19 November 2012

Black/ kidney bean tacos with avocado corn salsa

There's no picture for these. They disappeared from my plate too quickly for me to photograph them. Sorry about that. Just use your imagination!

Fancy some vegan-friendly Mexican chow? Well, then, you've come to the right place! Given that I'm one of the whitest guys around, and given that I'm certainly not a traditionalist when it comes to food (I style myself as an eclectic experimenter), I certainly can't guarantee the authenticity of the recipe to follow. But I do have to say that I love cooking (and obviously eating) Mexican food above most other kinds, and do so often. I'm pretty much a nacho pro at this point, if I may so brazenly self-promote. Here's a pretty sweet recipe for a meal I just finished. The garlic white bean purée recipe is once again stolen almost completely from Chloe Coscarelli and the avocado corn salsa is quite similar to something on the menu at Earls that I rather enjoyed (or at least, it was on the menu when I worked there).

Black & kidney bean tacos with garlic white bean purée and avocado corn salsa

Garlic white bean purée

1/3 can (19 oz.)   white (cannelini or other) beans (as indicated later, dry beans are always tastier if you can find them but require a lot more prep)
2-1/2 tbsp.   olive oil
1 tsp.   lemon juice
1 clove   garlic, minced
dash each   sea salt and black pepper

Mash it all together in a bowl with a fork or else use a food processor until bean chunks are mostly gone and the mixture is relatively smooth. There might be some left over, which is obviously awesome, since you can use this for other things.


2/3 cup   black beans
1/3 cup   kidney beans (I recommend starting with dry for the beans, in which case you'll want to prepare them as seen here. Canned is less tasty but will save you all this prep time. You be the judge!)
1/4 cup (or a bit less)   green onion, diced
1/4 cup (or a bit less)   red pepper, diced
1 tsp.   chili powder
dash   ground cumin
dash   dried oregano
dash   garlic salt
dash   black pepper
2 (6 inch)  whole wheat (or whatever suits; experiment!) tortillas

Avocado corn salsa

1   avocado, diced
1/4 cup   corn (If it's in season, use fresh, grilled corn on the cob; otherwise, go with canned whole kernel corn)
1/4 cup   white onion, diced
2-1/2 tbsp.   olive oil
2 tsp.   cilantro (again, fresh is best if you can swing it)
1 tsp.   lime juice
1 tsp.   black pepper
1/2 tsp.   salt

Mash & mix it all together until well blended.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Lay out 2 tortillas on long baking sheet. Brush with 2 tbsp. olive oil. Spread garlic white bean purée over top, then black and kidney beans atop that, then avocado corn salsa, then the rest of the filling. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until edges of tortillas appear brown. Wait till not piping hot, then fold over, roll up as best as possible (I'm terrible at this, and if you are too, grab a fork to catch errant filling that falls to the plate. This is a judgment-free zone here.), and chow down! These aren't particularly spicy, so feel free to toss some jalapenos or hot sauce or spicy salsa on there if you need more of a kick. If there's leftover garlic white bean purée, or if you made extra (cuz why not?), it's really good on some nachos in place of the cheese plus your other favourite nacho toppings. Might as well just make it a complete Mexican feast! Olé!

14 November 2012

Vegan Nutella (and adventures in nut-based cheese)

My food processor was one of my favourite purchases of recent memory and I'm making all sorts of saucy concoctions with it. I've tried out a couple of non-dairy cheeses, the first made with walnuts (similar to the recipe that appears here under "Fully Loaded Nachos/Walnut Cheese"--some glorious looking items on that site FYI), and then a couple batches made with cashews (this basic recipe, but I added nutritional yeast and dill and red pepper flakes and possibly some other spices I'm forgetting since that one seemed kind of unadventurous). They were both good but had some downsides. I have yet to get the consistency just right and they're so far much too moist and not firm enough. The walnut cheese was quite good on the nachos, as suggested, and I think had a more intriguing flavour overall, although the cashew cheese was perhaps more like the real stuff overall.

Now, I've moved on to nut butters. I have some almonds raring to go to be made into almond butter but first up was:

Vegan Nutella

1-1/4 cup   raw hazelnuts
1/2 cup   dark brown sugar
1/2 cup   dairy-free dark chocolate chips (I found some of these oddly enough in the fondue area of my closest grocery store, rather than the baking area... your search will hopefully be easier. Godspeed! I've also made my own twist on these vegan cookie dough truffles which included these same chocolate chips, a 'flax egg'--1 tbsp ground flax + 2.5 tbsp warm water & let it chill for five minutes and stir it together--and some coconut milk in place of some of the water. Seriously, everyone needs to go check out Chloe Coscarelli's site: it is a magical land of joy and joyness and you will/already are thank[ing] me for this pro tip. The gal's actually an inspiration to me.)
1/4 cup   canola (or vegetable) oil
1/4 cup   almond milk (or other non-dairy milk... I almost went with coconut)
2 tbsp   cacao powder
1 tsp   salt

Whip it all together in a food processor on a low(er) setting until it looks like Nutella. If it's too dry or thick (fair warning: I like mine on the thick side), feel free to add some more oil a tiny bit at a time. Bam! Done! Have it on some toast! Or toss it in yer baking! I am thinking of baking some dessert with this stuff soon. I'll post the recipe here if I do.