Vegan Mofo Theme: Tacos VS Burritos. Where do you stand on this important issue?
Um…TACOS. That was easy. Don’t get me wrong-I love a good burrito bowl, but tacos have always seemed more fun. I think it’s because the ratio of filling to outside is much higher. Ratios in our food are important; I think you can find them in almost every culture (don’t get my husband started on rice to ulam ratio). Plus the build-them-yourself aspect means you can try different combos of fillings in one meal.
So tonight Elly came over and made us homemade corn tortillas! Homemade tortillas are so much better than store-bought if you have the time. Especially for flour tortillas. Corn ones are super simple to make as well if you can find masa. Most bags will have a recipe on the back, but if you’d like the kitchn has a good explanation here.
We cooked up some fillings including this taco “meat” from oh she glows (adding in 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce for some spice), some sautéed onions and peppers, guacamole, chopped veggies, and tofu sour “cream” (chipotle and regular versions!). Speaking of ratios, the lentils in our “meat” along with our bell peppers gave us the one-two nutritional punch of iron and vitamin c!
We hope you voted for tacos today too if you were participating in vegan mofo. If not, we hope you’ll vote for vegan tacos at your dinner table in the future.
Vegan Mofo Theme:What [insert well known person] would eat if they were vegan.
If you reside in the United States, you’ve probably heard the Pope is in town! We thought the Pope would be pretty down with the whole idea of compassionate eating and we wanted to show him that it would be super easy to remake some popular favorites from his heritage in a vegan fashion. I can’t quite vouch for the true authenticity, but our meal tonight was certainly inspired by traditional Argentinian favorites!
This recipe is truly forgiving; substitute your heart away. Don’t have sweet potato on hand? Use regular potato. No green onions? Red, white, yellow, or more garlic (fakemeat&truelove, we’re talking to you and your love of elephant garlic here) will do fine. If cilantro tastes like soap to you (I’m so sorry), use parsley-it’s truer to traditional chimichurri anyways. Go wild with your spices people and have fun in the kitchen!
Without further ado-I give you our veggie empanadas with chimichurri sauce!
1 cup sweet potato, diced (we used about half of a large potato)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups corn kernels (we used up some leftover frozen corn and two fresh ears)
3-4 green onions, chopped
1 large handful spinach, chopped
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients-Empanada Dough (Adapted from The Kitchn)
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour (additional all-purpose is fine to sub, but the whole wheat lends a great nuttiness to the crust)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted cold butter spread, cubed (we used earth balance)
1/4 cup ice water, plus more as needed
Melted butter spread for brushing
1 bunch cilantro (stems and all)
3-4 green onions, roughly chopped
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 Tablespoons vinegar (we used regular white because that’s what we had on hand; red or white wine vinegar would be pleasant too-but you might need to bump up the amount since they are a little milder in flavor)
1 lemon, juiced
1 lime, juiced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste
Make the filling: Spread chopped sweet potato on a roasting pan, spray/drizzle with a little oil, and place in a 400 degree oven to roast for 15-20 minutes, while you prep your other filling ingredients.
Heat a little oil in a pan over medium heat, add garlic, and sauté until the garlic becomes a little fragrant. Add in corn kernels and green onions and cook until corn becomes tender (3-5 mins). Add in spinach and spices and cook for an additional 30 seconds or so until the spinach has wilted slightly. Turn off the heat. Remove your roasted sweet potato from the oven and mix into the rest of the veggies. Set aside the filling until you are ready to make your empanadas.
Make the dough: Mix up your flax seed egg in a small bowl and set aside while you gather your dry ingredients. In a large bowl measure out your flour and salt. Using a pastry cutter, your hands, two knives, or an electric mixer, cut cold butter into the flour until it resembles the consistency of small peas. Add the flax seed egg and the cold water and mix until the dough holds together. Adjust with more water, about a Tablespoon at a time, if the dough is not coming together or more flour, if the dough is too sticky.
Assemble your empanadas: Grabbing a small handful of dough each time, roll it into a ball with floured hands and roll out into a circle using a rolling pin, aiming for a thickness of about 1/8 of an inch. Spoon filling into the center of the dough. Wet the inner edge of one half of the dough, fold the other half over and press edges firmly together to shape your empanada. Place empanadas on a lightly greased, or parchment paper lined, baking sheet. Using a pastry brush or your fingers, gently brush/rub empanadas with melted butter. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until the crust is slightly brown around the edges.
Make Chimichurri: Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined, with small flecks of cilantro remaining (about 10 -12 pulses).
This dish makes approximately eight medium empanadas with a little extra filling left (enough to feed about 4 humans, or 3 if they’re hungry). These will also reheat wonderfully in a toaster oven/regular oven if you have leftovers.
Enjoy (compassionately!) by dipping your empanadas in the chimichurri and serving with some chilled Yerba Mate (another Argentinian speciality).
Whether it be cookies, cake, brownies, or bread, I’ve always had an affinity to lick the spatula and bowl clean after baking. I mean come on, you don’t want any of that dessert or carb goodness going to waste! I used to live on the edge-tempting my luck with any batter (sorry Mom, if you’re reading this), but one of the upsides of going vegan is I will never again feel guilty for my raw habit. And you’ll definitely want to sneak a spoonful of this batter before baking-full of pumpkin and autumn goodness-here is our fall twist on banana bread.
1/12 cups whole wheat flour (optional-just use more all purpose flour if you don’t have it on hand)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon*
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg*
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
*if you can find whole spices and grind them yourself you will be amazed at how their flavor shines through versus pre-ground ones
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 + 2 Tablespoons water
3 ripe bananas
1 x 15 oz can pumpkin puree
1 cup organic granulated sugar
1/2 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
First, make your flax seed “egg” by combining ground flax seeds and water in the bottom of a medium bowl. Let sit while you get your dry ingredients together, or until the flax seeds soak up the water and the mixture becomes gooey.
Measure out your dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
Add the rest of your wet ingredients to the bowl with the flax seeds and mix until combined. If you don’t mind chunks of banana in your bread, feel free to let the power of an electric or stand mixer break them up. If you want a more uniform consistency, mash your bananas with a fork first.
Dump your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients. Stir to combine. Don’t over-mix! Count to ten and walk away! Just walk away! (Otherwise your going to have a chewy, gummy loaf syndrome. If you’d like more information on preventing that terrible disease and a science lesson, check out the ever-knowledgeable Alton Brown on the Muffin Method.)
Spoon mixture into a greased loaf pan. Bake for approximately 1 hour until a knife stuck in the middle comes out clean.
Lick your spatula and bowl and enjoy some Good Eats reruns while waiting for your bread to bake. (Optional, but highly suggested)
Let the bread cool for 5-10 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan and let it cool completely on a cooling rack.
Take into work tomorrow and share with your non-vegan coworkers to remind them how awesome vegan baking can be! (Also optional, but again, highly suggested if you don’t devour it on your own)
Vegan Mofo Theme: Make (or eat!) a traditional local dish. & Honor a human or non human animal who inspires your veganism.
A lot of people think of California as the wine capitol of the New World, but here in the Central Coast area, beer is just as big of a local-fest. Last night I went out for a few work events, both hosted at hometown craft breweries: Firestone Walker Brewing Company and Figueroa Mountain Brewery. Firestone Walker had a great tasting room where they were experimenting with some lovely new sour style beers. I’d never tried a sour beer before and I was pleasantly surprised. I’m sorry I have minimal pictures to share (I need to invest in a camera of some type if blogging becomes more of a habit); to elaborate, each of the sour beers I tried had lovely shades of pink or red due to the fruit added to them. My favorite was a cherry-infused Saison style that was brewed with peppercorns. I ended up not drinking anything at Figueroa Mountain (I was driving and we are all about responsible consumption here!) but I have tried their Lizard’s Mouth Imperial IPA before and for someone who dislikes almost all IPA’s-this one is so yummy and unique. The first time I tried it, I described it to my husband akin to “feeling like you are drinking a field of wildflowers.” The aroma is pretty amazing (up there with the smell of tomato vines…anyone with me on that weird olfactory addiction?).
When it comes to honoring someone who inspires my veganism there are some amazing women I need to mention. To begin with, my Aunt Amanda. For someone so young (she’s only 10 years older than me), she has so much insight and wisdom to share. She was into the whole local and sustainable food movement way before it was a thing and was the first person to introduce the idea of vegetarianism to me. She lent me Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which was the first book I read in my adult life that made me confront the facts about factory-farming. And she paved the way within our family for understanding each other’s food choices (thankfully my family has always been very accepting of my vegan lifestyle-but I think it took way less explaining thanks to the amount of conversations about food we’d already had).
Secondly, my blogging partner in crime, Elly. Her accepting attitude is what drove me to understand and learn more about veganism and ultimately go vegan myself. She continues to inspire me everyday!
And third, my sister Connie. This chick is a farm gal and sees the beauty in animals from baby goats to draft horses. I always loved going on the trip to pick her up from horse camp at the end of the summer and see how well she worked together with such massive and majestic creatures. She also inspires me because she went vegan after educating herself about it! I think it takes someone truly strong to open their mind to something new and different and then decide to change their actions to match their values. And in fact, that sums up all these amazing women-they are women who are educated, empowered, and go out of their way to support their values. What wonderful humans to be surrounded and inspired by!
Vegan Mofo Theme: What’s your favorite late summer food?
One of our favorite summer foods is watermelon. What better way to enjoy it than in frozen form during the last heat wave before fall? We like the little kick black pepper provides, but totally up to you for what extras you’d like to add to your granita.
1 mini watermelon
1/4 cup organic cane sugar (or other sweetener of choice)
1 lemon, juiced
1 lime, juiced
fresh cracked black pepper to taste (optional if you like a little edge to your dessert)
Scoop out the watermelon flesh into a blender, add sugar, lemon, and lime juice. Blend until smooth.
Pour mixture into a large dish (the shallower the liquid the faster it will cool-so go big if you have the space in the freezer, I used a lasagna pan) and sprinkle black pepper across the top if using.
Place dish in the freeze and use a fork to scrape through the ice about once every hour until the granita reaches the desired consistency. Add additional black pepper as desired. Enjoy the last remnants of summer!
My grandmother had a nursery rhyme growing up that went “Beans, beans, the magical fruit, the more you eat, the more you….” (I think you can fill in the blank). I, always being one for stupid humor, still find it funny to this day. The rhyme had a bit of knowledge too, as it ended “…the better you feel, so let’s eat beans for every meal!”
I have always dealt with slight anemia, and going vegan certainly made me more aware of how much I need to watch my iron levels. Enter the mighty bean: besides having lots of fiber and protein (you know…so you can remind your friends that things other than meat do, in-fact, have protein in them), and their *ahem* musical qualities, they are high in iron!
Another trick to making sure you absorb more of that iron is to eat your iron-rich foods with foods high in Vitamin C, hence the tomatoes in the salad and the lemon and lime in the dressing.
This recipe is truly versatile in both size and ingredients. If you make it like we did, it can easily serve a crowd of 5 or 6 as a side (or you can just keep all it’s basil, bean-y deliciousness all to yourself and eat it ‘for every meal’ for a few days-although you may want to warn any significant others/roommates before attempting so). To scale back, just use less beans and salad components, but we recommended keeping the full-serving of dressing. It’s just too yummy and the extra can be kept in the fridge for a few days and used up by topping leafy salads, pasta, or grilled veggies. If you have lots of fresh basil, we’d even suggest a double batch!
As far as ingredients, go wild with your choice of beans: canned if you need ’em quick, homemade if you’ve got the time, and anything from French green lentils (I love their little swirls) to the hearty pinto or something locally grown (around these parts, we are known for the flavorful pinquito bean).
We hope you enjoy our recipe for bean salad, adapted from the Composed Bean Salad with Basil Vinaigrette in the May/June 2015 issue of Eating Well.
-E & E
4 cups or 2-3 x 15 oz cans of assorted beans (we used northern, garbanzo, pinto, and kidney)
2 x cups green beans, ends trimmed
4-5 small radishes, thinly sliced
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 avocado, cubed
1 small shallot, peeled and chunked
2 tablespoons olive oil (we used a basil flavored one and it was really yummy if you can find something like it)
1/2 cup fresh basil (don’t worry too much about stems, it’s going to be blended)
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 lime, juiced
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Cook and cool your beans or drain and rinse thoroughly if canned. Arrange on a plate or platter and place in the fridge to chill. If you don’t care how it looks, just throw them all in a bowl and into the fridge.
Steam your green beens for approximately 5 mins, until bright green and a little crunch remains. Set aside to cool briefly, and then add to the plate/platter/bowl and return beans to the fridge.
While your beans are chilling, prep your dressing. Add all dressing ingredients to a food processor or blender and process or blend until smooth. Adjust flavors as necessary (if you like it tangy, add more lemon or lime juice or if you want to emphasize your beautiful garden basil and use 3/4 of cup we’re all for it). Move to a container and chill in the fridge.
Right before serving, slice radishes, tomatoes, and avocado and arrange on the platter with the beans. Drizzle with dressing, toss, and enjoy! If you have some extra basil, chop and use it to garnish.
Old: Our kitchen gadgets-from my trusty old food processor to the mini tart pans that were passed down from my Nana
New: Our blog
Borrowed: The recipes!
Blue: The berry-licious ingredients-blueberries (or blue-babies as we grew up calling them), blackberries, and açaí berries
For the fruit snacks, we used açaí juice. I thought they were pretty tasty, but if you use it, or any other low-acid fruit juice, I would suggest adding some lime (or lemon, etc.) juice to up the tart factor. I feel that’s what really give traditional fruit chew’s their signature. Also, don’t fear if you don’t have candy molds-we used an ice tray and they turned out just fine.
Speaking of tart…yes they were delicious and I loved the simplicity of the recipe. Our only tweak: instead of going with all the blue-babies we added in blackberry too; perfect I tell ya! We also had a little extra crust left from our tins, so we crumbled it on top with the coconut.