Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Yogurt Chipotle Crema


Red pepper is the star here with added heat from chipotle peppers and tomatoes for sweetness.

Serve this bold red soup for Cinco de Mayo when it’s just too early for gazpacho.

This is a thick and creamy soup without the  cream. Adding the chipotle pepper makes it spicy, or stay mild and swirl in Yogurt Chipotle Crema for a nice finishing touch. Cilantro can replace the tarragon but it’s nice to have different flavors for a Mexican spread.

Ladle individual bowls at your buffet or serve in smaller “shooter” glasses.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

7 -10 small sweet red peppers
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz tomato juice
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (optional)
2 Tsblespoons taragon, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Place red peppers on a heated grill, turning all sides until charred. Place in a bag bag to sweat off the skin for approximately 15 minutes. Meanwhile, saute onion and garlic with olive oil in a small stock pot until onion is translucent. Remove peppers from the bag, cut in half and remove seeds. Using a utility knife, scape off the charred skin being careful to not remove the roasted flesh. Some blackened bits will remain. Place red peppers and the remainder of the ingredients in a high speed blender and puree. Adding the chipotle pepper will make this soup spicy. Return to the stock pot and heat. Add 1/2 – 1 cup water if too thick. Serve with a dollop of Chipotle Crema. Makes 1 quart.

Yogurt Chipotle Crema

8 ounces plain greek yogurt
1 chipoltle pepper in adobo sauce
pinch of salt

Place all ingredients in a high speed  blender and puree.


Roasted Tomatillo Verde Salsa


I’ll never buy green salsa again ’cause it’s so easy to make!

Most people think tomatillos are little green tomatoes, but they are a fruit more related to the gooseberry family. Buy mature tomatillos that have filled their papery-thin husks and are medium-firm.

Make this medium hot salsa for any Tex-Mex buffet. Use it on it’s own with chips or to top off tacos and burritos. Stays well in the refrigerator in a glass jar with a tight lid.

6 tomatillos, husks removed
1/4 cup cilantro
1/2 red onion
1/4 jalepeno pepper
Juice of 1 lime
Salt & pepper to taste

Place tomatillos on a heated grill and turn until slightly charred on sides and softened, being careful not to overheat so they become mushy. Cool slightly and place in a high speed blender with the remaining ingredients and puree.



Mango Salsa


Salsa goes sweet and hot with mango as the main star.

Like sunshine in a bowl!

Pair this salsa with traditional “red” salsa and guacamole for a Mexican tri-colored appetizer bar.  Serve with organic blue corn chips, rice tortilla chips and my lemon savory crackers for lots of different textures and flavors.

2 mangoes
1/2 red pepper
1/2 red onion
3 scallions
1/2 jalepeno pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more to taste
2 Tablespoons lime specialty olive oil (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Dice mangoes by cutting lengthwise along the pit. Score each half with a sharp knife to make vertical and horizontal cuts in the flesh without breaking the skin. Invert each half and cut off mango cubes.

Dice red pepper, onion, scallions and jalepeno to desired size. Larger makes a chunky salsa and finely diced resembles the consistency of a relish.  Add garlic, cilantro, olive oils, salt and pepper. Stir and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight to let flavors marinate.


Quinoa Black Bean Burgers


The answer for what to do with left over quinoa.

Spiced up Mexican, black beans and quinoa make a tasty burger, cake or slider. The perfect vegan addition to any Cinco de Mayo buffet (if egg omitted).

Serve with a dollop of guacamole and a side of salsa.

3 Tablespoons olive oil plus 3 more Tablespoons
1 medium onion
1/2 red bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
15 ounces black beans, drained
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1/4  teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4  teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 cups quinoa, cooked
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
1 egg (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Finely chop onion and red pepper. Saute in skillet with olive oil with minced garlic until onions are translucent. Set aside. In a medium bowl, mash black beans and add oregano, cayenne, chili powder, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir in onion-pepper mixture, cilantro and mustard. Add quinoa and egg and mix thoroughly. If omitting the egg, decrease quinoa amount by 1/2 to 1 cup or burgers will fall apart.  Form into burgers or sliders.

Heat remaining olive oil in a heavy skillet on medium high and add burgers. Turn after approximately 4 minutes or until browned and crisp, being careful to maintain their shape – especially if egg is not used. Brown on other side and pop in the oven for approximatley 15 minutes or heated thoroughly being careful not to dry them out. Serve.

Makes 6-8 burgers or 15-18 sliders.