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Comida Latina, Condiments and Salsas, Dairy Free, Mains, Recipes, Side Dishes

Grilled Pumpkin Steaks with Black Beans and Jalapeño Pesto

November 15, 2017
Grilled pumpkin steaks are an excellent way to eat up that delicious Halloween Jack-O-Lantern with creamy black beans and spicy jalapeño pesto sauce!

I can tell it is starting to get cooler out when I start wearing a blanket like an elongated tube top around the house. I guess the shorter daylight hours just doesn’t give the sun enough time during the day to warm things up in here. It’s still not cold enough to turn the heat on, (I believe it was after Thanksgiving when that happened last year if I remember correctly), but still a slight chill in need of a blanket.

Grilled pumpkin steaks are an excellent way to eat up that delicious Halloween Jack-O-Lantern with creamy black beans and spicy jalapeño pesto sauce!

I was in touch with some friends back in North Dakota over the weekend and they filled me in on their recent snowfall. Comparatively I have nothing to complain about, just an observation that subtle seasonal changes do occur, even here in Southern California.

Grilled pumpkin steaks are an excellent way to eat up that delicious Halloween Jack-O-Lantern with creamy black beans and spicy jalapeño pesto sauce!

Aside from snowy, long distance texts, this past weekend was filled with eating up our Halloween Jack-O-Lantern before it got too old and moldy to do something with. It goes without saying that I’m my spirit-decade is the Great Depression and I can’t bear to throw anything remotely edible and I remembered this idea from when I was the Pastry Chef at Firefly Restaurant in San Francisco. These grilled pumpkin steaks were a staple on their fall menu and I always thought it was such a genius idea.

Grilled pumpkin steaks are an excellent way to eat up that delicious Halloween Jack-O-Lantern with creamy black beans and spicy jalapeño pesto sauce!

They are good with any type of winter squash— kabocha, butternut, sugar pie pumpkin—but in my opinion if you are going to eat a big, honkin’ Jack-O-Lantern, there’s no other way. You see, normally, those bigger pumpkins are super stringy and watery and really not that good to eat, but throwing them straight on the grill, uses that extra water to their advantage. As it cooks over the hot, direct heat the water bubbles up inside the flesh of the pumpkin, evaporating from the surface as it cooks and intensifying its flavor, while making it tender at the same time.

Grilled pumpkin steaks are an excellent way to eat up that delicious Halloween Jack-O-Lantern with creamy black beans and spicy jalapeño pesto sauce!

Dealing with a big pumpkin is a tad bit cumbersome, but we’ve all carved one at some point and this is much easier than that. You need a sharp, heavy knife and just slice it open. Scoop out the seeds and use a Y peeler to peel off as much skin as you can. I find it’s easier to cut the pumpkin into 4-inch “steaks” first, then peel. Don’t worry if every bit of skin doesn’t come off. Pumpkin skin is actually pretty thin and edible.

Grilled pumpkin steaks are an excellent way to eat up that delicious Halloween Jack-O-Lantern with creamy black beans and spicy jalapeño pesto sauce!

Then on the grill it goes. Thirty minutes is all it takes for a delicious vegan main or the pumpkin with the pesto sauce would make a lovely Thanksgiving side dish. Give it a try!

Grilled Pumpkin Steaks with Black Beans and Jalapeño Pesto
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Grilled pumpkin steaks are an excellent way to eat up that delicious Halloween Jack-O-Lantern with creamy black beans and spicy jalapeño pesto sauce!
Author:
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
For the pesto:
  • 3 jalapeños
  • ¾ cup packed mint leaves, plus more for garnish
  • ½ cup packed cilantro leaves
  • ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice from 1 lemon
For the pumpkin steaks:
  • 4 pounds pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cut into 4-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish
  • salt and pepper
For the black beans:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground arbol chile
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans black beans
Instructions
For the pesto:
  1. Heat a dry skillet over high heat. Add jalapeños and char, turning occasionally, until blackened on all sides, about 10 minutes. Let cool, then remove stem, seeds, and charred skin. Chop and transfer to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment.
  2. Add mint, cilantro, pumpkin seeds, garlic, salt, and blend. With the processor running add olive oil and lemon juice. Stop blade a few times to scrape down the sides. Blend until very smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed. If pesto is very thick add a tablespoon or two of hot water to thin out. You want to be able to spoon it over the pumpkin.
For the pumpkin:
  1. Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high. Remove as much peel as you can from the pumpkin with a Y-style vegetable peeler. It's okay if not all of it comes off, pumpkin skin is actually pretty thin and edible. Rub with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Grill about 30 minutes or until pumpkin is easily pierced with a fork and is charred on the outside. Turn pumpkin about every 10 minutes or so.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the beans. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and jalapeño. Season with salt and let cook until tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add garlic, cumin, coriander, and ground arbol chile, and cook a minute more. Add black beans, juices and all and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat to a simmer and let cook until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Mash with a potato masher until about ½ of the beans are broken up. Taste and add more salt if needed.
To Serve: Spoon black beans on plates and top with a pumpkin steak. Drizzle pesto over the top and sprinkle with more toasted pumpkin seeds and mint. Dig in!
Notes
To toast your own pumpkin seeds, heat a generous teaspoon of oil in a hot frying pan. Add raw pumpkin seeds and toss in the oil. Cook until starting to pop and golden, stirring often. Season with salt and remove from heat.

 


Menu

La Bruja Cocktails (aka Tamarind Margaritas)

Pumpkin Steaks with Black Beans and Jalapeño Pesto

Grilled Achiote-Lime Chicken

Mexican Chocolate Pudding with Raspberries and Whipped Cream

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One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

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Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Drinks, Recipes

Pick Your Poison Horchata Bar for Halloween

October 24, 2017
Make this fun horchata bar that is a hit with kids and adults alike for this year's Halloween party. Using syrups means everyone can make their own flavor!

Halloween is right around the corner and you might be thinking of gathering with friends for a little trick-or-treat bash. I partnered up with Torani Syrups for a fun horchata bar idea that is a hit with both ghouls and goblins.

Everyone gets to “Pick Their Poison” if you will, adding a shot of their favorite flavor to a homemade horchata base. For adults I like to stock the bar with some dark rum as well—adults can handle a little actual poison every once in a while.

As far as the syrups go, Torani has so many to choose from, and sugar-free ones too if you’ve got some health conscious folks in your midst. For Halloween I like to stock my horchata bar with fall flavors. Some of my favorites include:

Have a fun and safe Halloween everyone!!


Pick Your Poison Horchata Bar for Halloween
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Make this fun horchata bar that is a hit with kids and adults alike for this year's Halloween party. Using syrups means everyone can make their own flavor!
Author:
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • ½ cup long grain rice, like jasmine
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 cups rice milk
  • Your favorite Torani Syrup (I like to choose fall flavors like Brown Sugar Cinnamon, Buttered Rum, and Salted Caramel)
  • Dark Rum, optional
  • cinnamon sticks, optional
Instructions
  1. Combine almonds and rice in a blender. Add boiling water and let sit 15 minutes.
  2. Cover loosely with a paper towel and blend on high 1 minute, or until smooth. Strain into a pitcher and stir in rice milk. Chill until cold.
  3. To serve, place bottles of syrup, horchata, glasses, ice, rum (if using), and cinnamon sticks on the bar.
  4. Let your guests make their own horchata flavor by filling a glass with ice, filling with horchata, and adding a shot (about 1 tablespoon) of syrup and a shot of rum (for adults), stir to combine with a cinnamon stick.

P.S. Torani is offering 10% off and free shipping for ¡Hola! Jalapeño readers! Sign-up for their newsletter to get your discount!

P.P.S. Other fun Halloween Party Recipes

One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!

And Lastly, this post was not sponsored by Torani Syrups, but I’m partnering with them on other projects. Thank you for supporting the brands that support ¡Hola! Jalapeño. 

 

 

Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Mains, Recipes, Side Dishes

Coconut Quinoa with Roasted Squash and Pumpkin Seeds

October 12, 2017
This coconut quinoa makes an excellent holiday side or vegan main dish with fluffy quinoa, big flakes of coconut, toasted pumpkin seeds, and roasted squash.

Here’s how you go big with quinoa: coconut, lots of fresh herbs, and roasted winter squash!

I’ll be the first to admit, quinoa doesn’t make me as jubilant as most carbs. It’s soapy nature doesn’t help. But I keep at it, because for one, it’s like megahealthy on the health charts and two, I think I’ve found the tastiest way to cook it yet.

I prefer the white quinoa to the other darker varieties. It cooks up light and fluffy and doesn’t squeak as much between your teeth. I simply boil the quinoa like you would pasta, then drain off any excess water. Toss the warm quinoa with coconut oil and here comes the best part: large slices of fragrant coconut. I find mine at Trader Joe’s but also Bob’s Red Mill sells bags of delicious big unsweetened flakes too and when I was living in North Dakota with not a Trader Joe’s in sight, those are the ones I would use.

This platter of goodness could be a healthy alternative for all the big holiday dinners coming up—working equally well as a side or a vegan main dish. But it also has #meatlessmonday written all over it.


Coconut Quinoa with Roasted Squash and Pumpkin Seeds
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This coconut quinoa makes an excellent holiday side or vegan main dish with fluffy quinoa, big flakes of coconut, toasted pumpkin seeds, and roasted squash.
Author:
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 small kabocha squash (about 2 pounds), peeled and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 cups quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut chips
  • ½ cup chopped mixed herbs, such as basil, cilantro, mint, or parsley
  • ½ cup roasted, salted pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 large, ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 450°F and arrange a rack in the top of the oven.
  2. Carefully cut squash into 1-inch wedges with a sharp knife and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet (you can also cover it with a Silpat or nothing at all, this just makes clean up easier).
  3. Drizzle squash with the tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil and season generously with salt. Toss to coat then place in the top of the oven to roast until knife tender, about 15-20 minutes. If you'd like a little extra char on the squash you can put them under the broiler for a minute or two once they are cooked through. Set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, place quinoa in a large saucepan and cover with water by 1-inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and return to pan. Add coconut oil, ½ teaspoon salt, coconut chips, and herbs and stir to combine.
  5. Transfer to a large serving dish, top with squash, pumpkin seeds, pomegranate, and avocado and serve.
Notes
If you can't find roasted, salted pumpkin seeds you can make your own by heating 1 teaspoon of oil (coconut, olive, vegetable) over medium heat in a medium frying pan. Add ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds and cook, stirring frequently until toasted and starting to pop. Season with a pinch of salt and remove from the pan.

One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

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Dairy Free, Recipes, Snacks, Sweets

Gooey Chocolate Chai Zucchini Cake

October 5, 2017
This Gooey Chocolate Chai Zucchini Cake is the perfect combination of exotic spice and heavenly chocolate with hidden veggies and dairy-free to boot!

Sometimes a girl just needs a piece of chocolate cake—ya know?!!

Like, if I could do it and still maintain my dignity I would probably enjoy a nice piece of chocolate cake a couple times a day. The hours between 3pm and 9pm are rough, chocolate cake would really help.

But then I went and heard Paulette Lambert speak and she kept saying this thing about how the more sugar you eat, the more you crave it and how I should get my sugar fix from fruit and all this other nonsense that I should absolutely be listening to. She also said my evening glass or two of wine was a no-no so I’ve got work to do, anyhoo, back to the sugar thing.

I got to thinking that I eat way too much sugar and my husband eats way too much sugar and the worst….my kids eat way, way, way too much sugar. My daughter has a thing after school she calls her “candy snack.” #truth.

But instead of cutting everyone off cold turkey and risk breaking their collective heart, I decided to slowly reduce the sugar intake as well as make the sweet treats we do eat a bit healthier.

I fell in love with this cake from An Edible Mosaic the first time I made it about a year ago. It is utterly fluffy, tender, and filled with warm fall spices thanks to a healthy dose of chai tea.

It still has sugar, yes, but it also has over 2 cups of fresh zucchini puree, whole wheat flour, and no butter or dairy fat of any kind. Not that I’m a huge fan of hiding nutrition from my kids, but they have no idea there’s vegetables in there thanks to Faith’s genius tip of pureeing the zucchini instead of grating it. This gives the cake an impeccable crumb and FYI, zucchini puree is virtually flavorless.

So here’s to eating healthy-ish….the silky chocolate frosting doesn’t hurt either.

Gooey Chocolate Chai Zucchini Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This Gooey Chocolate Chai Zucchini Cake is the perfect combination of exotic spice and heavenly chocolate with hidden veggies and dairy-free to boot! Adapted from An Edible Mosaic
Author:
Serves: 16 servings
Ingredients
For the Cake:
  • 3 medium zucchini, peeled and chopped
  • 1¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅔ cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1⅓ cups whole wheat flour
  • ⅔ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Chai tea bags, I used Trader Joe's Spiced Chai
For the Frosting:
  • ¼ cup extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup mini dairy-free chocolate chips
Instructions
For the Cake:
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan and line with parchment, if desired. (If you plan on serving the cake straight from the pan, no parchment is necessary).
  2. Place zucchini in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse until you have a mostly smooth puree.
  3. Whisk together the sugar, oil, eggs, and zucchini puree in a large bowl. Sift both flours, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda, into the egg mixture. Cut open the chai tea bags and add the tea straight to the bowl.
  4. Mix everything together with a rubber spatula until just combined—don't over mix.
  5. Scrape batter into the prepared pan and bake on the middle rack until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
  6. Let cool on a wire rack at least 20 minutes. If you'd like to remove it from the pan, pull on the outer edges of the parchment paper to take out of the pan.
For the Frosting:
  1. Combine coconut oil and chocolate in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Warm, stirring frequently, until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth.
  2. Transfer chocolate mixture to a large bowl and whisk in milk, vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar until smooth.
  3. Pour frosting over cake and smooth to the edges. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and serve.
  4. Cake will keep covered, at room temperature, for 5 days.

One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!

Apps, Dairy Free, Mains, Recipes

Meat-Stuffed Grape Leaves

September 21, 2017
These meat-stuffed grape leaves make a tasty appetizer or the spotlight to a special dinner with warm pita bread, lemony cucumber salad, and creamy hummus.

I’m always on the lookout for something different to switch up the dinner doldrums. Similar to I’m sure many of you I fall into weeknight ruts of either picking up something or making the same old things over and over again. So when the lovely Liz Della Croce asked if I would want to take a peek at the newest edition to her Food From Our Ancestors series: The Ultimate Syrian Sunday Dinner I jumped at the chance. This beautiful compilation of family recipes drive home why they are favorites; comfort food, full of flavor, the dishes our mothers have been making forever, for good reason.

I’ve a weakness for stuffed grape leaves so as soon as I saw Liz’s recipe I knew that those would most certainly make the cut. I’m the gal who buys the Trader Joe’s grape leaves for just about every summer picnic but have never actually made them myself. The recipe looked simple enough and culinary challenges are pretty much my jam so in I dove.

I’ve only ever eaten rice-stuffed grape leaves and was excited that I could actually rationalize these meat-stuffed grape leaves as dinner. Add a salad (I made Liz’s Syrian salad from the book) and a side (again Liz to the rescue with Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions—I told you this book was good!) and now, man I’m getting excited about dinner!

These meat-stuffed grape leaves weren’t even all that hard to pull off. The jar of grape leaves I found at Whole Foods and they easily unfurl to create perfect little wrappers for the meat and rice mixture. One jar was plenty and I even has some leftover, so you know whose going to be making stuffed grape leaves again. Yay, yes, ME!

As far as stuffing and rolling I fell right into rhythm. They were like rolling up tiny little burritos: two sides in, bottom over filling, roll, roll, roll.

Then you pile them in a pot, cover with water, and weigh them down with a plate. Simmer until the rice is cooked—they only take about 15 minutes! They are excellent hot, room temperature, or cold. It’s the lemon that I love, no the mint, no the lemon. Either way, so good.

Liz’s Food From Our Ancestors series are real treasures. You can get the Syrian ebook or buy a bundle of all four: Mexican, Jewish Shabbat, Italian, and Syrian for basically a steal.

Meat-Stuffed Grape Leaves
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 (2-pound) jar of grape leaves (roughly 50 leaves)
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • ½ cup lon-grain white rice, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into thirds, optional
  • 5 cabbage leaves, optional
  • 2 tablespoons dried mint
Instructions
  1. Line a large pot with celery stalks and loose cabbage leaves (I used extra grape leaves).
  2. Place grape leaves on a plate and trim any large, thick stems off bottom.
  3. In a large bowl, combine ground meat, rice, juice of 1 lemon, garlic, salt, and pepper.
  4. Working one grape leaf at a time, place the leaf flat on a plate and add 1 tablespoon of the meat mixture near stem.
  5. Form meat into thin cigar shapes, then roll the grape leaf starting at the stem all the way to the top. No need to fold in sides but they'll look nicer if you do.
  6. Line stuffed grape leaves in pot, alternating direction with each layer, until the pot is filled ¾ of the way or you've used all your leaves.
  7. Cover the grape leaves with water, making sure there's at least one inch of liquid above the grape leaves. Pour in remaining lemon juice and add dried mint.
  8. Cover grape leaves with a small plate turned upside down to keep them from moving and to weigh them down.
  9. Cover pot with lid and bring to a simmer.
  10. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until rice is fully cooked. Serve with pita bread and cucumber laban.
Notes
Liz suggests lining the cooking pot with celery stalks and cabbage leaves. I didn't have either, so I used a few of the torn and tiny grape leaves instead

One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

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Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Mains, Recipes

How To Make A Beef and Bean Burrito

September 8, 2017
Step-by-step instructions will show you how to make a comfort food classic: the Beef and Bean Burrito. A supersized family favorite for hungry bellies!

I’m pretty sure my son’s the only kindergartener who takes a container of meat to school for lunch.

Yesterday I was cooking the meat for these beef and bean burritos when Hiro sauntered in nose-first. “That smells good Mama, can I have some for my lunch?” He asks. I thought about the logistics for a moment, fearing he wouldn’t be able to open the container, or that it would get cold by the time he got around to eating it, or worse, he’d get made fun of for having a tiny Tupperware of meat but then said, “I don’t have the rest of the burrito stuff ready, but I could put some meat in a container and you could eat it with a spoon?” “Thanks, Mama!” He said. And so it was, he took it. He ate it (the teacher did have to open the container for him) and what little was left he ate in the car on the way home from school. I don’t know why I worry.

It goes without saying that this beef and bean burrito recipe is kid approved.

Here’s how you make them!

First things first, make the filling. I loosely follow a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen’s The Best Mexican Recipes. If I’m feeling ambitious I’ll make Mexican rice instead of the garlic rice in the recipe. After your filling is ready to go then I feel it is essential to warm the tortillas in a hot, dry frying pan—not in the microwave. The pan lends a toasty flavor to the tortillas and the micro just makes them rubbery. You warm the tortillas because they need to be cooked a little before filling to get rid of that doughy flavor.

As far as the tortillas are concerned, I like to buy the extra-large (12-inch) flour tortillas that they use at the burrito truck. Most Latin markets sell them but most other grocery stores do not. Just buy the biggest ones you can find, but also know the big ones make HUGE burritos, so if you’re feeding little ones the smaller 8 or 10-inch ones are just fine.

After the tortillas are nice and toasty it is time to fill them up. The amount of filling you add will depend on how big you’d like your burrito to be. A hungry man burrito takes about 3/4 cup of beef and 3/4 cup of rice.

You can add other stuff to your burritos too, like cheese, sour cream, guacamole, salsa. We are a dairy-free house so I didn’t add any of the cheesy stuff and I don’t like hot guacamole so none of that inside my burrito either. Armando and Hiro like pico de gallo inside their burritos, but I do not. I think it makes the tortilla soggy and prefer to put mine on the outside, but it’s up to you.

Then its time to roll it up. Sides go in first, then the bottom goes over the filling.

Pull the tortilla tight over the filling then roll all the way up to seal.

The most essential step to a good burrito comes at the end. After you have rolled it up the burrito goes back in the hot, dry frying pan to get a nice, crispy crust. One that seals up the seam and turns that tortilla from rubbery to golden.

Don’t forget more fresh pico on top!

Beef and Bean Burrito Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups chicken broth
  • ¾ cup long-grain rice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup minced cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 21 ounces 85 percent ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder (I used New Mexico chile powder, the recipe calls for chipotle--you decide)
  • 1½ cups cooked pinto beans (a 15-ounce can or cook your own )
  • Juice of ½ a lime
  • 6 flour tortillas (the biggest you can find, I used 12-inch)
  • Pico de Gallo or your favorite store-bought salsa
Instructions
  1. Bring chicken broth, rice, garlic, and a generous pinch of salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until all the liquid has evaporated and the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes, fluff with fork, stir in cilantro and cover to keep warm.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook until starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add beef, tomato paste, cumin, oregano, and chile powder. Cook, breaking up meat with the back of a wooden spoon and cook until beef is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  5. Using a potato masher mash 1 cup of the beans in a bowl with ½ cup of the bean cooking liquid or the liquid from the can if you are using canned beans. Stir into the beef mixture along with remaining ½ cup whole beans and lime juice. Taste to see if it needs more salt then remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
  6. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Warm the tortillas on both sides for a minute or two but not until they are toasted. Transfer to a baking sheet and mound about ¾ cup beef and ¾ cup rice in the bottom third of the tortillas. Add some pico de gallo if you'd like.
  7. Fold in the sides then roll the bottom of the tortilla over the filling, pulling back on it firmly to tighten it around the filling then roll the rest of the way up to close. Set seam side down on a tray. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
  8. Place burritos seam side down in a hot dry skillet to seal closed and get a nice golden crust. Flip and toast the other side. Serve immediately with pico de gallo or let cool and wrap tightly with plastic wrap and then foil. Burritos will keep for up to 3 months in the freezer and 5 days in the refrigerator.
  9. To rewarm: Unwrap burritos and place on a baking sheet if you are heating more than one or on a oven-safe frying pan for just one burrito. Heat in a 350°F oven for 20 minutes.

 

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Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Drinks, Recipes

How to Make a DIY Chambord Sangria Bar

August 17, 2017
A DIY Chambord Sangria Bar is where it's at this summer! You make the fruity sangria base with Chambord and nectarines and let your friends do the rest.

This post has been sponsored by Chambord. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Must be 21 or older to consume alcohol. Please drink responsibly.

A DIY Chambord Sangria Bar is where it's at this summer! You make the fruity sangria base with Chambord and nectarines and let your friends do the rest.

How much time have you spent with your girlfriends this summer? If you have young kids home from school, the answer is probably none. We’ve been off traveling through Europe all summer long which was magical, amazing, memories I will cherish forever, and all that, but I really miss shooting the breeze with my ladies.

There is nothing like an out-and-out pow-wow with your girls. It is something I’m almost positive no mom does enough. So before summer is out I want to encourage you to call up a few friends, kick your adorable husband and children out the house, and have some serious girl time. It feels good to remind yourself every once in a while what life was like before your heart belonged to another.

When my pals at Chambord asked if I would come up with a summer drink recipe it seemed a perfect opportunity to offer up a fun idea for an easy Girls Night Out. These last days of summer always seem to be the hottest so ice-cold sangria is basically all I’m thinking about where entertaining is concerned. But instead of making one pitcher how about you let your friends make their own combinations by putting together a sangria bar?

Here’s the deal: You make a fruity nectar for the sangria by cooking down some fresh nectarines with a little sugar, water and lavender then blending the nectarine mixture with Chambord.

If you’ve never tried Chambord, girl it is time. Chambord is a black raspberry liqueur made with XO cognac. It has a dark berry flavor with hints of vanilla. Aside from making delicious sangria, you can also add a splash or two in a glass of sparkling wine to make one of my favorite Champagne cocktails.  

This nectarine-black raspberry puree will be the base from which everyone can add their preferred type of wine (red or white), their favorite sparkling juice or ginger beer, and their choice of fruits and herbs.

I went for stone fruits because my stone fruit guy was at the Farmer’s market and you’d have to be crazy to pass up his selection of black plums, nectarines, and peaches. But really whatever fruit looks good where you are is game. Other options would be berries of all sorts, watermelon, or really any kind of melon, you get the idea. As for the herbs I like to use fresh basil and mint. The Chambord sangria base has lavender in it, so you could pick up on those notes and have some fresh lavender flowers for adding to the drinks as well. I have lots of lavender growing in my yard, so I pick the flowers to use in my cooking all the time. You can buy lavender online or if you can’t find any, that’s okay, just leave it out.

Cut all the fruit in pieces small enough to fit in the glass and set it out on a table or bar along with the Chambord Sangria Base, washed and dried herb leaves, glasses, ice, open bottles of wine, and a nice selection of sparkling juices and/or ginger beer. The final touch is drink stirrers for combining the cocktail and a cute little recipe card to help everyone know what to add to mix the perfect drink!


Chambord Sangria Bar
 
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A DIY Chambord Sangria Bar is where it's at this summer! You make the fruity sangria base with Chambord and nectarines and let your friends do the rest.
Author:
Serves: 6 drinks
Ingredients
For the Chambord Sangria Base:
  • 3 ripe nectarines, pitted, peeled, and chopped
  • 1½ cups water
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 5 lavender buds
  • 1 cup Chambord
  • For the Bar:
  • 1 bottle chilled white wine
  • 1 bottle chilled red wine
  • 1-3 bottles chilled sparkling juice (get a couple of different kinds for variation. I got sparkling lemonade and sparkling berry lemonade)
  • 1-4 bottles chilled ginger beer
  • 3-4 different types of ripe fresh fruit, sliced
  • 1-2 types of fresh herb leaves (about 1 bunch each)
Instructions
  1. To make the Chambord base, combine nectarines, water, sugar, and lavender in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to a simmer and let cook until fruit is soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Let cool then transfer mixture to a blender, add Chambord, and blend until smooth. Transfer to a serving pitcher, cover, and chill until cold. You can do this the day before if you’d like.
  3. Arrange all the elements on a table or bar for everyone to help themselves.
  4. To make a drink, add a few pieces of ice to a wine glass. Then add 1 part Chambord base with 1 part wine and 1 part sparkling juice or ginger beer. Add a few pieces of fruit and some herb leaves, stir and enjoy.

 

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Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Mains, Recipes, Soups and Stews

Simple Summer Vegetable Soup with Cilantro Pesto Croutons

July 25, 2017
How to make a summer vegetable soup packed with white beans, garden veggies and topped with a crispy crouton slathered with cilantro and baby spinach pesto.

We got back late last night from our European summer adventure.

The two things I’ve been dreaming about for the last couple weeks of the trip have been going for a run and a simple summer vegetable soup. I’m not sure exactly who I have become.

Normally I’m not such a health freak but after six weeks of gluttony my body was in desperate need of a reboot. This morning I hit the pavement vowing never to go on such an extended excursion without my running shoes again and then made a big pot of soup for dinner.

There’s something so intensely satisfying about potatoes and carrots and beans bubbling away in a tomatoey broth. It is the kind of simple food to regroup to, to find your balance, and most importantly, fill your belly.

As you can imagine, I’m a bit exhausted from our trip, but I wanted to share this recipe with you as I have a feeling I’m not alone in the need for simple comforts, getting back on track, or maybe just a recipe to use up your garden’s summer bounty.

The cilantro pesto croutons are obviously optional but I love their crunchy edges and soft middles, plus any extra pesto gets mixed into the soup giving it a happy little herby boost.

Simple Summer Vegetable Soup with Cilantro Pesto Croutons
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 10-12 servings
Ingredients
For the Soup:
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 leeks, halved, washed well, and sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 small yellow potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 1 cup cubed)
  • 1 cup dried large white beans, rinsed (I used lima beans)
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup chopped green beans
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
For the Croutons:
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, thick stems removed (about 2 packed cups of leaves and tender stems)
  • 1 packed cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 baguette
Instructions
To make the soup:
  1. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks and onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add carrots and celery and season again with salt and pepper. Cook about 5 minutes more then add garlic and cook another minute.
  3. Add tomatoes, potatoes, beans, water, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until beans are tender, about 1-1½ hours.
  4. Add green beans and zucchini and continue cooking until tender, about 10 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed. I added about 1 teaspoon more.
For the Croutons:
  1. Heat oven to 425°F.
  2. Combine cilantro, spinach, garlic, salt, and pumpkin seeds in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Add oil and blend until smooth.
  3. Slice baguette into ½-inch thick slices. Spread about ½-1 teaspoon of pesto on one side of each slice then place pesto-side-up on a baking sheet. Bake until outer edges are crisp about 10 minutes.
  4. Spoon any remaining pesto into the soup pot and stir to combine. Ladel soup into bowls and top with one or two croutons.

One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!

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Breads, Breakfast, Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Recipes, Snacks, Sweets

Orange Juice Donuts with Zucaritas Sprinkle

July 14, 2017
Super simple baked orange juice donuts packed with bright orange flavor, topped with sweet orange glaze and crushed Zucaritas (aka Mexican Frosted Flakes).

Introducing my first ever donut recipe!

I honestly don’t know what took me so long. I guess I had shunned the idea of baked donuts as simply a muffin baked in a donut shaped pan, but I’ve been wrong before and I’ll surely be wrong again.

These donuts are not at all muffiny, they are tender, soft little pillows full of orange flavor. The Sucaritos sprinkle on top are 110% inspired by my daughter and her love of cereal-topped donuts. When we hit the donut shop she makes a bee-line for the most purple, cereal-loaded donut she can find. Fruity Pebbles, Lucky Charms, Fruit Loops, you name it, she’s on it.

In my consistent motherly effort to make the foods my kids love even the slightest bit healthier I decided to create my own cereal-topped donut with Zucaritas (aka Mexican Frosted Flakes). I fully admit Zucaritas are not, I repeat NOT healthy as far as cereals go, but the donut part IS a bit healthier than your average fried donut shop donut. It is naturally dairy-free; I used fresh-squeezed orange juice instead of milk and only a small amount of vegetable oil instead of butter. And of course, not dunking them in a vat of hot oil also keeps things a bit on the lighter side.

I made batch after batch of these donuts in my new Wolf Gourmet Countertop Oven. I don’t think it is an understatement to say I’m in love. This oven does everything my standard-size oven does but faster, and more accurately. If I didn’t cook professionally out of my home kitchen I would replace my full-sized oven with this countertop version and use that space as extra storage—it is that good. It heats up in under 10 minutes, fits full-sized baking pans (like this donut pan) and comes equipped with an internal temperature probe for cooking meat perfectly every time.

Head on over to Wolf Gourmet’s Food Notes Blog to get the recipe!

One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!

This post was sponsored by Wolf Gourmet. Opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make ¡Hola! Jalapeño possible!

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Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Drinks, Recipes

Pink Grapefruit & Cilantro Spanish Gin Tonic

July 9, 2017
This pink grapefruit Spanish gin tonic is an ultra-refreshing sipper for summer. Flavored with cilantro-grapefruit syrup and a hefty splash of tonic.

Are you familiar with Spanish Gin Tonics? I wasn’t until a few months ago, and now I can’t stop drinking them. I am normally late to the game. I rely on my well-healed, childless friends to keep me up to date on what happens in the world after 9pm and apparently its Spain, Gin, and Tonic Water, plus other stuff.

Spanish gin tonics are like regular ‘ol English gin and tonics except lighter, more flavorful, and without that bothersome and word in the middle. They are frequently served with lots of garnishes so you can mix and match what you’d like in your drink. They also switch up the tonic and sometimes substitute mineral water, soda water, or (in this case) fresh fruit juice.

pink grapefruit Spanish gin tonics

Here’s how I like to Spanish-up my GT

First, make a herbal syrup. It is pretty common in a Spanish gin tonic bar to have a variety of herbs to choose from when making this style of cocktail because they highlight the flavors in gin. I made a syrup with cilantro and grapefruit rind. At first it might seem like a ridiculous amount of cilantro, but trust me, just do it.

Second part: use a big balloon wine glass. This will make all the difference I swear. Fill the glass halfway with ice then add some of the chilled syrup, your favorite gin, and fresh-squeezed, kinda sour, kinda sweet pink grapefruit juice. Stir until the syrup dissolves and top with fizzy tonic water. Do not use the stuff in the little cans from Trader Joes—it was gross (sorry Trader Joes).

pink grapefruit gin tonic

That’s it. Drink. Repeat. Sit in the sun. Enjoy.

Pink Grapefruit and Cilantro Spanish Gin & Tonic
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This pink grapefruit Spanish gin tonic is an ultra-refreshing sipper for summer. Flavored with cilantro-grapefruit syrup and a hefty splash of tonic.
Author:
Serves: 1 drink
Ingredients
For the Grapefruit-Cilantro Syrup:
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 3 thick pieces grapefruit rind
For the drink:
  • ice
  • 2 ounces fresh-squeezed pink grapefruit juice
  • 2 ounces gin
  • ½ ounce grapefruit-cilantro syrup
  • 2 ounces tonic water
Instructions
To make the syrup:
  1. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add cilantro and grapefruit rind and bring to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes.
  2. Cover and remove from heat. Let cool completely. Strain and chill in the refrigerator until ready to use. Keep syrup covered in the refrigerator for up to a month.
To make the drink:
  1. Combine all the ingredients in the order they're listed in a large wine glass. Stir to combine and garnish with a pink grapefruit slice and sprig of cilantro if you'd like.

pink grapefruit gin tonic

One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!

 

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