Black Bean Soup


It’s fall which means soup time. This is a great healthy fall soup with a little kick – the poblanos I picked up were quite spicy! Serve with tortilla chips.

4 poblano chiles, roasted and seeded
Toasted pepitas
1 large dried pasilla or ancho chile, stemmed, seeds removed
1 TBSP vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 14.5-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
4 c chicken broth
2 cans black beans, drained
1/2 c crumbled queso fresco
Salt and pepper
Lime wedges (for serving)

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Transfer to a blender, add tomatoes and pasilla chile, and blend until smooth.

Return tomato mixture to saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until thick, 6–8 minutes. Stir in broth; season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until soup is slightly thickened, 10–15 minutes. Stir in black beans and poblano chiles. Cook, stirring occasionally, until warmed through, about 5 minutes.

Serve soup topped with queso fresco and pumpkin seeds, and with lime wedges alongside.


Crispy Pork Belly with Kimchi Grits


This recipe is adapted from Food & Wine. The big change I made was, I bough pork belly that was cooked from Trader Joe’s and I made my own rice grits. Rice grits are just pulverized rice so into the food processor the rice went and voila rice grits. The link is above in case your Trader Joes does not have the pork belly.
I love the kimchi flavored girth with the crispy pork belly – yummy yummy!!

1 package trader joes cooked pork belly, sliced about 1/2 inch thick
4 c chicken stock
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 c unseasoned rice vinegar
1/2 c thinly sliced radishes
1 c rice grits
1/2 c finely chopped kimchi
1/2 c half and half
Crushed roasted peanuts, for garnish

In a shallow bowl whisk together sugar and vinegar, add radishes and chill for at least 15 minutes.

In a saucepan, combine the rice grits and the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt, cover partially and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until the grits are tender and become suspended in a creamy porridge, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in the kimchi and half and half and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm over very low heat, adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of water if the grits become too thick.

In the large skillet, heat 1 TBSP of oil until shimmering. Add the pork belly and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until crispy, about 4 minutes.

Spoon the grits into shallow bowls and top with the crispy pork belly. Garnish with crushed peanuts and the pickled radishes and serve.

Serves 4.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars


Not having dessert is NOT an option for me – so I came up with this healthier version of pumpkin cheesecake bars. I know I baked a winner when my oldest eats it!

1 c quick oats
½ c whole wheat flour
¼ c all-purpose flour
¼ c ground almonds
⅓ c butter, melted
3 TBSP Coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon

3 egg whites
⅛ tsp creme de tartar
8 oz low fat cream cheese, softened
1 whole egg
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
⅓ c Coconut palm sugar or brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 11 baking pan.

Mix together the crust ingredients, until well distributed and crumbly. Dump the crust mix into baking dish. Gently press down, and even out height. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven.

While crust is baking, Beat the 3 egg whites with the creme de tartar, until forming stiff peaks. Set aside.

Whisk together the remaining ingredients in different bowl until well mixed, then fold the egg whites into the filling, until smoothly distributed.

Spread filling over crust and bake for 20-22 minutes.

Allow to cool to room temperature before refrigerator. Serve well chilled with whipped cream.