Ellen’s Version of Cowboy Caviar

I love this dip so much! There is such great flavor that is packed with fiber, antioxidants, and deliciousness!  I won’t get started on fiber right now since I am going to past my entire lecture on the health benefits of fiber soon!  I originally found this dish at Costco and one day they didn’t carry it.  I was pretty upset so I had to come up with my own version of the dish to satisfy my craving.  I have added pasta and turned it into a pasta salad that was great for a potluck supper.  These ingredients can usually be found in a pantry and used when you need to whip up a dish real quick!

1 Can Black beans, rinsed and drained

1 Can Black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained

1/4 -1/3 Green bell pepper, diced

¼-1/3 Red Bell pepper, diced

½ Medium to small yellow onion, diced

¾ Cup Italian dressing

Dash of smoked paprika (I like a really heavy dash!)

Black pepper to taste

Cayenne pepper to taste (optional to give it heat)

Chips to scoop the dip into


Mix all the ingredients together well.

Note: This recipe gets better with time in the refrigerator but it is still delicious right out of the bowl!

This is a great recipe to make into a pasta salad. Just add pasta and serve!

These ingredients can be added as well:

1 can of corn or 1 ear of fresh corn cooked and cut off the cob (frozen corn can be used as well about 1/3 cup cooked/heated)  1 can of petit diced tomatoes or 1 fresh tomato diced can be added too both of those are drained

PS: I know you are thinking, “Where is the photo!”  There will be a photo of this dish soon!

Aloo Tiki Chat topped with guacamole!

Aloo Tiki Chat
So this is rendition of a dish I waited over an hour for at the LA Times Book Fair! There was an Indian food truck that made a special version of  Indian street food.

There was a potato pancake on the bottom  and topped with a chickpea sauce, tamarind sauce, and  raita!  It was so good I went back the next day and ordered  it again for my father and I.  The best thing we ate at the festival hands down.  I was originally going to make a taco style chickpea dish but I started to think of the aloo tiki chat dish and then madly started grated a potato to make the potato pancake.

This is a dish that has many parts and all are necessary to make the flavors unfold in your mouth the way I intended them too.  The tamarind sauce is essential.  I happen to LOVE tamarind sauce and always ask for more when I go to Indian restaurants.   When I originally made my own I found out that traditionally it is made with an ingredient called Hing and it contains wheat.  So when I made my sauce I added onion powder instead of it.  If you do not have the time to go your local Indian grocery store to buy it.  It is worth it!.

I am going to attach the link to the tamarind sauce I made!  The ingredient asafetida is also Hing, just use onion powder.  Also take the time that is needed to reduce the sauce it really is worth it! Surprisingly the self life is pretty long for it  (not going to recommend that but mine seems to be fine and I made it for when I made my samosas/pot pies last month).


  • 2-3 avocados mashed with a fork
  • 1 large lemon/lime juiced
  • 1 small scallion minced
  • 1 Roma tomato diced
  • 2 garlic cloves grated (you can also use garlic powder to your taste, I LOVE garlic )
  • 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
  • Mix together and voila guacamole. Now, I make sure it doesn’t brown I would suggest placing a piece of plastic wrap right on top of it.

Cover it and place in the refrigerator for when you are ready to eat it.

Potato Pancake (this is the quick style)

  • 1 medium size potato grated (made 6 pancakes)
  • 1 egg
  • little bit of flour to thicken
  • oil

After you have grated the potato it is important to press out the water. After you have managed to squeeze out most of the water then mix in the egg and flour. You do not want large pancakes, you want about 2 inch wide when you place them in the oiled pan. I like to make sure they are not thick too, so I make sure they are thin. You want to pan to be medium high heat so you really get the crispy edges. Flip over when they are light brown on the bottom and fry the other side. When they are done place on a paper towel to soak up the oil.


Chickpea curry

  • 1 can of chickpeas (drained)
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 3 garlic cloves (grated or minced, I have found grated to be very easy and saves your fingers)
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 1/2 -2 Tbsp Gram masala
  • Smoked paprika (dash)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning (I know it is out of place but I was going to make it tacos first) If you have jar of the taco seasoning like I do, I basically was very liberal with it so I didn’t exactly measure but  if in doubt add more!

I know this is an Indian dish but I used a taco seasoning packet and it worked well! Maybe If I do it again I will try it another way and keep you updated! First mix the water and the taco seasoning together, cumin, and gram masala. Then, mix in the chickpeas. Start sautéing the onions till they start to get soft (4-5 mins). The last minute add the garlic. Garlic tends to burn fast sou want to add it towards the end of the sautéing. Add the chickpeas to the onions and reduce down some. I actually added 1/4 cup extra water because I like it a bit saucy!

So then the layering begins!
From the bottom!
Potato pancake
Chickpea curry
Tamarind sauce

Now get ready for the flavors to unfold in your mouth, Mexican meets Indian! Two of my favorite cuisines!
Scrumdiddlyumptious~ The work I use to describe this!
I hope you all enjoy it!
Please write a comment if you try it, I would love to hear what you have to say!

photo 2

Spiced Kale Salad

Curried Kale Salad

I am one of those people for LOVE kale.  Before I moved to California I never had tried it.  I’m not sure why but,it is so tasty.  I have made kale chips before and devoured them in a sitting.

This dish is one that I can also devour in one sitting.  It has the right touch of sweetness within a savory dish.  I made this up one day with what was in my cupboard.


This dish is so simple to make too!  First add oil to the pan, then add cumin and turmeric.  then I like to toast the pine nuts with the spices.  Add kale mix around, ensuring that you coat the kale with the spices.  Then once it has ben sautéed enough so it starts to get darker add cranberries! Voila! It is done and you have a healthy side dish.  I have to admit I have eaten the entire thing myself, that is how much I enjoy it!

Enjoy! If it works out for you please let me know!