Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lime-Infused Black Bean Stew

In a recent food challenge with my friends, we decided to explore South American cuisine in our cooking. My family is from Trinidad and Tobago, in the West Indies. Trinidad neighbors Venezuela and has been also influenced by the English, Portuguese, East Indian, French, African, and Chinese cuisines, to name a few. Growing up, I was exposed to all of these cuisines in addition to the derived "West Indian" cuisine. 

I was very excited to embark on South American cooking as the flavor brought me home. Using ingredients in my pantry, I decided to do a lime-infused black bean stew, which uses minimal ingredients but packs a lot of flavor.

Lime-Infused Black Bean Stew

1 can reduced sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
2 limes, juiced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cabbage, diced
4 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
spray canola or olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable broth or chicken broth
1 1/2 cup water

(1) In a medium pot, sprayed with canola oil, brown the chopped onions.
(2) Add the black beans, vegetable broth, and 1 1/2 cups of water.
(3) In a separate saucepan sprayed with canola oil, add the cabbage and cook for 4-5 minutes covered.
(4) In the pot with the black beans, add the vinegar, lime juice, tomato paste, and coriander.
(5) Cook the black beans uncovered until reduced to two-thirds the original volume.
(6) Add the cooked cabbage to the pot of black beans. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with Tortilla chips (I love the Multigrain Food Should Taste Good chips). Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring Corn Pudding

For another Sunday dinner with my girlfriends, I decided to use some fresh spring ingredients like corn and green garlic to make this main dish. I added cheese and used whole wheat flour to incorporate some whole grains. I was pleasantly surprised with the sweet yet savory flavor of this main dish.

The sweet corn and fresh vegetable flavor, brought me back to Chile, a recent travel adventure.

Spring Corn Pudding
adapted from Bon Appétit magazine

1 cup chopped green garlic
1 cup chopped red onion (~ 1/2 medium onion)
3, 15- to 16- ounce cans corn kernels, drained, rinsed, and divided
3 tbsp butter, melted
canola oil spray
1/2 cup grated cheese (mixture of asiago, parmesan, cheddar, mozzarella, feta)
4 large eggs
2 1/2 splenda packets or 2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp white whole wheat flour

(1) Preheat oven to 400F. Spray 13x9x2-inch rectangular baking dish with canola oil.
(2) Spray a medium skillet with canola oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Cool in skillet.
(3) Meanwhile, whisk milk, eggs, flour, sugar, salt, pepper, and 3 melted tbsp butter in a large bowl.
(4) Scrape in onion mixture and green garlic. Add 2 cans drained corn.
(5) Puree remaining 1 can drained corn in food processor until smooth.
(6) Add puree to bowl with custard mixture and stir to blend well.
(7) Add 1/4 cup cheese to the custard mixture. I used a mixture of 5 cheeses. Use whatever you have on hand, preferably crumbly, slightly salty cheeses. Transfer to prepare baking dish.
(8) After 20 min, add the remaining 1/4 cup grated cheese to top of pudding.
(7) Bake pudding until set in center and beginning to brown on top, another 20 to 25 min. Serve warm.

This pudding is a great use of spring time veggies. The garlic works well with the corn. I will definitely use this recipe again and again. Let me know what creations you come up with!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Swiss Chard and Scallion Dutch Baby

Do you have friends or family members that don't like vegetables? I have a few. Do you have a large amount of produce that needs attention? I did. That is why, for one of my Sunday dinners with the girls, I adapted a recipe from my 2007 Food and Wine Annual Cookbook that takes a creative spin on a classic dessert, a Dutch Baby, a light pancake.

I cut down the amount of butter as the scallions cook nicely in canola oil spray. I also prepared this with white whole wheat flour and it still came out light and fluffy. Their recipe used Scallions and Spinach but this is easily adaptable to anything green that takes to heat well (and doesn't spring too much liquid).

Try it for yourself and see. ;)

Swiss Chard and Scallion Dutch Baby
adapted from 2007 Food and Wine Annual Cookbook


1 bushel of Swiss Chard, chopped
4 large scallions, thickly sliced
1 spray can of canola oil (or olive oil)
1 cup of non-fat milk (or almond milk or whole milk)
1 cup of white whole wheat flour
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch of ground or freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Remove the top rack in the oven and preheat to 450°. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the swiss chard until wilted, about 1 minute. Drain and let cool. Squeeze the chard dry.
  2. In a blender, mix the eggs, milk, flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, 1/8 teaspoon of pepper and the nutmeg until smooth.
  3. Spray a 12-inch cast-iron or non-stick oven-proof skillet with canola oil (or olive oil). 
  4. Add the scallions and cook over moderate heat until tender, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the swiss chard and cook until heated through, about 1 minute; season with salt and pepper. 
  6. Increase the heat to high and cook for 1 minute without stirring. 
  7. Pour in the batter, sprinkle with the Parmesan and transfer the skillet to the oven. 
  8. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden. Cut into wedges and serve hot or warm.

Serve it as a first course (8 people) or a main course (4 people).

It tasted delicious topped with goat cheese! A wonderful pre-lude to San Francisco's Goat festival at the Ferry Building Farmer's Market on Saturday.

Let me know what of ingredient combinations you come up with. 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Chocolate Banana Quick Bread

I am huge chocolate lover. It totally melts in my mouth not in my hand. 

To satisfy my chocolate craving and also use some ripe bananas, I decided to experiment with a quick-bread recipe. If you want a quick and easy baking recipe, check out this one. I was impressed that it was light and fluffy, while being very healthy.

Chocolate Banana Quick Bread


1 1⁄2 cups whole-grain pastry flour
1/2 cup wheat bran or flaxmeal
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tablespoons granular sugar substitute
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 1⁄4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1⁄4 teaspoons baking soda
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 1⁄4 cups almond milk (or non-fat milk)
1 large egg + 1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 ripe banana, mashed
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped


(1) Heat oven to 350ฐF.
(2) Spray a 9 x 5 loaf pan with canola oil.
(3) Combine flour, flaxmeal, cocoa powder, sugar substitute, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. 
(4) Combine milk, eggs, oil, agave nectar, banana, 1/2 cup walnuts, and vanilla in another mixing bowl. Reserve the remaining walnuts for topping.
(5) Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix just to combine; do not overmix!! (This is important because the more you mix, the more gluten forms, and the harder the bread will be.) 
(6) Top with reserved walnuts.
(6) Bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool and serve.