Mexican Black Bean and Corn Soup

I first found a recipe for this simply delicious , soul nourishing , great cold day soup in  a William’s Sonoma cook book, but ,as always had to change the recipe. As I am a vegetarian and love food with texture I altered a few of the recipe suggestions , this is my perfect snuggle up with a book ,sit by the fire , day soup.

serves 6

4 tbs unflavored oil such as Canola, divided

1  Spanish onion ,coarsely chopped

2 garlic cloves ,coarsely chopped

4   14 oz cans black beans ,drained and well rinsed

3 cups vegetable broth

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 chipolte chili

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 cup frozen corn kernels

salt and freshly ground pepper


Chopped red onion

Sour cream

Chopped cilantro

Chopped serrano chilis

In a large ,heavy pot over medium heat ,warm the oil. Add onion and saute till softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute 1 minute. transfer to a food processor or blender and add half the rinsed and drained black beans. Puree until smooth.

Warm the remaining oil in the pot over medium heat. Add the bean puree ,the chipolte pepper ,cayenne ,oregano , salt , pepper and vegetable stock . Bring to a boil.  Lower heat and stir in the black beans and corn. Simmer stirring occasionally until corn and beans are tender, add more stock or water to thin as desired. Ladle into warm bowls and top as desired.


Ojai Valley Inn Tortilla soup

On a recent vacation in cabo San Lucas in Mexico ,my son fell in love with Tortilla soup. After much searching for a good recipe I found this one from Country club in Ojai,California. Top this with crisp tortilla strips,chicken and cheese.In the case of vegetarians,I simply replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock and omit the Chicken.

Serves 4

11/2 lbs large tomatoes,quartered

1 medium onion quartered

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 corn tortillas,coarsley chopped

8 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 bay leaves

3 corn tortillas,cut into 2 inch long 1/4 inch wide strips

1 cup diced cooked chicken

1 avocado,peeled ,pitted,diced

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

sour cream

Puree tomatoes and onion in processor until mixture is as smooth as possible. Heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in heavy large sauce pan over medium heat. Add chopped tortillas and garlic and saute 2 minutes. Add tomato-onion puree,chicken stock,tomato paste,cilantro,cumin,chili powder and bay leaves and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt,strain soup through coarse sieve,pressing on solids with back of spoon.

Heat remaining 1/2 cup vegetable oil in a heavy large skillet over high heat. Add tortilla strips and cook until crisp and golden. Transfer to paper towels and drain well.

Bring soup to simmer,lable into bowls and top with fried tortilla strips,chicken, avocado,cheese and sour cream

Churros Madrilenos

Churros are like a crispy ,cinnamon sugar doughnut that is sold by street vendors in Spain and Mexico. They are addictive and one is just not enough. They should be served warm. One note about the thick dough,do not try to force the paste through a pastry bag,the mixture is too stiff. Use a star shaped cookie press.

makes 12-15

2 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups all-purpose flour

Vegetable oil for deep frying

1/2 cup sugar +1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, mixed in a brown paper bag

In a heavy2-3 quart sauce pan,bring the water and salt to a boil over high heat. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pour in the flour all at once. Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a thick coarse paste that pulls away from the sides of the pan in a mass. Cool to room temperature.

Heat 2-3 inches of oil in a deep fat fryer. Spoon about half of the dough in a large cookie press fitted with a star disc,and press 3 or 4  6 inch long ribbons of dough directly into the hot oil,cutting the ribbons off with the tip of a knife as you proceed. Turning thr churros occassionally,fry them for 5-8 minutes,or until they are a rich golden brown on all sides. Drain on absorbant paper towels.

Place in brown paper bag with the cinnamon sugar. close the bag and shake to coat the Churros. Remove and place on a serving plate.

Best served warm.

Recipe adapted from Time Life Books


My theory on entertaining is simple, prepare ahead so I may enjoy the party as much as my guests. This is perfect for such an event. It is prepared im a 60 ounce pitcher and everyone can serves themselves, leaving you free to mingle with your guests. This super recipie comes from my favorite Mexican restaurant, Rosa Mexicano

Juice of 8 oranges, approximately 2 cups

Juice of 2 lemons

3/4 cups sugar

1×750 ml Rioja wine

2-3 ounces Grand Marnier

Thin slices of oranges and lemons

Stir ingredients in a pitcher ,adding a small amount of ice. Serve in iced goblets with fruit slices.

Fontina, corn and Chipole quesadillas

Quesadillas are satisfying and comforting. Their so quick to make simply with ingredients commonly founfd in your freezer or pantry, making them ideal for a quick lunch or snack, the fillings can be left to your imagination. I love Fontina because of the flawless way it melts, but any cheese of your choice will be great.

Serves 4

8 7″ flour tortillas

1/2 lb grated Fontina cheese, grated1 Chipolte chili in adobo sauce, finely chopped( I use at least 2)

2 teaspoons fesh oregano, chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried, crumbled

1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed

2 teaspoons olive oil plus more for brushing skillet

Heat a skillet and add 2 teaspoons oil. Add corn, oregano and salt. Stir for 2 minutes and stir in the chopped chipoltle chili. Turn off heat.

Heat a 8-10inck skillet and brush with oil. Add 1 tortilla. Top with 1/2 cup cheese and 1/4 cup of corn mixture.Top with another tortilla. Cook 2 minutes per side till tortillas are light brown and cheese has melted.

Repeat till all ingredients are used up. Cool for 3-5 minutes to allow cheese to settle. Cut each totilla into 8 wedges.

Serve with salsa and sour cream (optional)

Mexican Flan

I love this Flan. I first tried it at a friend’s apartment in NYC. It is creamy and delicious but different due to the addition of cinnamon and lemon.  Turns out this is another fabulous Rosa Mexicano NYC recipie


1 1/2 cups sugar



2 cups Milk

zest of 1 lemon

1 stick of Cinnamon

pinch of salt

5 eggs

1 cup sugar

Heat the sugar in a pristinely clean saucepan over low heat till sugar turns a deep caramel color. Pour into a glass baking dish and tilt to coat completly.

Boil the milk with the Lemon Zest, cinnamon stick and salt and stir to dissolve the one cup of sugar. Off the heat

Beat the eggs in a seperate bowl  and  add in one cup of the hot milk mixture, keep whisking to combine and temper the eggs. Combine both the egg mixture and the balance milk mixture.

Pour into the caramel lined glass dish . Set the dish within a larger roasting pan and fill roasting pan half way with water. Bake for about 1 hour until flan is set in the center.

Remove from the water bath and allow to cool completly before inverting from dish and serving.