Blueberry Salsa

Red, white, and… blueberries?! Patriotic colors, plenty of crunch, a pop of sweet, and a subtle heat pack this Blueberry Salsa full of star-spangled flavor!

Blueberry Salsa | AreYouKitchenMe.com

This Independence Day isn’t like years past. I can’t say I feel the same swell of pride waving an American flag or hearing the national anthem as I used to. I debated even mentioning it publicly because I don’t want this blog to be political or polarizing. But it’s important to acknowledge what is going on in our country that used to welcome those seeking refuge and prosperity with open arms. It’s important to give voice to those who have had theirs taken away.

We used to boast the words “melting pot” when talking about our country’s ability to mix and mingle so many distant cultures. When we think of the Statue of Liberty, we think of our great-great grandparents coming from across oceans to build a better future for their family. But now families are being ripped apart or turned away simply because of where they come from. If you’re as disturbed by the news as I am, I encourage you to get involved with local activist groups, call your representatives, or make a donation- I chose the ACLU for their history and reputation.

I won’t dive any deeper into this tragic and sensitive subject but I hope you’ll keep fellow human citizens of this Earth in your hearts as you celebrate the freedom not everyone will have the chance to experience.

Blueberry Salsa | AreYouKitchenMe.com

On the topic of embracing foreign concepts in a place we already know and love, let me slowly ease you into the idea of a fruity salsa…. (Ok, that segue felt gross and distasteful please forgive me.) You’ve probably heard of mango salsa. Maybe even pineapple salsa. Why not Blueberry Salsa? Hopefully, you can hang in to hear me out. I mean, what’s not to love…

Blueberry Salsa | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Truly, this Blueberry Salsa hits all of the taste spots:

  • Sweet
  • Tangy
  • Spicy
  • Salty
  • Crunchy
  • Herby
  • Fresh

To go for the full red, white, and blue effect, I chopped up a jicama and added it to the bowl. Honestly, I just added it for the color but WOW. It added so much crunch and lightness; I honestly don’t think chips would love this dip nearly as much without it. But If jicama is intimidating (read this article to learn just how easy it is!) or if you can’t find it at your local store, I suspect some radishes would make a great peppery stand-in.

Blueberry Salsa | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Try something new this year for America’s Independence Day! Buy and peel a massive jicama. Add some blueberries to your salsa. Say hello to your new neighbors from another country. Whatever you do, do it with love. Happy Fourth, friends!

Blueberry Salsa

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Red, white, blue, and delicious! Patriotic colors, plenty of crunch, a pop of sweet, and a subtle heat pack this Blueberry Salsa full of star-spangled flavor!

Ingredients

  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 4 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • ½ large jicama, peeled and diced into cubes (or sub radishes)
  • 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalepeño, minced
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 1 tsp. salt

Instructions

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl and mix. For best flavor, let sit for a few hours in the fridge before serving.
https://www.areyoukitchenme.com/blueberry-salsa/

Creamy Black Eyed Pea Soup

As the temperature plummets, the need for warm and soulful comfort food rises! Creamy Black Eyed Pea Soup is rich, filling, and comes together in less than 30 minutes- a winter wonder!

One Sunday, after tragically overcooking a batch of black eyed peas in my pressure cooker, I had an epiphany. Ok, maybe epiphany is an exaggeration, but let’s just say I had an idea…

Creamy Black Eyed Pea Soup | www.AreYouKitchenMe.com

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned through my years of cooking is that there really are no failures. Take my pumpkin-pie-turned-charcoal-briquettes from last week. They looked absolutely horrendous and the crust was totally ruined but even then, the inside filling was caramelized and delightful. See that? Silver lining.

Creamy Black Eyed Pea Soup | www.AreYouKitchenMe.com

The same happened with my mushy, falling-apart, nearly-disintegrated black eyed peas. I had planned to freeze them for salads and stews but their lack of structural integrity rendered that plan inoperative. What does one do with six cups of soggy bean mush…? Soup, of course.

Creamy Black Eyed Pea Soup | www.AreYouKitchenMe.com

I leaned into some Caribbean flavors for this soup with allspice, thyme, and coconut milk. I think a few chunks of pineapple or some exotic dried fruit would take this soup to a truly tropical level. And if you can take the heat, a drizzle of Sriracha is divine.

Creamy Black Eyed Pea Soup | www.AreYouKitchenMe.com

Learning to cook has taught me to fail. Again and again and again you fail. Your cookies fall apart and your sauce separates and your cake falls flat and your greens turn out tough and inedible. But you learn. The phrase “no use crying over spilt milk” has become somewhat of a motto in my kitchen. Less and less these days do I find myself a crying mess on the kitchen floor after the pancakes I wanted for breakfast looked more like piles of burnt scrambled oatmeal. Instead, I just eat oatmeal.

I guess this is a lesson in resilience. Things don’t always go the way we planned, but at the end of the day you can have a pot of soggy mush or bowl of delicious soup. Up to you.

Creamy Black Eyed Pea Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

As the temperature plummets, the need for warm and soulful comfort food rises! Creamy Black Eyed Pea Soup is rich, filling, and comes together in less than 30 minutes- a winter wonder!

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1 bay leaf?
  • 2-4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cans blacks eyed peas (or 4 cups cooked- or overcooked!)
  • ½ lb. kale, washed and chopped
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk (I prefer full fat)

Instructions

  1. Heat a medium stockpot over medium-high heat and add oil. Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes. Add in mushrooms and sauté another 8-10 minutes, until most of their liquid has cooked out. Add garlic, allspice, thyme and cayenne for an additional 2 minutes.
  2. Add the black eye peas and stock and bring to a low boil. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Add kale and coconut milk and return to a simmer. Stir until kale has wilted, about 2 minutes.
https://www.areyoukitchenme.com/creamy-black-eyed-pea-soup/

Creamy Black Eyed Pea Soup | www.AreYouKitchenMe.com

Caramelized Onion White Bean Hummus

Everyone’s favorite party chip dip gets a makeover! Sweet caramelized onions and creamy white beans make Caramelized Onion White Bean Hummus a crowd-pleaser!

Caramelized Onion Hummus | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Fun fact: I used to be a picky eater. Sure, most kids go through that phase, but my finicky palette limited my meals to essentially just refined carbs. Pasta (but no red sauce). Bread (but no sandwiches). Sweets (but not chocolate). Chips (but no dip).

No dips?! Among my many aversions was having multiple foods touch. I guess that’s pretty common but I steered clear of all spreads and such. At most gatherings, you could catch me munching on plain tortilla chips and unadorned baby carrots. Had I liked potato chips, I definitely would never have considered dipping them into the onion dip everyone else couldn’t get enough of.

That’s the funny thing about some recipes. Because I was so picky, there are a lot of things I’ve never eaten before. Let alone cooked. You’d think that inexperience would set me at a disadvantage but I think it leaves the door wide open to experimentation. For example, French onion dip. Never had it. But when I thought about the ingredients- creamy base, sweet onion flavors- I was intrigued.

Caramelized Onion Hummus | AreYouKitchenMe.com

There’s a certain trick to making really, really good hummus. Overcooked beans. A lot of times the chickpeas or other beans you buy in cans still have a nice bite to them. Great for salads, not so great for hummus. In my opinion, the best way to combat this (and for the freshest, purest bean flavor), is to cook your own beans. I knowww, I know, it takes a lot more time and effort. But A. it’s cheaper and B. it gives you more control of the tenderness of the beans.

Caramelized Onion Hummus | AreYouKitchenMe.com

The recipe below calls for canned beans because I know that’s how most people buy them. But I’m including my recipe for cooking your own in the notes because I really hope you’ll give it a shot. Definitely worth it.

Caramelized Onion Hummus | AreYouKitchenMe.com

I have served this hummus at three different parties and every time, people can’t get enough of it. The dollop of mayo adds a touch of decadence and I think really conjures the nostalgic creamy feeling of the real deal.

Not that I’d know.

Caramelized Onion White Bean Hummus

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 2 cups hummus

Everyone’s favorite party chip dip gets a makeover! Sweet caramelized onions and creamy white beans make Caramelized Onion White Bean Hummus a crowd-pleaser!

Ingredients

  • 2 small (1 large) sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cooked cannellini white beans, or 1 can
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt, divided
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. tahini
  • 2 Tbs. vegan mayo (optional)

Instructions

  1. If using canned beans: drain most of the liquid from the can and place the beans in a microwave safe bowl. Cover with a plate and microwave for 2 minutes to soften the beans. Set aside to cool.
  2. Caramelize the onions: place a large pan over medium-low heat and add olive oil. Once heated, add onions and toss to coat. Cook the onions, stirring every few minutes until completely softened, about 25 minutes. Add a splash of water occasionally they begin to stick. You don’t want them to caramelize until the very end. Sprinkle on ½ tsp. salt, sugar, and vinegar and continue to cook until golden brown, another 10 minutes.
  3. Place beans, onions (reserve a few for garnish), tahini, mayo, and remaining salt in a high-speed blender or food processor. Blend until completely smooth, adding a splash of water if needed. Chill in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Notes

To cook beans from scratch: rinse 1/2 lb. of dried beans well then soak in water overnight, up to 36 hours. Rinse very well and add to a pot or pressure cooker with enough water to cover generously. Cook on the stove in simmering water for 1.5-2 hours, until falling apart. Or, cook in a pressure cooker for 25 minutes and let pressure naturally release for 10 minutes. For both methods, use a slotted spoon to scoop the beans from the water. This will make double the amount of beans you need for this recipe.

https://www.areyoukitchenme.com/caramelized-onion-white-bean-hummus/

Caramelized Onion Hummus | AreYouKitchenMe.com

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