November 6th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Veggie burgers remain an underutilized alternative to meat. Our weekend recipe features the black bean variety, which brings some south-of-the-border flavor to your table.
Combining poblano peppers, black beans, rice, cilantro and queso fresco (a staple in many Mexican dishes), this entrée was created by Chef Alex Eusebio, a Top Chef contestant (Season 5) and former partner/executive chef at the now-defunct Restaurant 15 in Los Angeles.
All of the ingredients should be available at your local natural and organic food store.
Makes 6 servings
6 medium poblano peppers
4 black bean veggie burgers
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
3/4 cup cooked black beans (drained and rinsed if you’re using canned beans)
1 tablespoon water
3/4 cup cooked rice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup crumbled queso fresco (or shredded Monterey Jack cheese)
- Cut a lengthwise slit in each pepper. Place on foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 425°F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until peppers blacken. Remove from oven.
- Wrap hot peppers in foil. Let stand for 10 minutes at room temperature.
- Using a spoon, remove seeds from insides of peppers. Gently pull skin off outsides of peppers in strips, leaving peppers in one piece. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, remove veggie burgers from package. Place on microwave-safe plate. Loosely cover and cook on medium-high (70% power) for 1½ to 2 minutes, or until partially thawed. Be sure to rearrange and turn over each veggie burger after 1 minute.
- In a large skillet, cook onions in hot oil over medium heat about 1 minute, or until translucent.
- Crumble veggie burgers into onion mixture. Cook, uncovered, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until heated through.
- Stir in beans and water. Reduce heat to low. Cook, uncovered, for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Stir in rice and cilantro. Remove from heat.
- Stuff peppers with burger mixture. Place in shallow baking pan, slit side up. Top with queso fresco. Bake at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes, or until heated through and cheese has melted.
Organic Flavors of Mexico
Recipe and photo courtesy of Gardenburger
Read More:Chiles Rellenos
August 23rd, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
In the current issue of Family Circle, the Alpers, a family of four in Leucadia, California, admit they’re “convenience eaters” who rely heavily on the corner taco stand. Their daughters, 10 and 15, are also picky eaters.
Mexican food, a Golden State staple, solves many dining dilemmas, and it can be a nutritional best bet—as long as you make smart choices. In the FC article, registered dietitian Andrea C. Harrison, president of Nutrition at Work in San Diego, advised the family to:
- Choose whole beans over refried.
- Avoid tortilla chips and sour cream, which add calories.
- Enjoy guacamole, but don’t go overboard. Avocados contain monounsaturated fat (the “good” fat), but the calories can add up quickly, according to Harrison.
Canned beans are easy to find at your local natural and organic food store, with several brands available. Try Eden Foods Organic Black Beans, Libby’s Organic Black Beans or Westbrae Natural Organic Pinto Beans. Just remember to drain and rinse them thoroughly before using. This reduces sodium and sugar content. (Sugars make beans harder to digest, often causing flatulence.)
Click here to learn how to prepare meals with dried beans.
Read More:Savvy Mexican Food Choices
May 23rd, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
Yesterday, we looked at wine pairings for Chinese and Thai meals that you pick up at your favorite organic food store or restaurant. Here are some additional suggestions from the Wine Market Council and Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson, author of Great Wine Made Simple and Andrea Immer Robinson’s 2006 Wine Buying Guide for Everyone.
Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine has spunky flavors that need a lively, yet rich, wine to beat the chili heat and complement the spark of lime, while matching the richness of avocado and cheese. California and Washington wines made from rich-but-racy Fumé Blanc grapes are perfect with these foods. Another alternative is dry rosé wine, which has the fruity intensity and spice of the red grapes from which it’s made, while providing the lively acidity and refreshment of a white wine. Organic Authority Recipe Suggestion: Latin Tomato and Huitlacoche Soup.
Stick your nose in a glass of white Viognier wine, and you may well find some of the same scents on your plate of Indian fare: sweet curry, cardamom and mint. That’s because Viognier is an exotic white grape with the perfect aromatics to match up to all those exotic tastes. And for smoky tandoori meats, earthy lentil dishes and samosas, try an earthy-smoky Washington state Merlot. Organic Authority Recipe Suggestions: Spiced Lemon Rice and Organic Butternut Squash Casserole.
Sushi and Japanese Food
The super-fresh seafood and seaweed flavors of sushi and sashimi are right at home with the foamy bubbles of a French champagne. Look especially for the demi-sec style. Its touch of sweetness is the perfect contrast to pungent wasabi dipping sauce. Or for a value alternative, try the affordable and festive Italian sparkling wine called Prosecco. You can even mix in a little peach nectar and turn it into a refreshing classic drink—the Bellini—with your bento box. Suggested Reading: Fresh Organic Wasabi and Favorite Organic Wasabi Products.
Read More:Organic Wine Pairings: Mexican, Indian & Japanese Food
March 7th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
According to a recent report by Scripps Howard News Service, Mexican food is poised to become America’s favorite ethnic cuisine. Reporter Lance Gay writes that we eat four times more Mexican food than we did 20 years ago, and salsa sales are trouncing ketchup. Tortillas are replacing bread as consumers choose wraps and burritos over sandwiches. Tortilla sales, in fact, are 200% higher than they were a decade ago.
This is great news for organic food shoppers, who are finding a much wider variety of fresh chili peppers, salsas, guacamoles and tortillas at local organic and natural food stores.
Gay also notes that Mexican food has almost doubled in popularity among Americans who cook regularly (from 44% in 1985 to 86% in 2003—statistics provided by the Institute of Food Technologists). This homemade fare, which features vegetables and other fresh ingredients, is much more healthful than the cuisine enjoyed at many mainstream Mexican restaurants, whose chefs often rely on lard, entrees that overflow with cheese and the allure of huge portions.
Ironically, as more Hispanics become U.S. residents, their eating habits shift dramatically as they embrace the far-from-healthy standard American diet: frozen meals, salty snacks, junk food and other high-fat fare. They are prime candidates to embrace organic living!
Read More:Viva la Organic Tortilla!
February 26th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
You’re seated at your favorite organic Mexican restaurant and spot a wonderfully fragrant bowl of organic salsa on the table. Yummy!
But don’t be too quick to dip your chips, cautions gastroenterologist Cynthia Yoshida, MD, in a recent issue of Good Housekeeping. The salsa may have been left out for several hours, warns the director of the University of Virginia Health System’s GI clinic and author of No More Digestive Problems : A Leading Gastroenterologist Provides the Answers Every Woman Needs—Real Solutions to Stop the Pain and Achieve Lasting Digestive Health.
Ask your waiter for a fresh bowl, and make sure it’s properly cold—straight from the refrigerator—when it arrives at your table. You’ll avoid diarrhea and a possible bout of food poisoning.
Read More:Preventing Salsa Sickness