Dad Spotlight: Mexican Food

On February 18, 2016, in Food, by Chris Baccus
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Mexican-Food1I enjoyed another appearance on the podcast Dad Spotlight last month where Chris, Don and I discussed Mexican food and cooking for your family.   One of my favorite things about Mexican food is that you can easily remove or add things without a lot of hassle in case a child doesn’t want onions or tomatoes.

We discussed quite a few recipes, including many from this blog.

If you haven’t subscribed to the Dad Spotlight podcast, I highly recommend doing so. They have many excellent guests coming from a variety of parenting perspectives on a host of interesting topics. I’m happy to be a regular there talking about food and family.  So stay tuned for some future shows too and if you missed my appearance on Thanksgiving check that out as well.

 

Vegan Superfood Bowl for #SundaySupper

On July 4, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Bowls are a great way to enjoy vegan cooking. They can include anything.  If you have some vegetables leftover from the prior weekend’s Farmer’s Market finds, a bowl is a fantastic way to use your remaining vegetables.  They’re also easy to travel with whether that includes a meal for lunch at work, a day at the beach, or to bring along for long road trip so you can avoid fast food.  Packing a vegan bowl is easy and simple.

This week I wanted to experiment a bit with dressing.  I also wanted to incorporate something known as superfood.

So what are superfoods?

I wondered that too and did a little research to learn more.

In it’s simplest form a superfood is basically any food that is good for your health.  Well that seems pretty broad and inline with most of what I eat. There must be more to it than that, right?  There is more. Foods that are dense in nutritional content are considered superfoods. Examples include ingredients like hemp seeds, chia seeds, seaweed, and many other foods are rich in nutrients in a compact size.

There is no agreed upon definition when it comes to superfoods. That issue has been a key criticism from many who are quick to attack the term superfood as simply a marketing term, chosen be a few savvy companies who use the term to sell products using a small amount of a superfood as a way into questionably better health.

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I’m not a nutritionist nor do I pretend to be one like The Food Babe.  I honestly don’t really care about the use of superfoods as a nutritional edge.  The reality is most of the superfood products use so little of the superfood ingredients that the benefit is likely very small, if there is any real benefit at all.  Even this recipe uses only a small of amount of superfoods like maca powder and hemp seeds.

What I do know is that the recipe here is good for you. It uses only real foods and is loaded with fresh, unprocessed, organic ingredients.  You really can’t go wrong with this dish.  Is it super?  Maybe.  I know it is super in taste and that’s what is most important to me and my family.

 

Vegan SuperFood Bowl
Server 4

2 cups dried farro
8 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

4 red beets, 1-inch diced cubes
1 purple bell pepper, cut into strips
2 japanese sweet potatoes, 1-inch diced cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch kale, rough chop
3 carrots, peeled and grated into long strips

For dressing

¼ cup almond butter
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon maca powder
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven at 375 degrees.

Bring water to a boil and add dried farro and salt. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20-25 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed by the farro. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork while adding olive oil.

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Meanwhile, place the beat, jicama, and bell pepper on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle olive oil and add salt and pepper. Place in preheated oven and cook for 20 minutes.   Remove from oven and set aside. Should be ready about the same time as the farro.

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Make the dressing by placing all ingredients, except the water, into a VitaMix or blender and blend. Add half the water and blend. Continue to blend and check consistency then add more water as necessary. It should not be watery or paste-like. You want a smooth and creamy dressing.

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Place a generous spoonful of cooked farro in each serving bowl. Add some chopped kale and carrots to each bowl. Then divide the roasted vegetables between bowls and keep ingredients separated. Drizzle the dressing in each bowl then serve with some rustic bread and butter.

Enjoy!

 


 

Want more great food that will travel recipes? Checkout this week’s Sunday Supper posts from some really great food bloggers.

Adventurous Appetizers

Destination Desserts

Mains in Motion

Sightseeing Sides

Traveling Treats

More Tips

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more greatSunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

 

 

 

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Vegan Tacos with Mashed Sweet Potato

On April 6, 2014, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Vegan Tacos with Mashed Sweet Potato
Serves 6

18 corn tortillas
canola oil for frying

1 large Japanese sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup almond milk
1 can black beans
2 carrots, cubed
1 green pepper, diced into small chunks
1 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper
cilantro, finely chopped
green onion, cut into 2-inch long pieces

hot sauce, optional

Heat water to a boil and add cubed sweet potato and cook for about eight minutes until soft.  Remove from heat and drain. Add almond milk, salt and pepper to mash to a creamy consistency. Add more almond milk if necessary.

Meanwhile, heat the black beans in a small sauce pan on low heat.  In a separate saute pan on high heat add canola oil using enough oil to barely cover a tortilla.  When hot, add one tortilla at a time for just about 5 seconds turning once using tongs and then placing on paper towel to pat dry of any excess grease. Repeat until all tortillas are softened in oil.

In a small pan, add some olive oil and the cut carrots and green pepper. Add some salt, pepper and the cumin. Mix and heat over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes to soften and let flavors combine. Remove from heat when done.

When everything is done cooking turn off the heat of all burners and assemble tacos.  Serve placing carrot and green onion mixture and then add the black beans.  Place a spoon full of the sweet potato on top and then sprinkle with chopped cilantro and add a couple pieces of green onion on top.  Add your favorite hot sauce if desired.

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Orzo Pasta Salad with Lemon, Cucumber and Feta

On April 6, 2014, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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It’s summer again in Los Angeles.  After a cooling spell of a week in the 60s, we are back to 80 degree weather in April.  So what better time to bring out a recipe my wife found on Pinterest she has wanted to try.  The combination of fresh lemon juice, cucumbers and one of my favorite pastas, Orzo, it was an attractive choice for our lazy Sunday afternoon.

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The best part is this dish is simple to make. There is no cooking, unless you consider boiling water and putting pasta in for 6-8 minutes cooking then I guess it has some minor cooking.

I used a sheep and goat cheese feta I bought at Whole Foods that added a nice creaminess to the dish, yet it was firm enough to not melt into the warm pasta when added to the bowl. Of course, any feta will do.

If you are looking for a great dish to impress at a potluck this dish is sure to meet the need.

Full recipe at Fork Knife Swoon blog: [Lemony Orzo Pasta Salad with Cucumber and Feta]

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Chicken in Wine & Dijon Reduction

On July 28, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I’ve been hotel living now for over two weeks and this recipe is my most adventurous to date. It also presented me with a bit of a dilemma in the middle of cooking when I suddenly realized I didn’t have a wine bottle opener. Fortunately, the hotel provided serrated knife which I then used to not pop the cork, but rather to plunge the cork into the bottle.  Oh well, I did get the cup of wine I needed plus enjoyed a nice Riesling with my meal.

I have also found that my $6 purchase of Ziploc plastic containers was a brilliant decision.  They work well as mixing bowls or in this case when I needed a small bowl to hold some dijon mustard I needed to “brush” on the chicken pieces.  Brush is sort of what I did, but with no brush I improvised using a the back of a spoon to spread the mustard over the chicken pieces.

This was the first time I used the Extend Stay’s pan since it had sides that worked well for a liquid reduction instead of using my sauté pan or 4 quart pot.

A little about the ingredients…

I bought some pasture raised chicken from the Studio City Farmers’ Market a couple weeks back at the Dey Dey’s Best Ever Chicken stand. They sell half chickens which is a good choice for this recipe, since there is not a lot of room in the cooking pan.  Cooking times are a bit longer at the hotel with an electric stove top and the thin pan, but the results are great as you can see in the photo with the browned skin and meat falling off the bone.

In the end, this was a great success that didn’t really take any special tools other than a wine bottle opener.  My spoon “brushing” method worked well too.

Chicken in Wine & Dijon Reduction
Serves 2

1/2 whole chicken, bone-in split
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
3 shallots, finely diced
1/3 cup dijon mustard
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

If your breast is thick be sure to add 3 or 4 slices with a knife into the thickest area to help reduce cooking time. Brush the chicken pieces with the dijon mustard. Heat olive oil in pan at medium-high heat adding chicken pieces when hot.  Cook each side for about 15 minutes turning often being careful not to burn.  When flipping the chicken brush some more dijon mustard on to coat fully before turning. Meanwhile dice the shallots.

Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and add the shallots cooking for 1 minute then deglazing the pan with the wine.  Add the chicken stock and return the chicken to the pan.  Let this cook for about 20 minutes on medium heat letting the liquid reduce by half.  Turn the chicken throughout to coat the sauce over the chicken pieces.

Finally remove the chicken from the pan and finish the sauce by adding the butter and some salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over chicken and serve with a side dish or two.

Linguini with Pancetta and Golden Beets

On July 26, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Pasta dishes are a great option for hotel cooking. They require only a couple pans and Extended Stay America’s kitchen came with a rather large strainer, showing someone thought a simple pasta makes sense for small kitchen cooking.

Last night I modified a recipe I usually make with Pancetta and Parsnips and Taglietti noodles. I had picked up some beautiful golden beets at the La Canada Farmers’ Market and needed to use them before they went bad.  A quick stop at Gelson’s Market in Pasadena for some Pancetta the day before completed what I need for this simple recipe.

Linguini with Pancetta and Golden Beets
Serves 2

1/2 lb linguini noodles
2 small golden beets, diced into small cubes
1/4 lb Pancetta, diced into small cubes
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
Parmesan Cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste

Cook the pasta noodles in boiling water per package directions or for 3 minutes if fresh.

While the water for the noodles is getting to a boil, sauté the Pancetta for 10 minutes turning frequently to brown but not burn the meat.  Add the beets and butter and continue cooking with the Pancetta for another 6 minutes adding some salt and pepper.

When the noodles are done, add them to the pan with the chopped parsley. Toss the noodles with the butter, Pancetta, and beets then serve on plates shaving some Parmesan cheese on top and a little more parsley, if desired.

 

Hotel Burger with Goat Cheese

On July 21, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I am still at in my Extended Stay America hotel room with its quaint kitchenette. Tonight I came home after a long but enjoyable week of work, now only two weeks away from reuniting with my wife and kids.

This morning, before leaving to work, I thawed out some grass-fed ground beef I purchased at the Studio City Farmers’ Market last Sunday from Best Beef Ever. It was my first local grass-fed meat purchase since arriving in Southern California and sure enough it was pretty damn good. The only negative was due to my lack of options having to cook the hamburger patties in a sauté pan over an electric burner instead of on a grill, since my grill is currently in storage.

I also used some of the excellent goat cheese I bought from Soledad Goats at the La Canada market last Saturday.

Hotel Burger with Goat Cheese
Serves 2

1 lb ground beef
2 hamburger buns
handful of arugula or lettuce
4 half-moon slices of onion cut thin
4 tablespoons of goat cheese
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
salt & pepper

Form the ground beef into two patties being sure to salt and pepper them as you get them shaped. Add the beef patties to a medium-high heat sauté pan, preferably non-stick and let them cook for about 8-10 minutes on each side to get a nice burn on each burger’s side.  Cooking time will vary depending how thick you make your patties and how hot your burner gets.

Drain the fat from the pan halfway through before turning the patties over and continue to cook the other side.  This will help the burgers brown instead of boil in grease.

Prepare some thin half-moon slices of onion and wash your lettuce.  Place the dijon mustard on one of the buns using 1 tablespoon per burger.

Place the burger onto the bun and spread half the goat cheese on each patty and top with lettuce and onions.

Note: I only made one burger tonight and put the other fully cooked burger in a small container to save for tomorrow’s lunch. 

Tip: While staying in a hotel room it is definitely worth $3 to buy some plastic containers to store some food in for leftovers. This way you don’t need saran-wrap or aluminum foil. 

Pork Tenderloin and Jicama Slaw Tacos

On July 2, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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This is a leftovers meal.  The night before I made some BBQ glazed pork tenderloin on the grill. With about half of the loin left, I decided to shred it and reheat it in a saute pan for 5 minutes added a 1/2 teaspoon of cumin and some ground pepper.  Note: You can use an asian marinated pork tenderloin too. It really does not matter.

For the slaw, I bought some jicama slaw at the local Whole Foods last night. It’s basically just sticks of jicama, carrots, and bell peppers with a light mayo. Again, you can do whatever you want here. A vinaigrette based slaw would be even better but I went with what was easy at the deli counter.

Add the pork and slaw then some hot sauce.

The flour tortillas are from Two Chefs who are at the Coppell Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning here in Dallas.  I highly recommend them and will massively miss their chips and medium salsa as I move to Los Angeles this coming week.

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