Archive for July, 2010

Going Green: Cauliflower Taquitos & Green Chili with Zesty Lime Sauce

Posted in Mexican with tags , , , , , on July 31, 2010 by Cooking For Mark

I realize I’ve posted a few avocado-based dishes this week, and I feel like I must explain. See I bought a big bag of avocados at the store because it was on sale for $2. I could not get over the deal I got so I went back and got another bag. Now I am left with a whole bunch of avocados and I am having a lot of fun experimenting with them. I’ve never really had the chance to do this since they are usually so expensive, but now is my chance. I only wish I had an ice cream maker so I could make avocado ice cream!

I won’t bore you with everything I use my lovely avocados for, but I will post my favorites. This is one of them: taquitos filled with cheese and a mixture of cauliflower avocado and lime. Serve this with a hearty & tangy green chili and you will get the best combination of flavors you could ask for.

Making everything at once was a little time-consuming, so I would recommend you make the lime sauce in advance, and maybe even the cauliflower mixture. Then all that would be left to do is make the chili and assemble and fry the taquitos. Frying things is my least favorite part of the cooking world, specially when the house is hot. But lucky for me I only had to fry up four of these for dinner. Thank god I don’t have a large family, or I would probably despise cooking. Growing up my mom would actually make a giant pyramid of taquitos every time. It was beyond reason but they always managed to be consumed. I remember she would ask me to keep an eye on them while she went to go “check” on something. This was her sneaky way to get a little break from all the hot frying. But I was sneaky too. I would just let them burn…and guess who wasn’t asked to look out for them anymore. Moi! But guess who had to eat burned taquitos…haha, no, not me. My mom was way too nice to us, more than we ever deserved.

And now, to the recipe:

Cauliflower Cheese & Lime Taquito Ingredients:

  • Corn tortillas
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • Zesty Lime Sauce, recipe below (about 1/3 c) (goes inside cauliflower mix)
  • Salt + Pepper
  • Pepper jack cheese, about 1/2 c.
  • Provolone cheese (or other)

Taquito Directions:

  • Steam cauliflower until soft. If you boil it, make sure there is no excess water.
  • Mix rest of ingredients together, minus the provolone cheese
  • Place tortillas in microwave inside plastic bag and heat for about 30 seconds
  • Place a piece of provolone cheese on tortilla. Top with cauliflower and roll into a taquito.
  • Place carefully in oil, making sure the tortilla does on unroll.
  • Fry until brown on both sides
  • Serve with veggie green chili.


Veggie Green Chili with Zesty Lime Sauce

Veggie Green Chili Ingredients: (serves 4)

  • 1-2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 3 stocks celery, chopped in small pieces
  • 3 carrots, chopped small
  • 1 zucchini, chopped small
  • Salt, pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • About 2 c. vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained
  • About 2 c. green enchilada sauce
  • Garnish: Zesty lime sauce (below), fried tortilla strips, purple cabbage, cheese

Chili Directions:

  • Add onion to hot oil. Cook for about 2 mins. Add garlic and jalapeno, cook for 1 min. Add celery, carrots, zucchini and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Season with salt, pepper, cumin, and oregano
  • Add veg/chicken stock, tomatoes, corn, beans and green enchilada sauce
  • Simmer in low/med heat for about 25 minutes
  • Turn heat down to low and simmer for another 30 minutes
  • If it gets too thick, add more enchilada sauce
  • Garnish with fried tortilla strips, zesty lime sauce, and cheese.


Zesty Lime Sauce

Zesty Lime Sauce

  • 4 tbsp sour cream
  • 2 1/2 tbsp mayo
  • Juice of 1/2 – 1 lime, to taste
  • Handful of cilantro
  • 1-2 Serrano peppers, to taste
  • 1/2  avocado (add more if you want it thicker)
  • 1 big clove garlic
  • Salt + pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cumin

Zesty Lime Sauce Directions: Blend everything in food processor or blender until smooth. Taste and adjust to your liking. Refrigerate until ready to use.


Happy Hour with Russian Pel’Meni and a Vodka Shot

Posted in Appetizers, Russian with tags , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2010 by Cooking For Mark

I had never heard of these before, but they are all the rave in Bellingham, WA. Pel’Meni Restaurants‘ only items are either meat or potato dumplings topped with olive oil, vinegar, hot sauce, sour cream, curry and cilantro. I don’t know how Russian it is, considering the diversification of ingredients used. But the Indian, Mexican and Russian influences in this dish work really well together. Who would have thought?

The potato dumplings at the restaurant were plain potato. I added a lot more flavor into mine by adding curry, cream cheese, and ricotta to the mashed potatoes. The result? The filling is seriously out of this world. Next time I make mashed potatoes I am using these ingredients.

And because it is “Russian”, don’t forget to wash it down with some vodka!

This appetizer is extremely easy to put together. Once you have cooked the potatoes, you will have plated this amazing appetizer in less than 10 minutes. I know, it’s pretty awesome.


  • Round Wanton wrappers
  • 2 med/small potatoes, boiled
  • 2 1/2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 2 1/2 tbs ricotta cheese (or sour cream as substitute)
  • Season filling with salt, pepper, and curry (recommend using Madras curry)
  • Topping: a bit of olive oil, vinegar, hot sauce, salt, curry (Madras), sour cream and cilantro
  • Sprinkle of lime juice (optional)


  1. Boil potato until soft
  2. Mash potato, and add the rest of ingredients
  3. Brush water around outside of wanton wrapper. Place 1/2-1 tsp filling in middle, fold over and seal. Take corners and fold in a bit.
  4. Boil in water for about a minute on each side
  5. Plate the dumplings, and add a drizzle of olive oil, vinegar and hot sauce. Top with sour cream. Sprinkle a bit of curry, salt and cilantro.
  6. Sprinkle with a bit of lime juice (optional).

Foodbuzz Top 9!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 29, 2010 by Cooking For Mark

Those of you who know me are well aware I am not a morning person. I try to spare Mark with my grumpiness by not waking up early, and it works. But today was no ordinary day. I had to wake up at a very unreasonable hour to drive Mark to Bellevue where he was scheduled to take the ethics portion of the Bar exam. Just thinking about the Bar makes me want to throw up, and I hope to god I don’t need to get liscenced in another state, because I will simply refuse.  Anyways, the good news is that I made some coffee, turned on my laptop (dumm!) and visited where I always admire the people who have been featured as the top 9. But like I said earlier, today was no ordinary day, indeed. As I clicked on Foodbuzz’s top 9 I saw MY picture for the turkish pogacas I posted a few days ago! Excitement abound! I was giggling like a little school girl as Mark came into the living room wondering what the hell I was up to. As I explained he immediately understood. But only since I had talked to him about the top 9 just last night, and how I really wanted to be featured but didn’t think I ever would.  All I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you! This really made my day!

I also have to thank Zerrin from Turkey, since this is her recipe. She is such a nice person and I hope to get to know her more and share more of her delicious recipes. Check out her awesome website at

And thanks everyone who has been following my blog and for all the wonderful comments. The comments posted really make my day, I love reading them. Thanks so much!!!

Cherry Berry Croissant Galette

Posted in Dessert with tags , , , , , , on July 29, 2010 by Cooking For Mark

I love making galettes, which is french for a flat pastry. I prefer making galettes to traditional pies due to it’s rustic simplicity.  Start out with making a traditional pie dough. Roll it out into a circle, add fruit to the middle, and fold all around. No need to grease a pie mold. No need to make it look pretty; this comes naturally to galettes. Simple rustic elegance.

This version is even simpler. I had some Pillsbury Croissant dough in my fridge which I used as my dough. Just roll out to a circle, add a mixture of cream cheese, top with fruit, jam, and bake.


  • Croissant dough
  • Cream cheese
  • powdered sugar
  • lime zest
  • vanilla
  • berries
  • Jam
  • Egg wash
  • Optional: top with whipped cream or ice cream


  1. Use 2 croissant triangles per Galette
  2. Roll into a ball, then roll out into a circle
  3. Combine cream cheese, vanilla, sugar, and lime zest.
  4. Spread cream cheese mixture to middle of dough circle
  5. Top with your choice of either fresh, canned or frozen fruit
  6. Add some jam to the top
  7. Fold sides of dough towards the center
  8. Brush egg wash to top of dough to form a golden crust.
  9. Bake at 375 for about 10-15 minutes.

Four Cheese Pizza Topped with Spicy Avocado Caesar Salad & Grilled Chicken

Posted in American, Mexican with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2010 by Cooking For Mark

I think this picture speaks for itself. This pizza was so fantastic Mark said it was the best pizza he has ever had…and he has had many pizzas in his lifetime. He was actually quite cautious from the start. Well, cautious is a bit of an understatement. When I told him I was making a caesar salad pizza he threw a little fit like he was a 5 year old who was told he would have to eat a plate full of vegetables for dinner. He said it sounded “gross” and that I should make something else.  I did not give in, and made exactly what I had been envisioning. As he saw me put together the pizza, though, I could tell he was growing anxiously excited. I could see his eyes widen and his smirk on his face waiting to taste all the delicious flavors he was smelling. He took the first bite and all I could hear was all kinds of noises one makes when they are full of pleasure and satisfaction.  I guess I have done my job for the day.

But seriously though, I double-thought my decision to post this because it is THAT good. Part of me wants to keep it secret, but I just can’t do that. I would rather share it will the rest of the world. So this is my gift to you, enjoy!


  • Wolfgang Puck’s pizza dough (click here to see video). (Makes 2 pizzas)
  • Spicy Caesar Salad (click here).
  • Pizza sauce: buttermilk gorgonzola dressing + 1 clove garlic (click here). Note: you only need a few tablespoons of the dressing. Also add less buttermilk to make it less runny.)
  • Toppings: cheese and chopped Serrano peppers (without seeds)
  • Cheese: pepper jack, gouda, shredded parmesan
  • Avocado
  • Grilled chicken (optional)
  • Egg yolk (to brush on crust)

Note: use good parmesan cheese, not the kind that comes in a bottle.


  • Make dough according to video above. I highly recommend using this recipe because it is honestly the best I have had. Let it rise like the video instructs, and bake as it instructs. The only addition I made was to brush the crust with an egg yolk to give it the wonderful golden color.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  • Add a 3-4 tbsp of the buttermilk gorgonzola sauce (believe me, it makes all the difference)
  • Top with the remaining 3 cheeses (you can also use swiss instead of gouda..or provolone)
  • Chop and add some Serrano peppers, to taste (but take out the seeds so it doesn’t kill your taste buds)
  • Bake in lower rack for 5 mins, then in middle rack for 5 mins.
  • Take out of oven and top with chopped cilantro and parmesan cheese.

  • If you have leftover dressing you can add a bit on top of pizza as well.


Spicy Avocado Caesar Salad

Posted in Salads with tags , , , , on July 28, 2010 by Cooking For Mark

Take your ordinary caesar salad, and jazz it up with spicy Serrano peppers, creamy avocado, fragrant cilantro and fresh citrusy lime–and you will get the BEST caesar salad EVER!

In order to make this awesome version of the caesar salad, you must know how to make the slightly boring and ordinary caesar salad. And please don’t use store-bought dressing. It will ruin the taste, and there is no reason to spend $4 on a bottle of dressing when you can make your own in just a couple of minutes.

Up until about a year ago I had no idea caesar salad dressings contained egg yolks and anchovies. I have since learned to love anchovies, but I still have a hard time with the eggs.  The thought of raw eggs makes me a little queazy, to say the least. Even so, I have made the traditional recipe multiple times and I must admit, the dressing is great–but I can’t seem can’t enjoy it. So, I like to omit the yolks and it tastes just as good. If you don’t mind raw eggs, however, feel free to add one to the recipe. It does make it a bit creamy, and you can omit the sour cream. Although the avocado in the dressing already makes it very creamy. You could get away with omitting both the egg and the sour cream to make it lighter and healthier.

Unfortunately, most people reading this probably will have a problem with the anchovies, though. But let me just tell you they are not at all fishy. Their role in the dressing gives it a unique and salty depth of flavor that you just can’t replace with anything else. So don’t be a chicken and give it a chance. And remember, if you’ve ever ordered this salad in a restaurant chances are that you enjoyed the anchovies on there.

Caesar Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp anchovy paste or 1-2 anchovy filets
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • Salt + pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 tbsp Olive oil

Spicy Zesty Component:

  • 1/2 handful cilantro
  • Chopped serrano or jalapeno pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 – 1/2 avocado
  • And maybe a bit more lime.

NOTE: You may want to double the recipe. This makes 2-4 servings.

Dressing Directions:

  1. Put everything into blender except olive oil. Blend for 30 seconds. Slowly add olive oil until you have the desired consistency.

Salad Ingredients:

  • Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • Croutons
  • Either shredded parmesan/romano/asiago cheese
  • Avocado

Mango Frozen Yogurt with Ginger & Mint

Posted in Breakfast/Brunch, Dessert with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2010 by Cooking For Mark

I found a huge bag of frozen mangoes at the store over the weekend, and as soon as I saw it all I could think about was an indian mango lassie…YUM!  The fact that the mangoes are frozen makes the lassie even better, turning the yogurt drink into frosty yogurt ice cream, perfect to beat off the July heat. The ginger and mint complement the mangoes fantastically, and the lime zest takes it out of this world.

If you are prego, this would be the perfect breakfast to relieve morning sickness…a great excuse to drink this every day!

It’s also perfect for a summery treat any time of day. It’s citrusy , refreshing, cold, and healthy. What more could you want?


  • 1/2 c. Frozen mango
  • 1/2 c. plain yogurt
  • About 2 tbsp Juice (orange, pineapple, etc.)
  • 1/2 tsp Ginger, juiced
  • 1 tsp Mint, chopped
  • Lime zest (optional)
  • Sugar (optional)


  1. Place everything in blender and blend until smooth. You can fix the consistency by adding more juice (to make it thinner), more mango (to make it frozen) or more yogurt (to make it creamier).
  2. To juice ginger, I used a garlic press. You could also just grate the ginger in.
  3. Pour in glass, sit back and enjoy!