Saturday, September 26, 2009

something spicier

I cook every night. It's a hobby, a necessity, economical and even expressive. It's a way to decompress after a day of work and spend time with Josh for something we both enjoy and need. It's a way for me to give Josh a wee bit of comfort when days are hard, lost in stress or business or just to add my presence to his day. I had the urge to share one of my favorite recipes. I realize it's faux Mexican food, but nothing pleases me more than the combination of Mexican flavors, especially the tang of lime juice tossed with fresh, creamy avocado slices or the earthy blend of cumin and coriander sizzling with a saute of sweet caramelized onions and crunchy, juicy peppers.

Pop a top off a Corona and you'll feel like you're sitting right in a Taquiera in the Mission. OK, maybe that's not completely true, but at least you'll have saved a substantial amount of money and transit time on a stinky bus, all the while achieving a healthy, hearty and flavorful meal.

Easily serves 4--or in the case of Josh and I, dinner at night and leftover lunches the next day!

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup (I'm sure this blend exists somewhere in some form.)

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil - for sauteing
  • 1 onion and 1 red or yellow bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 jalapeno pepper and 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3/4 frozen or fresh corn
  • 3 cups of vegetable stock, 2 cups of water
  • 1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of cumin, 2 tablespoons of coriander
  • 1 can of pinto or kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro, plus some for serving
  • 2 tortillas - heated in the oven for 5-7 minutes at 375 degrees or until crisp
  • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced - rub with a teaspoon of lime juice
  • Cheddar cheese and sour cream for garnish (can also add chopped green onions)
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon of salt (or to taste), 1 teaspoon of fresh cracked pepper

1. Chop up the jalapeno, pepper, onion and garlic and sweat the veggies out for 3-4 minutes in the olive oil. Add the cumin and coriander--mix well and let it saute until the onions and peppers are tender. Stir in the corn and tomato sauce. Mix well and add the broth and water. Bring to a simmer, add the salt, pepper, cilantro, beans and the juice of one lime. Cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.

2. In the mean time, heat the tortillas in the oven, and once done, cut into 1 inch strips. Pit and slice the avocado and rub with lime juice.

3. Ladle soup into large bowls and top with tortilla strips, cheese, sour cream, cilantro and a squirt of lime juice. I add in the avocado slices around this garnish. Serve and enjoy!!!