Cowboy Caviar

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A few weeks ago I found out about Cowboy Caviar after I had made a simple bean salad that was reminiscent to someone of this recipe which they shared with me. Not only do I love the name, but I also love it’s simplicity and subtle different flavors that really make this recipe shine. The spicy base of black-eyed peas, avocado, corn and tomatoes combined with the red wine vinegar hot sauce is simply dynamite on a bed of romaine lettuce with crumbled tortilla chips on top – and it didn’t even need additional dressing.

The good news is that black-eyed peas are cheap, high in protein, and low in calories, cholesterol and saturated fat. They also have a good amount of potassium and iron. If you are concerned about iron intake on a vegetarian diet, beans and dried fruit (such as raisins and apricots) will more than compensate what you don’t get from red meat. Additionally, eating foods high in vitamin C will actually increase iron absorption in the body. So enjoy this salad with a handful of dried fruit for a healthy, nutritious meal!

COWBOY CAVIAR
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons hot sauce
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 firm-ripe avocado (about 10 oz.)
1 can (15 oz.) black-eyed peas
1 can (11 oz.) corn kernels
2/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 pound Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
Salt

In a large bowl, mix vinegar, hot sauce, oil, garlic, and pepper. Cut avocado into 1/2-inch cubes. Add to vinegar mixture and mix gently to coat.
Drain and rinse peas and corn. Add peas, corn, onions, cilantro, and tomatoes to avocado; mix gently to coat. Add salt to taste.

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Tostada Mexican Pizza

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There’s nothing like the jarring sound of a screaming toddler at 4:55am. For the past few months, our 18-month old son Everett has been waking up like clockwork, no matter what time we put him down the night before. We’ve tried 8:00pm, 7:00pm, and 6:30pm. And what makes it worse is that he doesn’t want to nap longer than 40 minutes during the day. We used to do two naps, now he’s down to one shimmering moment of time after lunch. I hate parenting books. And now Asher has started napping at preschool. Long, refreshing naps that keep him running around until 9:30pm.

What I’m trying to say is that we’ve implemented family dinner at 6:00pm and we needed something quick and easy. These Tostada Mexican Pizzas are deliciously satisfying, and the components stemming from the standard “7-layer dip” cross over as toddler finger foods! Obviously you need a beer pairing to get through the kids post-dinner bath time, we opted for Revolution Anti-Hero.

TOSTADA MEXICAN PIZZA
Whole wheat enchilada wraps
Sliced black olives
Grape tomatoes
15-oz can refried pinto beans
1 avocado, mashed
Green onions, chopped
Salsa

Turn on broiler and place wraps on baking sheet on top shelf in oven for 2-3 minutes per side. You want them crunchy and a bit charred, but watch they don’t smoke and burn! Smear layer of refried pinto beans, followed by smashed avocado. Top with veggie toppings and salsa. Better than nachos!

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Hoboken Black Bean Burgers

BURGERThis weekend I had the immense pleasure of escaping to NYC for my friend Stephanie’s baby shower for two glorious nights and three full days. From sunning on their rooftop deck in Hoboken overlooking the musky Manhattan skyline, to prancing around Times Square searching for overpriced NYPD-themed stuffed animals for my boys back home, to spending $11 on the smallest glass of wine in the world during intermission at the powerful performance of “All The Way” at the Niel Simon Theatre, I loved every minute of the energy, power, and thrill of the big city. But more importantly, I loved being present to welcome my friends into the wonderful world of parenthood … and to wish them luck with her 5-floor walk-up.

On Saturday evening we had a little BBQ and I experimented with a new recipe for black bean burgers from Skinny Taste which featured a kind of pureed salsa in the base. I have always struggled with keeping black bean burgers from falling apart, and after a little research I learned that freezing the patties for 2 hours prior to cooking actually keeps them intact. So I had to impart this little nugget of knowledge on my blog! Not sure Frank Sinatra would approve of these Hoboken Black Bean Burgers, but I sure do.

HOBOKEN BLACK BEAN BURGERS
16 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup chopped scallions
3 tbsp chopped cilantro
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 jumbo egg
1 tbsp cumin
1/4 to 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp hot sauce
1/2 cup quick oats

In a medium bowl, mash beans with a fork until thick and pasty. In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, cilantro, onion, and garlic. Mix in add oats, eggs and spices. Then stir into mashed beans. Divide mixture into four patties and place them onto a flat surface covered with wax paper. I did add a few tablespoons additional oats to help keep the mixture firm. Freeze at least 2 hours before cooking or keep frozen until ready to cook. Bake at 375 degrees or pan fry 7 minutes per side. I served with a nice dollop of guacamole.

Soyrizo Burgers

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The only way to live to the fullest is to appreciate every moment in the present. Never regret the past, never doubt a decision in momentum, and seize every opportunity as they present themselves for your future. We are all here to learn how to rise above triviality and self-inflicted suffering. Order is a means to achieve a balance. Obviously, I’m feeling inspired after a day-long Buddhist retreat this past weekend where I basked in the glow of 2 hours of silent meditation! In writing this post I realize that cooking is my own means of meditation. And so today I share a truly simple recipe for Soyrizo Burgers that can be made in large batches and frozen. I used an egg to help them stick together but you can easily substitute 1 tablespoon of flax seed oil and 3 tablespoons of water. For the photo I actually used Upton’s soyrizo seitan which did not stick together as well as the other brands.

SOYRIZO BURGER
1 12-oz package of soyrizo (Trader Joe’s brand is our favorite)
1 can of black beans, drained
1 egg
Vegetable oil

Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until beans are small pieces. Do NOT purée unless you like to eat baby food! Form 3″ patties about 1/2″ thick. Pan fry in a small amount of vegetable oil about 3 minutes per side. Serve on a whole grain bun with plenty of avocado or fresh guacamole.