Garbanzo Carbonara


I love Carbonara, but have a real problem making it my dinner. I find it extremely heavy an unbalanced. It’s all fat and starch, with low protein content (bacon, although delicious, doesn’t count as nutritious in my book). Even trying it with whole wheat pasta doesn’t justify the ratio of bacon cheese and egg. But I love the stuff.

One day it occurred to me I could substitute garbanzos in for the pasta. While still a bit starchy, in my mind and belly they feel more acceptable.  Served with broccoli, I can handle it every other month or so.

Garbanzo Carbonara
Ingredients:
3 cups cooked garbanzos (I like mine with a bit of a crunch)
3 strips bacon
3 eggs
1/2 cup shredded pecorino
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Its essentially the same as carbonara: Slice the bacon to desired size. i prefer to have nice chunks of it…if I’m gonna eat it I wanna feel it. I do inch-long strips. Cook it in your skillet until its done how you like it (I like mine crunchy). Remove and set aside.

2. Heat a bit of oilve oil in the same pan on high eat. Add your garbanzos and sautee until beginning to brown up nicely. Remove from heat and let cool just a minute, no longer.

3. Break eggs into the pan over hot beans, and stir constantly not allowing the egg to curdle. The heat should cook the egg enough, but the constant movement will give it a nice a creamy texture. Once the mixture thickens up beautifully, add in the bacon and cheese And stir to combine well. The cheese should melt just a little bit, adding another element of texture and flavor. Season with salt and pepper.

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Quesadilla de Zacapa

We American’s know quesadilla to be tortillas filled with melted cheese among number of other ingredients. In Guatemala, while you do find this Mexican dish in many locations, the quesadilla is a sweet cake found primarily in the eastern part of the country, specifically the state of Zacapa. It uses a very salty crumbly cheese, queso seco (literally, dry cheese) that turns into a powder when you rub a chunk of it between your fingers. I suppose something like parmesean could be used as a substitute in recipes calling for queso seco, although it’s flavor is sharp like a cheddar or even blue cheese.

Recipes vary. Some use rice flour, others all purpose. Most of them contain a lot of butter, lard, cream, ect. My version is much healthier, if not too close to tradition. I was very pleased with the outcome, although it wasn’t a replica of the original treat.

Ingredients:
1 egg
1/2 cup fat free milk
1/2 cup plain greek style yogurt
3 T butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup queso seco or parmesean cheese
1 cup whole wheat flour, or rice flour
1 t baking powder

Directions:
1)Preheat oven to 350F
2)Beat egg. Mix together milk, yogurt, butter, and sugar.
3) Add the cheese. Combine thoroughly.
4) Mix in flour and baking powder until just combined.
5) Bake until toothpick comes clean, about 45 minutes.

Baked Goat Cheese

Baked Goat Cheese - Breaded

Goat cheese always reminds me of my friend Peggy. It would be her way of treating herself after a great accomplishment, or perhaps just a long hard week. She would bake it in the oven in a bed of marinara sauce, and sco0p it up with fresh bread from a local bakery. I was always impressed with how decadent it appeared, yet how simple it was to prepare. It’s been a year or so since I’ve watch her make her creation, yet I’d never made it myself. But what better way to unwind with something rich and indulgent (yet surprisingly healthy) and so simple to prepare?

Baked Goat Cheese - EnteroBakes Goat Cheese - SlicedBaked Goat Cheese - MarinatingBaked Goat Cheese - On Cracker

When I saw this recipe I was reminded of my friend — and so, nostalgic, we went to the store and bought some to prepare. It was simple, yet you can make it more involved if you like. I chose to marinated it, as David recommended, in a little olive oil and herbs. When we were ready to eat I quickly dredged the slices in some homemade breadcrumbs (although store-bought pre-seasoned works just as well if you’re in a rush) and stuck it in the oven for a matter of minutes. Served with a warm tomato sauce and on some nice toasty bread or homemade crackers, a delicate bed of greens — it is a simple, decadent meal on its own, or it can be an appetizer or accompaniment to your main course. Now that I’m working and much too busy to spend hours on recipes, this will become a semi-frequent staple for those nights we want something special.

Baked Goat Cheese

Ingredients:
6 oz Soft Fresh Goat Cheese

Marinade (optional):
2 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary
2 teaspoons fresh chopped sage
Fresh ground pepper
Dash of Salt

Bread Crumbs:
2 slices day old bread, crumbled (should make 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary (minced)
1 teaspoon fresh sage (minced)

Directions:
1. Prepare the marinade. Mix salt, pepper, rosemary, sage, and olive oil in a dish to marinate. Slice goat cheese in 1/2 thick disks and place in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 days.

2. Toast bread crumbs. Crumble the bread finely. Mix with 1 teaspoon olive oil until just coated. Season with salt and pepper. Toast in oven at 400ºF for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix with chopped herbs.

3. Bake. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Remove cheese from marinade, allowing excess oil to drip off. Dredge in bread crumbs and place in oiled baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes, or until cheese starts to ooze out a bit. Serve on fresh toasted bread or crackers.

Ginger-Spiked Yogurt Tart with Coconut-Sesamee Seed Crust

Ginger Tart - Baked with Toppings

I love ginger. It has been sitting at the top of my favorite things list for quite some time. My favorite tea which I drink nearly every night before bed, is ginger. And I love when I find recipes that allow me to use ginger in a new way. Growing up I have had ginger cake, ginger snaps, and ginger bread men – all utilizing dried and ground ginger. But the flavor of fresh ginger, and the extra zing it delivers, I find more satisfying than the dried spice. This light, delicate, yet simple tart really features the fresh flavor of the ginger root. Of course you can leave out the ginger and use berries or orange zest, but when you can get the health benefits of ginger in dessert that tastes like this, why would you?

Ginger Tart - Ginger WholeGinger Tart - Pressing Ginger

Ginger Tart - CrustGinger Tart - Baked Crust

And this tart is really simple. As simple as making chocolate chip cookies – and perhaps even simpler beacuase you only need to make one batch (or you can do a few tiny tartletts if you have the cute little scalloped-rim dishes. That would be adorable). Its as simple as smushing together the crust, whisking together the filling, and baking for a half hour or so. And you’ll know its done because the filling won’t jiggle. It’s as simple as that. I believe the mystery to those fancy desserts has been solved: they’re not really that tricky after all. At least not this one.

The filling is sweet, tangy, and spicy all at the same time, accompanied by a crisp and buttery coconut-sesame crust: I have to say the combination is divine. This recipe is easy to cut in half, so if you wanna do a trial run before you commit yourself to a giant pie, go for it.

Ginger Tart

Crust:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup toasted rolled oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted
3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons honey
1 stick butter, chilled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
pinch of salt

Directions:
Grease tart pan or pie pan. Pre-heat oven to 350ºF. Toast oats, sesame seeds, and coconut until golden, just about 3 minutes on high heat. Combine first all the dry ingredients. Combine the honey using a fork, and then add the butter, mashing with a fork until evenly combined. Press evenly into tart pan, making a 3/4 inch-high edge. Poke shallow holes into crust bottom. Bake for 5 minutes, and remove.

Filling:
1 cup natural plain yogurt, strained through cheese cloth so thick
2 large eggs
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon lemon/lime/orange/grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon zest of lime or orange
1/4 cup ginger juice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (optional, for stronger taste)

Directions.
To make ginger juice, simply peed a piece of fresh ginger. Grate it on your box grated on the small side. Place the grated ginger in a lime juicer to squeeze as much of the juice out as possible.

Whisk together all the ingredients until smooth. Fill into partially baked pie crust. Bake for about 35-40 minutes at 350ºF, or until center is set.

Curried Egg Salad

Curried Egg Salad - Sandwhich

I never liked egg salad. Remember Mom? I loved loved loved coloring hard-boiled eggs for Easter. When I was tiny it was the highlight of my spring, except for my brithday of course. The Easter Bunny would hide them, we would search around the yard, and Jon would always win. Always… I had fun anyway though. But unfortunately this happy even was the next day followed by <<ugg>> the egg salad sandwich on toasted english muffins. They would always ask me to try it, but it made me gag. It was the yokes. Maybe I would have liked it if it didn’t have yoke…or mayonnaise because I didn’t like that either. To think of it I liked none of those salads with mayo: tuna, chicken, egg.

Now I’ve grown up. But believe it or not, before this very day I had never eaten an egg salad sandwich. I can’t believe it either. Going through the archives of my favorite recipe blogs I caught the eye of this curried egg salad sandwich. Remembering that I now love deviled eggs (love love love), I figured, how could I not like egg salad? It’s essentially a bunch of deviled eggs mashed together and served on toast. Only reheating leftovers could have been simpler (and if we had them that might have been served…but we didn’t). It was a lazy day. (Yesterday we bought 3 pounds of squid and 5 pounds of tilapia, and in order to fit it in our freezer — which was overgrown with ice –I had to chisel it clean. And then I broke the freezer.) needless to say, I barely felt like dicing veggies. This was uninvolved but flavorful and satisfying.

Curried Egg Salad

Ingredients:
6 hard boiled eggs
1 small apple, diced
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/3 cup greek style plain yogurt
1/2 large red onion, sliced transparently thin
1.5 – 2 teaspoons curry (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Fresh cilantro, torn — a few tablespoons, to your taste (parsley is fine too)

Directions:
Chop the eggs into 1/4 inch cubes and finely dice the apple and slice the onion. Toast your walnuts for about 3-5 minutes, and let cool. Roughly chop, but I like to leave the chunks rather large. Mix egg, apple, and walnuts together in a mixing bowl. Separately whisk together the yogurt, curry, and salt. Pour yogurt mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a fork. Slightly mash everything together, but not too much so the eggs provide some texture. Lastly stir in the cilantro. Serve on freshly toasted bread.

Good Things Happen When You Buy Too Many Beets: Beet Slaw Three Ways

There different versions with the same base: grated raw beets and carrots. The raw beets maintain more of there superpower nutrients than boiled or even roasted beets. And they are fresh and delicious. Besides how they stain my hands, I love how they make everything they touch fuchsia. People, give beets a try!

Beet Salads - Mint

1. Beets, carrrots, apples, grated. Red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, freshly torn mint leaves- quite a bit of it.

Beet Salads - Cilantro Dressing

2. Beets and carrots grated. Cilantro-lime yogurt dressing (1/2 cup plain yogurt, juice of 1/2 a lime, 1/4 cup cilantro pureed). Salt and pepper to taste.

Beet Salads - Pepitoria and Queso Seco

3. Beets and Carrots grated. One tablespoon pepitoria (ground, toasted pumpkin seeds. Try sesamee seeds or sunflower seeds as an alternative, toasted and crushed a bit in a coffee grinder). One tablespoon queso seco (use finely grated parmesan or roman as an alternative). Juice of one lime. Toss to combine.

Moroccan Fava Beans

Moroccan Fava Beans - Plated

You know, I had never had fava beans before Guatemala. I’m sure they exist in the U.S., because I encountered a number of recipes written by U.S. based authors. However, they were never served in my family, my friends families (that I know of), nor in any restaurant or school cafeteria I ever visited. Perhaps its because in appearance they resemble lima beans. I don’t know. But they are delicious and praised for their extremly nutritious content. Low in sodium, fat and cholesterol, yet have extremely high protein and iron content for a bean. Theses “nutrition superheroes” were often called the “meat of the poor” . I hope they are becoming more prevalent, for all ya’lls sake.

In Guatemala I started noticing them because of the vendors selling boquitas (snack foods, usually to accompany alcoholic beverages) on the streets. When my friend Katie (hola pic!) was living in Guatemala last year we would frequent a local cantina situated a perfect distance between our apartments. After work we would walk down there and share a liter of beer to shake off the day. Often a boquitas vendor would stop into the pub offering spiced peanuts, caramelized nuts, cashews, and fried fava beans. I was crazy about these. They were deep fried and still had their shells on, but I enjoyed peeling them away before enjoying the crunchy salted beans. Not exactly healthy.

After this initial encounter I started researching the beans and finding recipes I wanted to try…but I could not find any fresh beans! How could there be the fried version but not the fresh? Grr… Once I found a  canned variety at a Mediterranean market, but they were a different variety. Delicious but lacked the freshness I had read about. Finally last week Héc and I went to the market and I saw a bag of fresh fava beans. For 10Q we took them home, and I made this concoction.

Moroccan Fava Beans - BoilingMoroccan Fava Beans - Pan fried with cebollines

When I told Héc that we would be having fava (faba in Spanish) for dinner he sounded less than thrilled. I even think I caught some eye-rolling. But since we had eaten tenderloin the night before I figured it was a vegetarian night. I came across a number of dishes, mostly calling for a simple herb and lemon mixture, or for a puree similar to hummus. They all sounded lovely in their simplicity, but I settled on a Moroccan version with a spicy tomato sauce, to which I made a few adjustments of my own. Let me just say for the record that Héc cleaned the pan.

A novice’s note on paprika: I tend to forget how spicy my hot paprika is. My lack of reverence for this spice originates from the memory of my mom’s delicious twice-baked potatoes. The red paprika-flecked top, I imagined, was only for color, as I could detect no noticeable taste.  This memory, despite my updated knowledge of the varieties of paprika, must remain stronger than my pain-sensors’ ability to form new memories of my current reality. So I tend ot over-use the paprika. Needing cool this batch down I added a few tablespoons of yogurt, which was the touch. In the recipe below I scaled back the amount of hot paprika from what I actually used, so taste it yourself  and adjust to you liking.

Moroccan Fava Beans

Ingredients:
1 lb fava beans (fresh or frozen. canned is ok, but skip first step)
6 Roma tomatoes, diced or one 14oz can diced tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
1 teaspoon hot paprika
1.5 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 additional garlic cloves, minced
3 green onions, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons greek style plain yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt to taste, and generous amount of fresh black pepper

Directions:

1. Place fava beans in a large pot, add some salt, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until tender but not mushy. Drain immediately and run under cold water. Set aside.

2. Tomato sauce: Sauté garlic and onions in a little olive oil until beginning to brown. Add tomatoes and spices, and a few pinches of salt, and let simmer on medium heat for about 20 minutes until tomatoes break apart. Remove from heat and blend with hand blender until smooth but still fairly chunky, OR let cool and blend in processor or blender. Set aside.

3. About 15 minutes before ready to serve, heat a little more oil in a pan, and sauté remaining cloves of garlic. Add fava beans and green onions and sauté on high heat until the beans become golden brown and crispy.

4. Warm tomato puree and stir in the yogurt. Toss the sauce with the beans, and sprinkle on fresh cilantro. Serve with crusty bread, pita, or crackers for sopping up the sauce.