Thai Soba Noodles with Cachucha Peppers

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I first learned about cachucha peppers when my mother started growing them in her garden. As her plant flourished, the native Cuban peppers (or aji cachucha as they’re known in Spanish) made their way into my kitchen.

The peppers are a variety of the South American sweet pepper, which make their way into dishes like Venezuelan Hallaca (a savory tamale-style dish) and Puerto Rican sofrito (a sauce with onions, peppers, garlic and tomatoes). With a similar look to the habanero, they range in color from pale green to bright red and orange, and are actually surprisingly mild. I love the smoky and sweet flavor that I’ve used in everything from roasted tomato salsa to a classic arroz con pollo. Although I often use it to make Latin dishes, I’ve started to learned just how versatile this little red pepper is. Continue reading

Smoky Three Bean & Kale Chili with Quinoa

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About a week ago, it was an absolutely miserable day in New York City. The sky was gray, it was raining on and off, and I just couldn’t get warm all day. It was probably the first truly dreary day this autumn, and I was in an undesirable mood.

All I wanted was to go home and eat some leftovers but, as I made my way home, I just didn’t feel like eating the spicy sweet potato and black bean salad I had (although I had been enjoying it for lunch for several days now). Instead, I needed something hearty. I needed something warm. I needed chili… And I needed it bad.

That’s how my crappy day turned into a great one, ending with a smoky three bean and kale chili that I topped with Greek yogurt and served over quinoa. I knew that it was going to take a lot to improve on this dreary day, and luckily this chili did not disappoint. Continue reading

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