I love mole, but it takes quite a while to make and it requires so many ingredients. What if I told you that you could make it in under 40 minutes? That’s right 40 minutes and vegan! This recipe for enmoladas de plátano macho, otherwise known as plantain mole enchiladas, combines the spiciness and richness of mole, with the sweetness of a garlic-plantain mash.
Picadillo is one of those dishes that is a staple in every Mexican household. It is super easy to make and kids tend to love it. It was one of my favorites growing up. In northern Mexico it is traditionally made with ground beef, onions, garlic, chiles, and potatoes. In southern and central Mexico they add raisins, olives, and even fruit. You can also find picadillo in other Latin American countries. Perhaps the most famous is the Cuban version, which consists of ground or shredded beef, onions, peppers, potatoes, olives, and capers.
I dislike veggie burgers. They’re not burgers!!! Inevitably though, you will find yourself eating one, because they are commonly the only vegetarian-vegan options available at casual restaurants. Why make them at home then? Well, this recipe for spiced sweet potato black bean burger is pretty good, if I do say so myself. I usually make a big batch and freeze them. This way when I’m too lazy, tired, or out late doing stuff, I just pull some out of the freezer and make dinner, voila!
The addition of garam masala gives it a unique flavor and they are packed with veggies. The munchkin loves them. I do have to warn you, they are definitely not burgers. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them on their own with a salad or in a whole wheat wrap. Alright lovely readers, it’s late, have a sweet night.
The Recipe: Spiced Sweet Potato Black Bean Burger
This burger is packed full of veggies and protein. I have added garam-masala and serrano pepper for an extra kick. I usually make these when I have leftover brown rice and quinoa. Enjoy!
Spiced Sweet Potato Black Bean Burger
- 1/2 cup Diced yellow onion
- 4 Garlic, cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup Carrots, peeled, diced
- 1/4 cup Celery, diced
- 1/2 Serrano, diced
- 1/3 cup Corn kernels, fresh or canned
- 1 cup Sweet potato, cooked, peeled, mashed
- 1 tbsp. Garam Masala
- 1 tsp. Paprika
- 1/3 cup Maseca, corn flour
- 1 cup Black Beans, drained, canned
- 1 cup Brown rice, cooked
- 1 cup Quinoa, cooked
- 1/4 cup Chopped parslet
- To taste Salt kosher
- To taste Black pepper ground
- In the bowl of a food processor add onion, garlic, carrots, celery, serrano, and corn kernels and process until the vegetables are chopped finely but not pureed.
- In a large pan, set to medium-low heat, sauté vegetable mixture until all of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 – 7 minutes. Set aside and let cool for 5 min.
- In a large bowl combine brown rice, quinoa, beans, sweet potato, garam masala, paprika, corn flour, parsley, vegetable mixture, salt, and pepper.
- Place half of the mixture back into the food processor and pulse 3 times. Return mixture to bowl and mix well.
- Form into patties. Refrigerate for at least an hour before cooking.
- To cook, sauté in 1 tbsp. of oil for 2 -3 min. on each side until golden brown.
If the mixture still seems too wet, you can adjust the quantity of quinoa and brown rice accordingly.
In May, I wrote about wanting to quit blogging, so it might come as a surprise to you that I started a new blog! Unfortunately, for all you English speaking readers it’s in Spanish. I was born and raised in Mexico, which means Spanish is my primary language. I came to the U.S. as an international student in order to go to The Culinary Institute of America, thus the majority of my culinary education was imparted in English. I’m a embarrassed to say this, but I’m a bit more comfortable writing about food in English. However, my parents and a big chunk of my extended family do not speak English, and they have voiced their complains about not being able to understand anything I write. Oops!
The reason I was hesitant to start a blog in Spanish was for the same reasons I was considering quitting this blog, it’s a lot of work! However, after receiving support and encouraging comments from a couple of readers, I am once again motivated to continue sharing recipes with you. Of course, it also really helps that the munchkin is in school full time:)
Monday is Mexico’s Independence Day, so in honor of a wonderful country, an amazing group of people, and one of the best cuisines in the world ( I might be a little bit biased here) is a recipe for chiles rellenos that is not traditional, but has all the flavor and complexity of Mexican cuisine.
The Recipe: Vegan Chile Relleno with Zucchini and Quinoa
Roasted poblano peppers are stuffed with a sauté of zucchini , corn , tomato, onion, garlic, and quinoa. They are slathered in a creamy chipotle sauce or you can use whatever salsa you like. If quinoa is not easily accessible to you, feel free to use rice instead. Enjoy!
Vegan Chile Relleno with Zucchini and Quinoa
Zucchini Sauté (Calabacitas)
- 1 tbsp. Grapeseed oil (optional)
- 1 cup Onion, white, finely diced
- 3 cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 Ears of corn, cut into kernels
- 1/4 cup Vegetable stock or water
- 3 Zucchini, cut into large dice
- 2 cups Tomato, fresh or canned, diced
- 8 Poblano peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded 8 ea.
- 3 cups Quinoa, cooked
- Zucchini sauté, Recipe above
- Creamy Chipotle Sauce (see note)
- In a large heavy bottomed pot, set to medium heat; sweat the onion in 1 tbsp. of oil for 2 to 3 minutes until onion is translucent.
- Add corn and ¼ cup of water or veg stock, cover and let steam until corn is tender, about 3 – 4 minutes.
- Uncover, add zucchini and cook for 3-4 minutes, until it begins to soften.
- Add tomato and cook for 2 minutes more.
- Season and reserve for later use.
- Stuff the bottom of the chiles with quinoa and top with zucchini mixture. Pour chipotle sauce on top and serve.
If you can’t find quinoa or don’t like it, you can use rice. You can find the recipe for the creamy chipotle sauce here.
The first day of school is only eleven days away. It will mark the end of what seems to be an endless summer. The munchkin and I really need to meet some people. We are starting to get bored and that can only lead to trouble.
We have been living in Bluffton, SC for almost two months and so far we have been unimpressed with the food scene here and in Hilton Head Island. At first we were kind of disappointed, but then decided that we should just cook more at home. However, last week we took a day trip to Charleston and were pretty happy to eat some good food and enjoy some drinks while the munchkin played at Play Garden. (Drop-in childcare is the best! I’m baffled at why every city doesn’t have this, it’s genius.)
On the way there we stopped by the Carolina Cider Company. Their store is located on the side of the highway between Savannah and Charleston. It is an unadorned white house with a couple of signs advertising cider and free samples. We almost drove right past it! Its shelves are lined with jams, jellies, preserves, pickles and relishes. There are also homemade pies and sweet cherry, peach, and muscadine cider. We happily enjoyed a cold glass of cider on the porch. It was a welcome rest from driving.
We didn’t get to see much of Charleston. Since we only had couple of hours to ourselves we were not looking to do the tourist thing, we just wanted to eat. We had appetizers at The Macintosh, drinks at the The Cocktail Club, and even more drinks at The Gin Joint. I have to say that I’m really enjoying this whole cocktail resurgence movement. Classic cocktails made with fresh ingredients are making a comeback, goodbye sour mix, hello handcrafted bitters, soda, and vermouth. We had some pretty great cocktails, but I especially enjoyed the butcher plate at Macintosh. The silky foie gras parfait, the glistening lardo, and the rich pork rillette paired perfectly with the homemade pickles and coarse mustard.
We were pleasantly surprised at what Charleston had to offer. All of the bartenders and servers we spoke to were very knowledgeable and professional. You could tell they had a real passion and respect for the craft. We are definitely going back! Inspired by our visit the hubby recreated a 100 yr. old punch recipe at home and I made charred okra and grits.
The Recipe: Southern Vegan Grits
Charred okra, sautéed with corn, tomato, green bell pepper, garlic, and onion top a plate of creamy grits. This dish is inspired by the classic shrimp and grits. Enjoy!
Southern Vegan Grits
- 1 cup Grits, white or yellow, coarse grind
- 4 + 1/4 cup Vegetable Broth
- 1 tbsp. Vegetable oil
- 1 lb. Okra, cut into ½ in. pieces
- 1 Onion, yellow, diced
- 1 Ear of corn, cut into kernels
- 3 Garlic, cloves, minced
- 1 Green bell pepper, seeded, diced
- 1 Tomato, large, diced
- 1/4 cup Green onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp. Red pepper flakes
- To taste Salt kosher
- To Taste Black pepper ground
- In a large heavy bottomed pot, bring 4 cups of broth to a boil. Add the grits in gradually while stirring constantly.
- Lower heat to a simmer and cover. Stir constantly every five minutes to prevent grits from sticking.
- Cook for 20 to 25 min. or until grits are tender. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
- While the grits are cooking, set a large sauté pan to high heat and add 1 tbsp. of oil.
- When the pan is hot, add the okra and cook for 5 – 6 minutes. Shake the pan every two minutes to let the okra brown evenly. Remove the okra from the pan and set aside.
- Using the same pan, turn heat down to low and add the onion and sweat for 2 -3 min. until translucent.
- Add corn and ¼ cup of vegetable broth. Cover and cook for 5 min. or until corn is tender and the liquid is close to evaporating.
- Add garlic and green bell peppers. Cook for 2 min. then add tomatoes, green onion, and red pepper flakes.
- Cook for 5 more minutes, until the tomatoes have begun to soften. Add okra back into the pan. Season with salt and pepper and serve over grits.
The okra is cooked at a high heat to prevent it from getting slimy. Make sure your pan is hot!
FoodArts is my guilty pleasure. I check the mail so often, surely the mail man thinks I’m stalking him! FoodArts is an industry magazine that has news, recipes, and the latest innovations in food and equipment happening now. Ok so maybe it’s not for everyone, but I really enjoy it. I usually pore over the pages and marvel at how quickly the industry changes, I try to find old classmates in the ” deep dish” section, and wish I could recreate the amazing recipes at home. Sigh.
Some of the recipes are simple and can be recreated; others have ingredients not available to the home cook like gum arabic and gellan gum; some use techniques like sous-vide cooking and pressure cooking that require special equipment; but mostly the recipes are just time consuming. The magazine is not geared to the home cook, so none of this should come as a surprise. I just can’t really justify spending 3 days on a dish when I know for sure that both the hubby and the munchkin would be happy with pasta, tomato sauce, and cheese. Oh wait! We’re not eating cheese right now so I guess just pasta and sauce.
Yes, we’re still doing the vegan thing, except for one day a week. The one day a week has really helped us to not get frustrated, and we usually try not to go overboard and pig out. With the exception of this week, when we ate at Trattoria Neapolis in Pasadena. The chef, Bryant Wigger, is a friend of ours and we couldn’t resist working our way through the menu. It has taken me the rest of the week to recover from my food coma.
This recipe for Moroccan Vegetable Tagine is one of the best plant-based recipes we have tried yet. The flavors are intense and perfectly balanced. You can find the original recipe in the FoodArts issue of September 2012. It was created by Chef Laurence Jossel of Nopa in San Francisco. I have adapted it to fit my current needs and to make it more accessible to the home cook.
The Recipe: Moroccan Vegetable Tagine
Moroccan Vegetable Tagine
- 1 tbsp. Cumin, seeds
- 1 tbsp. Fennel, Seeds
- 1/4 tsp. Crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tbsp. Salt, kosher
- 1/2 tbsp. Black Pepper, ground
- 2 cups Chickpeas, canned, drained
- 1 can (14 oz.) Tomatoes, diced, canned
- 4 cups Vegetable broth
- 1 Orange, zest removed in wide strips
- 1 Lemon, zest removed in wide strips
- 1 Bay leaf, dried
- 5 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 Red onion, sliced
- 2 Fennel bulb, sliced thick
- 1/8 tsp. Saffron
- 4 Carrots, large, cut into ½ in. chunks
- 2 Garlic, cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp. Thyme fresh, chopped
- 1 lb. Yukon gold or fingerling potatoes halved
- 1 head Cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 head Broccoli, cut into florets, blanched
- 2 Zucchini, cut into ½ in. rounds
- 1 cup Corn kernels, fresh or frozen
- 1 cup Green beans, blanched
- 2 cups Green olives
- 1 cup Almonds, toasted, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup Cilantro, fresh, chopped
- 1/4 cup Mint, fresh, chopped
- 1/2 cup Harissa sauce,
- 1 cup Greek yogurt. (Optional)
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Combine vegetable broth, chickpeas, lemon and orange zests, can of tomatoes, and bay leaf in a large pot. Set aside.
- Combine spice mix in a small sauté pan set over medium heat and toast. Remove spices from pan and set aside. Once cool, grind in spice grinder.
- In a large bowl, combine red onion, fennel, 2 tbsp. of oil, half the spice mixture, saffron, and toss. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and roast in oven for 20 min. Remove from oven and place in the pot with the chickpeas.
- In the same bowl, combine potatoes, thyme, 1 tbsp. of olive oil and second half of the spice mixture. Place on a sheet pan with parchment paper and roast in oven for 35 min. Add to pot with chickpeas.
- In the same bowl, combine carrots, garlic cloves, and 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Place on a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place cut zucchini and cauliflower separately in the same sheet pan as the carrots, drizzle with 1 tbsp. of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 30 min. Add to pot with chickpeas.
- Add blanched broccoli, blanched green beans, and corn to the pot. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bring ingredients in the pot to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 min. or until vegetables are cooked through.
- Serve in bowls with couscous and garnish with almonds, harissa, yogurt, olives, mint, and cilantro.
Serve with whole wheat or plain couscous or rice
3/12/12: We’re going on a date tomorrow!! A real date. We will be joining the ranks of civilized people who eat without having to wrangle a 2 yr old while trying to enjoy a decent meal. We haven’t had a real date in months. The last time we tried to spend some time alone we ended up dropping the munchkin off at the sitters and coming back home to watch TV. You can hardly call that a date. There is only one problem. I’m still not eating any kind of animal product. How will I be able to resist the cheese?? The soft and pungent Robiola or the nutty Pecorino.
Eating out on a plant based diet hasn’t been difficult yet. In the past two weeks we have eaten twice at Native Foods in Aliso Viejo. Native Foods is a cafe that serves vegan food made from scratch. If it wasn’t for this lenten experiment that we’re conducting we would’ve never given Native Foods the time of day. Remember how I said I was going to try away from “fake” foods like vegan cheese and anything that slightly resembled a “real” food. Well, this restaurant has proved me wrong. They make an excellent seitan meatball sandwich, and their burger is not bad, not bad at all.
We also ate at Seabirds food truck, which basically serves vegan street food. I had a fried avocado taco, with a garlic aioli, and cole slaw. Their sweet potato fries were good, but the kale, apple, and currant salad was the best. Even though a fried avocado taco isn’t exactly healthy it was a nice treat. Who knew vegans could be unhealthy as well??
This week we made:
- Falafel, Cucumber, Lettuce & Tahini Pita Pockets
- Spicy Red Lentil Daal and Brown Basmati Rice
- Krispy Kale, Coconut, Tofu & Brown Rice in a Sesame Soy Dressing
- Cocoa Peanut Vegan Cookies
I have been looking for good vegan recipe sites or blogs and I came across HealthyHappyLife. The pictures are beautiful and the recipes I’ve tried so far have been excellent. They have a huge vegan recipe index with everything from breakfast to dessert.
3/14: Dinnner last night was great. I was weak and ended up eating all kinds of deliciousness. It was worth it.
- 1 tbsp. Oil (optional)
- 1 lb. Button mushrooms, sliced 1/4 in. thick
- 1 lb. Portobello mushrooms, sliced 1/4 in. thick
- 1 Yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 5 Garlic cloves, minced
- 2 1/2 tbsp. Soy sauce
- Set a large sauté pan to medium-high heat. Pour in oil. Add mushrooms when pan is hot and cook for about 3-5 min, until all the liquid released by the mushrooms has evaporated and they are golden brown
- Remove mushrooms from pan.
- Add onion into the pan and cook for 2-3 min. until slightly browned. Add garlic and peppers. Cook for 3-4 min. more or until the peppers are tender.
- Place mushrooms back in the pan. Pour in soy sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 min.
- Serve with tortillas, guacamole and roasted tomato salsa.
Feel free to add any variety of mushrooms or make your own combination.