Saturday, August 25, 2018

Red Onion Salad With Lime Juice

Red Onion Salad
Red Onion Salad, though simple, is quite delicious served as a side salad or as a topping for other salads, sandwiches, soups, stews, and main dishes in many cuisines - Indian, Middle Eastern, Latin American, etc. The lime juice, chile and the herbs bring a burst of fresh flavor to every bite.

We love this as a condiment to most meals. Although limes are the citrus fruits of choice (key limes as well as other limes are equally delicious), lemons work fine also. If red onions are not handy, other kinds may be used which then will be simply "Onion Salad" :-).

Variation: If tomatoes are added, then we have Red Onion & Tomato Salad! Stir in two thinly sliced tomatoes. Adjust the amounts of lime juice, chile, cilantro, and the seasonings if tomatoes are added.


1 medium Red Onion, finely sliced/slivered
1 Red Bell Pepper, very thinly sliced
1 hot Red or Green chile (serrano or jalapeño), cored and sliced thinly
2-4 Tbsp fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
Juice of 1 Lime/Lemon, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground Pepper to taste

Red Onion Salad

Slice or cut into slivers the onion very finely; a sharp knife, mandolin or a slicer comes in very handy for this.

Put the onion in a bowl, cover with a pinch of salt and ice water and let rest for 5 minutes. Drain thoroughly. Soaking in the ice water removes the sharpness or bitterness of the onions and renders them mellow.

Assemble the salad: In a bowl combine the driained onion with the rest of the ingredients adding lime/lemon juice to taste; mix well. Serve immediately or reserve up to an hour or two in the fridge.

Red Onion Salad is best eaten fresh but is still tasty enough chilled in the fridge for another day or two if there are leftovers.


Seasoned Salt With & Without Onion/Garlic

Seasoned Salt is a handy item to have in the pantry; it is fabulous to spice up everything from sliced veggies/salads, roasted, steamed, boiled or grilled vegetables, and your favorite recipes. Although commercial preparations are available, many have fillers, preservatives, anti-caking agents, etc. This easy home-made seasoned salt is quick and easy and the ingredients can be adjusted to personal tastes and preference.

Have fun experimenting with different amounts and proportions or your favorite herbs. If you like a smoky flavor, use smoked paprika.


Seasoned Salt Without Onion/Garlic
1/4 cup Kosher or Sea Salt
4 tsps ground Black Pepper
1 Tbsp Paprika
1 tsp Smoked Paprika (optional)
1/2 - 1 tsp ground Red Pepper (Cayenne)
1/2 tsp Celery seeds (optional)
1/4 tsp Asafetida (optional)

Seasoned Salt With Onion/Garlic
All the ingredients above
1 tsp Garlic powder
1-2 tsp Onion powder


If using celery seeds, process in a spice grinder with a little of the salt until pulverized and proceed with the recipe.

Stir together all the ingredients for the appropriate seasoned salt you prefer and store in a clean, dry, airtight container.

Use as desired. Enjoy!!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Mexican Seasoning Mix (Homemade Spices For Beans & Veggies)

Mexican Seasoning Mix is an important spice mix for the pantry; it is not limited to seasoning only beans for burritos and tostadas but is also great for spicing up stir-cooked veggies (think fajitas!), rice, corn, Mexican Fiesta Soup, veg chili, etc! In fact, stir in Mexican seasoning mix into any recipe where you'd want to add a bit of spice. We love to slather grilled/steamed corn on the cobs with a concoction that includes lots of the Mexican seasoning mix ..... more on that soon :-).

Although commercial mixes are readily available, most have unknown "spices", sugar, or fillers such as corn meal; homemade is the way to go if one wants to eliminate all those. This is an easy and quick recipe that lasts well if kept clean and dry.

If you like to eliminate onion/garlic, omit them; the seasoning mix is delicious with or without them.

Mexican Seasoning Mix

About 1 cup

3 Tbsp New Mexico Chili powder 
2 Tbsp Paprika
1-2 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
1 Tbsp ground Chipotle Chili powder
3 Tbsp Onion powder 
1 Tbsp Garlic powder 
1-2 Tbsp ground Cumin 
1 Tbsp dried Oregano, crushed
1 Tbsp unsweetened Cocoa powder
1 Tbsp freshly ground Black Pepper 
1/2 - 1 Tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 Tbsp Sea Salt


Mix all the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl. Pour into a clean, dry, jar with a tight fitting lid. Store the spice mix in a dry cupboard.

Use as needed; for spicing Frijoles (Pinto Beans for burrito, taco, etc), you might like to add 1-2 Tbsp or more to taste for each cup of dried beans after the beans are cooked. For stir-cooked veggies or rice dishes, add about 1 tsp - 1 Tbsp depending on the level of spiciness required.


Thursday, August 16, 2018

Veggie Ceviche! (Vegan Tofu/Veggie Salad)

Veggie Ceviche! 
Veggie Ceviche is an amazing recipe if I say so myself! You have to taste it's limey, cilantro goodness to see how delicious it is. The tofu truly gets so flavorful that one can eat a whole bowlful even without any of the additional ingredients - yes, I did exactly that!

There are 3 ways to make this ceviche; with tofu, cauliflower (raw or cooked until just tender), or hearts or palm - all equally delicious. This ceviche is an easy make ahead recipe and a great addition to the appetizer/starter, lunch, or a light meal repertoire.


Fresh limes work the best for this recipe; let the limes warm up to room temperature if chilled. If the limes are not juicy, or they are small, you may need more limes.

The tofu/veggies may be marinated up to a day in advance. To insure fresh taste and flavor, add the tomato and cucumber no more than about an hour or two before serving.

Jalapeño chiles maybe cored for a mild ceviche; leave cores in for more spice.

If fresh corn is not an option, frozen corn kernels maybe used; cook in a hot pan until slightly caramelized, cool, and then add to ceviche. Also, if you have leftover grilled corn, use it here!

Ceviche maybe served in many ways; one of our favorite way is to let everyone pile it on small romaine/endive leaves or warm corn tortillas. It maybe spooned onto tostada shells also or scooped up with tortilla/corn chips.

About 4-5 servings


1 block Regular OR Firm Tofu (14 oz), cut into 1/4" cubes 
1 clove fresh Garlic, mashed well
1 small Red Onion, finely diced
2 Roma OR 1/2 cup Cherry Tomatoes, diced small
2 Persian Cucumbers, diced
2 Corn on the cob, grilled and cut off the cob
1-2 Jalapeño chiles, cored and minced
2-3 large Limes, juiced
1 large bunch Cilantro, finely chopped, divided
1 tsp Salt, divided
1/2 Mandarin/Regular Orange, sliced (optional)
1/2 cup Green Olives, sliced (optional)
1-2 Avocadoes, diced

To Serve:
Lime wedges
Hot Sauce (Mexican type)
Romaine/Endive leaves
Corn Tortillas (warmed)
Tortilla Chips/Tostada Shells


Drain the tofu thoroughly and rub with a couple of pinches of salt, wrap in toweling, weight down, and drain. Blot well and cut into cubes.

Pound together using a mortar and pestle or pulverize using a food processor, half the cilantro, 1/2 tsp salt, and half the jalapeño chile.

Combine Tofu, the pounded cilantro mixture in a non-reactive bowl (glass, ceramic or stainless steel bowl), and the juice from one lime; mix well. Place the tofu mixture in a ziptop bag, flatten the bag gently so the tofu is in one layer and there is enough juices to coat all the cubes. Let marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

If using cauliflower (raw or cooked until al dente and cooled) or hearts of palm, cut them into small florets or cubes. They don't need to be pre-marinated. Just combine them with the rest of the ingredients.

Grill the corn on the cob and let cool. Cut off the kernels carefully from the cob.

In a large non-reactive bowl, mix together the garlic, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, corn kernels, rest of the green chiles, rest of the cilantro, the juice from one lime, and the olives if using. Stir in the tofu and season with salt to taste, about 1/2 teaspoon or so. Add the mandarin/orange if using, to the ceviche and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours if not serving immediately.

Just before serving, gently stir in the diced avocado. Taste and add more lime juice as needed.

Serve with chips, tostada shells, tortillas, romaine and/or endive. Pass the hot sauce and lime wedges.

Veggie Ceviche!