Tag Archives: vegetarian

Spinach Fried Quesadilla with Goat Cheese

29 Jul

I went to a very well-known Mexican restaurant that just opened in Puerto Rico… one that has many locations in cities around the US, but apparently according to the hard-core fan base, it’s not a chain restaurant. Well… back to my experience, the thing was, I was underwhelmed. After all the fanfare of this restaurant opening in PR and having friends telling me such “wonderful” things about it, I was not impressed. My net takeaway was – I can make better Mexican food at home!

This is how these quesadillas came about… Why make quesadillas with only 1 cheese, or only one ingredient for that matter? And newsflash to all the “fancy schmancy” restaurants out there, quesadillas can be made with something other than just chicken.

Inspired by the fried quesadillas of Guadalajara, here is my take on a great vegetarian option for lunch on even dinner…

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SPINACH FRIED QUESADILLA

3 sprouted corn tortillas
1 cup baby fresh spinach – what you can fit in a 1 cup measuring cup
1 cup grated mozzarella or Italian blend cheeses
2 ounces of goat cheese – cream cheese will do in a pinch
Kosher Salt
Freshly grated Black Pepper
Olive Oil

 

You’ll be able to make 2 quesadillas at a time using a large skillet, but you need to make them in staggered steps. I consider 3 quesadillas is a good serving portion for one, but if you think you are better off with 4 quesadillas, just add one more tortilla and adjust the rest of the ingredients. This is more a method than a recipe…

 

  1. In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and place one tortilla… flip it over on both sides so there’s some of the olive oil on both sides.
  2. Place some of the shredded cheese on top of the tortilla. Now place a few fresh baby spinach leaves on top of the cheese. You can rip them into smaller pieces with your hands if you’d like. Season the spinach with salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Place a few pieces of goat cheese over spinach.
  3. Carefully, fold tortilla in half so you end up with a half moon filled with spinach and cheese. At first it will seem as if there is too much spinach for the small tortilla, but the heat from the skillet will wilt the spinach and it will reduce the bulk considerably.
  4. Flip the tortilla a few times so that it gets golden brown on both sides.

While one quesadilla is getting golden brown to the side of the pan, you can use the remaining space to heat up tortilla #2. And start the process all over again.

Virgin Mojito

24 Jul

When it’s Summer, all I want is something refreshing to cool down the temperature… be it at home, at the beach or at a friend’s.

When someone asks you to BYOB (Bring Your Own Beverage), it doesn’t need to be something alcoholic… but it doesn’t need to be something boring either. You can bring a punch, make sangria or take advantage of all the refreshing mint that evokes the freshness of summer.

Just a few ingredients and you’ll have a great non-alcoholic alternative that will make any pregnant mom or young kid feel like they’re not missing anything at all.

 

Virgin Mojito 1

VIRGIN MOJITO

½ cup of Simply Limeade
The juice of 2-3 limes
½ cup of lemon/lime sparkling water or natural lemon/lime soda
2 tbs of brown sugar simple syrup or 2 tbs of turbinado sugar
4-5 mint leaves, sliced thinly or chopped
½ a lime, sliced thinly
Ice cubes

 

  1. Add the lime slices, sugar and mint leaves to an old fashioned glass. Using a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon, smash together all the ingredients.
  2. Add the limeade juice, fresh lime juice and sparkling water or natural soda.   Mix well with a stirrer and enjoy!!!

 

Virgin Mojito 3

 

I like Costa Rican “single guys”…  or do I??

22 Jul

I’ve never had the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica before …  and so far this year, I’ve traveled there TWICE!!!  Yep… Twice.  I remember when I was about to celebrate one of those milestone birthdays and I wanted to travel somewhere I had never ever gone before.  My mind immediately went to Greece, Turkey or even go back to Italy. And when I consulted with my guru, he quietly said: “Why don’t you go to Costa Rica?”

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What kind of enchantment did Costa Rica have?  I would not learn that until 3 years later in which, as a yoga group, we decided to take a short trip to San José and its surroundings.  It was a short trip indeed, but extremely intense.  We had the chance to visit San José and see once again my friend Flori, who also practices yoga, but now lives in her native land.  We also got to visit some of the volcanoes, go ziplining amongst the greeneries in Guanacaste and go down some cool rapids on the Balsa River.

Costa Rica Collage 1

It also gave us the chance to taste the local cuisine… particularly something Costa Ricans call Casados, or as translated in English, “Married”.  It’s a kinda weird name in both English and Spanish… don’t think it’s just weird to read it in English. Casados??, I asked when I read a sign in a street-side eatery.  It’s one of the most typical Costa Rican dishes around – it’s a combination of rice, beans, sweet fried plantain, salad, cooked vegetables, potatoes and some sort of meat.  And I said to myself…  Ahhhh, now I know what I want to order for lunch today.

The name “casado” was given to this combo dish because apparently when you get married is when you get to eat well and varied.  The thing is…  if my “casado” is meat-less, how should we call them then??  So I came up with my own little nickname – the “Soltero” or The Single, a “casado” without the meat.  And we got to eat Solteros all over the place.

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One of the advantages to us of Costa Rica receiving such an influx of US-based tourists is they have a sensibility for  vegetarian tourists.  Everywhere we went, there were vegetarian options and even pure vegetarian restaurants.  One example is Vishnu Restaurant, a vegetarian fast food joint with several locations in San José.    Ever since we stepped foot in San José we had delicious options to eat.  And even me, the non-bean lover, was asking for more of their refried black beans.  They were delish…

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After having such a great time on my first trip… I accepted the invitation of my friend Carlos to return to Costa Rica a few weekends ago. This time, Carlos and I got to visit the beaches on the Pacific side of Costa Rica, something we didn’t get a chance to experience on my first trip in March.  The nice thing… he got to introduce me to some fancy restaurants in San José and I got to show him what a traditional typical Costa Rican dish is – SOLTEROS!!!  And Carlos was veeeeeeeery happy about that, if you get my drift. ;)

Costa Rica 2 Collage

 

Costa Rica 3 Collage

Costa Rica is truly and amazing country, gorgeous landscapes and the food is delicious.  It’s a country who has taken advantage of their natural resources and made the best of it.  God only knows how many more times I’ll return to Costa Rica to fully understand why Guruji recommended me to travel here a few years ago.  Who knows if there is a real life “soltero” waiting for me, right?

Have you ever visited Costa Rica?  What are your favorite dishes?  Please share your experiences with all of us below…

Can you cheat and still be considered a vegetarian??

17 Jul

I was listening to a Jared Leto interview on the Ryan Seacrest radio show the other day where he was discussing his diet/lifestyle.  And I found it interesting he described himself as a “Chegan” – “I’m a Vegan most of the time, until I cheat”, he said.  You can listen to the whole interview here…

Interview Jared Leto

Interview Jared Leto - Ryan Seacrest

Jared expressed he is a vegan…  he’s been one for 22 years.  But once in a while, maybe something catches his eye and he just needs to get a taste.  Nooo, he doesn’t cheat with a piece of steak, but sometimes he will allow himself to eat a piece of cake or some other treat he knows probably was made with some sort of dairy, butter, eggs or other product that does not fall under the vegan banner.

Jared Leto - 2014 Academy Awards

Now that Academy-award winner Mr. Leto was selected by PETA as the sexiest vegan for 2014, can he still be considered a vegan if he cheats on occasion??  This is a question I have posed myself too…

Is cheating on your vegetarian lifestyle like cheating on your marriage??  Once you decide to become married, cheating is strictly forbidden.  Or is cheating on your vegetarian lifestyle something permissible and accepted by the vegetarian himself and those around him/her?

I think it’s OK… depending on why, how often and what you cheat with.

What’s your take??

 

Jared Leto - Cover Photo

Viva la Bastille!!! French-inspired veggie-full recipes…

14 Jul

Allons enfants de la patrie,
Le jour de gloire est arrivé
Contre nous de la tyrannie
L’etendard sanglant est levé
Entendez vous dans les campagnes,
Mugir ces feroces soldats?
Ils viennent jusque dans nos bras
Egorger nos fils, nos compagnes!

That’s all I know about La Marseillaise, the French National Anthem.

But I do know that I have a secret love affair with anything French…  last year, about this same time, I was in Paris for the 3rd time enjoying my first ever international vacation all by myself.  It was a great experience and something I recommend anyone to try at least once in their life.

To celebrate… I would like to recap a few of my favorite French-inspired vegetarian remakes for all of you who might think French food can’t be made vegetarian and delicious and authentic at the same time…

Crepes can be made without eggs… and even without gluten.  

You just need to be patient and buy the right ingredients.

Crepe Stack - Copy

Crepes for Lunch or Dinner

Fill them with Spinach, Potato and Broccoli or just plain Cheese… Crepes are France’s version of the sandwich.

Potato Broccoli Crepe KFC

Crepe Fromage 1

Photo Courtesy of MarthaStewart.com

 

Crepes for Dessert

Fill them with macerated fruits or even a dulce de leche, sweet crepes are the gold standard of street-food decadence.

Egg-free crepes

crepe caramel beurre salee

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