Black Bean Soup with Salsa Verde

Black Bean Soup with Salsa Verde

Fiesta in a Bowl
Black Bean Soup with Salsa Verde

This is one sassy black bean soup. It is easy to make and gets a kick of heat and smoky authentic flavor from the addition of fire-roasted salsa verde added at the end of cooking. Let each diner go crazy with the garnishes according to their own taste: pickled red onion, garlic crema, tomato, jalapeño, and cilantro all add to this fiesta in a bowl. The black bean canvas is artistically painted with a array of flavors, textures, and colors. 

With only 4 ingredients (tomatillos, jalapeños, salt, and water) –  our favorite Salsa de Molcajete Verde from the refrigerated section at the supermarket, adds robust Mexican taste without having to take the extra steps to roast chiles and tomatillos over an open flame. 

Black Bean Soup with Salsa Verde Recipe

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Bay Shrimp Ceviche, Baja-Style

Ceviche Baja-Style

Refreshing Bay shrimp Ceviche, Baja-Style

The beauty of this bay shrimp ceviche is that there is no need to search out pristine, raw, expensive fresh seafood when in the mood for a refreshing light meal.

Toss Wild Pacific Coldwater Bay Shrimp with fresh squeezed lime juice. Fold in chopped vegetables, refrigerate then enjoy 15 minutes later! These little shrimp have a delicious sweet flavored meat with a medium soft texture, perfect for ceviche.

We served this dish al fresco, Baja-style. The weather’s been in the low 90°s during the day here in Vegas. Chilled ceviche with house-made chips makes a delightful poolside snack. Add a frosty cerveza and there is nothing better.

These sustainable bay shrimp are harvested from the Pacific Ocean in cold waters from San Francisco up to Canada, with most of the catch coming from along the Oregon coast.  The shrimp are fully cooked, peeled, and frozen. I keep a bag in the freezer. At $15 for a 2 lb. bag from Costco, it’s a great economical protein source to use in many recipes from soups to salads to omelettes.

Baja-style is the type of ceviche served all over Baja California which includes Mexican staples such as avocado, cucumber, and tomato as opposed to a Peruvian-style ceviche which is prepared with vegetables popular in Peru, such as sweet potato and choclo. Both great, just different.

Bay Shrimp Ceviche, Baja-Style Recipe

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Mexican Matzo Ball Soup

Mexican Matzo Ball Soup

Mexican Matzo Ball Soup

Cilantro Matzo Balls with Toasted Coriander and Cumin
Chicken Soup with Avocado, Jalapeño, Lime, Onion, Cilantro

The holiest of Jewish holidays, Yom Kippur ends at sunset tonight. This evening we break the fast with something simultaneously traditional and nontraditional: matzo ball soup with an unexpected twist!

Mexican flavors including cilantro, coriander, and cumin bring a bright zippy freshness to our beloved soup. No soup could be better than Nana’s, but this year things are mighty different, so why not the soup? 5781, the year we served our matzo ball soup with avocado, jalapeño, and lime!

Mexican Matzo Ball Soup Recipe

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Heavenly Farmer Cheese Blintzes

Farmer Cheese Blintzes

Heavenly Farmer Cheese Blintzes

An enjoyable dinner at the new Bugsy & Meyer’s Steakhouse here in Las Vegas and the approaching Jewish High Holy Days curiously inspired us to make homemade blintzes.

We discovered that infamous Jewish mobsters Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky were huge fans of the Cheese Blintzes at Ratner’s Restaurant. Founded in 1905 and located on the Lower East Side of New York City, Ratner’s did not serve meat in deference to the kosher prohibition against mixing milk with meat. They served a Jewish kosher dairy menu with cheese blintzes as one of the most loved dishes.

Growing up, our Jewish pancakes were always stuffed with farmer cheese, but, alas, not the easiest cheese to find in modern times… As luck would have it, my friends at Lifeway Kefir make Farmer Cheese that is happily having a resurgence. It is a cultured soft cheese made from an old world recipe with a distinctive tangy flavor, and packed with probiotics. Feeling nostalgic for Jewish comfort foods from our youth, we found the perfect authentic filling for our blintzes.

We prefer our blintzes cooked in browned butter for a nuttier taste and on the slightly crispy side, always served with the obligatory sour cream and lots of other complementary toppings. Here’s our recipe….

Farmer Cheese Blintzes Recipe

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Got a Blender? Make this Cold Soup!

Chilled Beet, Fennel, Kefir SoupChilled Soup Bliss

Beet, Fennel, Kefir, Sour Cream
Horseradish, Lemon, Garlic, Dijon Mustard

You can chug this chilled soup from a tumbler and be in heaven, but ladle it into cold shallow bowls and garnish with some fantastic accompaniments, and it will be one of the most extraordinary hot weather soups you’ll serve this summer.

It is garnished with a dizzying array of chopped hard boiled egg, a kefir drizzle, radish, sliced pickles, lemon, chives, and fennel fronds.

The best part is the mind-blowing complex flavors with tangy notes from the kefir, earthiness from beets, hints of anise from fennel, a pungent kick from the Dijon mustard and a peppery kick from the horseradish.

The second best part is how easy it is to make. Combine the soup ingredients in a blender until smooth, chill until nice and cold – and there you have a perfect summer soup… simple and easy enough to enjoy for lunch today or with jazzy garnishes that make it elegant enough to serve at your next al fresco dinner party.

This recipe was inspired by the famous Eastern European Cold Beet Soup called Holodnik. I add fennel, Dijon mustard, garlic, and prepared horseradish to the traditional ingredients for a more spicy and complex flavor profile. Chopped bread & butter pickles replace the usual cucumber to add sweet and sour elements.

Chilled Beet, Fennel, Kefir Soup Recipe

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Julia Child’s Upside-Down Martini

Julia Child's Upside-Down Martini

Julia Child’s Upside-Down Martini

Joyeux Anniversaire Julia Child! Today would have been Julia’s 108th birthday. It has been a tradition to celebrate her birthday on Taste With The Eyes for the past several years.

This year, let’s raise a toast to Julia with one of her favorite cocktails, the Upside-Down Martini also known as a reverse or “wet” martini, made with five parts vermouth to one part gin. We are going to craft Julia’s special drink with exclusively French alcools.

Noilly Prat was a favorite of Julia’s, a fine vermouth, beautifully crafted by the sea in the South of France. It is made with 14 global herbs and spices such as chamomile and coriander from Morocco, bitter orange from Tunisia, and orris root from Italy.

Diplôme Dry Gin has been produced in France since 1945 from a selection of the finest natural botanicals including genever berries, whole lemons, angelica, saffron, and fennel seed. The original recipe was perfected during WWII in the City of Dijon. At the end of the war, the original recipe became the official gin for the American Army stationed in Europe.

With naturally less alcohol than a traditional martini, Julia would say, “The best thing about a reverse martini is that you can have two of them!” (Full upside-down martini recipe below).

Julia Child Birthday
Rouen, France – Novembre 1948

A Historic Re-Creation

Please join me as I re-create Julia Child’s very first meal in France, one that she experienced with her husband Paul Child. The story takes place in Rouen, France in November of 1948.

I originally wrote this post back in 2007. I resurrect it in August, sometimes with a new recipe, to celebrate Julia Child’s birthday. This year I am including a drink that she especially liked, the Upside-Down Martini.

The text is as she describes her meal to us in My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme, published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2006.

The re-creation photographs are ones that I have taken on my travels; some are from France, others from California, a couple are shot in my own home. I use the sepia tone to give the images the feel of a single place over 70 years ago.

Come, let’s travel back in time and enjoy French food and revel in its perfection via Julia…

Julia Child’s First Meal in France

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Chilled Kefir Soup

Chilled Kefir SoupChilled Kefir Soup With Cucumber,
Herbs, Edible flowers, and Kefir “Waves”

This hot weather calls for a cool refreshing light lunch. How does Chilled Kefir Soup with Cucumber and Herbs served with home-baked seeded artisan bread and a glass of un-oaked chardonnay sound? How about we serve it Spa Style, in the pool. Put on your swimming suit and let’s do lunch!

Chilled Kefir SoupChilled Kefir Soup Recipe

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