Tag Archives: mexican

Taco Mania

Last night I made 3 different taco fillings and we had a night of Taco Mania. We ate these fillings with soft corn tortillas along with some lettuce, avocado, and tofu queso fresco. The cumin lime tofu tended to get mixed with the other fillings to make really nice tasty combinations. We also had a little bit of the chorizo potato empanada filling, that we also ate as a taco filling, making taco mania night a night filled with 4 taco fillings!!

Our favorite of the night (although it was hard to choose) was surprisingly the Tequila Spiked Zucchini Potato filling – it was also the spiciest of the bunch:

Tequila Spiked Zucchini Potato Taco Filling

Tequila Spiked Zucchini Potato Filling

2 small Zucchini, julienned **
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp Olive or corn oil
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
1 small red potato, cut into matchsticks
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp mexican oregano
1 Tbsp pickled jalepeno, chopped
1 Tbsp tequila
1 Tbsp lime juice
salt to taste

Place the julienned zucchini in a strainer, sprinkle with salt, toss to coat and allow it to sit for 30 minutes.

Heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, potatoes, and bell pepper. Stir occasionally. When the potatoes start to brown and little and are almost cooked, grab handfuls of the zucchini and squeeze hard to squeeze out as much water as you can and then add to the skillet. Add the cumin, thyme, and oregano. Cook for a few minutes until the zucchini is cooked. Add the garlic and jalepeno and cook for about a minute. Deglaze the pan with tequila and lime juice. Remove from heat and add more salt if needed.

** This is my new favorite kitchen gadget! The Oxo Julienne peeler. But keep your fingers well away from this.

Here is a pic of the black bean filling which is a staple in our house:

Black Bean Taco Filling

Black Bean Filling

1/2-1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 reb bell pepper, chopped
1 sm onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 jalepeno, minced
2 cups black beans (drained and rinsed if canned)
1/4 cup water, veg stock, or bean broth (if not canned beans)
salt, to taste
1/4 cup cilanto, minced
1 Tbsp lime juice

Heat oil in a non-stick skillet. Add the onion, bell pepper, and jalepeno. Cook for about 5 minutes until onions are softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the beans and the bean broth (or water or stock). Cook for a few minutes. Add lime juice and cilantro and remove from heat. Add salt to taste.

This tofu filling was tasty, but be careful not to let it burn.

Cumin Lime Tofu Taco Filling

Cumin Lime Tofu Filling

12-14 oz tofu, pressed, cut into 1 in cubes
1 Tbsp olive oil

Marinade Ingredients
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp cilantro, chopped

Mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a measuring cup and whisk well to mix in the sugar. Place the tofu in a ziploc bag and pour in the marinade ingredients. Close up the bag and try to remove any excess air in the bag. Place the tofu in the refrigerator for an hour (flip the bag over after 30 minutes).

Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Before it gets really hot, drain the tofu and add it to the pan (otherwise be careful when you add it as any marinade clinging to the tofu will splatter). Cook the tofu for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally until it is browned. A splatter screen might be helpful here to keep your stove from getting too messy.

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Vegan Chorizo and Potato Empanadas

Tonight I had planned to make Chorizo Potato tacos. But at some point in the day I was inspired to try making empanadas instead. The results turned out great. This might look hard to do, but it is actually pretty easy. If you can make pie dough, you can make empanadas!

Vegan Chorizo and Potato Empanada

Chorizo Potato Empanadas
Makes 12.

Empanada Dough

1 1/2 cups instant corn masa
1/2 cup flour (plus extra for counter)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold shortening, cut into cubes
3/4-1 cup cold water

Put the masa, flour, salt, and shortening into a food processor. Pulse until the dough starts to stick together and the shortening is well distributed. Pour in the water gradually while the food processor is running until the dough comes together and forms a ball. I used about 7/8 cups of water. This will vary depending on humidity and dryness of the flours. Add more water if you need to.

Turn out onto a floured surface. Form a ball and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour.

Chorizo and Potato Filling ***
1 medium red potato, 1/4″ dice
1/2 spanish onion, diced
1/8-1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper (a couple of cranks)
1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
6 oz Vegan Chorizo (I used Yves)
1 clove garlic, minced

Steam potatos for about 10 minutes (or boil them) until they are just starting to get tender. You don’t want to cook them all the way here, we are just giving them a head start. Drain the potatoes if you boiled them, or if you steamed them, remove them from the steamer.

In a non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over med-high heat. Add the potatoes, onions, salt and pepper. Cook stirring every few minutes until potatoes are browned (about 8-10 minutes). Add the garlic and the chorizo. Stir and break up the chorizo. Cook for a few minutes until heated through and the chorizo dries out a little bit. Remove from heat and remove filling from the pan and place in a bowl. Set aside.

Assembling and Cooking the Empanadas

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with nonstick foil or regular foil that has been oiled. Clean the skillet used above because we are going to use it again here.

Remove dough from refrigerator. Divide dough into 4 pieces. Put 2 of those back in the refrigerator to stay cold. Divide the remaining 2 pieces into 3 pieces each so that you now have 6 pieces of dough on the counter. Take one piece and roll it into a flattened ball. On a well floured counter, roll it out into a circle about 1/4″ thick. If you want to now be fancy, you can cut it with a circular cutter (I don’t bother). Place about 1 1/2 Tbsp filling in in the center. Fold over and crimp the edges with a fork. * Do this for 3 of them if using cooking method 1 or all of them if using cooking method 2. Continue the same way with the remaining dough in the refrigerator.

For cooking method 1, you will want to fry about 3 at a time (see below) and then roll out the next 3, rinse repeat until all are pan fried and in the over.

Cooking method 1

Olive Oil for frying

In a non-stick skillet over medium high heat with a liberal amount of olive oil (about 1/4″ deep), pan fry the empanadas on each side till browned. Now move the empanadas to a foil lined cookie sheet (pat with paper towel) and bake for 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining empanadas.

This is the method I used in the picture above. It resulted in a flaky crust that we like a lot without resorting to deep frying.

Cooking method 2

Place all empanadas on cookie sheet(s). Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned. **

*Cheater hint – If you want them to be prettier semi-circles and don’t have a large circular biscuit cutter, you can use this trick to shape them better. Fold the dough over the filling. Take a pizza cutter around the folded edges to make a better semi-circle shape and then crimp the edges.

** Next time we are going to try brushing the baked ones (method 2) with olive oil before baking.

*** I actually doubled this and have leftovers for taco filling later this week.

We also had some margaritas with dinner. A strawberry margarita on the rocks:
Strawberry Margarita

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Chilaquiles

Chilaquiles is a traditional mexican casserole baked with tortilla chips in the casserole to soak up all of that yummy sauce. It is basically a dish that uses up leftovers (like Bi Bim Bop in Korean cuisine). Chilaquiles often contains some sort of greens like Swiss Chard.

When I was making this I had a bad feeling about it. I don’t know why I didn’t think this was going to be a good recipe. I was VERY surprised when I tasted it. It was so good that I had to text my husband (who wasn’t home that night): “holy chilaquile, nom nom nom”. The sauce is what truly makes this dish. The sauce plus a nice background flavor of lime. In a lot of the recipes that I’ve posted this week, I’d say you could replace the homemade sauce with some Hatch Chile Sauce, but not this recipe. Don’t replace the sauce. Make your own for this dish and you will be rewarded.

Chilaquiles

Chilaquiles

Chilaquiles

1 recipe red chile tomato sauce
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp mexican oregano (or substitute mediterranean oregano)
1 cup corn kernals, preferably fresh
1 bunch of chard, stems removed, chopped
1 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp cilantro
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 cups crushed sturdy tortilla chips
1/2 cup vegan parmesan, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until softened and starting to brown. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano. Cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the corn and cook for another minute. Add the chard and a tablespoon of water, cover and cook for a minute or so until wilted. You can stir the chard in the middle of this cooking time. Add cilantro and lime and remove from heat.

Oil a 7×9 casserole. Layer the fillings and sauce and chips like a lasagne. Add 1/2 of the tortilla chips followed by 1/4 of the sauce. Add 1/2 of the greens mixture and 1/2 of the pinto beans. Add 1/4 of the sauce. Add the other 1/2 of the greens mixture and the other half of the pinto beans. Add 1/4 of the sauce. Add the other half of the tortilla chips. Top with the vegan parmesan and then drizzle over the remaining sauce.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Serve with crema, tofu queso fresco, avocado (or guacamole), and more chips.

Here is a pic of the Chard filling. All of this green goodness went into this casserole along with about 2 cups of pinto beans:
Chilaquiles Filling

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Red Chile Tomato Sauce

This sauce is basically the same as the red chile sauce, except that is has the addition of the tomatoes and sugar. This sauce will be used in the next recipe: Chilaquiles.


Red Chile Tomato Sauce

3 dried Guajillo chilies *
3 dried Ancho chiles*
3 dried Pasilla chiles*
4-6 cups of water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 tsp cumin
3 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp masa harina

1 14 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 tsp sugar

Cut the tops off of the chiles and discard the tops. Shake out the seeds. Cut the chiles open with a slit down the side and shake out any remaining seeds. Rinse the chiles to remove any dust/dirt. Cut the chiles in half. Bring 4-6 cups water to a boil in a pot and turn off the heat. Put the chiles into the hot water and allow them to soak for 30 minutes.

Drain the chiles and discard the soaking liquid. Place the chiles, cumin, garlic, pepper, and 1 1/2 cups water into a blender. Puree the mixture in the blender. Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer or cheesecloth. You may need to push the liquid through with a spatula. Put the strained liquid into a pot and add 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 1 hour.

Add masa harina with a whisk to thicken. Remove from heat.

Place tomatoes in a blender along with the red sauce. Add 1/2 tsp sugar. Blend until pureed.

* Feel free to substitute other dried peppers here. The peppers you use will make the spicyness level change and the flavor change ever so slightly.
* You can get dried chiles cheap at your local mexican grocery store. You can also order them online (not as cheap) from Penzeys.com.

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Black Bean and Plantain Tostadas

Black bean and Plantain Tostadas

Black Bean and Plantain Tostadas

6 corn tortillas

1 1/2 cups refried beans (canned or homemade)

1 1/2 cups black beans, drained and rinsed
1 spanish onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Mexican Oregano
1/2 cup vegetable stock
kosher salt

2 ripe plantains
kosher salt

corn oil

Toppings:
sliced romaine
crema or vegan sour cream
queso fresco
guacamole
tomatoes, diced

In a large skillet over med-high heat, heat up corn oil (a pretty large amount, enough to cover a tortilla). One at a time, place a tortilla in the skillet and fry till the edges start to brown. Flip the torilla over with tongs. Let it cook for another 30 seconds or so, checking for doneness. When the bottom is also browned, move the tortilla to a plate lined with a paper towel. Continue to cook each tortilla separately and place them on the plate with paper towels between each one. Set aside. Remove the skillet from the heat.

In a small saucepan over very low heat, reheat the refried beans and keep them warm (Note – you can also microwave them near the end of cooking the vegetables and beans).

Slice the ends of each plantain. Slice the plantain into 3 pieces. Cut a slit in the skin down the side and peel each piece. Cut each piece into lengthwise quarters and then slice into 1/4-1/3 inch slices. You should have nice bite size pieces.

In the same skillet, you should have some remaining oil (You will want about 1-2 Tablespoons of corn oil. Pour out any extra or add some if needed), heat up the skillet if it is not hot over medium heat. Add the plantains. Don’t stir them too much but stir them occasionally to flip them over. When the plantains are nicely browned remove them to a paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Set aside.

Add a 1/2 tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Add the onions and cook until lightly browned. Then add the garlic and oregano and cook for about a minute. Add the black beans and about 1/4 cup stock. Cook for about a minute. Add salt to taste. If the beans are too dry, you can add another 1/4 cup stock.

Assemble: Place a tortilla on a plate. Smear about 2 tablespoons of refried beans on the tortillas (this creates a nice sticky base layer). Add about 2 tablespoons of the black bean mixture and then some of the plantains. Top with about a tablespoon of the queso fresco. Then top with lettuce, tomato, and guacamole. Drizzle with the crema.

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Vegan Crema

Crema is like a sour cream drizzle, so this is pretty easily veganized by using Tofutti Sour Cream (or some other suitable vegan sour cream). Again, I didn’t pay much attention to proportions here, so this recipe is still under development. This looks very pretty drizzled over dishes as a finishing touch.

Crema
1/2 cup tofu sour cream
1/4-1/2 cup soy milk

Mix sour cream with soy milk with a fork. Add the soy milk a tablespoon at a time until the consistency is runny (can be drizzled with a spoon).

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Tofu Queso Fresco

I’ve topped a lot of recipes with this tofu Queso Fresco this week. Queso Fresco is (supposedly) a mild non-melting crumbly cheese with a texture like feta. I’m guessing that this is what it would taste like. I added miso and tahini to give it a little kick and a slightly fermented flavor. And because I was drinking margaritas while cooking and not paying much attention, I am not entirely sure of the amounts I used here. I can’t remember if I used 1 or 2 tablespoons of Nutritional Yeast. I’ll make sure to make note next time I make this. If you make this, be sure to taste it as you go along. Let me know how your proportions turn out.

Queso Fresco

12-14 oz extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp light miso
1 clove garlic
salt
pepper
2-4 Tbsp soy milk

Crumble the tofu in a bowl. Add tahini, nutritional yeast, miso, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste (about 1/4 tsp of each). Use your hand to mix well. Add in a couple of tablespoons of soy milk and mix with hands to make it moist and kind of sticky.

Use queso fresco crumbles as a topping.

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