Saturday, July 6, 2013

Recipe: Asian Jicama-Mango Salad

Jicama (pronounced like you're mid-hiccup when you call for your ma, "hick-ah-ma") is an often overlooked vegetable (well, actually a tuber similar to a potato) that deserves your attention. It's known as a Mexican Yam or Turnip and is a refreshing raw, slightly starchy treat with subtle flavors like green beans or peas and apples. Don't worry, it tastes nothing like a raw potato/yam or turnip.

Since it's refreshing and subtle, it pairs well with bolder flavors. Enter: Habanero. I have a love-hate relationship with this chili. I love its fruity, almost sweet heat. I don't like its intense heat. It can be up to 100x as hot as Tabasco sauce! You can avoid the heat by avoiding the capsaicin which is concentrated in the seeds and the pith where the seeds are attached.

Habaneros and jicama are from Mexico, so you can imagine all the Mexican flavor combos you could add. I was feeling adventurous though, so I went with some Asian flavors of ginger and sesame oil for my salad.

Asian Jicama-Mango Salad

1 large jicama
1 mango
1 bell pepper (color is your choice, mine was red)
1/4 c cilantro
7-8 radishes
handful of chives (or green onions)

1 T sesame oil
2 T lime juice
1 T brown rice vinegar
2 diced itsy-bitsy habaneros
1 T grated ginger
1 T bee-free honee (or a sweetener of your choice)

Dice the veggies small (see photo) and place in a bowl. Mix the sauce ingredients in a glass measuring cup (if you're worried about the heat, try 1/2 a habanero and up it until you're comfortable.) Blend the sauce well and add to veggie bowl and toss well. Serve cold or room temperature.

Don't forget one of the best parts...eating the mango you didn't cut off the!!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Recipe: Taco Dip

Eating out is fun, but not nearly as fun as spending time making a full out meal at home. I'm not talking about a rush job like a sandwich or stir fry. I'm talking about an entree, side dishes... maybe even an appetizer. It's rare in our house to make the time to make full out meals. We're usually running from one thing to the other, or working late. But not tonight...and tonight was good, really good.

In celebration of the 4th of July, I wanted to make a vegan version of a family favorite: taco dip. It's layered with a chili-seasoned sour cream/cream cheese, salsa, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. This stuff is a hit at family gatherings and really easy to make vegan.

Vegan Taco Dip

1/2 tub Tofutti cream cheese (or your choice)
1/2 tub Tofutti sour cream (or your choice)
3/4 c Pace medium salsa (or your choice)
1 romaine heart
1 medium tomato
1/3 white onion
1 fresh jalapeno (optional)
1/2 T cumin (to taste)
1 T chipotle (to taste)
2 tsp ancho (to taste)
1/2 T garlic powder (to taste)
1 T lime juice (to taste)
1/2 T hot sauce (to taste

Mix cream cheese and sour cream in a small bowl until smooth. Add in spices, lime juice and hot sauce (you can skip this step by mixing in a half package of your favorite taco seasoning (check ingredients if you're making it vegan.)) Spread this mixture at the base of your dish (use a large dinner plate or you can double this recipe for a 9x11 dish). Top with the salsa and spread even (try not to mix the layers.) Dice the lettuce, tomato, onion and jalapeno and layer in that order on the salsa mixture (think you want to be able to get a good mix of this on a chip, so dice it small.) Serve with chips or fresh veggies.

That was just the appetizer! Check out this spread: homemade refried pinto beans; fajita-style peppers, onions and mushrooms; fresh guacamole; and jicama-mango salad (recipe upcoming.)