Nov 18, 2013

Black Bean Chili with Lime Cream

I like to cook a pot of beans on Sunday. Especially in the Fall and Winter. It's so easy, it's just a matter of picking through the beans at the beginning of the process. It takes a little while to sort through the beans, basically making sure no rocks sneaked their way in, but I usually take out broken beans too. No need to really, I think I need to justify my work as a bean sorter.

I found this really great recipe that I love, as you can put it to cook for most of your day or afternoon, and it helps warm the home with the scent of food cooking. It's comforting. Then you saute the rest of the veggies with garlic and spices and cook another 20 minutes before you eat. The real star of this dish, though, is the Lime Cream, so please don't leave it out!

This recipe is modified from a great cookbook called "The Flavor of California" by Marlena Spieler. It has a lot of fresh and healthy recipes, and it has a pizza dough recipe, which is always good to keep on hand. I modified it to my preferred mix of vegetables (including using a whole bag as opposed to 8 oz. in original recipe.)

Black Bean Chili with Lime Cream


1 sm bag black beans (16 oz)
8 oz. chicken stock
16 - 23 oz diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 fresh green chile, deseeded and chopped
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp mild chile powder
hot sauce to taste
1/2 lime, zest and juice
4 oz sour cream (or yogurt)


1. Pour beans into a large pot and cover with water. Soak overnight or bring them to a boil, then remove from the heat and allow to soak, covered, for an hour.

2. Drain the beans, then cover with fresh water and bring them to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, until the beans are tender.

3. Then add the broth and tomatoes, and raise the heat to medium high. Cook until the liquid reduces and thickens, and the beans are beginning to fall apart.

4. Heat the oil in a frying pan, and add the garlic, onions, and chili pepper until they soften. Then stir in the spices and cook for a short time to allow them to release their flavors.

Add this mixture to the beans and cook another 20 minutes or so, stirring now and then so beans don't stick to the bottom, and adjust the the liquid so that it is not too soupy nor too thick.

5. Stir the lime zest and juice into the sour cream and allow to sit a little while.

6. Serve the chili into bowls and top with a dollop of lime sour cream. You can also have hot sauce, cilantro, lime juice, avocado, even chips and cheese for people to add to their bowl, according to taste.

We happened to have a ripe avocado on hand when I made this last night, and I squeezed the other half of the lime over it to keep it from turning brown. It also gives the avocado a fresh, citrisy flavor that gave this dish and extra kick. You could leave out the chicken stock and it would be vegetarian. Leave out the cream and might even be vegan.

Writing this post has made me hungry! I think I'll go look for some leftovers of this soup right now.


Nov 6, 2013

Poblano Mac and Cheese

Some people wonder about the name of this blog: Urban Indian. I feel like an urban Indian because of my heritage of Native American and Hisipanic (and possibly French and English), and my life in modern urban times. And trying to integrate the two.

Thus I am drawn to recipes that call for preserving foods for the winter, foods that are nutritious, and foods that use ingredients from the Southwest. Thus I was drawn to a Macaroni and Cheese recipe that included Poblano peppers, and I wondered if my family would like it.I once made regular Macaroni and cheese from scratch, making a white sauce and adding cheese and noodles, My kids were not impressed, stating they preferred the kind from the box. Probably because that's what they were used to.

So you understand my concern. I used the recipe below as a guideline. I made a white sauce and cooked a whole package of penne, using probably 80% of it. The rest we had for another meal.

I didn't have milk so I used cream, and I added more queso fresco, just because I had it and wanted to use it up. For sour cream I used a latin Crema - The Centro Americana kind. I am currently obsessed with these and have been trying different kinds to try to taste the difference. So my version was definitely more fattening.

I used 3 poblano peppers because we like a little heat. I added penne to my cheese mixture until the consistency was such that all the noodles had a good creamy coverage with sauce. I ended up putting the mixture into two shallow pans and only had enough energy to prepare one topping, so we saved one pan for another meal. The next day my family demanded it for lunch, they wanted more so badly!

Also, I baked at a high heat (400) until browned.

I hope you enjoy as much as we did!

Poblano Mac and Cheese


8 oz. uncooked penne pasta
2 poblano chiles
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs (I used Panko)
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp.grated lime rind
1/8 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)
1 cup 1% low-fat milk, divided
1 cup vegetable stock
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 Tbs minced garlic
5 oz. queso-quesadilla cheese, shredded
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/8 tsp kosher salt
cooking spray


1. Preheat broiler to high.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.

3. While pasta cooks, cut chiles in half lengthwise and discard  seeds and membranes.Place chile halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 6 minutes or until blackend. Place in a paper bag; fold to close tightly.. Let stand 5 minutes. Peel and cut into bite-sized pieces. Peel and cut into bite-sized pieces.

4. Combine breadcrumbs, oil, rind, and red pepper in a bowl. Place1/4 cup milk, stock, flour, and garlic inasaucepan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook 3 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in chiles, 1/4 cup milk,cheese,and next 4 ingredients until smooth. Stir in pasta. Spoon mixture into an 8-inch square broiler-safe glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with breadcrumb mixture. Broil 1 minute or until browned.

from Cooking Light Magazine, April 2013 pg. 122

Sep 17, 2013

Cream of Ratatouille Soup

I was planning a post about soup from a bag of vegetables, when I thought, "Hey, it's eggplant and zucchini season! What about Cream of Ratatouille soup?"

Since this is the place I want to have all my favorite recipes, I might as well add it now.  Now regular Ratatouille is a delicious staple in Italy, but I find that soup is an easy way to get my kids (and husband!) to eat vegetables. And this soup is delicious, imho.

I didn't note where I originally got this recipe, so sorry no credit.

Cream of Ratatouille Soup


3 Tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 eggplant, cut into cubes*
1 zucchini, cut into cubes*
1 large onion, quartered
1 large pepper (any color)
4 large very ripe tomatoes, quartered*
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped fine
2 Tbs heavy cream
2 cups savory croutons

*The original recipe called for peeling the vegetables, but I don't bother with this.


Heat 2 Tbsp oil in heavy-bottomed medium pot. Saute garlic until translucent. Add eggplant, zucchini, onion and bell pepper, and cook over medium heat 10-15 minutes, until slightly soft. Add tomatoes and the remaining 1 Tbsp oil. Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes begin to dissolve, 15-20 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from the heat and cool 5-10 minutes. Add the mixture to the food processor or blender, in batches if necessary. Puree until smooth. Return to the pot and add chicken stock (or water, if necessary) until the mixture has the consistency of a thick soup.

Add salt, pepper, and thyme. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and add cream (or milk, if necessary). Taste and adjust, if necessary.

Serve with Savory Croutons

Savory Croutons

8 slices dry french bread
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp minced fresh herbs (oregano, thyme, & rosemary)

Cut the bread into 1" cubes. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic, reduce the heat and saute 2-3 minutes, to flavor the oil. Add the bread and cook slowly over low heat until golden & crusty (4-5 min each side).

Sprinkle with salt and herbs. Drain on paper towel and cool. Can be stored for a few days in a closed paper bag.

Coming soon... Soup from a bag of vegetables!

Jul 30, 2013

PF Chang's Flavors of Summer Challenge

I saw on FB that PF Chang's was having a contest using Pinterest and creating an Asian-inspired dish with summer ingredients, of which we were to choose at least five. I didn't have much time, but I threw together a noodle bowl inspired by Vietnamese restaurants I've been to. When I'm in Denver, there is a large Vietnamese community, and for years I've been going to restaurants there when I'm in town to get a noodle bowl. They taste fresh and flavorful, using fresh herbs and utilizing one of my favorite ingredients:  noodles!

When I'm in Los Angeles and order the noodle salad bowl, they tell me, "You know that's not soup, right?" Because out here, people usually order a Pho, or noodle soup bowl. Those are also delicious, but it's Summer and I wanted to make a cold noodle salad. I improvised on the sauce, and thought it came out nice.

I picked some flavorful ingredients on Pinterest, and created the following recipe:



Avocado - halved and scored into squares, squirt with lemon juice to maintain color
Cucumber - cut into bite size pieces
Carrots - bag cut small
Bell pepper, any color - cut small
Firm Tofu (optional, or meat) 
vermicelli pasta


1/2 lime - juiced
squirt of Sirrachi sauce
small squirt of Fish Sauce
1/6 cup seasoned Rice Vinegar
squirt of sweet chili sauce


Heat a large pot of water. Assemble the ingredients while water heats and pasta cooks.

Cook pasta according to directions. Pour into colander in the sink when finished and rinse with cold water to cool the noodles.

Cut tofu into 1/4 slices and fry or grill as desired. Cut each slice into smaller pieces to serve. Prepare a small sauce separately for each salad.

Have your family build their own salad according to their preferences, and pour the sauce over the top. Toss to coat the entire salad, and enjoy!