Catalonia, Spain

Calçots

I’ve been having the good fortune of people giving bunches of large vegetables.  Not only are the bunches large, but the vegetables themselves…they’re large! Most of those carrots from Pachamama Farm were big daddies! Then, the very next day my husband and I were coming home from a walk and I see my elderly neighbor, Kim, with a large knife cutting away at these giant green onions.  Kim sees me and holds out half of her bunch and says they’re for me! Quite exciting!  I ran to her and accepted my gift.  Kim is always giving me vegetables and I do return the favor when my garden is producing in the summer.  In fact, we had a silly thing going on last summer where I gave her a zucchini plant and she insisted on giving me half of all it’s produce.  I also had two zucchini plants so I decided I would give her zucchini too. We just kept trading zucchini like that all summer.  

img_4215 So I had all these giant green onions and I knew I had to do right by them.  I decided to throw it out on instagram (follow me @travellovecook)…give me some ideas for these onions! My sister suggested the ever popular retro midwest card club appeteaser: wrap them in cream cheese and dried beef! Ok, first of all YUM. But oh yeah, that was a joke… My mom suggested slice them in salads. Ok, but I wanted something exciting Mom! As you can see I have quite the instagram following.  Finally, someone suggested grilling. Yes! I do a little internet search and I find that there’s this thing in Barcelona called Calçotada . A type of festival every spring where they grill a type of green onion that grows in Spain called “calçot”.  Click on that link, and you’ll learn more. So, they char grill these giant green onions and peel away the tough charred outer skin and eat the tender innard.  They dip them in romesco sauce a type of sauce with a pepper and almond base.  Finally, I had found something worthy of these giant green onion gifts.

Calcots

Large Spring or Green onions- If you’re in the states, try going to a

Course Salt

Olive Oil

Romesco Sauce:

1 Tablespoon higher heat oil such as avocado

5 garlic cloves in the skin

¼ onion cut into chunks

¼ cup raw almonds

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

¼ cup panko bread crumbs

1 14 oz can tomatoes

3 dried chiles, I used guajillo, rehydrated in a bowl of hot water for about 20 minutes

1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

Salt and Pepper

Make the Romesco sauce first. Heat the avocado oil in a pan over medium heat and then add the whole garlic cloves, still in their skin. I did this because I wanted them to have a roasted taste and not browned at all.

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Saute for a couple of minutes and then add the onion and some salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat stirring frequently.  You don’t want the almonds to burn at all! Next, add the breadcrumbs and the smoked paprika.  Cook for about another 1-2 minutes.  

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Take out the garlic cloves and remove the garlic from the skin. Transfer the garlic and the rest of the ingredients in the pan to a food processor.  Also add to the food processor the tomatoes, the chile peppers, red wine vinegar and about a teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper.  Blend all the ingredients.  It will take a while with those whole almonds. Then start slowly pulsing in your olive oil. The sauce should be blended but small chunks of almonds are fine and even quite pleasant. Taste the sauce and adjust the salt and pepper and even add a little more vinegar if you want.  I heard once that sometimes when you think that certain something is missing and you don’t know what it is, a splash of vinegar is what you need! You will have lots of leftover Romesco sauce.  That’s ok because you can use it for whatever! I tossed it with penne and that was good but I think some linguini would have been even better!

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Back to the calçots. Heat Your grill. You want the final temperature to be around 450-500 degrees.  Wash and dry your green onions.  Lay the on the hot grill. Leave the grill open. Just stand there now and don’t go do anything else because you may get distracted. Once one side is quite brown, use tongs to flip them over.  Don’t try to use those giant, awkward grill tongs.  Use tongs that you use inside and you’ll be much more dexterous with them. You’re going to get pretty mad if you drop one through the grates.  That’s why you want to use very large green onions.  Once, the other side is very brown too, almost black, they are done.  Put them on a platter and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with course salt. Serve the calçots with the romesco sauce.  Drizzle the romesco sauce with more olive oil and a sprinkling of course salt. Now peel away that outer layer, dip in the romesco, and enjoy all that delicious mess. 


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Europe, France

pachamama farm carrots with cilantro pesto

My husband was given some carrots from Pachamama Farm, in Longmont, Colorado. These carrots had grown all winter and were delicious and sweet.  I love roasted carrots, but since these carrots were so fresh and flavorful on their own, I wanted to create a dish using them raw.  Growing up, we always had grated carrot in our salads.  I enjoyed this much more than chunks.  It was a way to give their flavor in a more delicate package. In French cuisine, shredded carrot salad is a classic and I always love to refer to it to make good use out of my carrots. For this recipe, I’m using long ribbons of carrots that are created using your vegetable peeler.  It’s like you’re peeling the skin and then you just keep on peeling! If you’re using organic carrots, just scrub them clean and use the whole carrot.  If not, then peel away the outer skin and then start saving the rest.  I mixed the carrot ribbons with cilantro pesto. Cilantro pesto is very easy to make and makes good use of the rest of your cilantro after you bought a bunch for a recipe that calls for 2 tablespoons.

carrot ribbons with cilantro pesto


serves 8 small servings

ingredients:

6-8 carrots peeled or scrubbed clean if organic

pesto:

1/2 of a bunch of cilantro- very roughly chopped

1/2 cup cashews (other nuts like almonds or walnuts would be good)

1 garlic clove

1 lemon, juiced

1 garlic clove

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Using a vegetable peeler, peel long ribbons off of the carrot into a bowl. Put the cashews in a pan over medium heat. Shake them up quite a bit in the pan and heat until they are fragrant. Put the cilantro into a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the garlic, lemon juice, red pepper flakes if using, and some salt and pepper to the food processor.  Pulse until well combined. Now, start pulsing in the olive oil very slowly until everything is mixed together. Taste it.  Probably needs more salt! Add more and pulse, pulse, pulse. Add as much of the pesto as you like to the bowl of carrot ribbons and mix together. Bon appétite!

 

Africa, Tanzania

Tazanian peanut soup

I’ve said before that African food is my heart food. My travels to Tanzania began my love of East African cuisine. It was exciting and flavorful and familiar all at the same time. Most recipes use things that someone in a small town could find at the grocery store. Many dishes are naturally gluten free, dairy free, and vegan. This soup is dairy free and gluten free. It uses plenty of veggies and gets its smooth and creamy flavor from peanut butter and coconut milk. Tanzanian peanut soup can be ready in as little as a half hour. You could serve it with fruit and bread if you like, but I promise you, it’s filling all on its own!

Tanzanian peanut soup

serves 4-6

ingredients:

1 tablespoon organic red palm oil

1 onion chopped

3 tomatoes cut into quarters

2 cloves garlic chopped

1 average eggplant, peeled, sliced about an inch thick, each slice cut again into 4 quarters

1/4 cup smooth, unsweetened, unsalted peanut butter (I use Justin’s)

1 can coconut milk

1 quart chicken broth

1 teaspoon chicken bouillon base (I like Better than Bouillon)

a couple dashes of Maggi (optional)

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon curry powder (I used Penzy’s Spices “sweet curry“)

salt and pepper

*red pepper flakes I went a little off course and used Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru) because I have so much and I used a full teaspoon. It was excellent in this dish. You can Aleppo use pepper or cayenne pepper. The authentic pepper flake would be crushed African birdseye pepper. A good starting point would be 1/4 teaspoon and increase as you wish.

optional add-ins and ons:

2 cups greens such as spinach, chard, or collard

avocado slices

chopped cilantro

sliced hot pepper

1.Heat the oil in a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and some salt and pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes. Add the tomato and cook for about another 3 minutes.  Add the garlic, Maggi (if using), bouillon, curry powder, hot pepper flakes or powder, turmeric, and a little more salt and pepper. Stir and cook for about 1 minute.

2.Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, and peanut butter. Stir and heat to a simmer. Add the eggplant and bring it back to a simmer. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes, until the eggplant is really tender.

3.Now get out that immersion blender and blend it all up! You want it to be silky smooth.  If you’re using greens, you can add them now and simmer for maybe around 5 minutes.  Don’t make my mistake and add long ribbons of chard.  While tasty, it conflicted with the texture of the soup. Chop those greens up real good before you add them. Top with the avocado, hot pepper, cilantro too if you please.  Usually I’m all about the soup toppings but honestly, this soup is absolutely delicious without.

 

Carribbean, North America

salted caramel Creole banana cake

So, I’m definitely not much of a baker.  I don’t really have a sweet tooth, I’ve always had more of a salt tooth instead.  My husband is quite polite about all this and doesn’t complain about the lack of desserts. However, I’ve noticed when there are sweets around, or it’s the rare occasion that I’ve baked something, he acts really happy.  I was reading through my Share cookbook the other day and I saw this recipe for “Magic Banana Creole Cake”. I didn’t have enough bananas but that doesn’t usually stop me.  This is why I usually can’t bake. I need to improvise because I never want to go to the store! Luckily my improvisations worked here.  I cut the recipe in half.  I also used store-bought salted caramel sauce instead of making the syrup from sugar and water. So good.

I’ve also been experimenting with essential oils in my cooking so I decided to add a drop each of ginger and clove; both flavors that I knew would compliment this cake.  I took a cue from Mid-West banana bread and added a super overly ripe banana to the batter.  My husband thought it was a little strange when I yelled “yes!” as I found what looked like to him a rotten banana in our freezer.

salted caramel Creole banana cake- adapted from the recipe “Magical banana Creole Cake” by Najat Kaanache, found in the “Share” cookbook by Women for Women International

serves 8

ingredients:

1/4 cup oil such as olive or avocado

1 tablespoon coconut oil

8-10 ounces salted caramel sauce

1 super overly ripe banana

2 very ripe bananas (sliced)

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, separated

1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon plain yogurt

1 drop each clove and ginger essential oils* (optional)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup half and half (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in the bottom of a 9 inch round cake pan (I used a springform pan). Spread the jar of salted caramel sauce over that. Arrange the banana slices evenly over the caramel.

Mix together the dry ingredients: flour, cornstarch, baking powder and baking soda. Add the salt and set aside. Whisk the egg yolks with the 1/4 cup of oil and brown sugar. It should be creamy and foamy. Stir in the yogurt and maple syrup. Gradually fold in the dry ingredients, alternating with milk. Stir in the super overly ripe banana (we’re talking a frozen, liquidy one) If you’re using the essential oils, add them now.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks foam (ow, my arm!). This takes a minute and if you have the upper body strength of a T-Rex, like I do, your arm will be tired. Gently fold in the egg whites to the batter. You want everything to be mixed but if you overmix, it will make the cake kind of tough. Pour the batter over the top of the caramel sauce and bananas. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes.

Remove the cake from the oven and let it stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat up your half and half over medium-low heat.  Be careful that it doesn’t scorch. Now, place a large plate on the top of the cake and turn over your pan so now the plate is on the bottom.

Lift off the pan. Voila! Now the caramelly bananas are exposed!

Serve the cake in a bowl and pour the warm half and half over the top. Gooey, creamy, good.

Uncategorized

monday musings

My chihuahua is pretty chill. Here we are snowmobiling in Maine.

Did you like the chill chihuahua? Last night, I made it for some friends and I accidentally grabbed the bottle of triple sec instead of tequila. Wowza! And yikes. It was quite the tart and sweeeet drink. It turns out that cocktails named after dog breeds is a thing!

On Thursday, I posted a recipe for japchae. The recipe I used called for bean thread noodles, but after research, I found that sweet potato starch noodles are the actual Korean japchae noodle.  This article clears most all your Asian noodle questions up!

Saturday’s post has tahini as the shining star ingredient. I use Woodstock Tahini, but evidently, I could be using several other more artisanal brands. Last year was the year of tahini.  I’m hoping tahini trend will continue in 2017.  I have a food scientist friend who works with companies to develop new products. I picked his brain for a bit the other day about 2017 food trends.  He said peppercorns are a big thing right now paired with sweets, such as pink peppercorns with chocolate.  Sounds like the new salted caramel?  He also said something about a cloudberry that has the texture of yogurt on the inside? Yes please!

I’ll leave you with a few more pictures of my chill chihuahua.

 

 

His name is Papo
Here is he with my husband and niece

 

 He met a man a couple of years ago that had just had his 107!! birthday! They really liked each other.
Middle East

roasted butternut squash with tahini yogurt sauce

I love tahini. Tahini is to sesame seeds as peanut butter is to peanuts. It is the second ingredient in good hummus after garbanzo beans. In fact, this sauce is like really good, authentic hummus with yogurt instead of garbanzo beans. Tahini yogurt sauce is very simple and flavorful; creamy, salty, lemony.  In this recipe, I roasted a whole butternut squash then topped it with this sauce.  It’s a delicious and pretty side dish or a wonderful vegetarian meal on its own. Plenty of fiber and protein!

roasted butternut squash with tahini yogurt sauce

serves 2

ingredients:

1 small butternut squash

yogurt tahini sauce:

8 ounces 2% or whole milk greek yogurt

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

2 cloves garlic- finely grated with a micro plane grater. I have this one and I use it all the time.

1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or smoked paprika (optional)

good salt like kosher and fresh ground pepper

garnish:

1 thinly sliced hot pepper such as fresno or red serrano

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the squash in half the long way. Scoop out all of the seeds. Drizzle with a tablespoon of the olive oil and season with plenty of salt and pepper. Roast the squash, cut side up, in the oven for 45 minutes. You want it to be really soft so it may take up to an hour, especially if you don’t use a small squash. Don’t rush this part because you’ll regret it if you do.

Meanwhile, combine the yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, grated garlic cloves, and cayenne or paprika. Mix well. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil a little bit at a time until it’s all mixed in.  Taste it and add a little or lots of salt and pepper.  You want it to be a little on the salty side. At least I always do!

Take out the roasted squash. Fill in the hole of the squash with plenty of the sauce.  Garnish with chopped cilantro and sliced hot peppers and drizzle with more olive oil. Enjoy!

ps- tahini yogurt sauce is good with so many things such as any roasted vegetable or as a veggie or chip dip. I love it with roasted beef or lamb too.

Anywhere and Everywhere, Mexico, North America

chill chihuahua


I recently had the most fantastic lavender greyhound cocktail at the Arvada Tavern in Arvada, CO. I’ve always been a fan of greyhounds. Both the dog and the cocktail. The cocktail of course is very simple and allows the grapefruit juice shine. Adding lavender adds this super mellow, relaxing quality. I went to recreate this cocktail at home but I didn’t have any vodka. I discovered that tequila was an easy alternative. I made a simple syrup with just one drop of lavender essential oil. Only use an essential oil that has been labeled safe for ingestion. I use Young Living’s Vitality line. I use a sugar rim to add to the easy going nature of this drink. It’s just a shot of lavender syrup, the juice of a red grapefruit, and a shot of tequila. And I’m pretty sure this combo produces its own shot of dopamine. I can’t can’t wait for you to try it and see what I mean! 

chill chihuahua

serves 1

ingredients:

1 1/2 oz. (1 shot) tequila blanco

1 red or pink grapefruit, juiced or 4-6 ounces grapefruit juice. 

1 1/2 oz. lavender simple syrup 

First make the lavender simple syrup. Combine 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup water in a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the syrup starts to get a little bubbly. Remove from heat and let it cool for a few minutes. While the syrup is chilling, use a juicer to juice your grapefruit. You could certainly use store bought juice here but try to get the really fresh kind (not from concentrate). Transfer the syrup to a jar that uses a screw top lid. Add one drop of lavender essential oil. Be careful to just add one drop. If you add more, it may taste a little soapy. Screw the lid on the jar and shake it up. In a martinit shaker, combine the juice, 1 1/2 oz. syrup, 1 1/2 oz tequila, and ice cubes. After that, find a little plate to put some sugar on for you sugar rim. Take a short cocktail glass and spread some of the simple syrup on the rim and side of the glass with you finger. Carefully roll that part in the sugar for a sugar rim and side. Place a large whiskey ice cube in your glass. Shake up the contents in the martini shaker and pour it into your glass. Dont try to pour the cocktail in before the sugar rim. You’ll feel real dumb. Sip. Mmmm…isn’t it lovely? 

 Don’t have any lavender essential oil that is safe for ingestion? Send me your email or go to my essential oils page to buy some! 

Asia, Korea

japchae

Japchae with egg omelet and green onion garnish

When I was in college and visiting my parents on a break, I found a recipe in one of my Mom’s Cooking Light magazines. The feature was on a Korean American woman who I think was also a cook (the details are blurry). She recalled all of her favorite Korean dishes she had growing up.  One of the dishes was “chapchae” or “japchae”.  It sounded so good! I took the magazine to the library to make copies of it and all the other Korean recipes.  Mind you, I was 21 years old in 2003, and this was my first experience with Korean food. I had to rely on these recipes alone having zero background knowledge on the cuisine. Lucky for me, the recipe author was really good at explaining the process.   I went back to my college apartment after the break and made all these Korean dishes.  My favorite was the japchae! This recipe is super fun to eat because of the unique texture of the noodles.  The ingredients are very easy to find.  I know because I could find them all at the Hy-Vee in Iowa in 2001 so I know you can find them wherever you are too. You can find the more authentic Korean sweet potato starch noodles in Asian grocery stores or you can use bean thread noodles which are found in the Asian section of most all grocery stores.

I’m not able to give the recipe author proper credit because her (it was a she) name isn’t on the copies I made.  I’ve made just a few tweaks such as less beef because I like a heavy noodle to beef ratio.

Japchae

serves 4

ingredients:

beef:

1teaspoon cornstarch

6 ounces round steak or sirloin, trimmed and thinly sliced into matchsticks

1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger (get the fresh stuff, don’t cheat!)

2 teaspoons sambal oelek plus a teaspoon of gochujang. The original recipe recommends the red Thai chile paste.  I used this back in college and it was really, really good.

1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil

noodles:

1- 3.75 ounce package sweet poato starch noodles (aka jap chae, chap chae, Korean glass noodles) or (mung) bean threads (aka cellophane noodles)

vegetables:

1 teaspoon dark sesame oil

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

5 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps (about 6 ounces), you can use white button mushrooms instead

1 cup (2 inch) julienne-cut carrot

1 cup (2 inch) diagonally sliced green onions

1 (10 ounce) bag fresh spinach

remaining ingredients:

1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil

1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted ( I really enjoyed Eden Shake instead of just sesame seeds)

  1. To prepare beef, sprinkle cornstarch over beef; sprinkle cornstarch over beef; toss to combine. Add 1 tablespoon soy sauce and next 4 ingredients (1 tablespoon soy sauce through 3 garlic cloves); toss well to coat. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet or wok with a little oil over medium-high heat. Add beef mixture; stir-fry 3 minutes or until done. Remove mixture from pan. Cover and keep warm.
  3. To prepare noodles, pour boiling water over noodles; let stand 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain. Snip noodles several times with kitchen shears.
  4. To prepare vegetables, wipe skillet or wok clean with paper towels. Heat 1 teaspoons sesame oil and vegetable oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Add half of spinach; stir-fry 2 minutes or until spinach wilts.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add beef mixture and noodles to pan, stirring well to combine. Combine 1/3 cup soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon sesame oil, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over noodle mixture; stir well to combine. Cook over medium-low heat 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. I also garnished mine with an egg than I beat with a little water and fried into a little omelet that I cut into slices. For the green onions you see in the picture, take a very sharp chef’s knife and cut into thin strips.  I was trying to be like Ivan Orkin.

Please, Cooking Light Magazine, since I know you’re reading this, tell us who was the recipe author! Thank you:-)

Uncategorized

monday musings

I’m right in the middle of Chef’s Table season 3(Oh! this trailer is so good!). This week I watched Nancy Silverton , Osteria Mozza, (Los Angeles, CA) and Ivan Orkin, Ivan Ramen, (New York, NY).  The theme I loved the most with these two was the obsession. Pure obsession with every detail until it was right. Oh and hey!  He uses oven roasted tomatoes to achieve umami perfection in his ramen broth. With the episode and this article, I found a certain affinity to Ivan’s story. It got me thinking about this.

So, currently I teach 1st grade and have taught elementary school for the past 12 years. I’ll be making a change next year so I’m learning new things and rediscovering my hobbies. From time to time my husband passes on articles to me. He sent me an article today entitled: 30 Lessons Leonardo Da Vinci has taught me about photography, art, and life. Number 11 was an “ah-ha”.

And when I’m not cooking or teaching, I’m loving on my pets and foster pets. I’ll leave you with this sweet photo of my late Great Dane getting a little too close to the blueberry pancakes.

 

I miss my counter surfer!

 

 

 

Brazil, South America

chilled soup with mango, yogurt, and serrano peppers

 

I loved styling these in my great grandma’s Depression glass sherbet dishes.

One of our favorite restaurants is a North Denver staple, Cafe Brazil. It’s consistently good and always busy but not too busy. The first dish of theirs that I fell in love with was the chilled yogurt soup. It has mango, cucumber, red onions, and slices of serrano pepper. It’s such a unique flavor and the perfect palette perk to start your meal. I actually have no idea if this is an actual Brazilian soup or if it’s an original creation from the chef at Cafe Brazil. The internet offered no help. I’ll be asking next time I visit.  I recreated this soup for the first time when I was visiting my sister because I knew she would love it.  She went nuts over it and I hope you do, too.

Super quick and easy recipe with not too many ingredients!

chilled soup with mango, yogurt, and serrano peppers

ingredients:

serves 8 as a starter

1 cup of ripe mango, cut into chunks

1 small red onion, cut into four pieces and then sliced about 1/8 inch thick

1 seedless English cucumber

24 oz. plain, whole milk yogurt (not Greek style)

1 cup water

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon salt (I used Real Salt Brand)

fresh ground black pepper

Peel and slice your onion.  Transfer to a bowl and pour in the red wine and white vinegar along with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt all of the sugar.  Set aside to quick pickle for about 10-15 minutes. No need to peel your English cucumber. Slice it in half the long way and then slice into 1/8 thick half moons.  Peel the mango and cut into chunks. The pre-sliced kind makes this easy. Thinly slice the serrano pepper and set aside.

 


Combine the 2 cups of yogurt and 1 cup of cold water into a deep bowl. Add the mango chunks.  Use the immersion blender you bought to blend the yogurt, water, and mango. You could also just as easily use a blender. Blend. You want it mostly smooth with a few small chunks left over.

Add the sliced cucumber, half of the serrano pepper (leave the rest to garnish), about 1/2-1 teaspoon of salt, freshly ground black pepper and the quick-pickled red onion.  Stir together. Let it sit in the fridge at least one hour before serving to let the flavors mingle and improve. Serve garnished with the serrano pepper slices and the fresh ground black pepper.