Category: Southwestern

On the Grill, Nopales Salsa

You may be surprised to learn that cactus is a staple food in certain parts of the world. One variety, Nopales (also know as Prickly Pear or Paddle Cactus) originated in Mexico and is almost synonymous with the Sonoran Desert but has adapted to locales as far reaching as Australia, Tunisia, and the Galapagos Islands.

Check out the video below to see just how easy it is to scale and grill nopales.

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Portobella Steak Fajitas

Fajitas are a seasoned Tex-Mex dish that has its origins in in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, in the heart of vaquero (cowboys) country. Fajitas were popularized by the early 1990's, due mostly to fast food companies catching on to the cost effectiveness of the dish.

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Southwest Spice Mix (Fajita Seasoning)

I've been cooking fajitas for as long as I can remember, at least since I could reach the grill and use a pair of tongs. But what spices are considered appropriate for this dish? While researching this dish I discovered that the name "fajitas" really refers to the part of the cow the cut comes from (I don't mean to offend, just inform). The spices for this dish really are regional.

In my region of the Southwest we use a base of chili powder, garlic, oregano, and coriander. In every kitchen I cooked in, the mix was essentially the same. I can't even say this spice mix is regional. Like garam masala or curry spices, the mix may have started out regional, but over the years has become a universal blend of spices.

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Frijoles Refritos

Traditionally Frijoles refritos, or refried beans, are cooked with lots of chilies, garlic, and onion. The beans are cooked to tenderness, then fried and mashed in lard. They are salted and consumed in large quantities. I’ve been eating them for as long as I can remember, usually out of the well-known can, Rosarita’s, with the trademarked logo of a happy Mexican girl holding up a plate of beans.

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Yes Avocados are Super Food, they also make Guacamole!

Long consumed by natives of Mexico and Central America, avocado packs a powerful healthy fat content (the unsaturated kind). As well as a list of vitamins and minerals normally only found in supplement form. You can make avocado soup, avocado cream, put slices of it on sandwiches, and according to Dave Lieberman, sneak it into smoothies or even brownies, to get goodness into kids.

But I am a purist, and when making Tofu Chili Tacos, or Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas, I've got to have some guacamole.

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Very Vegan Black Bean and Tempeh Chili

I've been making Chili in various forms for as long as I've been cooking, and that really is quite a long time. Switching to veganism, I had to adjust the recipe for use with products like tofu and tempeh. They don't have the fat I'm used to, so I use a little more oil to sweat the vegetables, and lime juice to deglaze the pan. This recipe is the result of the happy mix between chilis, tempeh, and black beans.

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