my Saturday

Yes, I know it’s Sunday.

And no, there aren’t any recipes here. Just a little snapshot of my life yesterday, trying out the new (and only 3 blocks from my house:) Black Tap Coffee shop with my best friend Allyn, doing a little research and psyching ourselves up for our trip to Guatemala.

…..which is in LESS THAN ONE WEEK! ah!

By the way, this may be my new favorite place to be. They do pour-over hot and iced coffees, [which I tried for the first time and fell in love], the tables are big and cozy and communal, and natural light pours in from all sides. It’s modern and hip, if you will, but at the same time fresh and cozy and welcoming, and tucked back in the neighborhood away from the noise and chaos of downtown.

Allyn and I were happy little puppies, tails wagging and hearts melting as we looked through photographs of the avocado farm we’re staying on and the exquisite volcano-surrounded Lake Atitlán.

Quote from the site of the mountain lodge we’re staying at: “We’re famous for our avocados, volcano views, amazing food and magic treehouse.”

..It’s going to be a tough week to get through. Hopefully I’ll get some yummy recipes up before I leave you!


huevos rancheros over polenta

So, if you read my blog, you know that a savory breakfast of mine will include some combination of eggs, beans, corn, salsa, cheese, and veggies. To me it’s like peanut butter and bananas, chocolate and coffee, toast and jam – it just goes together, no matter how you dish it up.

I’ve never “officially” made huevos rancheros, but with all the polenta existing in my kitchen as of late, the idea came to me to fry up some ranchero-ed huevos and serve them atop of fried polenta cakes in place of the traditional corn tortillas. Ohh how creative I am.. ;]

And well… it turned out great! The polenta was crispy on the outside, soft and grainy on the inside, and melted in perfectly with the rest of the ingredients just the way I like it.

I made this for myself, so the recipe is for 1 generous portion, but it’s an easy one to adapt for more people.

Huevos rancheros over polenta, by me :]

  • leftover polenta, spread about ½” thick in a pan/baking dish and chilled (see my basic polenta recipe here)
  • dash of chili powder
  • 2 T red onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ cup black beans (I highly recommend Trader Joe’s Cuban-style black beans!)
  • ½ cup salsa fresca or pico de gallo (I use Trader Joe’s mild fresh salsa)
  • 1 or 2 eggs
  • feta, cotija, or cheddar cheese to garnish
  • chopped cilantro to garnish

Cut chilled polenta into 2 squares or rectangles, sprinkle with chili powder and fry in a lightly oiled skillet over medium-high heat, until crisped and golden on both sides.

Meanwhile, lightly oil another skillet and heat over medium. Add chopped onion and garlic, sauté until softened and then add black beans and ¼ cup of the salsa. Stir and let cook until mixture thickens a bit. Fry or scramble the eggs to your liking. Top the polenta cakes with bean mixture, eggs, and garnish with the rest of the salsa, cheese, chopped cilantro, and a dash of Texas Pete!

This would also be good with some sautéed greens and/or other veggies thrown in the mix, but somehow I forgot (…what?! I never forget my veggies!)

This is one. delicious. mess.


Roasted sweet potato + black bean salad

A little sweet, a little zesty, a whole lot of nutrients.

This salad is good.

And good for you.

….There’s not much else to say.

But really, I could eat roasted sweet potatoes by the bucketful, and when you toss them with some black beans, red onion, cilantro, pepitas, and a zesty lime dressing, you get a hearty and healthy salad 13 notches above those plain roasted taters. Is that even possible? I’d say yes, but you’ll have to try it out and let your own taste buds decide.

I made this for the C of C Clean Eats potluck, a newly formed club at our school based on the Slow Food Charleston Chapter.

“Slow food aims to be everything fast food is not.”

The movement supports food and farming policy that is good for the public, good for the planet, and good for farmers and workers. We were asked to bring a dish made with local ingredients if possible, and to write the recipe down so we can compile a “Clean Eats Cookbook”! We had a delicious and nutritious variety of foods to sample, like roasted brussels sprouts with cherries and walnuts, local shrimp and avocado salad, and sweet potatoes with a yummy cinnamon yogurt sauce. It was great to get together with others who share the passion for good, clean eating, and to brainstorm events to get the campus community aware and involved in this movement.

So here’s my contribution, which I found much too tasty not to include on this blog!

Roasted sweet potato + black bean salad, inspired by this

  • 2 or 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled + cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups black beans, or 1 can drained + rinsed
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup raw shelled pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 450 F. Toss cubed sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt + cumin and spread on foil-lined baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, flip/toss with metal spatula, and roast 10-15 minutes more, until tender and edges begin to brown. Add warm potatoes to a bowl with beans, onion, and chopped cilantro. Toss with zesty lime dressing (below) and top with toasted pumpkin seeds (toast in a dry skillet for 3-5 minutes) and salty cheese like feta or cotija if desired.

Lime dressing:

  • zest of 1 lime
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper
  • dash of sea salt + black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 t agave nectar

Combine all ingredients in a blender and toss gently with salad. You probably won’t need all of the dressing. Serve this salad as a side dish or over a bed of greens for a nutritious meal!

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A n’awlins weekend, in food & photos

It’s no surprise that my favorite part about travel is food. Scoping out the authentic eats and local markets in a city brings me purpose and delight, and I enjoy learning about a culture through its cooking and the tastes, aromas, eating and drinking that goes with it. I first realized this when studying abroad on Semester At Sea and friends started pointing out how I took photos of every meal and how I got angry with them for not wanting to try every local dish.. :D

I have no problem embracing the local cuisine with full force, even if it means abandoning my healthy eating habits for the time being… as was the case with po’boys and beignets and never-ending daiquiris on the streets of New Orleans.

Two fridays ago my sisters and I met up for a somewhat-spontaneous weekend trip to New Orleans, as none of us had ever been and they both have friends who live there. Basically I just decided to tag along as annoying little sisters tend to do. It was both a chaotic—due to the start of Mardi Gras—and relaxing weekend filled with eating, drinking, walking, loud and colorful festivities, cooking, nibbling on free praline samples, and lots of indecisive moments the three of us have together.

So I’ll refrain from typing the tedious details (which I tend to over-do when writing about my travels), and let your eyes feast on the colors and tastes of our weekend in Nola.

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