cumbias and the 4th

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corn and poblanos |

Today, I find my mind wandering off to the 4th of July celebrations at my parents’ house. We paid homage to “American” culture with frijoles rancheros and flour tortillas (in place of our Yucatecan black beans and corn tortillas). My dad would simmer fajitas on the grill while we worked on guac and pico inside and the cumbias would keep everyone in sync. As my sisters and I got older and embraced more and more of the world beyond the mini-Yucatan within the walls of our house, these holidays stayed identical – fajitas, flour tortillas, and cumbias. It’s how we could tell home apart from the rest of our shifting Chicano world.

Our grill looks a little different than my parents’ with vegetables taking center stage and our world may look a little different than my parents’, but the cumbias will always be playing in my heart.

Happy 4th!

Searing chiles on the grill.
Getting ready for my mami’s arrival.
Listening to Los Lobos –
Cumbia Raza.

Pickles, yo. 

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preserving the seasons

Confession: I have been buying fermented pickles for well over a year (maybe two) and swapping for them whenever possible. Once the household got a hold of fermented pickles, there was no turning back. Vinegar-brined pickles have not cut it since. I hadn’t gotten up the nerve to make my own yet. The process is simple enough (veggies sitting on the counter in salt brine and spices), but fermenting veggies is by definition allowing micro-organisms to grow. Ew. I get it, but a mental hurdle for my germ-fighting soul.

Today was the day, though:

I’ll check back in a week or two with progress. 

veggie meal plan – june 22, 2015

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vegetarian meal plans

The weather around here has been strange (and unwelcomed, quite frankly), but our local vegetable stash is doing its best to shake it all off. Summer is here and I am cooking with it every day. We have produce in every nook and cranny of the house, so a week of cooking for meals now and for later in the year is in order.

Overnight Steel Cut Oats*
Quick Breakfast Fried Rice*
Summer Scramble
Yogurt & Coconut-Pecan Granola & Peaches
Multi-Grain Waffles and Peach Butter

Bacon, Kale & Tomato Bowl (not real bacon, of course)**
Roasted Root Veggies, Soba & Tofu on Greens

Veggie Burgers
Summer Squash Risotto
Caldo de Papa


Snacks & Sides
Hummus & Carrots
Watermelon Popsicles
Zucchini Cakes
Eggplant Crisps
Cucumber Water
Sliced Cukes (with lime, salt, chile)


Fermented Dill Pickles***
Peach Jam
Enchilada Sauce (for freezer)

* Whole Grain Mornings
** Salad Samurai
*** Hip Girl’s Guide to the Kitchen

crispy okra

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crispy okra |

Got my first batch of okra today and we are excited to revisit this now-classic summer snack…

Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to have non-gooey okra. These little guys are what finally got me to cross over into the land of the okra-lover. Crispy and spicy, they rarely make the short distance from the counter to the kitchen table and have become one of our favorite summer snacks. Yes… okra can be a snack!

Crispy Okra
½ pound of okra
1 tablespoon of olive oil
ancho chile powder

  1. Preheat oven to 375º.
  2. Slice stems off okra and then cut lengthwise.
  3. Toss okra in olive oil.
  4. Spread on baking sheet with cut side up.
  5. Sprinkle spices on as conservatively/liberally as your palette would like.
  6. Place baking sheet on lowest rack in oven and bake until crispy. Approximately 20-25 minutes.

If perchance, they don’t get eaten up right out of the oven, they make a wonderful side to veggie burgers and/or summer veggie sandwiches.

crispy okra |

weekend cooking

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I think it was about a year (or two) ago that I began to do embrace weekend meal prep on the regular. Getting all my legumes & grains cooked, sauces and dressings prepared, and portioning up a batch of stew makes the week go down so much easier. Admittedly, this sometimes cuts out valuable kitchen “play” time, so trying to figure out where I make room for adding in the new and fun stuff that keeps homecooked meals exciting. 

How do you keep things fresh and exciting?