Spicy Black Bean Dip

Awhile back, I got a molcajete from Little Village in Chicago. It’s basically a beautifully crafted Mexican mortar and pestle made from volcanic rock. After hours of seasoning it, I’ve made salsas and guacamole and they have been splendid! Spicy, smokey, sweet.. whatever I’m in the mood for – this will be the summer of salsas, dips, and chutneys!


This afternoon, I decided to try something new and whip up some black beans with green chiles to make a delicious “hummus” of sorts. As I was making it, I kept throwing in more things. So feel free to taste and reconfigure as you go through it! Plus, this is a fairly small amount – feel free to double the recipe!


Spicy Black Bean Dip

1 12 oz. can of Black Beans, drained and rinsed
2-3 cloves of Garlic
2-3 Green Chiles, dependent on spicy-tolerance
1-2 T. Cumin Seeds
1-2 T. Dried Oregano
2 T. Hot Sauce (I used Tapatio)
1 Avocado, diced
1 Lemon or Lime (I used lemon, but prefer lime)
Salt to taste
Delicious crackers, tortilla chips, or toasts!


In a mortar, smash up the cumin seeds, oregano, and salt so that it becomes a fine grain. Next, crush in the garlic cloves and green chiles to make a paste-like mixture.


In batches, mix in and crush the black beans, you can either leave some beans whole or make the entire dip smooth. As you’re mixing, squeeze in some fresh lemon juice or lime juice.



Now, it’s a matter of changing up the flavor profile to your liking. I poured out the mixture from the molcajete and started folding in new ingredients.

I mixed in some avocado, added additional salt to my liking, and a couple dashes of hot sauce. Other ideas for add-ins could be some cilantro, fresh diced tomatoes, or even cheese!


Serve with crackers, tortilla chips, or toast. It’s bursting with flavor, spicy, and rich! Give it a shot. This will be a delicious treat on a sunny hot day!


Ps. WOW. Just put it on some toasted baguette. YUM! LOOK AT THIS.

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An Update + Tasty Lunch

Hi all,

We are terribly sorry that in the whirlwind that is the summer, we have not had the opportunity to update our blog.

Francisco graduated from college!! Whee! For the past month-ish, he has been living in New York City under a Publishing Fellowship at NYU. He just finished his program and now is on the job hunt with a beautiful resumé ready to go!

Mimi finished her first year of graduate school! With straight A’s, too! For the past month, she has been working at the Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School, a residential treatment facility in Hyde Park for Youth. She absolutely loves her job and is revving up to start her second year field placement in August working in a Middle School and a Junior High School in the Northern Suburbs!

Francisco recently came home to Chicago for a little while and of course, Mimi picked him up from the airport to make this delicious meal!

Francisco assembled this GORGEOUS cheese and cracker platter:


It includes: Crackers, Seedy Wheat Bread, Honey Goat Cheese, Cheddar Cheese, Dried Cherries and Apricots, Slice Almonds, Homemade Jam

Then together, we produced this delicious salad: Image

The highlights include: Sautéed Butternut Squash, Mango Balsamic Glaze, and Golden Raisins.

We are doing well and eating well (to the best of our ability!) We will cook together (or on our own) very very soon!

As this post is being made, Francisco is conjuring up a “dream recipe” to share with you all!

Off to be more productive!


Mimi and Francisco

Ratatouille Pizza

Ladies and Gentlemen,

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I give you an amalgamation of two foods—an exploration, an embark, an enterprise—breaching a new frontier for the future of foodiedom. I swear to you: I conceptualized this one my own. I was disappointed when Google told me that this recipe already exists, and has been done a million times. Whatever.

This recipe is for a flaxseed, cracker-y kinda crust. I made it super thin, with no cheese or excess oil. Mostly because I’m cheap. I’d recommend  goat cheese, if you wanted to do it, and of course, looking up another pizza crust recipe if this one doesn’t seem your style. I’m not a pizza person (gasp!), so I like things with minimal bread and grease so I could really taste the veggies. This functions as more of a snack than anything and makes two small-medium pizzas.

Pizza Crust:

2 c. whole wheat flower
1 packet dry active yeast
1 c. warm water
1/4 c. flax seed meal
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. honey


1 eggplant
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
1 red pepper
1/2 red onion
1/4 c. tomato sauce
1 1/2 t. toasted garlic
1/2 t. lemon pepper
salt & pepper
2-3 T. olive oil

To make the crust.

Mix yeast and honey in HOT water, but not boiling or it will scald the yeast and kill. Let sit 10 minutes until foamy. In a large bowl, mix flour and flax seed meal with salt. Add yeast mixture. Mix until all flour is incorporated. Knead for about five minutes. Let rise 30 minutes-2 hours. Poke it and let sit 20-30 minutes. Roll out with lotsa flour, about 1/2 inch thick. I made mine a heart, because, you know.

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Preheat the oven to °350 F.

I have the privilege of owning a mandoline, the greatest/most frivolous kitchen utensil to date. Basically, it cuts your vegetables really thin, like beyond the thinness of manual human culinary capability. If you don’t have a mandoline (it’s okay, get one), just hand slice them real thin with a very sharp knife.

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Spread on the tomato sauce (and cheese if you have it). Layer the vegetables alternatingly over each other, along the circumference of the crust. Smitten Kitchen-style: eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, red pepper, repeat. Slice up the onion, pepper, eggplant, zucchini. I sprinkled the onion on top, but you could also layer it in! Brush all the vegetables in the olive oil so that they can brown well. Season it with everything you got.

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Bake for 20-30 minutes but BE CAREFUL. Consistencies for the crust vary dependent on how thick or thin you rolled it out, and if you didn’t have a mandoline, your veggies will definitely take a little longer. You want everything to look a little crispy.

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I kinda wish I had used less eggplant and more zucchini. The more oil, the better because it really makes the better portion of your pizza taste more like a pizza. Mix it up. Try new vegetables. Honor your inner, little chef. Anyone can cook.


Utter NAANsense with Mint Chutney

Alright, shameless pun, but here’s what Rachel and I were up to tonight. This is the easiest dough of all time. It’s fun to do in groups, there’s hardly any rising, and it goes with everything.


1 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. greek yogurt
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t/ powdered garlic

Chutney (blend all ingredients together)

1 c. mint leaves
1 large sprig cilantro
1/2 t. chili powder
1/8-1/4 c. water
1/2 onion
2 T. lemon juice
1/2 t. salt

1. Mix dry ingredients together, then add yogurt until a dough forms.

2. Place rounded dough into a bowl covered in plastic wrap and let sit 30 minutes ish.

3. Cut dough into six parts.


Roll the dough out into tortilla-thin slices.


5. Heat oil on medium-high heat and grill.




Ps. To try something new, cut the powdered garlic. Instead sautée some garlic and onions in a pan and roll into the dough before refrigerating! Or try some other add-ins as well! – Mimi

Purple Papas Fritas

‘Papas fritas’ is just the spanish phrase for french fries, but the way I cut these kinda just made them look like “fritas,” you know what I mean? I dunno. You’ll need:

3-5 small purple potatoes2-3 cloves of garlic
2 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. paprika
salt & pepper
olive oil

Oven, 400ºF.

Slice up the taters as thin as you can get them. Like, 1 centimeter in width & diameter. If you have a mandolin, this might be to your advantage. Luckily, I have the patience of Job.

Submerge these potato pieces in COLD water for 5 minutes. Pat dry thoroughly with a paper towel and then let them sit out 10-15 minutes or so.

Toss the potatoes in olive oil and garlic—just SLIUCE them. Then sprinkle on the spices, adding more as you desire. It would be great if you had some lemon zest too, I don’t know which way you swing. Once everything is evenly coated, toss on a baking sheet evenly and bake for 12-15 minutes, checking them and tossing them twice. Use your own judgement, because everyone’s cutting and oven tendencies are different.

I ate mine with kale! Yummerdoodle!

Spicy Squash & Coconut Flatbread

Alright, chitlins. Fall is here. I don’t care if the Equinox isn’t for another two days, we’re doin’ squash. I bought a BIG ONE, and and chances are that you’ll see a few more squash recipes with my leftovers. Here’s what you need for the flatbread.

1/4 butternut squash (maybe a lil more or less)
pita bread (a big one or minis work, depending on your eating party. I was cooking for myself and it just so happened that i had a giant, stale pita that I needed to get rid of)
1/4 red onion
3-4 cloves of garlic
arugula, or in England, they call it “Wild Rocket!”
1/2 c. cream cheese or goat cheese
Spicy Squash Seeds
coconut shavings
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. fresh basil
1 t. cumin
salt & pepper
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

Anywho, if you don’t remember how to choose and cut a butternut squash, refer to our former post. Keep the seeds and toast them ahead of time, or whenever you find the time. It shouldn’t take long and you can use our recipe for it! After you’ve chopped up our orange friend, toss it a baking sheet with olive oil, minced garlic, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cumin, salt and pepper until coated evenly.

Cover the squash with tin foil and bake for 30-40 minutes.

In the mean time, put your pita on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil and cream cheese. Toss on your Wild Rocket (and any other green you want) along with your onions.

I cropped out an ugly part

Once the squash pieces are cooked, garnish with coconut shavings, basil, and spicy seeds. The basil may not be to your taste, but for me it was more like pita. Also, I bought my own coconut. Mostly because it was cheaper than buying the shavings. If you do this, don’t be intimidated. Here’s how you conquer a coconut.

You may toast this flatbread for as long or as little as you like. I burnt mine a little so that it was just pita-chip consistency. Perfect.


Braised Figs with Honey & Thyme

Alright, this one is pretty self explanatory.


I was walking down Edgeware Road (IN LONDOOOON) and I came across a fruit stand with a guy selling figs, 4 for £1, and I definitely took advantage. I guess it’s fig season? Anywho, I’m going back tomorrow because these puppies were TO DIE FOR. For this hors d’oeuvre, you will need:

olive oil
balsamic vinaigrette
salt & pepper
goat cheese
toasted baguettes slices

To start, heat up olive oil on medium heat so it evenly coats a frying pan, but you don’t want to fry these guys or nothin’.

After washing them, slice the figs hamburger patty style (skins too!) and get ’em ready for grillin’, excluding the butt and the pointy end.

Once the pan is hot, place the figs onto the skillet and add the desired amount of salt and the optional pepper. It all depends on how sweet or savory you want them. If you want them more savory, consider cayenne pepper or garlic salt, which both go surprisingly well with honey.

When the figs have started to brown, toss balsamic vinaigrette into the skillet and flip all your fig patties. You want to watch them carefully, and heat them higher rather than lower, because they fall apart really easily.

Sprinkle honey & thyme.


Enjoy these on a crispy baguette with some goat cheese to balance it out! drizzle oil or honey to season! And don’t get to impatient that you burn the whole roof of your mouth like I did. Make your flatmates try them too, if even if they’re judgey about your weird food.


Sweet & Spicy Butternut Squash & Pumpkin Seeds

After you’ve used a butternut squash or pumpkin, don’t throw out the seeds! They make an easy, sweet snack or garnish.

Squash seeds or Pumpkin seeds or Both
Chili Powder
Salt & Pepper

When you’ve gutted a squash, separate all the seeds from the goopy, stringy innards. This can be quite a feat, but if you have a few lil pieces of the vegetable when you’re done, it’s not the worst thing in the world. Wash the seeds in a strainer and let sit out to dry or pat dry them.

Pre-heat the oven to 275°F.

Lay them all out in a pan and evenly coat them with olive oil, spreading them across a baking sheet. Season them with all the above spices until everything is thickly coated. Don’t be shy. I did not measure, but here’s some advice.

Use twice as much sugar than salt, if you want them sweeter. Vice versa if you want them savory.

Use half as much nutmeg as cinnamon.

Paprika and chili powder are to your spiciness tolerance, and you certainly don’t need both! But they mix great with the cinnamon.

Spread it all out on a baking sheet and roast on the top shelf for 15-ish minutes, toss them, and roast another 15 minutes, or until CRUNCHY.

Squash seeds are a little tougher than pumpkin seeds, so they’ll cook a little unevenly, so if you have the diligence (or two ovens) roast them separately. I, however, am lazy.

Hey! These are great on soup! Try it out.