Posts Tagged Mexican

Nacho Regular Sunday Feast

Can you write a post about nachos without using a bad pun as the title?  I think not.

We tend to make a big deal about Sundays during the NFL season.  This year, Dave and I and a few friends decided to split up hosting duties so that nobody is stuck cooking and cleaning every weekend.  Dave and I took the first week and aimed to set the bar high!  In discussing what to serve, I suggested a nacho bar.  I don’t know where I got such an idea, but I was pretty chuffed with myself.  A make-your-own-plate setup allows for everyone to have exactly what they want.

Not one, but two kinds of salsa.

The bar – cilantro, jalapenos, tomatoes, roasted onions & peppers, olives, etc.  In the warmers are the meat and cheese, and homemade refried beans.  Refried beans are so easy to make, there’s no need to buy the canned kind.

Green toppings on the side.

This is the secret to delicious vegan nachos – Food for Lovers Queso.  I picked up this jar at Vida Vegan Con.  It’s free of fat, soy, nuts and dairy, and low cal to boot.  I’m in love.

In an attempt to keep it on the lighter side, I had a few tostadas instead of nachos.  They were loaded up with beans, roasted onions & peppers, queso, tomatoes, guacamole, salsa, lettuce and cilantro.  The combination of textures, temperatures and flavors was outstanding.

Bad cell phone picture of good friends.  Go Niners!

In other news, I’m participating in VeganMoFo with both this blog AND my other blog The Vegan Weight Watcher.  Because writing about vegan food almost every day in October on one blog isn’t enough of a challenge!  If you don’t know about VeganMoFo, check out the brand new website veganmofo.com!  Here on Vegan Homemade I’ll have a weekly theme, including cookbook reviews, other bloggers’ recipes, Flavor Bible flavor matches and cooking with forgotten pantry items.

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Tasty Tailgating

We didn’t do anything grand or fun for the Fourth of July this year, but we did go to an A’s game that weekend.  Weekend games are for tailgating!

In a patriotic bid, Dave made Philly cheesesteaks for the boys, so I made my version with portobello and a vegan cheese slice.  The cheese wasn’t my favorite brand for slices (Tofutti) and didn’t melt at all, but this was still a very tasty sandwich.

I had two lovely CSA tomatoes waiting to be used, so I whipped up a chickpea tuna salad and stuffed ‘em.

Stuffed tomato with grilled corn; patriotic plate and napkin presumably left over from last year.

Last weekend we had a biiiiig tailgate.  Normally it’s just the four of us – myself, Dave and two friends.  This time we were expecting a sister, a friend of Dave’s, his wife, their two friends and their four collective children.  Then, as we were cooking, another friend of Dave’s called to see if we were there.  He was on the way with his pre-bachelor party group, and we ended up having at least twenty five people!  Luckily, we had plenty of food.

Dave’s friend’s wife has celiac disease, so we wanted to make everything gluten free.  In discussing with Dave what we could and couldn’t make, I mentioned that corn tortillas are usually gluten free, so we went with Mexican food.

We started with chips and salsa made from a Rick Bayless recipe.

Dave made carne asada tacos for everyone else, so I grilled up some portobello.  Topped with salsa and cilantro, with a spot of guac on the side.

I wanted a substantial side dish as well, to avoid eating a bajillion tortilla chips, so I made this Mexican Bean and Rice Salad.  I was skeptical that the recipe didn’t include any oil, but the salad didn’t really need it.  If I made it again though, I would use less onion.  I’m just not big into lots of raw onion.

Since we were expecting a crowd, I wanted to make a dessert, and I do love the challenge of vegan, gluten free baking.  These White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies were adapted from this recipe.  I substituted Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Flour plus 1/4 teaspoon xantham gum for the flour, and used kosher white chocolate chips that I picked up at Food Fight in June.  The first batch spread too much in the oven, so I mixed in 2 Tablespoons of chickpea flour which seemed to do the trick.  The recipe says it should make three dozen, but I ended up with about sixty cookies!

I’m off to Portland for Vida Vegan Con tomorrow!  I will be attempting to live blog throughout the entire event, so check back here regularly for updates!

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31 Before 31 Results

I wasn’t even close to doing everything on my 31 Before 31 list, but I’m glad I wrote it because it really did help me to focus on my goals.  Here are the results!

Stuff that I did:

2.  Hike to the peak of Mount Tamalpais.  Done, and it was so awesome that I’m hoping to go back soon and do an even longer hike!  Here are a few pictures.

San Francisco skyline in the background

4.  Take a kickboxing class.  It was literally one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life.
5.  Try acupuncture.  It didn’t help with the issue I went for, but it sure was interesting!
6.  Borrow a foreign cuisine non-vegan cookbook from the library and try at least three recipes.  I chose Mexico One Plate At A Time by Rick Bayless.  His recipes looked so good that it was hard to choose only three.

Potato Chorizo Tacos with Avocado Salsa (recipe posted here).  These were so good, and so easy to make!  I used Trader Joe’s Soyrizo.

Smoky Chipotle Beans with Wilted Spinach and Masa Dumplings (recipe posted here).  You soak dried black beans, then cook them with onion and garlic, and it turns it to this wonderful, thick broth.  Then you add in tomato, chipotle and spinach, and simmer the masa dumplings on top.  This took some time to make, but the flavor was so worth it.  The side dish is my attempt at turnips Gracias Madre-style.

Chipotle Chicken Salad Tacos (lettuce wraps) and Red Rice.    I reduced the oil in the salad and left off the avocado, and the salad really could’ve used one or the other to balance the flavor – it was SPICY.  For the rice, I followed Bayless’ directions to substitute brown rice for white, and while the rice was cooked through the dish was still watery.  Tasty though.

8.  Advertise personal chef services at discounted rate.  Done.
13.  Register for Vida Vegan conference.  Yes!  I’m going!
15.  Get trumpet cleaned.
16.  Fix and update iTunes library.
19.  Plant herbs in the flower box.

planted mid-April - oregano, flat leaf parsley, sage, cilantro, curly parsley, basil

mid-May, not looking quite as good. The left side is faring better than the right. The parsley has actually made a comeback since this photo.

20.  Get a few houseplants and try to keep them alive.  I’m still working on the keeping them alive part.
21.  Get a new phone.  Got an iPhone, and love it!
22.  Learn some basic conversational Spanish.  I’m through chapter 12 of Spanish for Dummies and can say more words and phrases than before, so I consider this done.  I’m going to keep working on it.
24.  Visit a city I’ve never been to.  Done twice – Clayton GA and Mendocino CA.
27.  Go to SFMOMA or the de Young.  Went to SFMOMA in December.  Favorite sculpture:

31.  Go on a picnic.  I took a picnic lunch on my Mt. Tam hike.

Tempeh Salad from Vegweb, made with half the mayo and tamari, on a multigrain wrap with Persian cucumbers and red bell pepper.

Stuff I did not do, which may or may not be on my 32 before 32 list:

1.  Jog 2 miles without feeling like dying afterward.  (I have been jogging, but my stamina isn’t up to two miles straight yet.)
3.  Work up to ten real push ups.  (I tried, but am not even close.)
7.  Finalize the list of recipes for my zine idea and work on at least five recipes.
9.  Enter all of the recipes I Have printed into Living Cookbook database.  (I didn’t realize what a huge project this is.  Am chipping away at it little by little.)
10.  Read at least chapters 5-7 of On Food and Cooking.
11.  Change blog template.
12.  Update blog roll.
14.  Invest in some props for food photography and take more interesting pictures.
17.  Go to a symphony concert.
18.  Finalize the list of songs for cover album project and start to think about style/arrangements.
23.  Take a day trip up or down highway 1.
25.  Go to Millennium and order the Frugal Foodie prix fix menu.
26.  Take an SF City Guide walking tour.
28.  Host a dinner party.
29.  Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.
30.  Watch the eight movies on this list that I haven’t seen.

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Heading To The Cabin

I haven’t heard from the second winner of the Appetite For Reduction giveaway, so I’m hoping the third time’s a charm!

The new winner is number eight, Autumn Tao.  I’ve e-mailed you!

The day after Christmas, I flew to the east coast to spend time with my family at “the cabin”.  A few years back, my parents bought a cute little cabin in Clayton, Georgia, so now they head up whenever they can, and I was happy to be able to join them as well as my brother and sister-in-law.  I didn’t anticipate when planning my trip that Atlanta and northern Georgia would experience a big snow storm beginning on Christmas day!  I’ve got lots of pictures, so I’ll try to keep the text short.

For comparison, the same tree in October.

We didnt spend much time out here on this trip!

death icicles

I was a little concerned about finding vegan food in small-town back-country northern Georgia, but my mom assured me that I would find enough to eat.  The Ingles grocery store there was pretty well stocked, and downright pleasant!  Between what my parents brought, stuff we bought and local restaurants, I was plenty well fed.

Oatmeal with bananas, Back To Nature Harvest Blend trail mix (good stuff!) and agave nectar.

cute little kitchen set up

Possibly my favorite sandwich:  hickory smoked tofurkey, hummus, mustard, pickles and mixed greens, with baked chips and my mom’s veganized ginger cookie.

We found this really delicious, locally made bread at Ingles.  It even said “vegan” on the label!

My sis-in-law had never seen snow (I know!), so upon arrival she immediately jumped out of the car and made a snow angel.

bustling downtown Clayton

bookstore kitty!

For dinner, we went to Mama G’s.  The pizza crust was confirmed as vegan, so I ordered this delicious personal pizza with broccoli, garlic, artichokes and sundried tomatoes.  It was really tasty!

my family at Mama Gs

Yay for beer that I can’t get at home!  Ingles lets you build a six pack from single bottles, so I got to try a variety.

Tofu scramble breakfast made with onion, mushrooms and what I could find at the cabin – salsa, garlic salt, mustard and dried cilantro if I remember correctly.  My parents had some for breakfast too, although my dad wanted a swipe of Miracle Whip on his :)

Brother and SIL in Franklin, NC

On the way back to town, we stopped at Fatz Cafe, a local chain, for lunch.  I knew there wouldn’t be much for me on the menu, but what I did end up ordering was pretty tasty.

house salad (minus cheese, bacon and croutons) with raspberry walnut vinaigrette

baked sweet potato, loaded up with salt and black pepper

We stayed in for dinner that night – spaghetti, focaccia and roasted veggies.  I started to feel under the weather this night, but I wasn’t going to miss…

Our day trip to Asheville, NC, and lunch at Laughing Seed Cafe!

Before we left, I fueled up with peanut butter and banana on cinnamon raisin toast.

While we waited for our table at Laughing Seed, we walked around and checked out some shops, my favorite of which was The Spice & Tea Exchange.

I bought little packets of ras el hanout, zahtar and spicy cocoa mix, but I wish I could have bought a lot more!

When we finally sat down at Laughing Seed, we shared two appetizers.

pakoras - tri-pepper and squash-onion

crispy wontons with delicious sesame-ginger dressing

Moms plate - roasted veggies and sauce over toast, and a salad (their menu changes seasonally and this meal isnt listed any more...)

Dads "Lumberjack" - seitan with spinach and gravy over toast, and mashed potatoes

My Havana Cuban, with vegan cheese spread instead of swiss, and carrot soup. Didnt really taste like a Cuban, but it was good!

coconut cream pie; I dont love coconut usually, but this was nice!

Vegetarian food isn’t always my family’s favorite (I’m looking at you, brother!), but everyone found something on the menu that they liked well enough.  I thought the Laughing Seed Cafe’s food was really nice, and I’d love to go back sometime.

We passed by a gingerbread house contest - Dr. Suess house!

This house had its own garden, adorable!

last breakfast at the cabin - pita with peanut butter, soy yogurt with trail mix, and coffee

We said goodbye to the cabin (and the snow) and drove down to Florida, where my parents dropped me off in Gainesville, where my friends were getting married on New Year’s Eve.  I was pretty sick with a head cold by this time, but I only had two nights in Gainesville so I tried to make the best of it!

I met my friend Jackie for lunch at Boca Fiesta, which opened up soon after I moved away and now seems to be all the rage.

herbivore menu section!

Vegan queso! You could tell that it had been thickened with flour, but the flavor was good. I dont complain about vegan queso, ever.

I got a giant burrito, salad and collards. This was so much food, but I managed somehow.

That night, my wonderful friends Janeen and Mark got married!  I won’t post many pictures for privacy’s sake, but here’s one – look how pretty!

A few of the other guests were vegan, so there was a vegan-only food table.  Sadly, not everyone got the memo, and there wasn’t much left by the time I got there!

I had some vegan drumsticks, pakoras, mac n cheese, and vegan cheese and crackers, which was plenty enough for my sick head and tummy.

The cupcakes on the table were vegan!

We held sparklers instead of throwing rice, which was only slightly terrifying.

Despite catching a death-cold that ended up lasting three weeks, and having the worst flight home ever (my ear didn’t pop on the way down from my first flight, and I had to walk around the airport basically deaf and miserable), my trip was so fantastic!  I only wish that I could have spent more time with my friends and family.

On a side note, check out xgfx.org, a new vegan and gluten free website run by three lovely ladies – Allyson of Manifest Vegan, Kittee of Cake Maker to the Stars, and Jessy, my favorite happy-faced vegan!

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Tailgate Cookies

In mid-November, Dave, myself and twelve friends went to see the Niners play the St. Louis Rams.  It was a big operation, getting fourteen people, tailgating equipment and enough food and beer over to Candlestick Park.  Everyone chipped in a little, and we had a great tailgate.  And, the Niners actually won the game!  Anyone who has been following along knows this season hasn’t been great for the Niners, so it was nice to see a win in person.

I wanted to make a special dessert, and after remembering my plethora of cookie cutters, decided on sugar cookies.  I used the recipe from Vegan Cookies Take Over Your Cookie Jar.

It took hours and hours to bake and frost the cookies, and it was totally worth it.  The dough was easy to work with, considering how temperamental sugar cookies can be.  Firm yet buttery soft, nobody would suspect these cookies were vegan.  After the game when we reconvened in the parking lot, people asked for more!

We didn’t just eat dessert…

Dave grilled meaty tacos for everyone else, so I had some of my own with taco-seasoned portobello, onion, cilantro, pickled jalapeno, avocado salsa and salsa roja.  Our friend Tom made the salsas, along with the super-garlicky potatoes.  Also on the plate is curtido and refried black beans, made by me, and pinto beans prepared by our friend Teresa.  This was an extremely yummy, flavorful meal.

This is my favorite picture from the tailgate – Dave’s cousin Alex was trying to take a picture of his brother Daniel and his wife, and walking right in the way, this was my reaction when he yelled at me.

More pictures from the game:

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VeganMoFo: Vegetarian Times Week – Stuffed Chiles & Jicama Salad

My fourth installment of Vegetarian Times Week comes to you late!  I was trying to blog every weekday for VeganMoFo, but I just didn’t have the time or effort to get this in last night.  So, I blog today, and I’ll blog tomorrow to make up for the missed day.

This is the Stuffed Chiles with Walnut Sauce and Jicama Salad with Cilantro and Chiles from the  November/December 2005 issue of Vegetarian Times.  These recipes are from an article titled “Add some ole to your holidays”.  Fun!  I bought the ingredients for these recipes and then put off making them, and put it off some more, because I knew the chiles would be a little involved time-wise.  They really are great for putting together the night before then warming up before dinner, which is exactly what I ended up doing.

They were also really difficult to photograph, for some reason.  I’m going to be honest with you and tell you that the chiles were a total pain in the butt to peel and de-seed and stuff with the filling.  The whole time I was preparing them, I was thinking “this had better be worth it”.  And the good news is that it was worth it!  These chiles are great!  The flavor is very complex, with sweet, spicy and savory notes, and there are great textures from the pecans, mushrooms, and rehydrated raisins and mango. I halved the recipe since it makes 12 chiles, and I would definitely recommend making it the night before if you’re serving it to guests.  I even put my chiles in individual baking dishes so that I could heat up one at a time.

And let’s talk about the walnut sauce – It’s awesome!  The original recipe calls for regular sour cream or Mexican crema, so I used Sour Supreme instead.  The only other ingredients are walnuts and vegetarian Worcestershire sauce, but I’m telling you that some sort of magic happens in the food processor, because I now want to put it on all of my Mexican food.  It would be fantastic in a burrito.

The Jicama Salad was your typical shredded salad with olive oil and citrus dressing, and it was good.  Sadly, the cucumber I had bought went bad so I couldn’t include it, and the cilantro was turning, so I had less to use than called for.  It could’ve used the full amount of cilantro for extra oomph, but overall it was quite good, and a nice cooling counterpart to the spicy stuffed chile.

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Mexican-Inspired Meal

This meal may not have been the prettiest color, but it had plenty of good flavor.  I received four beautiful jalapeno peppers in one of my CSA deliveries, and I thought to myself, “What can I possibly do with four jalapenos?”.  I decided that roasting them and pairing them with polenta would be good, and the rest of the meal developed from there.  I was going to make just the polenta and slaw, but while I was at the Mexican market I came across some prepared nopales, and I had to have them.

You can roast jalapeno peppers just like you would roast a red bell pepper.  There are various methods, but since I don’t have a gas stove I usually broil the peppers in the oven until they are blackened on all sides, then put them in a bag or covered bowl to let the skin loosen.  It was difficult to get the skin off and seed them, but not too daunting.

Polenta with Roasted Jalapenos and Black Beans

Roasting and seeding the jalapenos gets rid of most of the heat.  What little heat is left effectively spreads through this whole dish.

1 cup polenta or coarse ground cornmeal
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
3 roasted jalapeno peppers, halved, seeded and sliced
1 15.5-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4-1/2 cup shredded vegan cheese (optional)
sea salt to taste

1. Place the polenta, broth and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking occasionally.
2. Reduce the heat to medium low.  As the polenta starts to thicken, add the remaining ingredients and whisk frequently.
3. The polenta is ready to serve when it is thick and difficult to whisk.  Serve hot.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 338.13
Calories From Fat (2%) 8.08
% Daily Value
Total Fat 0.91g 1%
Saturated Fat 0.1g <1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 154.75mg 6%
Potassium 252.14mg 7%
Total Carbohydrates 69.83g 23%
Fiber 12.89g 52%
Sugar 0.36g
Protein 11.84g 24%

Fennel Slaw with Salsa Vinaigrette

1 bulb fennel, sliced thinly, fronds chopped
1/2 medium head green cabbage, shredded
large carrot, shredded
Dressing:
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup cilantro
juice of 1 lime
1 scallion, green & white parts, chopped
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp sea salt

1. Place the fennel, cabbage and carrot in a large bowl and toss to combine.
2. Place all dressing ingredients (tomato through salt) in a blender, and blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
3. Pour most of the dressing over the slaw and stir to coat.  Add the rest of the dressing if needed.  Serve at room temperature.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 104.85
Calories From Fat (32%) 33.83
% Daily Value
Total Fat 3.85g 6%
Saturated Fat 0.54g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 423.92mg 18%
Potassium 719.31mg 21%
Total Carbohydrates 17.16g 6%
Fiber 6.39g 26%
Sugar 6.67g
Protein 3.27g 7%

Nopales are really kind of awesome.  I had never seen or heard of them until I moved to California and started noticing them in Mexican groceries.  They’re literally a cactus pad.  You can buy the whole, prickly pad and prepare it yourself, but I prefer to buy them already cleaned and diced.  To see how they’re prepared, check out this site or this video.  Somehow I don’t think it’s as easy as the guy in the video makes it look!  Nopales taste and feel kind of similar to green beans, albeit a little slimy, and they’re pretty good for you.

Spice-Roasted Nopales

4 cups prepared diced nopales
1 tsp mild chili powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
dash of cayenne
small amount of oil, just to coat
pinch of salt

I didn’t take procedure notes for this recipe, but my best guess is that I combined the ingredients and roasted at 425F for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.

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