Quinoa Mexican Soup

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I’ve been known in the past to have what my friends and family call “Shiny Things Syndrome.” I can be in the middle of a conversation or on my way to another room to do something and all of the sudden something “shiny” will catch my eye and the next you know I’m lost in the conversation or have completely forgotten what I was trying to do. What can I say, I can be easily distracted.

That’s exactly what happened a few weeks ago after I read a post on Branny Boils Over. She’s hosting a blogging event called the “Souper Bowl” and for every entry she will be donating $1.00 to the ASPCA. All you have to do is dedicate a post to a pet and share a recipe for soup. Sounds perfect for me! I love soup. I love my cats. I had a minestrone recipe just begging to be made. Then I posted my soup…. and realized about a day later that I just shared my entry for the Souper Bowl without actually making it an entry. DOH!

Then I found this recipe on Nicole’s blog and fell in love. Soup for me. Dedication to my cats. Post for the Souper Bowl. Win, win, win!


I love everything about this soup. Nicole said she wasn’t sure if she would like it but tried it anyway and liked it a lot. I, on the other hand, knew I would love this soup at first glance. The only thing that surprised me was the fact that I didn’t have to de-veganize it by adding sour cream and cheese. Of course I added a little cheese to one bowl. But I quickly found that it just wasn’t needed. There is flavor jam packed into every square inch of this soup and I love it. Did I say that already?

So in honor of both of my beautiful cats (who have to fly home to Ohio for the next couple of months while I’m in China, SO SAD!!!!!!!) I bring you Quinoa Mexican Soup.

Bigun
Tiffany 

Quinoa Mexican Soup

Ingredients
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 poblano pepper, cut in half, seeds removed
1 red bell pepper, cut in half, seeds removed
1 jalapeno, cut in half and seeds removed
1 cup dry quinoa
1 Tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 bay leaves
pinch ground cinnamon
1 avocado, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 lime, cut into wedges (I forgot the lime!)

Directions
Turn your oven to broil, the high temperature if you have the option. Lay the poblano, red pepper and jalapeno skin side up on a baking sheet. Broil for 4-5 minutes, keeping an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn, but just the skin chars. When the outsides are charred carefully remove from oven and place in a ziploc bag and let steam. Peel and dice the peppers.

In a stock pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and let cook for 4-5 minutes or until they just start to stick to the bottom of the pot. Deglaze the pan with 2 tablespoons of vegetable broth. Cook again for another 3-4 minutes and deglaze again with more vegetable broth. Repeat this process 3 or 4 more times until the onions have caramelized and are dark golden brown with a slightly sweet taste.

While the onions are caramelizing, cook the quinoa according to the package.

When the onions are caramelized, add the rest of the broth, fire roasted tomatoes, poblano pepper, jalapeno, bell pepper, and seasonings. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, add the quinoa and stir.

Serve with fresh cut avocado and lime wedges (if you don’t forget them like me).

Source: As seen on Prevention, RD originally from Virtually Vegan Mama

Coffee-Chipotle Pulled Pork

I have a love hate relationship with my apartment. Love: This weekend we explored some tide pools, biked around the bay, and did a little shopping – all within 5 miles of our little apartment. It’s hard to beat the location. Hate: My kitchen has been a complete and total disaster since the weekend we got home from China. It’s so tiny it’s nearly impossible to keep up with mess. You would think a smaller space would mean a smaller mess. But no. It means there are lots of dishes, baking supplies, food items, and other kitchen goods that have to be kept in places other than the kitchen. Also, things kept in the kitchen can have only one very specific place where it can be stored. Pots and pans have to be stacked in a very specific order and turned in a very specific direction so as to leave room for the very specifically stacked colanders to be placed in front of them.

What’s that have to do with a messy kitchen? Welllll, I guess it comes down to laziness – no wait that sounds bad, busyness. I’ve been so busy and going right from one project to the next that things just don’t have time to be put back in their proper and specific place. There is no sense in walking the spare mixer bowl to the bedroom closet just to have to pull it back out later. Just in the time that I’ve been home I’ve made Lasagna, Lemon Greek Chicken, Black and Tan Brownies, Banana Oat Muffins , Whole Wheat Bread, my birthday cake (talk about a mess!), this Chipotle Pulled Pork, and of course a few other favorites. That makes for one messy kitchen.

It’s been worth it, though. Especially for this meal. This pulled pork was awesome, even better when paired with cheesy grits with roasted corn. Don’t be scared off by the coffee in the rub. It doesn’t taste like coffee. It just adds depth to the flavor.

Coffee-Chipotle Pulled Pork

(adapted from Homesick Texan)

Ingredients

1 3-lb pork shoulder
3/4 cup water
Coffee-Chipotle Rub (recipe below)
BBQ Sauce (recipe below)

Directions

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Rub the Coffee-Chipotle rub all over the pork roast. Place the roast in 5-quart dutch oven (or other oven proof pot/pan with a lid) and pour the water around the roast. Cover with a lid and roast for 4 hours.

At 4 hours remove the pan from the oven and pour most of the liquid off into heat proof measuring cup and set aside. Stick a fork in the middle of the roast and give it a jiggle. If the meat is still tough (doesn’t start to fall apart when you stick the fork in the middle) return the pan to the oven and roast for another hour. Check again with a fork and continue roasting until it’s ready (mine took 5 and half hours). When the pork starts to fall apart increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Shred the pork with 2 knives and pour 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce over it. Return to the oven for 15 minutes until the BBQ sauce starts to glaze over the pork.

Serve on buns with cole slaw or over cheesy grits.

Coffee-Chipotle Rub

1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp black pepper
1/8 cup of finely ground dark coffee (or one VIA instant coffee packet)
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon chipotle powder (or 1 pulverized chipotle pepper)
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin

Combine all ingredients together until it is thoroughly combined with no lumps. If you’re using the chipotle pepper instead of the powder, rub it into the other ingredients with your fingers (and make sure to SCRUB your hands when you’re done!).

Chipotle-Honey BBQ sauce

1 tsp canola oil
1/2 half a medium onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups ketchup
1/8 cup yellow, ball-park style mustard
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup reserved cooking liquids from pork
2 canned chipotle pepper (not full cans, but 2 peppers from a can)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Salt and black pepper to taste

Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Pour into a saucepan and simmer over low-heat for 30 minutes before serving.
 

Southwest Marinade

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Would you consider San Diego to be Southwest? We are just about as far south and west as you can get. I actually think I must have been destined to live here because I have always been drawn to “southwestern” things, especially food. If I’m at a cook out and there is a choice between a regular pasta salad and a southwestern one, you can pretty much guarantee that I’ll go with the latter. So when my aunt sent me an email with a recipe titled Southwest Marinated Pork Tenderloin I immediately knew that I would be making it, soon.

I’m ashamed to say that I don’t always use a grocery list when I do my shopping. Even when I do meal plans I mostly shop from memory. Not surprisingly I almost always make at least one extra trip to the store during the week to pick up an ingredient that I forgot to buy. It’s something I’m trying to work on. This time, I carefully wrote out my list and even checked the weekly ads for sales. And you know what, I still forgot something! I some how forgot the main ingredient, the pork tenderloin. Not wanting to give up on making this I decided to use chicken since I always have that. It turned out great!

I still plan to make this marinade with pork, but the chicken was not at all disappointing. I served the sliced grilled chicken over cheesy grits and the combination was near perfect. The chicken had a little heat and a nice smoky flavor that was complimented by the creamy cheesy grits. I can’t wait to make this again!

Southwest Marinade
(Adapted from an email sent by my Aunt Ari, unsure of the original source)

1 1/2 pounds chicken breast or pork tenderloin
1/2 can (3.5 oz) chipotles in adobo sauce
2 cloves garlic
1/3 Cup orange juice
1/4 Cup Extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/3 cup chicken broth

In a measuring cup or small bowl, measure out the orange juice and olive oil then stir in the salt and pepper and set aside. In the bowl of a food processor, puree together the chipotles and 2 cloves of garlic for 15 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary. With the food processor running, gently stream in the juice/oil mixture.

Place the chicken (or pork) in a *shallow dish and pour the marinade over top. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours. Flipping the chicken over occasionally to evenly coat both sides. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes prior to grilling.

Grill directly over **medium heat for 4-5 minutes per side (6-7 for pork) or until the juices run clear. If using pork, the inside will still be slightly pink. Remove from grill, cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

While the meat is resting pour the remaining marinade and chicken broth into a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a rolling boil for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer until reduced by half. Spoon the sauce over the sliced meat and serve.

*You can also use a gallon ziploc bag
**Unfortunately we do not have a real grill right now, so I used my cast iron grill pan. I set the burner to medium-high heat and I used a large lid (from one of my pots) to set over the chicken to help cook it evenly and a little faster.