Guacamole with Pomegranate Seeds

Guacamole is one of my favorite dips of all time. There are so many versions of guacamole out there, but regardless of your recipe, the most important thing is that you use perfectly ripe avocados (not too hard, not too soft, and not bruised) so that your dip is creamy, bright green, and fresh tasting. The way I ensure perfect avocados is to buy large avocados when they are mostly green at least a week in advance. Ripen at room temperature until black on the outside and then refrigerate (so they don’t become too ripe) until ready to use.

Guacamole with Pomegranate Seeds is my favorite way to serve guacamole during the holiday season, because pomegranates are abundant, the flavors go well together, and the colors are perfect for the holiday table. Take this dip to your next holiday gathering to go with tortilla chips, tamales, or vegetable crudité.

Guacamole with Pomegranate Seeds
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 large avocados, ripe
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons umeboshi (ume plum) vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
  • ½ serrano pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
Instructions
  1. Cut avocados in half, remove pits and any bruises, and scoop flesh into a bowl. Mash with a fork until it is a chunky consitency (do not overblend).
  2. Gently mix in other ingredients.
  3. Adjust sea salt to taste.
  4. Put guacamole into serving bowl.
  5. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.
Note
  1. Umeboshi vinegar goes really well with avocado owing to its salty and sour tastes. However, if you don't have any, you can use more lime juice and sea salt in place of the umeboshi vinegar.

We’ll be making this at my upcoming Holiday Tamales Workshop in Austin this weekend. More photos to come!

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photo of guacamole with pomegranate

Homemade Black Beans

I love homemade beans! Making your own beans from scratch has so many advantages over the canned varieties– the taste is superior, the cost is lower, you avoid packaging waste, they are more digestible, and you can freeze leftovers to use for soups, tacos, chili, or your favorite bean recipe. You’ll have a tough time going back to the canned variety once you’ve made a batch of homemade black beans!

I recommend making one variety of beans per week. They take some time to soak and cook, so make sure to soak at least 2 cups of beans each time. You’ll be able to use beans cooked in a basic way in a variety of recipes throughout the week, and can freeze whatever you can’t use right away for future meals. We love to keep a variety of beans in the freezer (stored in quart sized freezer bags), such as black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, and white beans to use in making refried beans, bean soups, or hummus whenever we like. What a deal!

Make sure to sort your beans before cooking them. This ensures you will not get a stray stone in your soup! You could actually break a tooth or damage a filling by biting into a tiny little stone. I like to sort about 1/2 cup beans at time on a plate with a contrasting color so it is easy to pick out broken pieces, stones, or other debris.

image of dry black beans being sorted

Soaking beans and then draining them before cooking helps decrease phytic acid by 60% (phytic acid is an anti-nutrient that decreases absorption of minerals). Skimming the foam off of beans while cooking and adding kombu and/or epazote further enhances digestibility.

image of black beans being skimmed

You may use this recipe for any type of bean, but you may wish to leave out the garlic, cumin, or cilantro for some types of beans, or depending on what you are going to do with them. Enjoy your delicious homemade beans!

Homemade Black Beans
 
Author:
Recipe type: Beans
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 2 cups dried black beans
  • spring or filtered water
  • 1” piece of kombu
  • 1½ teaspoons unrefined sea salt
  • 1 white or yellow onion, small dice
  • 2 tablespoona olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons organic ground cumin
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped for garnish
Instructions
  1. Sort and wash the beans. Soak the beans in enough water to cover beans by 2-3 inches of water for 6 hours or overnight.
  2. Pour off soaking liquid. Place beans in heavy pot and add enough water to cover beans by 1-2 inches.
  3. Bring to a boil, uncovered, skimming off the foam as if forms for the first 10 minutes or so of cooking.
  4. Add kombu, and simmer for an hour (or more) or until beans are soft. You may also use a pressure cooker to save time and aid in digestibility. After skimming foam, add kombu, and place lid on pressure cooker. Bring up to pressure, then turn to low. Pressure cook for 10 minutes, then turn off heat and let come down from pressure naturally.
  5. Meanwhile, sauté the onions in separate pan with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt.
  6. Sauté until onions are soft and then add garlic cumin powder.
  7. When beans are soft, mix together the beans and sautéed onion mixture, and add sea salt. Simmer for another 15 minutes.
  8. Garnish with cilantro.
Variation
  1. Use 1 teaspoon dried epazote instead of or in addition to kombu to aid in digestibility.

 

 

Cecilia’s Pozole Verde

pozole verde

Mmm… Posole soup! Cecilia Torres, my friend and former student, sent me this recipe for Pozole Verde after returning home to León, Mexico this winter. Upon finishing her culinary studies at The Natural Epicurean, she got right back to work cooking amazing things in her kitchen, including the creation of authentic Mexican versions of recipes we did in class. They are all incredibly beautiful! Be sure to check out Cecilia’s food pictures on Instagram.

Pozole or posole refers to the large type of corn as well as the soup made with it. Perhaps you are familiar with pork or chicken-based pozole soups that are stewed for a whole day or two. This version is much fresher, greener, and gets its flavor from the poszole corn and the delicious verde sauce made with roasted poblanos, tomatillos, and lettuce. Flavorful ingredients are made fresh to top the soup with, making it fun for kids of all ages to customize their own bowls.

Cecilia's Pozole Verde
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
Soup
  • 4 cups pozole corn, soaked overnight
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or filtered water, or more as needed
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 roasted poblano peppers, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 2 pounds green tomatillo, chopped in halves or quarters
  • ½ head iceberg or romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 or 2 xoconostles, peeled and seeded (optional)
  • reserved pozole cooking liquid
  • vegetable stock or filtered water, as needed
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Toppings
  • cooked pozole (see instructions above)
  • 3 cups mushrooms, sliced and sautéed
  • ½ head iceberg or romaine lettuce, shredded
  • ½ bunch red radishes, julienned
  • ½ yellow or white onion, minced
  • 2 avocados, sliced
  • ½ bunch cilantro leaves
  • 4 limes, sliced into wedges
Instructions
  1. Cook pozole in water or vegetables stock until soft, 60-90 minutes. Drain, reserving liquid for soup base. Set aside.
  2. Sauté onion in olive oil until translucent.
  3. Add garlic, peppers, tomatillos, and lettuce and cook until vegetables are soft and bright green.
  4. Pour sautéed vegetables into a blender with reserved pozole cooking liquid and more vegetable stock (if needed) to make a creamy soup base.
  5. Pour soup base into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  6. Add more vegetable stock to reach the desired consistency of your soup. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve toppings in separate bowls with spoons so that each person can serve up a bowl of soup and put the toppings they would like in their bowl.
Variations
  1. Sauté cooked pozole in olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and chile powder. The result is a beautiful and tasty pozole to garnish the soup with.
  2. Use sliced zucchini in place of some or all of the poblano peppers for a milder version.
  3. Pickle thin radish rounds in umeboshi vinegar for about an hour before serving the soup, and use as a topping.

 

Here is the the version I made with Nelson at home yesterday. We added zucchini and serrano pepper (as we forgot to buy the poblanos) as well as a little shredded chicken we had leftover from making a chicken stock. It was still amazing! Another thing we tried was to sauté the cooked pozole corn in olive oil with ground Ancho chile and salt. It had a beautiful color and amazing flavor when added to the soup as a garnish.

Here is a photo of Cecilia and I at the Vegan Thanksgiving class we taught together at the Natural Epicurean in November 2016. I miss her so much!

Cecilia and Rachel cooking together at The Natural Epicurean- November 2016
Cecilia and Rachel cooking together at The Natural Epicurean- November 2016