaise
  • 2TB olive oil
  • 1tsp ground mustard powder
  • 1tsp agave nectar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Slice brussels in half and then thinly slice so they’re almost shredded in texture. Add to large bowl along with the chickpeas and then drizzle a little bit of olive oil over that. Then, for the dressing, whisk together the oil, mayo, lemon juice, agave nectar and mustard powder. I actually guessed on the amounts, so, you may have to adjust. Use your best judgment. I trust you! The dressing should be on the thin side and quite lemon-y. Add the dressing to the salad and thoroughly mix until beans and veg are coated.

brussels sprouts & chickpea salad

A nice addition to dinner or a quick lunch.

Vegetarian Goulash

veggie goulash!

When I was a kid, my Mom used to make Goulash for dinner on a regular basis and it was always one of my favorite meals. For some reason, I was thinking about it the other day and felt a little homesick (and nostalgic). Maybe it’s because I’ve not seen my parents since Christmas (sad face here:___). I asked my Mom about the recipe and the spices and I tweaked it to make it vegetarian. I think it’s very close to what she used to make. Maybe the next time I’m visiting them I’ll make it for them for dinner.

Vegetarian Goulash

  • 2-3 Tb Olive oil
  • 1 small to medium red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pkg MorningStar Farms Grillers Crumbles
  • 1 1/2C cooked macaroni (al denté)
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes plus 1 14oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14oz can tomato sauce
  • Dried Basil, Oregano, or an Italian blend of spices (to taste)
  • Hungarian (sweet) paprika, to taste
  • 1 bay leaf

A note on the spices: adjust them to your tastebuds. I don’t want to give specific measures because, well, I don’t measure when I cook; I just eyeball it, taste and adjust.

In a large soup pot, over medium heat, add oil, and sauté the garlic and onion, when translucent, add the veggie crumbles and turn down the heat (follow the package directions to cook crumbles). Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and then incorporate the cooked macaroni. Add all your spices, stir, cover and turn down the heat to low. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t stick, stir often. This will be ready in 20 minutes.

Browned Butter Cornbread

browned butter cornbread

Browned butter cornbread, hot out of the oven.

I’m pretty sure that my great-grandmother from Shelbyville, TN never made cornbread with browned butter, or, without bacon grease/fat for that matter. Well, I did adhere to one Southern tradition when I made my version of cornbread: no sugar. I’m not a fan of sweet cornbread, I it like more savory. But, if you like a slightly sweeter bread, by all means, add the tablespoon of sugar. Also, I think the browned butter adds a deeper, nuttier flavor to the cornbread. I think the next time I make this I’ll add some grilled corn off the cob. I only had some sad, old frozen corn, which, after heating up in the microwave tasted like, well, old corn (yuck). I suppose I should clean out my freezer….but, that’s for another day!

*Recipe slightly adapted from Paula Deen

  • 6 TB unsalted butter, browned, plus butter for baking dish
  • 1 C cornmeal
  • 3/4 C AP flour
  • 1 TB sugar (Optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Brown your butter and set aside to cool.

That extra 2 TB of butter you have from the stick you cut earlier? Use that, or most of it to grease your 8×8 baking dish.

Mix all dry ingredients into a large bowl, set aside. Once the browned butter is cooled, add the slightly beaten eggs and buttermilk, stir. Then add wet ingredients to dry and mix well, making sure you get out all the dry parts (you don’t want any pockets of batter with dry bits because nothing is more gross than biting into a baked good and getting a bite with dried bits of flour.) The batter will be slightly lumpy and that’s okay. Bake until top is golden brown, about 20-25 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is. Mine took exactly 20 min. Let it cool and then eat. I’m going to have mine with a bowl of vegetarian chili for dinner.

Spicy Three Bean Vegetarian Chili

vegetarian chili

Yum! Spicy vegetarian chili with three beans

I have several different versions of vegetarian chili and I can’t believe I never posted any of those recipes on this site! Vegetarian chili is a staple during the Fall/Winter for me. I like to switch up the recipe and use whatever I have on hand. Sometimes I use a grain like farro or bulgar, and vegetables like red/orange/yellow peppers, corn and green beans or edamame. It’s starting to get slightly cooler here in Brooklyn…it’s also rainy and grey and I wanted something warm, spicy and comforting for dinner. Plus, now that college football season has begun, I really enjoy “College Football Saturdays” (Go Blue!!) in my house where I’ll have a beer and a bowl of veg chili, so, it’s a win-win. More importantly, the chili freezes well and I can enjoy it later on.

In this version of chili, I use black, white and garbanzo beans. I like using Muir Glen’s Fire Roasted Tomatoes, regular and with green chilies. These tomatoes add an extra kick and level of flavor to the chili that I really like. I also used Penzey’s crushed jalapeños and for a smokier flavor, I use a little bit of smoked Spanish paprika. A little paprika goes a long way, so, you can just add it and the other spices by dashes (and not teaspoons/tablespoons) and adjust accordingly.

Spicy Three Bean Vegetarian Chili

  • 1 medium-sized red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced/minced
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 1 can each: black, cannelini, garbanzo beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 28oz can Muir Glen fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 14oz can Muir Glen diced tomatoes with green chilis
  • 1 14oz can Muir Glen tomato sauce
  • 2tsp cumin
  • 1TB chili powder
  • 1-2tsp Smoked Spanish Paprika
  • 1-2tsp dried jalapeños
  • 1-2TB olive oil

In a Dutch Oven or large soup pot over medium heat, add olive oil and let it heat up, add onions, carrots and garlic and sauté until soft. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, stir, then add beans and spices. Let chili simmer for 30-45 minutes. Spoon into bowls, add shredded cheese, raw onions or even small cooked pasta (this might be a Wisconsin thing because I used to have really good veg chili at the Fuel Cafe in Milwaukee back when I was in grad school, and they topped it with all three. It was delicious). Enjoy!