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Mexico Lindo, Edmonton

One of my Easter meals was a dinner with friends at Mexico Lindo. I had heard a lot about this place, so I was excited to give it a try.

The restaurant is quite small, and was full when we arrived. After waiting for a short time, we were seated. Surprisingly, the later it got, the more empty the restaurant became. So if you want a table on a Saturday night, come at 7:30 p.m. Service was extremely friendly and even a little entertaining. The food also arrived relatively quickly.

To start, we ordered a jug of agua de Jamaica (Jamaica water). This is cold iced tea made from hibiscus flowers. And it tastes like liquid haw flakes (a.k.a. Chinese candy that is addictive like crack).

agua de Jamaica

agua de Jamaica

To start, I decided to go with the sopa de tortilla (tortilla soup). Soup is served at this restaurant in two parts. First, I was given a bowl of tortilla chips, cheese and avocado.

Sopa de tortilla without broth

Sopa de tortilla without broth

Then, they poured on the soup! Yum. Everyone at the table tasted it and thought it was good. Continue reading

Chinese parties

A friend asked for ideas about Chinese food her family could order for her mom’s big birthday bash. My suggestions that are under consideration:

  • crispy roast pork, possibly a whole pig instead of just chopped pieces (siu yook)
  • bbq duck
  • from T&T – cold appetizers like pickled daikon radish and carrots, spicy deep fried tofu, jellyfish and jai (Buddha’s Delight)
  • spring rolls
  • Chicken and pineapple fried rice, fried noodles, and vegetable dishes from Double Greetings
  • a cake and red bean buns from Garden Bakery or Hong Kong Bakery
  • fresh made deep fried tofu and maybe some dessert tofu from Ying Fat
  • almond cookies

Dang it, now I’m hungry.

White beans in olive oil

White beans in olive oil

White beans in olive oil

While doing some searching on the internet, I found this recipe for white beans in olive oil. I thought this might make a nice salad to take to work. Unfortunately, I think the amount of olive oil called for in the original recipe is way too much. I will likely end up straining the beans when I dish them out. I also ended up adding lemon juice because the dish was crying out for more acid. As I didn’t have any radishes, I used beets instead. Once marinated, the garlic gives the dish a nice bite. I think, if I make this dish again, I would put less olive oil and maybe add in at least half of the juice from the can of beets. The vinegary liquid would taste great with the beans. Too bad I had drained most of the can prior to assembling the bean salad.

White beans in olive oil
Adapted from a recipe on Foodworthy

Ingredients
1 can of white kidney/cannellini beans (540 mL/19 oz)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (Original recipe calls for 1/2 cup.)
1 diced shallot
1/4 cup diced carrots
1/2 can beets, diced (398 mL/14 fl. oz) (I tossed in a bit of the beet liquid as well. Original recipe calls for 5 radishes.)
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 minced cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions
Drain and wash the beans. Combine all the ingredients and marinate for at least an hour.

Vegetable and bean soup

Vegetable and bean soup

Vegetable and bean soup

In my efforts to eat more vegetables and reduce the amount of daily calories, I took my tortellini soup and changed it up. Took out the tortellini, added more vegetables, and added a can of white kidney beans (cannellini beans).

One of the vegetables I added was a bunch of roughly chopped kale. This is the first time I have ever eaten kale, and it worked wonderfully in the soup. The leaves are quite tough, so the first servings of soup had some still crunchy kale in it. The kale softened in subsequent servings of the soup the next day. If I had used spinach on the other hand, it would have been overcooked and wilted if left in the soup, and I would have had to add fresh spinach every time I ate a bowl of the soup.

The beans added some protein and, together with a piece of whole grain toast, made the soup into a healthy meal with few calories.

Continue reading

Cheese tortellini and vegetable soup

When I first made this dish, I used an Internet recipe that I cannot find anymore despite a thorough search through bookmarks, e-mails, print-outs and Google. While there are many tortellini soup recipes on the Internet, none that I read seemed quite right. I wanted something simple but hearty. And something that didn’t require sausage. For some reason, 70% of the Internet recipies I’ve found include Italian sausage! So when I needed to make this dish again, I used my very flimsy memory and flavour preferences, and made up my own version.

Cheese tortellini and vegetable soup

Cheese tortellini and vegetable soup

Cheese tortellini and vegetable soup

Makes approximately 6-8 servings.

Ingredients
Olive oil
One chopped medium onion
5-8 diced or pressed cloves of garlic
One to two cups chopped celery, including leaves (I find the leaves are a nice substitute for parsley.)
One to two cups chopped carrots
One can diced or crushed tomatoes (796 mL/28 oz)
900 mL/32 oz/4 cups of broth (I used two cartons of low-sodium beef broth but you could use chicken or vegetable broth. And you can use homemade stock of course, but I don’t bother because if I make fresh stock/broth, I’m drinking it as soup right then and there. I don’t necessarily agree that sticking water in with some vegetables for a few minutes will make a better stock than one with flavour already included.)
One package of fresh cheese tortellini (350 g)
Italian seasoning, fresh ground black pepper, and salt to taste

Directions
Heat olive oil in a large stock pot and fry your garlic and onions until the onions start to turn translucent but do not let the garlic burn.

Add your celery, carrots, tomatoes, and soup stock. Add the spices. Let simmer until the vegetables are tender enough for your taste. I would recommend not letting it cook until the vegetables are very soft, as a slight bit of crunch is nice to have when eating the soup.

Add the tortellini and cook until the tortellini float to the top, and add additional spices if needed.

The tortellini will soak up a lot of soup, so you may need to add more stock if you are serving leftovers of this dish the next day. Another option is to cook only part of the tortellini package, and cook the remainder when you heat up the soup leftovers.

Variations: Add chopped parsley to the soup. Add other vegetables like spinach. Top soup with some freshly shredded Parmesan or similar cheese. Try using different tortellini like tri-coloured or herbed pasta.