Gallo Pinto “Rice & Beans” with a Fusilli Twist

Gallo Pinto “Rice & Beans” with a Fusilli Twist

Gallo Pinto “Rice & Beans” with a Fusilli Twist
Fried Eggs, Red Chiles, Scallions

A delightful vegetarian dish had fallen off my radar. We very much enjoyed Gallo Pinto years ago when traveling in Costa Rica. It’s a humble combination of white rice and black beans livened up with bell pepper and onion, lots of rough chopped cilantro, and flavored with Salsa Lizano. As Salsa Lizano is not widely available, Worcestershire sauce makes a terrific substitute. The fermented liquid condiment is made from barley malt vinegar, spirit vinegar, molasses, sugar, salt, anchovies, tamarind, onions, and garlic. (Vegetarian versions are available without anchovies). Worcestershire adds a unique and complex flavor to ordinary rice and beans.

For a twist on the usual recipe, I substitute Brown Rice Fusilli Pasta from my friends at Explore Asian for the white rice. The dish is topped with eggs fried in olive oil, spicy red chiles and thinly sliced scallions. It makes a satisfying meal, suitable for breakfast, lunch, or even dinner.

Gallo Pinto Recipe

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Carrot Top Pesto

Fresh, Fabulous, and Frugal - Carrot Top Pesto!

Carrot Top Pesto

Remember when the checker at the supermarket would ask if you would like her to remove the tops from your carrots? With one swift twist, those unruly tops were separated from the orange roots, and unceremoniously placed in the trash can at her feet.

What took us so long to realize that the tops have taste, and nutrition? And value. The feathery green tops of carrots taste a bit like parsley laced with carrot flavor. They make an excellent pesto, can be sautéed in a blend with other greens, or chopped and used as part of an herb garnish.

Fresh, Fabulous, and Frugal - Carrot Top Pesto!

I recently returned from a spectacular trip to Alaska where I had the absolute pleasure of getting to know Chef Brenda. She is an artist in the galley – a master of multiple cuisines. Her dishes are fresh and creative, and synergistic – she has ability to put together magical meals where the food is enhanced by the mood and the environment, and vice versa. She can fillet a whole king salmon as expertly as she bakes mouth-watering pastries and stunning cakes.

Chef Brenda

One night on our trip, Brenda paired a slow-roasted brisket with a delightful side dish of roasted carrots with a carrot top pesto. I recreated her recipe at home, it is my pleasure to share it here… 

Chef Brenda’s Carrot Top Pesto Recipe

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Rice Noodles with Miso Butter and Ramen-Style Toppings

Rice Noodles with Miso Butter and Ramen-Style Toppings

Rice Noodles with Miso Butter and Ramen-Style Toppings
Corn, Seaweed, Scallion, Ginger, Bacon (optional), Egg

It’s not a soup, but a noodle dish that borrows the fabulous flavors of miso ramen. The folks at the Food Network are featuring portable, picnic-ready dishes this week. To participate, I’ve transformed ramen soup into a delightful summer noodle salad that is served at room temperature and travels from the backyard, to the park, to the beach, and beyond.

Using fresh summer corn off the cob – it’s seasonal, tasty and unique, sure to be a hit on any picnic buffet. For gluten-free and vegetarian friends – I use rice noodles rather than wheat-based ramen noodles, and while pork is a main ingredient in many ramen soups, the bacon can be served on the side.

Rice Noodles with Miso Butter Recipe

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Roasted Asparagus with Olives, Parmesan Inspired by Alain Ducasse

Rice Noodles with Pan-Roasted Asparagus, Olives, Parmesan
Pan-Roasted Asparagus over Brown Rice Noodles
Kalamata Olives, Balsamic Reduction, Shaved Parmesan

Organic brown rice noodles make this a fabulous gluten-free meal. Or omit the noodles and serve this asparagus as a low-carb side dish. Either way, French Master Chef Alain Ducasse’s recipe for “Roasted Asparagus with Black Olives” is a springtime winner. It’s the genius combination of just a few choice ingredients, it shines in its simplicity: Asparagus, Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Olives, Parmesan.

In his snappy cookbook, Nature, Ducasse shares “simple, healthy, and good” recipes featuring plenty of fruit and vegetables, grains with a little meat or fish, all cooked in olive oil. The Chef admonishes us, “You can’t cook well without good ingredients.” To that end, make sure to choose the freshest asparagus, high quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and authentic Parmesan for this recipe.

Pan-Roasted Asparagus over Rice Noodles Recipe

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Crispy Thai Tamarind Fish with Brown Rice Noodles

Crispy Thai Tamarind Fish with Brown Rice Noodles

Crispy Thai Tamarind Fish

Panko Crusted Fillet of Fresh Sole
Bell Pepper, Onion, Ginger, Carrot, Chile
Sweet & Sour Tamarind Sauce
Thai Brown Rice Vermicelli Noodles

Panko-crusted petrale sole sits atop Thai brown rice vermicelli noodles in a brothy, sweet & sour tamarind sauce loaded with fresh vegetables. Traditionally served with white rice, this fish dish is especially great paired with these noodles which are made in Thailand.

Sweet, delicately flavored, slightly nutty petrale sole is wonderful when sautéed with a panko crust. The fillets are just the right thickness – the exterior gets divinely crisp while the fish is cooked to a fine-textured moist perfection. Crispy crust, tangy broth, slippery noodles, zippy ginger, fiery chiles, licorice-y Thai basil – it’s an irresistible combination of texture and flavor.

Thai Tamarind Fish Recipe

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