Pipicha - indigenous herb from Oaxaca

Felicia's test kitchen tonight: "enchiladas" made with quelites and mushrooms...topped with tomatillo-pipicha salsa. 

Pipicha is native to central Mexico. It's like eating a mouthful of cilantro and mint with a squeeze of lime. It's "green" flavor works well with lighter dishes making it one of my favorites to use in the summer.  You can find it fresh in your Mexican grocery store...try substituting it for any recipe that calls for cilantro.  

Ancho Chile and Dried Fig Salsa

Ancho chiles have a deep, fruity flavor…the perfect compliment to figs! This recipe is from the "Cooking with Figs" class I taught at the beautiful Desert Botanical Garden here in Phoenix. 


1 small head of garlic

6 dried figs

3 Tbsp. olive oil

juice of one lemon

2 oz. dried ancho chiles (about three chiles)

3 Tbsp. mild honey

1/4 - 1/2 cup hot water

Mise En Place:

Preheat oven to 400F

Slice the garlic head in half to expose the cloves and drizzle with 1/2 Tbsp. of olive oil.  Wrap the garlic together in foil and bake in the middle of the oven until tender and fragrant, about 30 - 40 minutes. Cool.

While the garlic is roasting, toast the chiles on a heavy skillet over moderate heat, turning until fragrant, about 1 minute.  In a medium size bowl, soak the whole toasted chiles and figs in hot (boiling) water until softened, about 20 minutes.  Once rehydrated, remove the chiles and figs, reserving the soaking water.  Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles, set aside. 

Squeeze the garlic from the skins into a food processor or blender and puree with the chiles, figs, lemon juice, honey, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, and salt to taste.  If the salsa is too thick, add the reserved hot water to thin out to desired consistency.  

This is a very thick, unique, and flavorful salsa that can be used as the base to many different sauces.  It works well as a marinade for fish, chicken, or my favorite, roasted vegetables! You can incorporate plain yogurt to make a light sandwich spread, or create a dressing by the addition of more acid such as lime juice or vinegar. Be creative! 

Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz, LLC


Pawi and Wild Greens


1 cup cooked *tepary beans

1 cup cooked **Native wild rice

1 bunch greens: quelites (lambs quarters), spinach, mustard greens

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 - 2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

1/2 cup water OR vegetable stock

avocado OR olive oil

sea salt

Desert Spice Blend

8 dried ***cholla buds

1 tsp. whole cumin seeds

1 tsp. Mexican oregano

2 chiltepin peppers

1 tsp. black peppercorns

1 tsp. smoked paprika

Mise En Place

In a coffee grinder designated for spices, or using a large mortar and pestle, grind your whole spices and cholla buds. Place in a small bowl and add the smoked paprika.  Set aside. 

In a large sauté pan on medium heat, warm avocado or olive oil. To the pan, add garlic, greens, wild rice and tepary beans. Stir. Add your spice blend and stir until the greens begin to wilt. Add water or stock, and continue stirring until  the greens are completely wilted. The dish should be very aromatic and almost done. 

Add the apple cider vinegar, and salt to taste. 

This nutrient dense dish is a favorite in my family...enjoy! 


*Tepary Beans are indigenous to Southern Arizona and Northern Mexico. They are sweet, delicate, and are jam packed with protein! They go by different names depending on the language of the tribe. For this recipe I used white tepary beans, and they can be found at TocaOnline.org or RamonaFarms.com.  

**Cholla Buds are also indigenous to Southern Arizona and Northern Mexico.  They are nutrient dense and reminiscent of asparagus and okra. They can be found through TocaOnline.org

***Native Wild Rice can be found through NativeHarvest.com 


Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz, LLC


Medjool Date Dressing/Relish




Medjool Date Dressing/Relish 

1 Grapefruit Or Large Orange, Juiced

6 Pitted Fresh Medjool Dates

1 Fresh Fresno Chile (Red Jalapeño), Sliced In Half, Seeds Removed

Small Handful Of Cilantro Leaves

2 Tbsp. Red Onion, Minced

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Salt/Pepper To Taste


This was a fun little experiment last night! Feel free to change the recipe to your liking...thinning it out with more citrus juice for a lighter dressing, or chopping the dates in chunks versus using the food processor to make a relish.  The flavors work well on salads, roasted vegetables, or even couscous and quinoa. 

And by the way, I only use medjool dates from my friend's family farm here in southern Arizona. They are the freshest dates I've ever tasted.  Plump and ridiculously sweet.  I've been using them for years now.  I am including their info at the bottom of the post, they ship!

Mise En Place: 

Put All Of The Ingredients EXCEPT The Citrus Juice In A Food Processor.  Pulse Until You Have A Paste. Place The Date Paste In A Mason Jar. Add The Citrus Juice, Secure The Lid And Shake Well. That's It. As Mentioned Above, If You Want A Thinner End Result, Add More Citrus Juice.  







Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz, LLC

Aztec Quinoa Salad


Quinoa is gluten free, high in minerals, protein, and essential amino acids. 

Salad Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa

2 cups cooked black beans (rinsed if using canned)

1/2 cup cooked sweet corn

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced

1 mango, peeled and diced

1 avocado, sliced

3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro

Dressing Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. canola oil

2 Tbsp. honey

2 limes, juiced

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. garlic powder


Mise En Place:

1. Cook quinoa: Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer until water runs clear, drain, and transfer to a medium pot.  Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low for 15-20 minutes. Set aside off the heat for 5 minutes, then uncover and fluff with a fork and let cool. 

2. Make dressing: in a mason jar, add all dressing ingredients and shake well, set aside.

3. In a medium/large bowl, add cooked quinoa, Black beans, corn, red bell pepper, mango, and dressing. Gently stir. 

4. Garnish with sliced avocado and cilantro. 





Felicia Cocotzin  Ruiz, LLC




White Tepary Bean, Cholla Bud & Fennel Soup


An amazingly hearty, light, and delicious vegetarian soup prefect for any time of year (for a vegan version just omit the cheese garnish.)


1 teaspoon, olive oil
1 fennel/anise with fronds, bulbs sliced, fronds for garnish
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 cup white tepary beans*, cooked
1 head of garlic, roasted** then pureed
1/2 cup of cholla buds*, cooked
1 small bunch of verdolagas/purslane, or any seasonal greens
juice of one lemon
lemon wedge for garnish
1 quart vegetable stock
Grated parmesan for serving 

Mise en Place: 

Place the olive oil in a stockpot. Sautee the fennel and onions till softened.
Add the stock, beans, pureed roasted garlic, and cooked cholla buds. Let simmer to combine the flavors. Add the greens and cook until wilted. Add the lemon juice. Garnish with a tablespoon of cheese, lemon wedge and a fennel frond per serving.

Serves 4-6.

*White tepary beans and cholla cactus buds are available from Tohono O’odham Community Action/TOCA, www.tocaonline.org, 520-383-4966.

**To roast garlic, cut an unpeeled garlic head in half. Drizzle with olive oil. Place in heavy tin foil and wrap tightly. Roast in a 400degree oven until soft and caramelized – about 30 minutes. Remove from foil and squeeze out the roasted garlic.