Pineapple Jicama Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette

Pineapple Jicama Salad

This salad is sweet, tangy and delicious. I originally read a similar recipe in a magazine while sitting in the waiting room at my dentist’s office. I was intrigued because I love love pineapple, but it had cucumber in it, which I absolutely abhor! Cumber is one of the four foods in the world that turn me into a picky eater toddler throwing a tantrum at the dinner table. I will not eat them. I do not like them touching my food and I will sit and pout if they are near my plate (bananas, celery and eggplant would be the others). I have been using a lot of jicama this summer and thought that it would make a great substitute for cucumber. It has the same kind of crunchy texture.

I served this salad with a side of chips for a super chunky chips and salsa kind of thing. You could also serve it over a bed of mixed greens or it would also go great with some grilled shrimp or tequila lime chicken as well.

Pineapple Jicama Salad

Pineapple Jicama Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette


For the Vinaigrette:
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2-4 Tablespoons olive oil (I used 3)

For the salad:

  • 1/2 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
  • 1 small jicama, peeled and diced into cubes
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, pitted and diced


For the Vinaigrette:
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until well blended. Set aside. (Vinaigrette can be made ahead of time and will keep in the fridge for about 1 week.)
For the salad:
  1. Combine all ingredients, except the avocado, in a bowl and mix together. Add desired amount of vinaigrette and toss to coat. Salad can now be kept in fridge for up to 4 hours or served immediately.
  2. Right before serving add avocado and gently toss to to coat avocado with dressing, but be sure not to mush it too much.

Spicy Chocolate Dipped Pineapple

Spicy Chocolate Dipped Pineapple

Fresh pineapple is probably my favorite fruit. I always think raspberries are, but then I have fresh pineapple and raspberries just can’t even compete. Plus fresh-cut pineapple smells amazing and doesn’t leave any annoying seeds in your teeth. The one and only time I was in Hawaii (for a grand total of 36 hours), I managed to consume pineapple at every meal and what a delicious 36 hours it was. Apart from my mild obsession with pineapple I was fairly certain I was going to love this recipe since I also like spicy things and really like the combination of sweet/spicy/salty. I found this recipe ages ago and I have wanted to try for forever, but only got around to it recently. I should have made it sooner. Sweet, salty, tangy, spicy, this super easy recipe had just about every flavor profile you could imagine.

Word to the wise, do not scoff at the 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. I did at first, and was quite tempted to add more to my chocolate, but that would have been at huge mistake. The heat is subtle at first and it grows. Wait until you are popping your third or fourth piece of pineapple and you will see what I mean.

I think an easy variation on this recipe would be substituting chipotle and smoked sea salt (Maldon also makes a smoked version of its sea salt). I think the smoky, spiciness would be amazing with the pineapple and chocolate.

Spicy Chocolate Dipped Pineapple
Recipe from Whole Foods.

  • 1/2 pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 24 chunks
  • 2 (3.5-ounce) bars dark chocolate
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • flaky sea salt (like Maldon)
  1. Thread a short skewer (4 or 6 inches) through each pineapple chunk and arrange on a large, parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Working over a double boiler, heat chocolate, stirring constantly, until just melted; stir in cayenne. Working with one skewer at a time, pat pineapple dry with a paper towel, and then dip in chocolate, covering about halfway. Transfer to baking sheet, sprinkle lightly with salt and repeat with remaining pineapple and chocolate. Chill until set, about 45 minutes.


Aguas Frescas

aguas frescas

Perhaps your Cinco had a bit to much drinko involved with it. These should help alleviate some of the problems you are facing today. These drinks are actually good any day, especially when it’s hot out. And the are super easy to make. Aguas frescas are really popular Latin American drinks, but there are some variations from country to country. Living in Southern California, I am most familiar with the Mexican variety. You can find them served at pretty much an taqueria you go to and even most of the ‘fancier’ Mexican restaurants will have some version of their own. There are even bottled aguas frescas, but trust me, you are better off sticking to the fresh stuff. Aguas frescas are traditionally just fruit purée, water and a bit of sugar. I find that most of the restaurants add way too much sugar. If you get fresh, in season fruit, I think that’s usually sweet enough on it’s own. I also like to make mine with sparkling water to give them a little more of a refreshing feel.

Strawberry Aguas Frescas

  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled
  • juice of two limes
  • water, sparkling or flat, of choice (I used La Croix Coconut)
  1. Puree the strawberries in a blender or food processor. Push purée through a fine mesh sieve to remove seeds.
  2. Pour purée into a large pitcher and add lime juice. Stir together. Top with water and stir (lightly if using sparkling water) to mix.
  3. Serve and enjoy!
Pineapple-Mango Aguas Frescas
  • 1 fresh pineapple, cored and sliced
  • 2 fresh mangoes, chopped
  • juice of two limes
  • water, sparkling or flat, of choice (I used La Croix Lime)
  • generous dash of cayenne pepper (optional for when you are feeling a bit crazy).
  1. Blend the pineapple, mangoes and lime juice (and cayenne pepper if using) together.
  2. Pour into a large pitcher. Top with water and stir (lightly if using sparkling water) to mix.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

Grilled Pineapple & Goat Cheese Quesadillas & More Cinco de Mayo Treats!

Grilled Pineapple & Goat Cheese Quesadillas

This is a great last-minute appetizer for an Cinco de Mayo. It’s super easy to make if you already have the grill going or you can cheat (like I did) and use a ridged grill pan in the kitchen

I’m a big proponent of putting my favorite foods and ingredients together and just hoping for the best. Pineapple is my all-time favorite fruit. I really enjoy goat cheese as well. Put the two together and yum. I used this amazing goat cheese from Trader Joe’s that had kalamata olives in it . I also really love olives, so I thought it was fantastic. The sweet, caramelized pineapple went really well with the tangy goat cheese and the little bits of kalamata gave the whole thing a little bit of saltiness.

Grilled Pineapple & Goat Cheese Quesadillas

Grilled Pineapple & Goat Cheese Quesadillas

  • sliced fresh pineapple (in rings)
  • softened goat cheese
  • corn tortillas
  1. Heat the grill to high or grill pan over medium-high heat. Place pineapple rings on the grill. Allow to cook for about 4 minutes until there are visible grill lines on the fruit then flip and grill the other side. Remove from heat when done.
  2. One side of a tortilla spread the soften goat cheese in a thin layer to cover the tortillas. Place the pineapple on top and cover with an other tortilla. Place the tortilla directly on the grill or in the grill pan and cook until there are visible grill lines. Flip the tortillas and grill the other side.
  3. Serve and enjoy!
Last minute Cinco de Mayo recipes!

Thirsty Thursday: Piña Coladas

Pina Coladas

It’s my dear friend Amanda‘s birthday next week, so this one’s for her. HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMANDA!!

Piña coladas are not my favorite drink in the world, but they do hold a special place in my heart. Not only are they a featured in the refrain of one my favorite karaoke songs (thanks Jimmy Buffet), but they remind me of a magical summer in Budapest. That’s where piña colada obsession began. At Morrison’s 1 to be exact. (If you are ever in Budapest, you have to go to Morrison’s (the one by the opera, not the other one)). It took us a while to discover the piña colada at Morrison’s. We tried and failed with our regular go tos, but an impulsive decision lead to a wonderful discovery.

There is something extremely satisfying about a cool and frothy piña colada on a hot and humid summer night. Budapest is both extremely hot and extremely humid during the summer, so it’s pretty much the perfect drink.


Piña Colada

  • Ice cubes
  • 1 cup rum
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup pineapple chunks
  • Sliced pineapple, for garnish, optional
  • Maraschino cherry, for garnish, optional
  1. Fill blender halfway with ice cubes. Add rum, coconut cream, pineapple juice and pineapple chunks. Puree.
  2. Serve, garnished with a slice of pineapple and maraschino cherry, if desired.

Thirsty Thursday: Mexican Mango Smoothie

Mexican Mango Smoothie

I apologize in advance to anyone living where winter is actually a thing, but it’s hot here. Like inappropriately so, especially considering it’s January. It’s not meant to be 80F/27C in January. I really don’t like hot weather.  The only good thing about hot weather is that it gives you the perfect excuse to drink delicious cold things. If you are living somewhere where it’s cold and wintery, you should still make this, crank up the heat and pretend it’s summer too.

It’s pretty common in these parts to see street vendors selling fresh mango sprinkled with lime juice and topped with chile powder and salt. It’s a popular Mexican snack and it’s damn tasty. I happened to have a ton of frozen mango in my freezer that was in desperate need of a use. Problem solved! The pineapple and limve juice give the smoothie a really nice tang that counterbalances the sweetness of the mango and the chile powder really gives it a nice little kick, but it’s not too noticeable with the sweet fruit.

You could totally add white rum or silver tequila to this thing and make it a real party. I made this for lunch, so I decided against it, but I bet it would be just amazing if you did.

Mexican Mango Smoothie

  • 2 cups frozen mango
  • 2 cups frozen pineapple or papaya
  • 1 1/2 cup orange juice
  • juice of 3 limes
  • chile powder

Place mango, pineapple, orange juice and lime juice in a blender and a generous dash of chile powder. Blend until smooth,  adding more juice if necessary. Pour into serving glasses and sprinkle with chile powder.

Review: Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cake Mix & Some Gluten-Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake!

It seems to be birthday season in these parts. I really had no clue I knew so many people born in April and May until I had to figure out presents for all of them. Since I am currently a poor, I decided the most economical of things to do would be baking their gifts.

One of these birthday dinners required a gluten-free dessert. Since the dinner was a last minute, impromptu kind of thing, I had to resort to boxed cake mix! The shame… Luckily, I’d been wanting to test out the Gluten-Free Betty Crocker Cake Mix I had bought a couple weeks ago. The gluten-free cake mix is definitely more expensive than the regular line of Betty Crocker mixes (and it’s never gone on sale at any of my local grocery stores), but still cheaper than a lot of the ‘specialty’ gluten-free brands.

Overall, I must say I was very pleasantly surprised with how the cake turned out. Granted it’s been a while since I’ve had cake, gluten-free or otherwise, but this cake turned out much better than I imagined. Most gluten-free baked goods I’ve encountered have been very dense and very dry. This cake was very light, fluffy and moist. It was just like a regular/non-gf cake.

I followed the directions for the cake that were on the box but for the bottom/top of the Pineapple Upside Down Cake, I followed the topping recipe from Smitten Kitchen with the addition of some maraschino cherries and poured the cake batter on that. There is a recipe on the Betty Crocker website for the cake as well, but I’m not the biggest fan of corn syrup, so Deb’s butter and brown sugar substitue worked better for me.