Sexy Mexican at Toloache

Another day, another chance to eat Mexican food, amirite?

When I was invited to come try the menu at Toloache Soho, complete with margarita pairing, I was like…OKAY!

And that’s it for the valley girl portion of the review, I promise!

The tasting menu was long and winding, so instead of featuring the  (very few) misses, I’m going to focus on the hits!

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Spicy guacamole (in the top right corner)

Maybe it isn’t the newest thing on the block but it might just be the best. The slow, smoky burn of chipotle with buttery avocado and salty cotija cheese is the ideal dip for freshly fried, almost saltless tortilla chips. The complimentary salsa is thick and smooth,with a fruity, very mild heat – perfect for those who are a little scared of spicy foods.

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Crispy tostada topped with avocado pure, crabmeat, sea urchin, and Oaxacan peanut salsa.

My favorite bite of the night, no question. The sea urchin is a little on the oceanic side, but I love that – if you only like mild Santa Barbara uni, this isn’t for you. For me, the salty uni with the sweet crab and crunchy, savory peanut salsa is a  dynamite starter. It’s maybe the best iteration of Mexican seafood that I have ever had. Of course, the tiny tuna ceviche taco you see ain’t so slouchy either!

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Brisket taco with horseradish crema (lower lefthand corner)

Mm-mm good. Very tender, with a strong beefy taste – not too many spices here to take away form the pure, mineral-y taste of the beef. The horseradish crema is extremely mild, but enough to accentuate the beef’s texture and cut through the fat.

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Carne Asada

This is the stuff. This skirt steak is cooked perfectly – that’s not an exaggeration, it is textbook perfect. Charred on the outside with a pink, tender interior that is neither raw nor chewy – how do they do that so well? It’s marinated in something sweet that goes well with the best gratin I have had outside of France. It’s classically made – thin, tender potatoes in a creamy, cheesy sauce that is equal parts gooey cheese and delightful burnt edges. The mole is way too bitter and heavily spiced for my tastes – some mole, like this, tends to taste like tobacco to me – but the accompanying guacamole is delicious.

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Roasted Pineapple Tres Leches Cake

Get this. Do not be swayed by the excellent churros nor the appealingly jiggly flan. Go straight for this – it’s pina colada in cake form. Intensely sweet pineapple, made even sweeter than usual because it is roasted, sits atop a cloud of whipped cream. The cake, soaked in heavy cream, milk, and sweetened condensed milk, breaks apart if you look at it the wrong way. It’s sweet, creamy, and rich.

That’s what she said.

Toloache excels at meats and most desserts. Stick to them and you will be pleased. Oh, and that uni tostada. And those chips are really swell…

What am I saying? You can’t go wrong here. It’s busy and trendy – perfect for a date or a night out with a best friend. 

Oh, and why didn’t I mention the margaritas? Because I couldn’t choose just one to feature. Every single one was top notch. Fresh, potent, and all too drinkable.

And those margaritas are why Mexican food is ALWAYS a good idea. 

Disclaimer: I was here for a press meal. My meal was covered by the restaurant. I was not required to write a review and my opinions are my own. 

Otto’s Tacos is A Taste of Home

I’m not going to fool around with some twee opening about how I love NYC but I miss California’s Mexican food.

Because I have already done that.

I’m just going to say it.

I found a piece of home at Otto’s Tacos.

Otto’s Tacos was opened in late 2013 by Otto himself. You couldn’t hope to meet a nicer guy. He is always at the restaurant and is the first to tell you that he isn’t a cook – he just loves and misses southern Californian taco trucks. That’s where the idea for the restaurant came from. He assembled a top-notch culinary team and brought the restaurant to life.  the joint is super casual – order and pay at the counter and then eat the food at your seat. It isn’t huge and it isn’t about atmosphere – it’s nice and clean but this is about EATING. The restaurant makes its own corn tortillas every single day, multiple times a day, and you can see the shells for your soft tacos being pounded out as you order. The prices are really reasonable, and a couple of tacos will only cost you about 7 bucks. But come on…how satisfying could that be?

How about majorly satisfying?

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Carnitas taco

Usually my favorite type of taco. This pork is expertly made - juicy and tender but not mushy. It retains a bit of a bite, which is a pleasure compared to overly greasy versions at big box chains. It’s so juicy that it almost saturates the tray – really flavor packed with porky taste. It’s accented by a slightly spicy salsa verde and a sprinkling of cilantro and chopped onions. And that tortilla…wow.  Thick and pleasantly lumpy and doughy in some places, charred and crisp in others. It’s the difference between a hearty 7 grain bread and Wonder bread…amazing how much it adds to the final product.

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Carne Asada

That same fabulous tortilla, this time with charred, chopped steak. It’s crispy but not fatty and chopped finely so there are no unwieldy or chewy pieces. Wow…it’s actually even tastier than the carnitas, which I rarely say. This is a great amount of steak, especially for the price – not gristle or overdone, gray meat here. It just needs a hit of the hot sauce on the table and it’s a complete meal.

 Well, almost…

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Masa chips

NOW the meal is complete. These masa chips make tortilla chips look like child’s play. They are pillowy inside and very crunchy outside, with an intense, corn-y taste. Otto says that these came about by accident – they had made some dough too thick for chips, so ende dup frying the thick, un-dried dough and voila! The moisture content is what results in the crisp-fluffy texture. Dip it in the accompanying spicy chipotle sauce for a creamy sauce with a gentle heat that builds – skip the guac, which needs more lime and cilantro to make it a contender.

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Finally, don’t forget the churros.

My dining partner isn’t the biggest fan of churros and was sure he wouldn’t like  these.

Guess who ended up stealing the last one?

These arrive piping hot, drenched in cinnamon and sugar. Try not to burn your moth as you dip int into the sweet dulce de leche dipping sauce.

I would come back here in a heartbeat. The price is right, the food is great, and it’s the next best thing to a flight back home.

Plus, I can take the subway home instead of sitting in traffic on the 101.

Disclaimer: This was a press meal and the restaurant paid for me. I was not required to write a review and the opinions are my own and unbiased. 

Creamy Mexican Corn Dip

Remember when I made that awesome corn recipe last summer but I never quite posted the recipe?

So sorry for that.

I am here to rectify the situation, no matter how late.

And I rectified it in the winter! In a way you can eat it with chips!

And…I hate to say..it might even be better than it was this summer.

After all, it’s cheaper, it can be made ahead of time in vast quantities, and we wear big coats to hide our spare tires. 

Creamy Mexican Corn Dip

corn dip

Ingredients:

3 cans corn

2 serano chiles, diced

2.5 cups nonfat greek yogurt

1/2 cup mayonnaise

3 chopped chipotles in adobo, with some of the sauce

3/4 cup fresh cilantro, cleaned and chopped

Juice of 1 small or 1/2 large lime

1 bunch scallions, chopped

1/2 block feta or cotija cheese, crumbled

1.5 tbsp. salt

2 tbsp. each cumin and coriander

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1. Put the corn and jalapenos in a very hot and heavy skillet or grill pan. The idea is to char it over high heat so there are some burned, crunchy parts. It should take about 5 minutes.

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2. In the meanwhile, mix together all of the other ingredients.

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3. Add the corn mixture to the bowl with the other ingredients.

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4. Refrigerate for an hour and then taste for seasonings. I tend to like mine on the tarter, spicier side, but you can make your own decisions.

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5. Serve with tortilla chips.

This stuff is so delicious – this makes a huge portion and it was gone within an hour at our Superbowl shindig. It is sweet and savory and spicy and creamy. The heat is very mild but enough so that you sit up and take notice. The char on the corn brings an earthy, savory note and the lime juice perks everything up. Don’t forget to use full fat mayo, because it rounds out the tangy taste of the yogurt. However, most of the mixture here is made from nonfat yogurt, so it really isn’t that bad for you. I mean, it is if you eat it with a ton of beer and some mini chicken Parmesan sliders like we did.

This is perfect for those who are kosher, gluten free, or vegetarian. Though, it might be even better by crumbling in some smoky bacon.

Hmmm…that would be good….

Expect yet another version of this recipe soon.

Slow Cooker Low Fat Carnitas

As promised, I am breaking out my slow cooker this year!  I present to you a recipe that is not only easy, it is lean and it is insanely flavorful.

Carnitas is basically Mexican pulled pork. Traditionally, it’s slowly cooked for hours with a very fatty cut of meat and tons of herbs and spices until the meat breaks down into juicy pieces. Then, it’s fried in its own fat until some pieces are juicy and tender and others are crispy and crackly. It’s often served in warm tortillas with tart tomatillo salsa.

This is the easier, leaner version. And it’s fantastic, if I do say so myself.

Don’t skimp on the fresh orange juice – it totally transforms the taste of the pork. And also, don’t expect it to be as delicious as carnitas made from a fattier cut of meat – fat is always best. But considering how tight my jeans are, loin is really a better choice here.

Besides, I topped it with quite a hefty amount of guac and Greek yogurt, so I got my fat in that way.

Booyah.

Slow Cooker Low Fat Carnitas:

carnitasIngredients:

1.5 lbs. pork loin, cut into chunks, fat left on

3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1 large onion, cut into thick slices

juice and zest of 2 oranges

1/2 cup of beer

2 bay leaves

3 smoked chipotles in adobo, plus the sauce from the can

2 tbsp. each taco seasoning(including salt), coriander, and cinnamon

toppings: scallions, lime juice, cilantro, guacamole, etc.

IMG_06171. Dump all ingredients except garnishes – yes, ALL ingredients – into your slow cooker. Turn it on high and let it cook for 6 – 8 hours.
IMG_06202. When it is falling apart and tender, it is done. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. You can eat this like a hearty Mexican stew or…
IMG_06313. You may refrigerate it over night. Just ignore that grease that hardens on top. It’ the flavor and there is so little fora huge amount of meat that you really need it. I recommend letting this sit for a night because, like most slow cooked food, this gets much better with some resting time over night.
IMG_06354. Shred with a fork, a la pulled chicken, then reheat gently in a saucepan.

IMG_06375. Serve with accompaniments and enjoy.

This is why the slow cooker rocks. It makes a vibrant, healthy, wonderfully tasty meal with almost no work at all - just some very simple prep. The beer makes the pork tender and savory and the chipotles add a smoky, gentle heat. The orange juice is a key player here. It adds a sweet, fresh tang to the meat – that’s why lime juice, which echoes the citrus, is so great as a garnish. The meat is very tender, like short ribs, and though it can be a little dry (because it has almost no fat), it’s ideal in a burrito or taco salad.

IMG_0642Spicy, soft, meaty, and low fat, to boot…if this doesn’t convince you to buy a slow cooker, I don’t know what will!

Mad Square Eats – Bring Your Stretchy Pants

After many years of letting this semi-annual event pass me by, I finally dragged myself to Madison Square Eats

And then I had to roll myself home.

This foodie haven consists of various restaurants, carts, and food purveyors who gather near Madison Square Park for a month each season to stuff you with all the goodies your blood pressure can handle. We went on a Tuesday night and it was relatively crowded, so leave the Saturday nights to chumps and go there early in the morning if you must make this trip a weekend one. However, that night, the crowds were manageable. We even managed to score a small table (by watching its dawdling inhabitants like hawks).

And the food. Was. Great!

Roberta’s

IMG_20131001_200837_109First and foremost, we visited this station because, really…how could we not? Roberta’s is known for its pizza, and it really delivers. Thin, supple crust with an earthy, deep char that makes even a  vegetarian pie taste meaty and satisfying. IMG_20131001_200827_219 I must be the only person on the planet who does not love the Bee sting – the sauce is sensational – really spicy – but the honey is just too prevalent for my tastes. I’m not a fan. The special Supe Lace pizza, above, however, is dynamite. I can’t get over the crust – its’ just masterful. The sauce is bright and so vibrant that it’s practically alive, (in a good way, not a creepy way) and the cheese is both plentiful and tasty, but really…it’s the crust that takes the cake. It’s so delicious that I am literally dreaming of it. No matter how long this line is stand on it.

And get two pies at least.

I mean, we’re not fooling around here.

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Delaney BBQ taco stand.

So delicious that I ACTUALLY almost cried. That freakin awesome.

IMG_20131001_194820_056Their brisket is just so good. Tender, juicy, and really well seasoned – salt and pepper in every bite. It has a satisfying steak-like chew and it’s expertly  hand chopped. But the best part here are the accouterments. The soft, pliant tortilla, the acidic onions, the sharp cheese melting int he warmth and that chile sauce.

Be still, my heart.

That. Chile. SAUCE. Seriously wonderful. It isn’t hot at all, just heartily spiced with roasted chiles, cumin, and garlic. It reminds me of Taco Bell in the best way possible (is there a bad way to remind one of Tco Bell?)

I wolfed it down.

Trust me, you will, too.

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Vinh Dog at AsiaDog

IMG_20131001_194154_190This banh mi style dog is da BOMB mi.

Yes, I went there. It’s my blog, so I can do stuff like that.

Anyway, AsiaDog is really great! The hot dogs are juicy and not too salty, with an audible “snap” as you bite into them. The buns are well buttered ant toasted, adding to the taste and texture of the dish instead of just being a supporting player. At first, the cold, crisp vegetables are a little odd, temperature wise, next to the dog, but by the third bite, you will be hooked. They could have a heavier hadn with the pate but a little squirt of sriracha and mustard helps bring the umami flavor home. I would totally go back to Asia Dog and highly recommend it!They were also extremely fast in delivering your food.

I didn’t’ even get to half  of the eats that I tasted or half of the food that was offered! Brig some cash and bring some stretchy pants – and don’t wait as long as I did to get to Mad Square Eats!



 

Bone Marrow Guacamole

Fat on fat is generally a good thing. Think bacon on cheeseburgers. Sour cream on chili. Whipped bream on…well, everything.

That’s what she said.

Anyway, that’s where the idea came from for this guacamole. Today, September 16, is National Guacamole Day. Well, in honor of that, I simply HAD to concoct something awesome. I love me some traditional guac, but come on, let’s mix it up a little!

And what better way to mix it up than with marrow?

I sing my praises for marrow here, and they are sincere. I simply love the slippery, soft texture and the wonderfully fatty taste. It is reminiscent of foie gras, but guess what? Since it isn’t technically an organ meat, that fat is unsaturated! So what could be better than pairing it with my other unsaturated fatty favorite, avocado?!

This uses traditional accompaniments to bone marrow like shallots and parsley and uses avocado’s best friend, a hit of acid. This is unlike any guac you have ever had.

Bone Marrow Guacamole

Ingredients:

1 ripe avocado

1 tbsp. bone marrow (roasted until brown on top and totally opaque)

1/2 shallot, roughly chopped

1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped

1 splash champagne vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

IMG_03411. Combine the avocados, shallots, parsley, and a splash of white wine vinegar.  IMG_03452. Add the warm bone marrow. Mix the marrow with the avocado mixture, add salt and pepper to taste, and keep on tasting. You may need a touch more acid or salt – the fat eats up those flavors.  IMG_03493. Serve immediately.

Yes, it’s really that simple. Just cut a few produce items, cook a coupla cow bones, and there you have it. The shallots and white wine vinegar are the unsung heroes of this dish – they tie together the fatty, creamy components and add both crunch and brightness. The marrow will likely melt into the avocados, which is why you should serve this immediately – no one wants a cold, congealed hunk of marrow. This is elegant and a bit more subtle than the traditional jalapeno laced version. Even if you are making this for 3 or 4 people, only use the one avocado at first – this is so rich that you won’t want more than a few bites on a tortilla or pita chip. IMG_0350And now you know that the only thing that makes fat better is: more fat.

Baked Figs, Greek Rice, and Mexican Corn: The “So Close” Files

I try to be a good blogger. 

I tell you about my favorite restaurants.

I do giveaways of awesome cheese and chocolate.

I even take one for the team and eat copious amounts of fat and salt(tough job but somebody has to do it).

However, every now and then I really mess up.

Like when I cook truly fabulous dishes, photographing every step of the process…and neglect to take a beauty shot of the final product.

I mean, what’s a blog without a beauty shot?

It’s like Honey Boo Boo without Go-Go Juice. 

There are some dishes that I really wish I had properly photographed.

pix 065Like these  baked figs.

Figs are great right now and they are going to get even better later in the month. If you cut them in a cross pattern not ALL of the way through, but just until they sort of open like a blossom, you can then bake them at 350F for 20 minutes. When they start to leach a sweet, sticky syrup and are very soft to the touch, they are done. Serve them immediately with sweetened, slightly thickened (or totally whipped) cream, and they will be the hit of the night. Sweet, creamy, warm, and cool. I made this at a dinner party, and my guests were shocked at how quickly dessert came together and how delicious it was. Something this seasonal should have been blogged.

pix 044Like this loaded Greek rice.

It’s just plain old converted rice with sauteed onions, garlic, and zucchini mixed with some rice, dill, lemon zest, and feta cheese. However, did you ever wonder what makes the rice at Chipotle so delicious? Here’s a hint: it isn’t the cilantro. It’s oil. So, by adding the cooked rice directly to the veggie sautee pan, the rice gets a slight sheen of oil that totally transforms this dish. It is lush, bright, and so satisfying. Something this satisfying should have been blogged.

pix 011Like this Mexican style corn.

Sure I mostly just followed this recipe, but I used chipotles in adobo instead of dried chipotle powder, fat free Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, and added cumin and pulverized jalapenos. I slathered in on freshly steamed corn cobs and whoa…it was incredible. Sweet, rich, salty, spicy…it actually lived up to my hopes. Something this tasty should have been blogged. 

Yes, these should all have been blogged. There is no excuse – I was just hungry or tired or there was a Real Housewives reunion on tv and I got distracted.

I promise to do better in the future.

*If anyone is interested in the detailed recipes for these dishes, please leave a comment and I’ll happily post them!*

Crispy Black Bean Cakes

So, I recently moved to the UWS.

I love the neighborhood. Really enjoy the apartment. Have a couple of super cool roommates.

So I’m really thrilled.

However…moving is…how to put it?

Dante’s 7th circle of hell.

It’s weeks of boxes. It’s movers losing important things. It’s waiting for the cable to get installed and finding out that your internet router is broken and shelling out so much cash that that you fear that you may be eating ramen for a year to make up for it

In the midst of all this, you also have to eat dinner.

This recipe is really simple, inexpensive, and is super satisfying.

Plus, you can eat it cold for breakfast topped with a fried egg.

Win/win.

Crispy Black Bean Cakes

2013-06-22 pixIngredients:

1 can black beans, drained

1 zucchini, chopped

3 carrots (about 1/3 cup) grated or chopped

1 bunch scallions, cleaned and chopped

1/2 cup breadcrumbs (preferably panko)

2 cloves garlic, diced

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup salsa

1 serrano, diced

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, washed and chopped

1 tbsp. each cumin, coriander, and oregano

vegetable oil in which to fry

Guacamole, hot sauce, and sour cream to serve (optional)

pix 0161. Put about a tablespoon of oil in a deep skillet over medium high heat. When it starts to ripple, toss in the carrots, zucchini, garlic, and scallions. Cook them for about 2 minutes, or until the garlic starts to smell tantalizing but is not at ALL browned.

pix 0172. Turn down the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and walk away. You want it to cook for about 15-20 minutes, gently steaming to get soft while getting some nice caramelization on the bottom.
pix 018See? That’s nice!

pix 0243. Now, add the spices, cilantro, and salsa. I love a very finely pureed salsa here, but chunky would also be great.

pix 0264. Add the black beans. Do NOT, as I did, neglect to drain them.

I was stuck in a cardboard box prison. It was temporary insanity up here.

pix 0345. Now, turn off the heat, and mash those beans. You don’t need them totally mashed, but the veggies should all be pretty soft and you really want a pasty consistency.

pix 037 Yes, I know it’s ugly, but it’s gonna taste delish.

pix 0386. Turn off the heat, remove the bean mixture from the pan, put it in a large bowl, and add the breadcrumbs.

pix 0397. Add the cheese and mix thoroughly.

pix 0408. Wipe out the pan you just used to remove any burnt bits, add another tablespoon of oil, and fry a small sample patty. My friend Hungry told me to do this with dumpling filling to taste for seasoning and I now ALWAYS do it. This way you can add more salt, pepper, or whatever else you might need.

pix 0419. Once the seasonings are right, make palm sized patties, on the thinner side (1/4 inch), and cook them for about 2 minutes per side, until the outside is crispy and charred in spots. The stuff is already all cooked, you just want it to be warmed through totally.

pix 04511. Top with your desired accoutrements, then serve.

These black bean cakes are so awesome. Sweet with zucchini, smoky with cumin, and a nice bite from the diced serrano. They have a wonderful, soft texture that is surrounded by crispy edges – it’s like the world’s best Thanksgiving stuffing. I like this atop a simple iceberg salad and always enjoy it with Greek yogurt and avocado. A little spritz of lime brightens things up, too. This is great to make when you need something super satisfying, pretty cheap, and easy to prepare.

pix 047After all, there are still boxes to unpack.

Quick and Spicy Cheesy Grits

This post was written before the devastation in Oklahoma. Sending best vibes and thoughts to those caught in the disaster. Visit here to find how to help.  

Don’t think that something instant can’t be wonderful.

Instant oatmeal? Awesome

Instant messenger? Addictive

Instant road rage relief? The person who invents this is going to be a millionaire and a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

5 minute grits fall into this category of “instant and great.”  They are way faster to make than the traditional stuff, but are still creamy and satisfying, and – bottom line – can be made last minute.

When you add mix ins, these get even better.

So, if you have 15 minutes and some ingredients on hand, you have a side dish of which you can be proud.

Quick Spicy and Cheesy Grits

2013-05-16 pixIngredients:

1/3 cup quick cooking grits

enough chicken broth to make the grits, according to the package directions (probably about 1 1/3 cups)

1 jalapeno, diced

1/3 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1/4 cup cleaned and diced cilantro

4 scallions, diced

salt and pepper to taste

garnishes like sour cream, hot sauce, and/or avocado

pix 0021. Prepare the grits according to directions. Be sure to stir when the grits start to thicken so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
pix 0032. In about 5 minutes, or after the grits have gotten thick, like this, turn off the heat.
pix 0043. Now, just dump in the mix ins and stir.

pix 0054. Taste for seasonings, and…
pix 0065. Serve

This simple recipe has become a staple in my repertoire. The cheese melts into the grits, making it gooey and tangy. The warmth wilts the cilantro, releasing it’s fragrance. The jalapenos are spicy; tempered by the cheese and the avocado. The real trick here is to use chicken stock when you make the grits. That adds a strong backbone that really enhances the corny taste. This is awesome with bbq chicken or as a side to taco salad.

It’s not only  grits, it’s instant joy.

Tex-Mex Quinoa Casserole

This is a recipe that started out healthy.

But then it got a little saltier. A little creamier.

A whole lot tastier.

However, it still has tons of fiber and lean protein.

It just tastes a million times better than it would without that salty, creamy factor. 

Tex-Mex Quinoa Casserole

Ingredient:

3 cups cooked quinoa

1 lb. ground chicken breast

1 onion, diced

3 carrots, diced

juice of 1 lemon

2 tbsp. oil

3 cloves garlic, diced

2 serrano chiles, diced

1/3 cup cilantro, cleaned and chopped

1/2 cup salsa

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

4 oz. cream cheese

2 tbsp. each cumin, coriander, and oregano

2 tsp. cinnamon

salt and peper to taste

 Assorted mix ins: roasted red peppers, scallions, sauteed mushrooms, canned black beans…use your imagination!

1. Sautee the onion and carrots in a large pan until they are tanslucent, about 15 minutes.

2. Add the chicken and the spices.

Cook until the meat is totally browned, around 7 minutes. Then, preheat the oven to 350F.

3. Add the salsa and the other mix ins. I went with roasted peppers, but black beans would be great here!

4. Stir to combine, and add the cilantro and chopped peppers now, too. The mixture will be a little salty and over seasoned now – don’t taste it yet! Wait until you stir it into the quinoa.

5. Add to the quinoa and stir to combine. NOW taste for flavorings – the quinoa absorbs a lot of the salt, spices, and residual broth from the tomatoes. It should all be good to go!

6. Add all of the cream cheese and lemon juice  half of the cheddar. Stir to combine.

The cheese will instantly start to melt and become gooey and delicious.

7. Layer the whole thing into a casserole dish and top with the remaining cheese.

8. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and serve.

9. Serve immediately with sour cream and hot sauce on the side.

Creamy and gooey. Hearty and spicy. Moist in the middle and crunchy where the quinoa was burnished in the oven. The different textures of the ingredients keep this dish from being mushy or boring and these are all with ingredients you probably already have in your house. The cilantro really gives it a fresh taste and the lemon juice adds a nice acidic tang reminiscent of the best tacos.

So what if this is a little fattier than quinoa usually is.

 It’s also a whole lot better.