Friday, December 7, 2012

Black Bean Tortilla Soup

Perhaps it's the cold weather or maybe I have an unrealized obsession with soups (I do find myself eating soup even on the hottest days of summer), but I noticed I have been pinning a lot of soup recipes on pinterest lately. In an effort to actually make the things I pinned, Kevin and I decided to try out a Black Bean Tortilla Soup recipe--though it turned out to be more of a Spicy Black Bean Soup! 
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion
1 avocado (for garnis)
1 green bell pepper
2 cuban peppers
3 jalapeño peppers
3 cups veggie stock
3 cans black beans
 Seasonings: Cumin, Salt/Pepper, and Hot Sauce (if you like it spicy)
Finely chop onion and peppers, mix together in a large pot with 3-4 tablespoons olive oil and season with cumin and salt/pepper.
Add some hot sauce for some additional spice.
Drain/Rise black beans and add to onion/pepper saute with 3 cups vegetable-stock.
 Stir contents frequently and continue to cook until comes to a simmer.
 Cut avocado and serve on top of finished soup.
I absolutely loved this recipe! Even though it doesn't look exactly like the original and it was probably a little pepper heavy, I thoroughly enjoyed the extra spice. Kevin did not have the same opinion so I think we will have to make some alternations for our next attempt, i.e. limiting the number of peppers and possibly rice for more depth. One of my favorite Festive-Friday recipes so far!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Spaghetti Squash

Since the recent acceptance of my gluten-allergy I have been attempting to eat gluten-free (beer doesn't count right?), though it can be extremely challenging at times. My Madre has been amazing and is constantly making me gluten-free versions of my favorite foods (because she knows I'm too stubborn to do it myself). Long story short, pasta used to be one of my favorite foods so my Madre bought me a squash to try out spaghetti squash--a recipe I had been dying to try.
It's probably the most simple recipe I've ever tried, with cutting the squash in half being the most difficult part, ha!
Once you chop that bad boy in half preheat the oven for 375-400 degrees (different recipes gave varying temperatures), place the squash on a baking sheet and let it bake for about an hour.
I didn't really have the time or resources to make my own spaghetti sauce from scratch so a store-bought jar would have to do. I did however throw some chopped zucchini and carrots into the mix to make it my own.
 After about an hour in the oven you should be ready to go.
Scrap the insides of the squash with a fork--it will begin to take the shape of regular spaghetti.
 It's like magic!
 Throw some sauce on those "noodles" and you are good to go.
I'm so happy I finally gave this recipe a try. It was easy, delicious and best of all I didn't have to deal with any gluten-reactions. Win-win-win my friends!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Black Bean and Potato Soup

Being gluten-free can be extremely tough at times, especially when you are craving a substantial carb to fill you up. It's when I get these cravings that I turn to potatoes--the perfectly filling gluten-free carb. And so black bean and potato soup became our next festive friday challenge.

1 red onion
1 green bell pepper
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 cans cooked black beans
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
Seasonings: Salt/Pepper, Cumin, Oregano
Sauté chopped onion, bell peppers, and garlic in pan with 1 cup water over medium heat 2-3 minutes, or until vegetables soften.
Place half of vegetables in blender and purée until smooth. Add 3 cups beans and 6 to 7 cups water; puree until mixture is consistency of thick soup.
I think we may have blended our vegetables/beans a little too much, so I would suggest watching the consistency very closely.
Place the vegetable/beans puree and the remaining beans and sauteed vegetables to a large pot with chopped potatoes, cumin, oregano, and salt/pepper. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 20 minutes covered or until potatoes are soft.
The soup was good but slightly bland so perhaps our next attempt will include some cilantro or other powerful seasoning to spice things up a bit. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Spicy Baked Black Beans with Vegetables

A couple weeks ago my amazing friend Stephanie visited Philadelphia so we of course had to incorporate a Festive-Friday (or two) into our weekend of adventures. We turned to pinterest one night and decided upon Spicy Baked Black Beans with Vegetables. Our version didn't turn out exactly how the photos lead us to believe it would but it was still pretty tasty despite missing a step somewhere.

2 large cans of black beans
2 cups vegetables, diced (frozen artichoke hearts, chopped carrots, broccoli, red bell pepper and sliced potatoes)
1/2 c water
Seasonings: Salt/Pepper, Cumin, Red Pepper Flakes, minced Garlic, Worcestershire Sauce
Perhaps we weren't supposed to drain/rinse the beans. Or maybe we needed to add more sauces (Blackstrap Molasses or Maple Syrup) to prevent the vegetables from drying out.
We did, however, add ample amount of Worcestershire Sauce (a new favorite sauce) but it never seemed to get as saucy (or spicy) as the we had hoped.
Luckily we were already making Corn Risotto (substitute with vegetable stock) as a side dish by the time we realized the Spicy Baked Black Bean recipe was falling short of our expectations. Oh well, you live and you learn.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Vegetarian Chilli

As the brisk-fall weather becomes an every day occurrence what is better than a hearty bowl of vegetarian chili? We took some liberties for our version but it's loosely based on the A Beautiful Mess - Curry Chili recipe.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 Green Chile Peppers
2 tomatoes
1 yellow onion
1 red bell pepper
1 zucchini
1 can pinto beans
1 can black beans
Season with cumin, salt and pepper
In a medium/large pot heat the oil over low heat. Dice onion and saute until onion begins to soften. Add chopped bell pepper, zucchini, tomatoes, green chile peppers, mince garlic and seasonings. Turn the heat up to medium and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Drain/rinse the black and pinto beans and add to the pot. Cook until everything is warmed through or until juices come to a boil.
Serve with cheese and corn chips.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Veggie Hodge-Podge & Salmon

When I'm feeling too lazy to get fancy with my cooking I turn to the always delicious, never failing Hodge-podge. This ever changing dinner usually consists of various vegetables and possibly beans. After stumbling upon a weekly farmer's market near my work I was excited at the endless possibilities for the next Festive-Friday meal.
1 Zucchini • 2 Tomatoes • 1 Onions • 3 Green Chile Peppers

Instead of following a specific recipe Kevin and I decided to just wing it with Salmon & a Veggie Hodge-Podge dish. 
Chop the assortment of veggies and place in pan on med-high to high until tomato juices start to form a sauce (approximately 15-20 minutes). Season with Cumin and Salt/Pepper to your liking.
Preheat the oven for 400 degrees and place two pieces of frozen salmon on a baking sheet. Season with salt/pepper and some kind of juicy fruit. Usually we make the salmon with lemon or lime juice but since we had some extra tomatoes we decided to give tomatoes a try.
If you are as big of an onion fan as we are, load up the salmon!
Cook Salmon for about 15 minutes or until it is cooked all the way through. Check on the salmon around minute 12 and on to make sure it doesn't dry out. 
Even though we didn't have much of a plan for this meal it turned out to be delicious. The vegetable hodge-podge was the perfect balance between juicy tomatoes and spicy peppers. Since this meal I've made similar veggie hodge-podge concoctions and can honestly say I'm obsessed. The tomato-salmon was surprisingly good as well--a good addition to the salmon topping rotation.  If you are feeling adventurous give this or a variation of this recipe a try.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

October: The Craziest Month of My Life

Phew! This past October was definitely one of the busiest months of my life. Between the 14 concerts I attended (including #100), being swamped at my new job, birthday celebrations, Orioles playoff runs, family occasions and visits from far-away friends I can honestly say October kicked my butt! I finally finished posting about Europe from this summer (ha) and can get back to all the festive Friday recipes that have been stuck in my draft folder and perhaps more current frolicking adventures.

October Gram-Moments

1. Concert #100
2. New phone!
3. Festive Friday
4. Birthday celebrations
5. Orioles playoff run
6. Bloctoberfest
7. Toy Soldiers
8. Historic Philadelphia
9. Fall
10. The perfect shot
11. Spoken word
12. The best bottle of wine with Steph
13. Tequila Shots
14. Poe's House
15. Hurricane Sandy
16. Halloween
I'm telling ya, October was packed to the brim with various engagements and though I had a blast I am looking forward to a semi relaxed couple of weeks before the holiday madness starts up.