Posts Tagged ‘cilantro’

This is a quick soup with good flavor, loads of veggies, and a good reason to eat tortilla chips.

Chips and beans complement eachother!

Mexican Vegetable Soup with Tortilla Chips

2 Tbsp oil (or water for sauteeing onions)

1 onion, chopped finely (about 1 cup)

4 garlic cloves, chopped finely

1/2 tsp ground cumin

2/-3 tsp chili powder

1 carrot, sliced

1-2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed.

1 waxy potato, diced (if you use a russet or other type it will fall apart in the soup- I used a red skin with good results)

1 1/2 cups diced fresh or 1 can tomatoes

1 zuchinni, diced (or skip this and add more green beans for protein)

1/4 small cabbage shredded (no more than 2 cups)

4 cups vegetable broth or water

1 corn cob, kernels cut off, or 1 cup frozen corn

about 10 green beans, trimmed and cut into bites

salt and pepper

4-6 Tbsp cilantro chopped

tortilla chips

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan.  Add the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes until softened, then sprinkle in the cumin and chili powders.  Stir in the carrot, potato, tomatoes, zucchini, and cabbage and cook for 2 minutes, stirring teh mixture occasionally.

Step 3. Pour in the bouillon.  Cover and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until the vegetable are tender.

Step 4. Add extra water if necessary, then stir in the corn, canned beans, and green beans and cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until the green beans are tender.  Sason with salt and pepper to taste, bearing in mind that the tortilla chips may be salty.

Step 5. Sprinkle each portion with cilantro, salsa, and a handful of chips.


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Falafel fixins

The Yia Yia inside of me is frequently worried about the many, many single Orthodox people I know.  These are young, pious people who are real catches.  Nay, even, great catches.  If only they could meet each other, fall in love, and, as the wedding blessing says,  have “a peaceful life, length of days, chastity, mutual love in the bond of peace, long‑lived offspring, gratitude from their children, and, a crown of glory that does not fade away.”

If you are an Orthodox Christian of either sex looking for a spouse, then you need this recipe.  Falafel goes straight to the heart- in a good way.  Look, I am not much of a wife but I can make falafel and so I am still married. If it has done this for me, imagine what it can do for you.

Falafel is perhaps the most delicious fasting food out there.  If, like Daniel, you “eat no pleasant food” during the fast then you better skip this post.  For everyone else a falafel recipe.

Some important information on making falafel:

  • You need either a food processor or a mortar and pestle.  The chickpeas need to be roughly ground.  I don’t think the same can be accomplished with a blender.
  • Do not use canned or cooked chick peas to make your falafel.  Two terrible things will happen if you do.
  • The temperature of the oil is crucial.  Use a candy/fry thermometer and keep it in the oil.  Don’t start frying until it reaches the correct temperature and do not start the next batch until the oil returns to temperature.

One possibility is that your falafel will fall apart after a few minutes in the oil.

The second possibility, if your falafel do hold together, they will absorb too  much oil and be soft and smooshy.  They will still taste good but lack the better quality of falafel, and that is crunchiness.

Falafel mix from canned peas, too soft, too wet, no good.

  • You can roll falafel into a ball or patty by hand.  You can also use scoop up a tablespoon of falafel mixture with a tablespoon and use another tablespoon to press the mix into a patty shape.  For a good visual on shaping check out DedeMed. (about 7:45 minutes in)
  • Make sure your oil is hot enough.  You can measure with a candy thermometer or wait for your olive oil to reach its smoke point (375 degrees) and then turn it down.  I recommend a thermometer if you are a distracted cook.  I really don’t want you to burn your house down making falafel.
  • If you don’t want to use oil you can broil the falafel.  You will need to be creative to keep them from sticking to the pan.

Finally, chick peas and sesame are complementary proteins.  So, to obtain the most nutrition from this dish I recommend serving your falafel with tahini sauce, or on a pita with hummus(if made with tahini) and other fixings for a delicious falafel sandwich.  I would love to hear your success stories or answer any questions you have.  Please, don’t be discouraged if your first batch isn’t perfect.  Falafel is an art and requires practice and finesse.  Practice never tasted this good.


1 cup dried chickpeas/garbanzo beans (do not substitute canned)

1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)

2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley (optional but recommended)

2 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro (optional but recommended)

1 tsp salt

4 cloves of garlic

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp baking powder

4-6 Tbsp flour

Olive of vegetable oil for frying

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. Put the chickpeas in a bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by two inches.  Soak overnight, then drain.

Step 3. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of the food processor with steel chopping blade.  Add parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin.  Process until roughly chopped and blended but not pureed.  See picture

Chopped just right

Step 4. Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons floor, pulse or stir until blended.  Ideally the dough will form a ball and stick together without sticking to your hands much.  Refrigerate for several hours to blend flavors and make rolling easier.  You can skip the refrigeration but I think the rest really strengthens the flavors.

Step 5. Using your hands or two spoons shake the mixture into balls or patties, about the size of a walnut.

Step 6. Heat oil to 375 degrees in a deep pot or wok.  Fry one ball to test.  The falafel should immediately sizzle and start to turn brown.  Fry as many as will fit at once in your pot, turning after about 3 minutes to brown the other side.  This is the only cooking the beans get so make sure you cook em good.  You want your falafel brown on the outside and crispy.  The inside should be cooked but not mushy.  Think about a hushpuppie but not so cakey.

Drain on paper towels.  Eat!

Tahini Dipping Sauce

3/4 c tahini

1/2 tsp minced garlic

3/4 tsp salt

1/3 c lemon juice

1/2 to 2/3 c water

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. Mix tahini, garlic, salt, and lemon juice to form a smooth, thick paste.  Beat in water until the sauce is the consistency of heavy cream.

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Chipotle Bean Dip

Our very good friend M serves this delicious dip.  The lime, cilantro, and chipotle are a refreshing change.  This recipe was inspired by a Southwestern Hummus recipe found in a church cookbook.

Canned chipotle peppers will be in the Hispanic section of your local grocery store.  In my experience these peppers range from mild to very hot depending on the can.  Exercise caution.* If you don’t like spicy food I recommend only one pepper in the initial blend.  Give the dip a taste test and if it needs more heat add another pepper.

Serve with corn chips or baked flour tortillas for complementary protein.  In my picture the dip has white flour tortilla chips.  Yes, I know that seems hypocritical of me, the whole wheat advocate.  We have some white flour tortillas around the house.  I have also had an illicit romance with a certain diet Dr. P.* No one is perfect.  After all, the church is a hospital not a courtroom.

*If you serve this dip to guests from Indiana exercise extreme caution.  These peppers are spicier than corn.

*Diet Dr. Pepper (the soda) lest you be really scandalized.

Chipotle Bean Dip

1 can red kidney beans, drained, liquid reserved

4 Tbsp lime or lemon juice

1 or 2 canned chipotle peppers

2 cloves of garlic

¼ c chopped white onion

3 Tbsp mince fresh cilantro (next to the parsley in the produce section)

½ tsp ground cumin                                                                                                                             

1/8 tsp red pepper

½ tsp salt

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. Puree all ingredients in the blender or food processor.  The finished dip should be soft like hummus.

Step 3. Serve with chips.

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Hi there!  Previously, I told you about eating fat during the fast.  The following is one of those friendly fat recipes and a delicious one at that.  Avocados have some of the ‘good fats’.  If you are fortunate enough to live in the south, avocados are readily available and cheap.  Up here in the frozen north we’re not so lucky.  Don’t despair!  During the Dormition and Nativity fasts avocados are in season so they may be cheaper.  During the Dormition fast tomatoes and jalapenos are plentiful as well.  Guac is delicious with corn chips or on burritos.  On to the recipe!


2 large avocados

2 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice

2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro

1/2 t salt

1 clove chopped garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder if serving immediately

1 tomato chopped (1 cup)

1 onion chopped (approx. 1/2 cup) or 1/4 cup chopped green onion

1 jalapeno chopped or 1 T canned greened chilies (optional, adjust to taste)

1.  “Lord, bless my work”.

2. Cut avocados in half lengthwise pushing the blade down to the pit, but not through pit.  Remove pit and scoop out flesh with a tablespoon.  Mash avocados.

3.  Mix in all other ingredients, including jalapenos.

4.  Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate to blend flavors.  Place plastic wrap against the surface of guacamole to prevent browning.

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