The Perfect Taco

 


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…or burrito, if you have the patience to fold it up that way.

From left to right, How to make it:

- Strips of portobello, red onion, red and orange bell pepper and broiled, skinned poblano stir fried with fajitas seasoning, olive oil and  and garlic

- Fresh salsa: dice up a fresh seeded jalepeno, red onion, tomatoes and cilantro, add salt, sugar, lime juice and a little vinegar, stir well.

-Heated Uncanny Refried Beans (so convenient and tasty!)

- Pan heated Boca Grounds

- Chunky guacamole: avocado, red onion, a dash of cumin, cilantro, lots of lime juice, salt. Muddle together and stir well.

- Locally made tortilla  that contains no hydrogenated oil or palm oil

- And you have to have Cholula. Other hot sauces are welcome to join, but Cholula is the main squeeze.

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One of the best vegan pizza recipes on the planet. Coincidentally, the original, untweaked  recipe came from the cookbook “Vegan Planet”. How apropos.  The scent of the baking pesto and tomato  intoxicates you, and you’ll never miss the cheese as you bite into this mouth-watering dish. Make your own crust or grab a pre-made fresh pizza dough from the store for a faster process.  Top with soy cheese shreds if you wish, but it’s not necessary. The pesto and tomato mixture on its own is delicious, and meant to be the only topping.

 Serves: Depends on the size of your crust. Most store bought fresh doughs make 8 small pieces. This recipe is for your average sized pizza pan.

Ingredients:

  • 1 recipe of your favorite homemade pizza dough ( or fresh pizza dough from the store.) Raised and rolled out to a 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/4 cup olive oil plus 2 Tbs Olive Oil, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup raw unsalted pine nuts  (toasted is a nice touch for deeper flavor, if you have time)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (plus more more adding to taste in later stage.)
  • 2 cups packed basil leaves
  • 5 ripe Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced small
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • optional:  a generous amount of your favorite soy cheese. (We love Follow Your Heart mozzarella shreds.)

How-to:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees

2. Put garlic, pine nuts, 1/2 tsp salt, and basil in food processor and grind until fine

3. Leave processor running and add 1/4 cup olive oil through the feed tube until thoroughly mixed. Get in there with a big spoon and manually stir it so its well combined, then spoon into a big bowl.

4. Place your rolled dough onto a lightly oiled pizza pan, poke holes throughout the dough with a fork.

5. Bake dough for 10 minutes

6. Combine diced tomato with pesto mixture in in your big bowl. Toss gently to combine, then add salt and pepper to taste and mix well. (Do not fail to add more salt at this step, it definitely needs a little extra-1/2 tsp at most.) As you taste, try not to eat it all.

7. Remove dough from oven, spread tomato/pesto mixture evenly onto dough, leaving a 1/2 inch of the edge bare.

8. Return to oven for 15 minutes, or until the crust is lightly golden

9. If you’re using soy cheese shreds, take pizza out and sprinkle those on and bake once again until cheese is melted. (About 5 minutes.)  Allow to cool slightly before serving.

10. If not using cheese shreds, at step #8, bake until crust is fully golden brown.

11. The final step is to drizzle the last 2 Tbs of olive oil on top of the pizza before serving.

Prepare to gluttonize.

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This lasagna is one of our top favorite dinners of all time. We used to make it only on special occasions because it’s time-consuming and compels us to stuff ourselves and endure the shame of gluttony.  (It’s sooooo delicious.)  But we’ll often put it together if we have a little extra time on the weekends.  It’s even worth making in the summer when firing up the oven is unreasonable.  Yields lunches and dinners for several days, as it keeps well.  Gear yourself up to fight over the leftovers and be advised that one serving never seems like enough.  This dish is so good, you should eat it on your cheat day.

Original recipe modified from Vegetarian Times.

Note: if you are not strictly vegan, just make this with normal cheese shreds and normal cream cheese and you will have an amazing dish on your hands!!

Super-Addictive Vegan Lasagna

Makes 8 huge pieces

(If you have a smaller pan or want a smaller quantity, just half all the ingredients for the filling, mushrooms and grounds. We do this for our 10×10 pan.)

SEASONED “RICOTTA FILLING”

  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped (2 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
  • 1 10-oz. bag fresh baby spinach
  • 2 12-oz. pkgs. firm tofu, drained
  • 1 8-oz. pkg. vegan cream cheese
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast

 LASAGNA

  • 5 ½ cups of your favorite red sauce (I highly recommend Mario Batali Marinara or Tomato/Basil.)
  • 12 uncooked lasagna noodles (don’t worry, they cook in the sauce- no need to pre-boil.)
  • 12 oz. soy grounds (Boca grounds are perfect)
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced and roughly cut
  • 1 cup shredded soy cheese (we use Follow Your Heart Shreds)

Directions: Requires Food Processor!

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onions and garlic in oil until golden. Add spinach, and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until wilted. Transfer this mixture to food processor. Add tofu, cream cheese, basil, and nutritional yeast, and purée until mixture is thick and smooth. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Taste it, it is heavenly.

2. Brown grounds and mushrooms in pan on stove until fully cooked. (To save time, take care of this while the spinach mixture is cooking.)

3. Spread a thin layer of sauce on bottom of 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Cover with one layer of uncooked noodles, then spread an even layer of of filling, a good sprinkle of the grounds/mushroom mix, and ladle on another one-quarter of sauce.

4. Repeat layering of noodles, ricotta, grounds mixture. Keep layering, then finish with final layer of noodles and remaining sauce. Sprinkle top with soy shreds. Any remaining sauce should go around the edges and any bare areas.

5. Cover lasagna with foil, and bake 30 minutes, or until bubbling hot. Uncover, and bake 15 to 20 minutes more, or until noodles are tender and topping is melted. Remove from oven, and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

6. Enjoy this epic meal.  You will not be disappointed.

Pictured above is a small portion of the exploding Himalayan Blackberry bushes right outside our apartment window.  They are delicious and juicy, but I let the birds have them this year.

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$6 spent, makes 12 small or 6 large

I like cornbread in muffin shapes, though you could easily plop this batter into a pan to enjoy in squares.  This recipe is moist, savory and with a slight sage and onion flavor, (though not too onion-y for breakfast.)  Enjoy.

Tip: If you have a supply of cornbread pancake/waffle mix lying around, you can use that in place of the cornmeal and flour.  Works just as well and you can skip the baking powder and soda.  Just keep adding the mix until the batter isn’t runny.

  • 1 cup soymilk
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 regular sized can of cream-style corn
  • ⅓ cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder or finely chopped scallions
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbs. brown sugar
  • 2-3 Tbs nutritional yeast (for a cheesy flavor)
  • 1 Tsp Sage (Or more if you want it to be more savory)
  • dash or two of turmeric (for color)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat  muffin pan with cooking spray or olive oil

2. Combine soy milk and vinegar. Let stand 5 minutes to let the soy milk curdle. Whisk in canned  corn, oil, and onion powder (or scallions); then set aside.

3. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl, then add the wet ingredients. Mix well.

4. Pour batter into pan, and bake 40 minutes, or until edges brown a little.

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I knew it was summer when someone at work offered up their abundance of rhubarb stalks to the entire office in a big paper bag, With black Sharpie letters stating “Garden-Fresh!- Take Some!”.  I gluttonously grabbed half the stash – and felt a little guilty.  A nice co-worker walked in to top off his coffee and I asked him: whose garden did this rhubarb come from?  He had no idea.  I decided that if I ever found out, I’d share a slice of pie with them.  Because the stalks were destined for pie.

This is one of my favorite pies. It cost me 3 dollars because I made the crumb crust from scratch, and bought the strawberries from the farmers market.

  • 3 cups rhubarb, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 2/3 cups brown  sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch dissolved in 1 Tbs warm water
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (you can use orange juice in a bind!)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ready made or homemade pie crusts (i was going to do a solid top, but it fell apart, so I crumbled it into a crumb top. It happens.)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients (except pie crust) together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add filling to the prepared pie shell and top with the other pie crust (whole or crumbled,).
  4. If using a solid top, poke a few holes in it to let steam escape.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes at 425 F. Lower heat to 350
  6. Bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes, filling should be bubbling and the top should be golden.
  7. Remove and cool for about 30 minutes before serving.

 

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As far as I can tell, you’ve accomplished  the dish known as “Chilie Relleno” as long as you stuff a peeled poblano with cheese and beans, bake it, and eat it whole,cutting it up with knife and fork.  Feel free to wolf down this BIG pepper baked with vegan cheese and salsa/beans inside, or convert it into a breakfast dish by stuffing it with your favorite tofu scramble (plus quinoa maybe!)  Keep some salsa and hot sauce handy!  Poblanos will be your favorite pepper if it isn’t by now.  I enjoy them for their deep flavor and medium spicy factor.

Bottom Line:  Enjoy these in many formats, just be sure to blister and remove their outer skin first!

$ Money-Wise $ : They cost as much as green bell peppers.  So buy em’ up!

Prepare your Poblano:

  1. Rinse, then cut off the stem, keeping the poblano as whole as possible, then hollow out the seeds and veins.
  2. Set oven to broil on high
  3. Rinse the peppers under the tap just prior to placing on a baking sheet – then put under the broiler.
  4. Keep under the broiler (don’t leave the kitchen!) for 10-15 minutes. Watch them. Make sure they don’t smolder. The skin needs to blister up. You can turn them if you like, to make sure they blister all the way around.
  5. Once the skin is blistered up and black, remove from the oven and place the peppers into a paper bag or enclosed Tupperware for 20 minutes.  This will allow the skin to slough off.
  6. Peel the outer skin off by hand, then stuff with your preferred stuffing and bake for 10 minutes, or cut them in half and top with tofu scramble or your preferred topping.
  7. Serve with a knife and fork, especially when serving whole and stuffed.

BONUS: A great way to enjoy these is by removing the skin as instructed, then cutting them into strips, dotting with hot sauce, sprinkling with vegan cheese, and melting the cheese under the broiler.  Then serve the strips with toothpicks as an appetizer.  Yum!

The actual “Chili Relleno” is the poblano stuffed and deep-fried in some sort of batter – which pulverizes the skin.  But there’s no need to deep-fry this pepper, adding calories and plaque to your arteries.  It is so delicious as it is, simply broiled.  If you want the real deal, go to a Mexican place and see how they do it.  If you’re like me, the only time you eat anything deep-fried is on rare occasions, out.

IMG_8136From the Epicurean Vegan!  A lovely Vegan Party Cheese Ball that incorporates bell peppers and pimentos. 

Price: Kinda spendy because of the nuts and special cheeses. $9-12 depending on where you live. Serves about 5 people if they fill up 3-4 crackers or toasts.

Since I used her recipe exactly, I will link directly to her post.  This is a fantastic, veggie-flavored cheese ball, (think pimentos and bell pepper flavor.)  It’s  perfect for a wine tasting or holiday get-together.  I take no credit whatsoever. Dee-licious! (I only changed the shredded cheese brand to be totally vegan.)

I served this cheese ball with those little “toasts” pictured.  They are so good.  I found them at New Seasons. :) Cheers!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12-oz vegan cream cheese (toffuti or daiya or follow your heart)
  • 2 1/2 C vegan shredded cheese, cheddar flavor
  • 2Tbs pimento, chopped
  • 2 Tbs green pepper, chopped
  • 2 Tbs onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp Vegan Worcestershire sauce (Wizard brand is vegan)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 C walnuts, chopped

Note: If you’re not a huge fan of walnuts, I recommend rolling this ball in breadcrumbs and/or sage, rosemary and thyme – OR slivered almonds.  The walnuts can be so strong that they detract from the flavor of the cheese ball entirely.  I have to say that I preferred it with a combo of slivered almonds and herbs.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine vegan cream cheese and vegan cheddar in food processor, just to blend.
  2. Add remaining ingredients except walnuts and mix well.
  3. Transfer to a bowl and chill overnight.
  4. Shape into a ball and roll in walnuts.
  5. Serve with crackers and wine, and enjoy!!!
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