Radish Pineapple Mint Quinoa Salad

Candela-di-focuo-Radishes_harvest-2016_Yes,-more-please!

Back in February I started a little garden plot at the Mueller Community Gardens in my neighborhood. First months were rough. I started from seeds that my good friend Elizabeth gave me. Imagine all the possibilities when you are handed a box full of incredible heirloom seeds varieties from purple long green beans, carrots, greens, turnips, roman zucchinis, watermelon cucumbers, radishes, lipstick chili, melons you name it. . Little did I know the challenging scenarios of starting a vegetable garden from seeds. But, nothing like five buckets of patience, a couple good days of rain, plenty of steamy sunshine and a little everyday care to make it grow. Also helpful was the good pinch of serious advice from friends and the experts, like farmer extraordinaire from Boogy Creek Farm, Carol Anne. She is always willing to help and giving the greatest advice. From her I learned that planting a row of green beans beside the tomato plants will give tomatoes company and will help them grow together. She also emphasize the importance to give enough space in between tomato plants for best flavor and juicy tomatoes, and pointed that leggy tomato plants need to be transplanted deeper among many other details that have been very valuable to apply on my little, garden. Also every other good samaritan that was visiting the community gardens, like David, who gave me advice from seedling spacing to how to keep the water hose untangled! I’m very grateful for all. Thank you!

Using the best of advice, applying it, and with all my expectations tossed through the window, the garden worked its own magic on a serendipitous way.

Mueller Community Gardens

Ian-McEnroe_Yes,-more-please!

One day Ian and I arrived to our plot to water the plants and take some pictures of the vegetable progress, and all of the sudden we where harvesting our first…Radishes!
I start digging the first radishes out with the same impetus that a kid shows on christmas morning.
First radishes came out easily and they were beautiful long legged radishes that looked like ballerinas, and yogis to me. Ian went crazy on full camera mode!, then I kept digging and digging for about 15 minutes in order to pull out in one piece, what seemed to be a huge radish. When it finally came out, to our own surprise the biggest radish creature with the craziest shape I ever seen. There it was pure Wabi-Sabi Beauty!~ A gigantic Candela di Fuoco heirloom radish with an octopus syndrome, intense pinkish red top, and creamy white tips. Absolutely astonishing. I think the smile this radish put on my face lasted for 3 days. Who knew that a radish could bring you such a ridiculous amount of happiness.

Harvesting-a-radish

Mariana-McEnroe_Cooking-blog_Yes,more-please!

Candela-di-focuo-Radish_harvest-2016_Yes,-more-please!

After the radish harvest, we went home and eat a couple of them, they tasted incredibly crisp, fresh, spicy, with a clean sweet juicy ending. We took some beauty shots, and then I started to imagine on a radish recipe. Fresh, crispy, crunchy, juicy, spicy all the elements I had in that first radish bite. Thats what this salad its all about. No fuss just fresh ingredients.

I know It is a little to late for radish season, but as you can guess I’m on the learning process of timing it right. These radishes were our first and last winter mini crop of 6 radishes! from little ones to the big craziest octopus shaped radish, and we are very proud of it. Last weekend I transformed the plot to Summer vegetables. Tomato season is coming and I am thrilled. Plants are on the go and growing at a good speed.

I hope this little garden adventure brings you some garden inspiration.
I would love for you to feel encouraged to either grow your own vegetables or if that is not the way you groove, get out there on the hunt to buy the freshest Farmers Market vegetables you can, because it will always, always make the biggest difference on flavor when you are cooking.

Enjoy the rest of the radishes while you can!Shaving-Radishes_Yes,-more-please!

Radish-Pineapple-Mint-Quinoa-Salad_fresh-radishes_Yes,-more-please!

Radish Pineapple Mint Quinoa Salad

1 cup toasted, and cooked Red Quinoa
3/4 cup thinly sliced radishes any kind of spicy radish will work, cherry bells, watermelon, crimson, I used what I harvested Candela di Fuoco.
2 cups pineapple cut into small chunky wedges
1/2 small red onion thinly sliced in half moons
1-2 habaneros finely chopped
5-6 sprigs of mint, use just the leaves, and torn with your fingers
3-4 good drizzles Extra Virgin Olive Oil
the juice of one large lime
the juice of half an orange
Sea Salt to taste

A few crushed cashews, pine nuts or peanuts to garnish.*optional

Preparation Method:

1. Toast the quinoa lightly before cooking. 1/2 cup dry quinoa to 3/4-cup water. bring water to boil, add the toasted quinoa, bring to a simmer,lower down the heat, cover the pot with a lid and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, leave the pot covered for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, your quinoa will be al-dente and a bit crunchy, which is the perfect texture for this salad. Fluff quinoa with a fork and extend it on a plate to cool it down. If you have leftover quinoa from the night before , bring it on it works great!
2. Chop, chopp, chop the rest of ingredients.
3. Mix everything on a bowl drizzle with a grassy Extra Virgin Olive Oil, squeeze those citrus, season with Sea Salt, chill for a few minutes before is ready to serve.

Chopping-Vegetables_Yes,-more-please!Radish-Pineapple-Mint-Quinoa-Salad_Best-salad-for-grilled-fish

Radish-Pineapple-Mint-Quinoa-Salad_Yes,-more-please!

This Salad is best served with grilled fish, shrimp, soy marinated thick slices of extra firm tofu, pork chops, grilled chicken…
Enjoy!

Music Pairing: Bia – Mariana

View Post or View Comments 4

Mexican Beans Manifesto

How-to-cook-dry-Beans

Cooked, de la Olla, or Refried… I want to share with you my love for beans and how I bean.

I’m from Mexico. Along with corn, this simple food is a staple in our national diet. There are many great foods from my homeland but homemade beans have a way to my heart. The warm earthiness, texture, and flavor of a well prepared pot of beans, this is my comfort food. In fact “frijoles de la olla” boil-cooked beans are my “last supper” meal. With this said , you can imagine I’m very particular and appreciative about identifying truly great beans.

My love affair with beans’ simplicity that made me realize how many versions of “how to cook beans” are out there. They utilize many ingredients, cooking methods, pots, herbs, you name it , and yet most miss the mark for me when it comes to authentic style Mexican beans. I can not understand how something so simple to make has been so misunderstood. I feel the deep responsibility to clear this confusion and define Mexican style beans. After this you will discover an untroubled path in preparing this Mexican caviar.

Keep it simple. Slow down. When it comes to beans, It is about respecting the ingredient. Slowly and patiently cooking a pot of beans will yield the best pot of beans you ever had. Why to cook them by scratch? they taste far better than from the can, period. So lets start.

How-to-cook-Dry-Beans_How-you-Bean-_Yes,-more-please!

How to chose your beans:

Type of Beans:
There are infinite possibilities when it comes to beans. From the dark black beans which have a delicious intense flavor, to the medium brown creamy Pinto Beans, to the light, creamy and more potato-ey flavor like the Peruano, Mayocoba or Flor de Mayo beans. Each of these varieties have different purposes. They pair better with different Mexican cooking styles. For example, Black Beans found in Central-East and South East of Mexico, Mexico City, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Veracruz, Campeche, Yucatan, Quintana Roo. Peruano, Flor de Mayo are more common in South Central like Jalisco, Michoacan, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi. While Pinto beans are the beans of choice for almost all the North of Mexico, all the way from Tijuana to Monterrey.

From the traditional store bought varieties the most common kinds are Pinto Beans, Peruano, Mayocoba, Flor de Mayo, and Black Beans. These four kinds are available in most supermarkets in the USA.

Heirloom Beans: These are the caviar of beans. If you truly want to experiment and try new flavors and textures, this varieties are gonna blow your socks off.
My favorite source for heirloom beans here in the states is Rancho Gordo. Steve Sando has truly made an authentic effort and a life mission to rescue the almost lost varieties of heirloom beans in Mexico and Latin America. Thank you Steve!. My favorite Beans from Rancho Gordo: Rebosero, Rosa de Castilla, Acoyote Negro, Rio Zape, Pinto Beans, and of course me being from Guadalajara Jalisco, Flor de Mayo or Peruano for refried beans are one of my favorite beans.

Where to buy your beans?

I shop for beans at Mexican or ethnic supermarkets. Why? Well, where I live and shop they have new-er beans, since their turn-around on the dry beans purchase is bigger than in other stores. I often buy them pre-bagged. I like to make sure than the bag looks shiny, “hint”-you know how plastic bags can get a little opaque the older they are. Look for well sealed no holes or static webs on the inside corners of the bag. Usually these are more evident signs that let you know if the bag has been on the shelf for a long time. Use common sense.
When it comes to buying them from bulk sections, shiny beans are a good sign. The smell of the bean will let you know if they are fresher. Old dry beans start to smell a bit nutty and rancid. If you have your doubts ask the manager in charge of the bulk area or simply don’t buy them. You have to trust your source.

I always buy my dry beans one or two days before I cook them and I don’t usually have lots of bean bags on my pantry. I would rather cook them all at the same time and keep them in the freezer ready to go. I think this is the trick to convenience when it comes to beans.

How-to-cook-Dry-Beans_Mexican-style,-Utencils,-Clay-pots,-Wood-spoons,-Bean-Smasher

Where to cook your beans:

Bean pots make the difference when cooking beans, from flavor to cooking time, always choose what ever is best or more convenient for you.
Clay pot, the traditional way beans are cooked. I truly believe there is not a greater bean than the ones cooked on clay pots, so delicious. The Clay pot imparts great flavor to the beans. Make sure your clay pot is from a reliable source and that it is made for cooking. Both of my pots were given to me from a lady from Chihuahua ( Thank you Felipa I love my pots!) So if you know somebody from Mexico ask for a favor, its worth it. Also, It is unbelievable how fast beans cook in a clay pot.
Cooking time: 1hr and 30 minutes, to 2 hours tops.

Dutch enamel creates a great heat source, however your pot might get stained or darken a little bit.
Cooking time 3-4 hours.

Cast iron, beans will get an extra douse of iron. A slightly metallic flavor might be imparted. But if your cast iron pot is well seasoned this option is a winner!
Cooking time 2hrs and 30min.

Stainless Steel, safe and sound, it might take longer to cook, since stainless steel pots don’t retain as much heat as clay or cast iron, but it will get the job done. Clean flavor and no committing to buy a new pot. Time to cook 2hrs and 30min. to 3hrs.

Slow cooker The safest bet for people with busy schedules. I love the slow cooker results. If I choose to use the slow cooker method I cook them in my enclosed patio to avoid the cloudy smell of beans inside my house during the cooking time. It works like a charm!
Time: on high about 4 pounds of beans need 5-6 hours, depending on your slow cooker. Try to set up a timer, check on beans for doneness so next time you know how long they need.
Note: For slow cooker beans always, always salt until they are fully cooked. Let beans cool down on the pot and they will absorb the salt.

Pressure cooker: No doubt this is the reverse of slow. The fastest method to cook beans on a flash of time. If you are less romantic than me when it comes to cooking, this is your ticket to fast and efficient. Beans will be ready in 45 minutes aprox.

To soak or not to soak?

To be honest with you, I never soak my beans and I always have great results. In fact I don’t like to soak them. When I have done this my beans split and the skins separate from the bean… I just don’t have great results with soaking them. As I mentioned, my advice is to buy buys from a reliable source, and always cook them on a slow simmer. How slow? Well you barely see one or 2 bubbles coming up. Beans don’t like to be on a hurry when cooking.

How-to-cook-Dry-Beans_Yes,-more-please!

Bean Seasoning:

Very few seasonings. When cooking a basic pot of beans, I just add : ¼ of a medium size onion, one chile (fresh or dry) and water.
Experiment. I usually use a fresh chile with whiter beans, like pinto and Peruano. When it comes to Reboseros and Black beans I go for a Cascabel, Morita, Chipotle or a Guajillo. Why? Well I think that fresh chiles will complement the milder beans, and the deep rich beans like negros, acoyotes, and rebozeros, because of their color and deeper flavor will benefit from a dry or smokey chile, although there is no rule for it this is just how I bean.
When it comes to herbs and spices you can add some epazote fresco, or garlic specially when cooking black beans, which will compliment the flavor turning the broth into a liquorish herbaceous flavor.
White beans like cannelloni, will benefit from rosemary, bay, or fennel fronds. But wait a minute…this is a Mexican Bean post…rewind that..oh well.

Howto-cook-Dry-Beans_Best condiments to cook your beans

SALT matter:

Use good flavorful sea salt, or Kosher salt. Remember the recipe is just beans and a little onion and a chile, so the quality of the salt you are using is going to shine through. I use sea salt from Cuyutlan, Colima, Jalisco Mexico I love the flavor and freshness of this bright salt. Check this link if you want to know more about it. 
Always salt your beans right before you think they are done, about 30 minutes or so. If for some reason the beans are ready and you have not salted them, no worries, you still have the chance to add the salt stir carefully, cook for 5 more minutes and turn the heat off. The beans will keep absorbing some of the salty broth, its not the end of the world its just beans. The biggest mistake would be salting the beans at an early stage of cooking. This will make the skins tough, and they will not cook evenly. So restrain.

Howto-cook-Dry-Beans_Pinto-Beans

When Cooking Beans:

Sort, and rinse well your beans.this is important, sort throughly look for little stones or dry sticks from the plant. Rinse them in cold water rubbing well one or two times until water come out clear.
Slow down. Beans like to be cooked at a steady heat. Bring water to a boil, add the beans and then lower the heat to a slow simmer. Covered with a agar lid. Beans like to be tossed every now and then, but not to often. Give them time, enough water about 3 inches of water over the bean level. If water is needed during the cooking and beans look a bit dry ALWAYS add boiling water, and gently toss. The boiling water will keep the beans from splitting and skins will not fall apart. Always salt your beans a little before when they are fully cooked, and when ready let them sit on the stove to slowly cool down. If you live in warm humid weather, you might want to cool your beans faster and transfer your beans sooner to the refrigerator, since they can turn sour in a blink of an eye.

How-to-refried-beans

Fat:

Lard, Sunflower Oil, Corn Oil, Coconut Oil, Bacon, No matter what kind of fat you choose, for me the most important step when preparing refried beans is to cook and heat your oil or fat of choice properly. Place the oil or lard or a combination of both in the pan and let it warm up slowly, until is rippling hot. The color on the oil or lard must change to a deeper golden before adding your onions. This is an essential step, if you remember to heat up and cook your oil, you will always have great flavor in your beans. Authentic refried beans are made with lard there is no other way. The flavor is incomparable. But the reality is that for every day beans sunflower or corn oil is what everybody uses at home, leaving the lard-beans for holidays or special celebrations. When using Lard, I highly recommend leaf lard-pastured non-hydrogenated. If you live in Austin Tx, Salt and Time sells great quality lard on small amounts conveniently packed in their refrigerator. (Great to make amazing tamales by the way) Other brands for good quality Lard, Fatworks, or Leaf Lard are great.

A great alternative to avoid animal fat but give great flavor to your beans is Coconut Oil. I highly encourage you to give it a try, especially on black beans, with some sautéed plantains on the side…Mmm.

Freezing:

Beans can not be more noble, they freeze beautifully; freeze them whole in their broth or refried. They stay good for up to six months!!!. This is why I encourage you to cook a BIG batch of beans every time you make them. I portion out for 2-4 and I Freeze them into disposable bags, or small plastic containers that will fit my saute pan or soup pot, so I can de-frost on the stove if I forget to thaw them. (which seems to happen all the time) and since I reheat on a stovetop. These portions last me 1-2 months and they are life savers of convenience. On weekends I reheat some frijolitos and serve with tortillas and a good salsa and a couple of eggs for a breakfast of champions.

After all this information, now you might have a better grasp on the bean matter. So following there are 4 basic recipes for you to try. First one Frijoles de la olla, its the basic you need to start cooking your beans at home. no matter what kind of pot you have, apply the same recipe and concepts.

Frijoles de la Olla:

Frijoles de la olla, any type of beans can be cook in this manner, a few suggestions on what to add for different seasonings are included at the end of the recipe. A bowl of this beans, with pico de gallo salsa, a dollop of crema, queso fresco, and home made corn tortillas its all I wish for my last supper.
How-to-cook-dry-Beans_Frijoles-de-la-olla---Yes,-more-please!

Makes about 12 cups of cooked beans plus broth.

2 pounds/1 kilo of dry beans (pinto, peruano, flor de mayo, rebozero, or black beans etc..)
sorted,and rinsed.
8-10 cups water
1/3 white onion
1 dry chile like arbol, cascabel, huajillo or 1 fresh chile, like serrano, jalapeno, guero or habanero.

Sea salt about 1-2 tablespoons upon your taste.

In a clay pot, add beans,water, onion, and chile. Bring water to a boil, then lower the heat to a slow simmer. Cover with a lid. And cook for 1hr and 30 min. Stir beans once or twice using a long wood spoon. Gently stir beans from bottom to the top. Test for doneness: carefully take one bean and smash in between your fingertips. If is soft like a potato but holds it self together they are done. If they feel a little firmer in the middle they are almost there, add the sea salt and cook them for another 15-20 minutes. Check for doneness, taste and turn off the pot leave the lid on and have your self a little pre-tasting in a bowl. Correct salt if necessary.

At this point they are ready. Serve these freshly cooked beans with pico de gallo, Mexican crema, queso fresco o frijolero, warm tortillas, and a spicy salsa it all you need for a great legume dinner. Enjoy!

Once the beans have cooled down portion out your bags and containers and label with date and name. Freeze and use when ever you need them. If in need of a bigger batch, double the amounts on this recipe minus 2 cups of water and go easy on the salt. Remember you might need a bigger pot. Have fun!

The next 3 recipes are the basic of how to make refried beans. Truly re-fried beans Mexican style. Humble and simple but if you follow this little steps you will have great refried beans at home. Enjoy the recipe ride!

Refried Beans

You can make refried beans practically with any kind of bean. My favorite versions are Flor de Mayo, Pinto, Rebosero, Peruano and Frijoles negros.

How-to-make-Refried-Pinto-Beans-Mexican-Style_Yes,-more-please!

Yields about 3 cups

¼ cup Sunflower oil, corn oil, coconut oil.
¼ cup chopped white onion and pinch of salt.
4 cups cooked beans
1 cup bean broth

In a saute pan heat up the oil on a medium high heat until rippling hot. I recommend using a pan WITHOUT non-stick coating like cast iron or stainless steel. Saute onion until you get golden brown edges. Carefully add the beans and bean broth pouring away from you, to protect your hands from any splatter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to slow simmer and start mashing up the beans until creamy*, Some visible skins are ok. Once they are smashed, start stirring constantly until they look pasty and start separating from the edges of the pan. Usually if you can shake your pan and all the beans stay together like a blanket that slides on the pan, your refried beans are ready!, Slide them onto a platter and fold like making a big oval shape. Crumble some queso fresco, or cotija anejo, some totopos and they are ready to serve, Enjoy!

Variations:
Chiles: Add one dry or fresh chile, like arbol, cascabel, or serrano to the oil and saute along with the onions to give some extra spice note to the beans. Remove the chile before smashing the beans, or smash along if you are a spicy soul.
Lard: If using lard, it is a must to cook the lard on low medium heat until it changes color to a golden light brown. This is a key step that will give the best flavor to the beans. Add onion and a chile for extra layer of flavor.
Herbs:Any addition like hoja de ahuacate, hoja santa, epazote, poblanos can be added when sauteing the onions for extra flavor. It is very important to remove the herbs before smashing the beans, to avoid the beans from getting bitter.
*Remember you can mash them up to your preference, I some times like them a little chunky, or well mashed and I add a bit more bean broth to make them more creamy and loose.

How-to-make-Refried-Pinto-Beans_Yes,-more-pleaseHow-to-make-refried-Beans_Yes,-more-pelase!

Chorizo-Arbol Refried Beans

This beans are simply scrumptious. Specially if you use a good quality chorizo. Here in Austin, Tx my favorite chorizo is made and sold by Smith and Smith Farms. It is a fresh chorizo, not cased, very meaty crumbles with just the right ratio of fat. Spices are spot on to make this delicious chorizo beans. (If you are in Austin give Colby a call and he will save a little bag for you at any of the Farmers Market on Sundays, Mueller or Domain). 

Chorizo-Refried-Beans_Yes,-more-please!

Yields 4-5 cups

2 tablespoons cup Sunflower oil, corn oil.
3 dry chiles de arbol
6 oz chorizo fresco
¼ cup chopped white onion
4 cups cooked beans
1-1/2 cups bean broth
1 teaspoon apple vinegar

In a large saute pan, heat up the oil and toast the chiles de arbol into the oil until dark mahogany red.
Remove the chiles and set them aside. Add the chorizo and crumble finely using a wooden spatula. Saute the chorizo along with the chopped onions until onions are soft. Add cooked beans, bean broth, vinegar and one of the toasted dry chiles. Bring to boil, reduce to a slow simmer. Smash the beans until creamy, some pieces of skins and the little chorizo crumbs are visible it is ok. Saute for about 3-4 more minutes until desired consistency. I like this kind of beans on the lose side, but is totally up to your preference. When ready transfer into a plater, sprinkle some queso fresco, and garnish with the rest of the toasted chiles de arbol. Serve immediately along with totopos or warm corn or flour tortillas are ideal, Enjoy!

how to make Chorizo Beans-Frijoles con chorizo

Black Refried Beans

These Black beans are one of my favorite beans. They are full of flavor, decadent and rich.
Serve them like Veracruz style with some sauteed plantains on the side, some sauteed serrano peppers or habaneros and you will have the best side dish for cochinita pibil, rice and chicken, pork tamales, chile con carne or a simple home made breakfast with two sunny side up eggs on the side.

How to make refried Black beans_Yes, more please!

Yields 4 cups

1/4 cup Sunflower oil, corn oil, lard or Coconut Oil*
¼ cup chopped white onion and pinch of salt.
2 smashed garlic cloves
4 cups cooked beans
1-1/2 cups bean broth

In a non non-stick (cast iron, stainless) saute pan heat up the oil on a medium high heat until rippling hot. Saute onion until golden brown edges, add garlic and saute for 1 minute be careful not to scorch the garlic. Carefully add the beans and bean broth pouring away from you, to protect your hands from any splatter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to slow simmer and start mashing up the beans until creamy*, some visible skins are ok. Once they are smashed, star stirring constantly until they look pasty and start separating from the edges of the pan. Usually if you can shake your pan and all the beans stay together like a blanket that slides on the pan, your refried beans are ready!, Slide them onto a platter and fold like making a big oval shape. Garnish with some sauteed serrano peppers or habaneros, plantains, crumble some queso fresco, or cotija anejo, totopos and they are ready to serve, Enjoy!

*Traditionally these black beans are made with lard. My advise, is get the best pure lard you can get. I highly recommend leaf lard-pastured non-hydrogenated. If you live in Austin Tx, Salt and Time sells great quality leaf lard on small amounts conveniently packed in their refrigerator. Other brands Fatworks, or Leaf Lard are great too. A great alternative to avoid animal fat but give great flavor is Coconut Oil. I highly encourage you to give it a try, especially on black beans. It adds great flavor, and in combination with some plantains, its to die for.

How-to-Refried-Black-Beans_Frijoles-Negros-Fritos_Yes,-more-please!

So this is How I bean…How you bean?

How-to-cook-Beans-All-about-Refried-Beans-Yes,-more-please!

Music Pairing: Bonito y Sabroso-Como Fue Beny More

View Post or View Comments 5

Vegetable Taco Fillings, A Mexican love letter to Vegetables

Vegetable Taco Fillings_Ideas_ recipes _Yes, more please!

Feelings…. nothing more than Fillings”… Hello friends, we’re back.We have been on a roller coaster; from a vacation in Mexico, to Slow Wine Festival, meeting new people, giving cooking classes, Ian giving lots of photography classes…we have been busy, but you have always been on our minds.

Visiting my Mexico after more than eight years was reinvigorating. Being back in my birth country was very fulfilling and I felt my roots strongly. We were welcomed at the airport with a big familiar smile and , thankfully, we did not have to get in the long customs line. During the visit we could eat and breathe the delicious in-season ingredients that Baja produces; from papayas, to avocados, chiles, lettuce, pineapples, limes, guanabanas, tomatoes, chard, radishes, you name it!. I just felt like a fish back in the water, especially walking along the pristine coastline. Now I’m melancholic… its hard to forget the people, the laughs, the air and the sea… and the food. From freshness, flavor, aroma, ingredients, preparations, sazones… can you imagine? Good thing we just visited one little town…Phew!

I have harnessed the melancholy and channeled it into a love letter to every Vegan and Vegetarian who has felt neglected by the Taco Love. Yes baby, not one, not two, but EIGHT vegetable fillings that will add vitamin “V” (vegetable) on any Taco night!

Some are more seasonal than others but I kept in mind vegetables that can be accessible almost all year around. I came up with these delicious and simple variations with strong MEXICAN flavors, no wimpy vegetable tacos here.

You can whip-up these recipes any day of the week, choose one, or two, or three for variety sake or just try one each day and call it the Taco week. Want to go the extra mile? try  making your homemade tortillas here recipe and tutorial.

For this post we decided no step-by-step photos are necessary. These vegetable taco filling recipes are so easy to prepare using basic chopping, seasoning, and sautéing that you can make them faster than you can say chiffonade. All fillings are Gluten free, Vegetarian and Vegan, except for one filling, but I included some vegan substitutions.

I hope you enjoy this vegetable rant of inspiration while my inner Mexican is fully inspired. Enjoy!

P.S Recipes dedicated with love to the Panda’s and their Neighbors, thank you for your friendship. Xoxo

{Lately, we have been reading, and watching many documentaries that have resonated with and influenced our way of eating and cooking. For example we watched one about food production and agriculture. We are of the opinion that its a good idea to put more effort toward cooking a vegetable main dish more than once a week. Perhaps it should be the other way around, one day of meat and the rest days of vegetables as I rant on instagram… What you think?}

Vegetable Taco Fillings, a Mexican love letter to Vegetables

1.Roasted Cauliflower in Salsa VerdeCauliflower-in-Salsa-Verde_Vegetable-Taco-Filling_Yes,-more-please!

Holly shubangwuah!, I can eat this roasted Cauliflower in salsa Verde by the spoonfuls. Cauliflower when roasted becomes sweet and nutty and all this crispy salty edges that when in combination with the tangy spicy tomatillo salsa verde the flavors just warm you up. Leave this little florets navegate in the saucy verde salsa, be generous with the salsa.

A must try. You want to have this quick recipe under your sleeve for any given day of the week. Do not limit yourself using this recipe for just the taco filling. This delicious Cauliflower in salsa Verde can be serve on a bed or rice or a side of whole buttery beans and you have a winner for dinner. Garnish with queso fresco, a dollop of yogurt freshly made tortillas…

Serves 4-6 taco using regular size 5” corn tortillas

½ Medium Cauliflower head separated in small florets.

12 medium Tomatillos peeled and washed.

1-2 Serrano chiles roasted until chard.

¼ white onion roasted until chard.

1 garlic clove

6-8 Cilantro sprigs

sea salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon sunflower or corn oil + more to drizzle.

In a small pot

In a small pot place 1 cup of water, tomatillos cut in halves, a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until tomatillos changed color, look olive-green, and they are smash-able. Set aside.

Pre-heat the oven at 425 F. Place cauliflower florets, chiles, and onion piece on a baking sheet lined with foil. Drizzle some oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Roast the Cauliflower for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown and some chard edges showing. When chiles and Onion are charred, pull the baking tray out of the oven. In a blender add the cooked tomatillos strained, ¼ cup of water in which the tomatillos where cooked, charred onion, chiles, fresh cilantro, raw garlic, and few healthy pinches of sea salt. Blend until pureed.

In a skillet add 1 tablespoon sunflower oil or corn oil bring to heat, and carefully add the green sauce until bubbly, cook for 5-7 minutes. At this point add the roasted cauliflower florets, toss well, adjust for salt and its ready to serve!

2. Cremini Mushrooms Ajillo – GuajilloCremini Mushrooms Ajillo-Guajillo_Vegetable-Taco-Filling_Yes,-more-please! copy copy

Mexico has a great variety of mushrooms and various preparations can be found. Often they are cooked in simple manners to make them shine. Like inside quesadillas, soups, or quick sautéed with herbs. My take on this mushrooms, a little butter, garlic and a hint of chile guajillo wich it adds a very settle flavor, not spicy at all but a punch of color and flavor to the sautéed creminis. I will highly recommend this mushrooms on top of queso fundido, quesadillas a bowl of buttery beans or with a sunny side up egg for breakfast. Honestly once you try these mushrooms you will be making a double batch next time…

Serves 4-6 taco using regular size 5” corn tortillas

16oz. Cremini Mushrooms sliced

2 dry Guajillo peppers

1 teaspoon ancho chili powder

5 garlic cloves finely chopped

2 tablespoons sunflower oil-corn oil

3 tablespoons of butter (for vegans, use coconut oil)

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Using Kitchen scissors cut the guajillo across and into small thin rings. Discard seeds and steam.

Bring a cast iron skillet to a medium high heat. Warm oil, place the guajillo rings and sauté for 2-3 minutes until they are crispy. Remove promptly from skillet into a paper towel. By now the oil color in the skillet looks bright orange. Add the sliced mushrooms, sea salt and black pepper. Saute for 5-6 minutes until mushrooms start sweating and some of them have little golden crisp edges, add one more drizzle of oil if needed. Once the mushrooms start looking cooked, add garlic, butter and 12 pinches of salt. Saute for 3-4 minutes. Add the crispy Trujillo rings back into the skillet. Saute briefly until well incorporated. Remove from skillet and its ready to serve.

If you are on a spicier mode use a Pasilla, Ancho or Cascabel chile to bring out the heat. Or a dollop of this Mucha Muchacha Salsa.

3. Sweet Potato and Pineapple Pastor Sweet Potato and Pineapple Pastor_Vegetable-Taco-Filling_Yes,-more-please! copy copy

Ok hands down my favorite Vegan-Pastor. These Sweet potatoes Pastor are the bomb.

Spicy Pastor adobo and the sweetness in the potatoes are a match made in heaven. The orangey color even helps to make them more visually appealing. The Pineapple is a must on this recipe, plan accordingly. Vegetarians, vegans and Meat lovers are gonna love this one.

Serves 4-6 taco using regular size 5” corn tortillas

2 Medium sweet potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into one inch batonnets

¼ cup white onion diced

2 chile chipotles en adobo

1 teaspoon anatto powder or achiote paste

½ tablespoon ancho chili powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon Mexican dry oregano

¼ teaspoon cumin powder

1 bay leaf

½ teaspoon brown sugar

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

½ cup Fresh Pineapple

2 tablespoons Corn or Sunflower Oil.

On a blender, immersion blender, molcajete or mortar, combine until pureed the chipotles, achiote, ancho chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, cumin powder, bay leaf, brown sugar, salt and vinegar. On a bowl combine the sweet potatoes and this chili pastor paste. Let marinate for at least 30 min. Best overnight.

Heat a cast iron skillet on medium high heat, add the oil until ripples, add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the marinated Sweet potatoes. Cook until the sweet potatoes are tender and they have a crusty golden char exterior. To achieve this crusty potatoes is best not to shake them to often, to allow them to get a crust. Make sure there is enough oil so they don’t scorch before they are tender and cooked, you can add another drizzle. Sweet potatoes should be a little aldente. Remove from skillet transfer to a bowl. Then add Pineapple slivers or little squares into the skillet and sauté for a few minutes. Add sweet potatoes back to the skillet and toss. Transfer to a platter and you are ready to make the tacos. I will recommend this tomatillo avocado salsa verde, it is part of other recipe look for it its amazing!..and of course a squeeze of lime… mmm..

4. Poblano and Sweet Corn RajasPoblano and Sweet Corn Rajas_Vegetable-Taco-Filling_Yes,-more-please!

This Poblano Corn and crema filling is very traditional and often used as filling for sopes, huaraches and tacos. Traditionally this recipe is made with white corn, to be honest if you can get fresh white corn for this recipe it will be fantastic. Living in the States, well you make some concessions and adjust to the best ingredients you can find. I used sweet yellow corn for this recipe and I think the sweetness of the yellow corn balances really well with the smokey and sometimes unexpectedly spicy roasted poblanos. Add an extra pinch of salt and you have one of the most scrumptious taco fillings. Check for Vegan substitutions at the end of the recipe.

Serves 4-6 taco using regular size 5” corn tortillas

2 ear of corn kernels

2 chiles poblanos, roasted or charred, skinned, deveined removed seeds and cut into long stripes. See this method

½ medium white onion

1 garlic clove minced

¼ -1/3 cup crema oaxaquena, mexican crema or heavy cream as last resource*

1 splash of milk.

1 Tablespoon Corn or Sunflower oil

1 tablespoon butter

Salt and Pepper to taste.

On a skillet over a medium heat, warm up oil and sauté the onions, until translucent. Add the corn Kernels, season with salt and pepper and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Add the strips of poblano, and toss well. Add the crema, and a little splash of milk. Adjust salt and pepper, toss well. And bring to slow simmer. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a platter and they are ready to serve!

Vegan Substitutions: unsweetened coconut cream, or ½ coconut ½ tahini paste.

 

5. Kale a la Mexicana

Kale a la Mexicana_Vegetable-Taco-Filling_Yes,-more-please!

The easiest way to Mexicanize your vegetables is the tri-color ingredient, basic mexican recaudo, white onion, chile serrano and tomatoes. This recaudo is usually the base for scrambled eggs, “a la Mexicana, or other quick chicken or fajitas preparation. It is easy and a classic. Kale, Chard, Spinach, Mustard Greens, Purslane, Lambs Quarters, every green  “a la Mexicana” can be delicious.  Use different kinds of tomatoes, or kinds of fresh chiles can be a great variation.  I think is quick recipe is one of my favorite ways to prepare and incorporate kale into the Mexican Table… Breakfast?…Put an egg on it, or make a taco with a scrambled eggs concoction. What you think?

Serves 4-6 taco using regular size 5” corn tortillas

½ medium yellow onion

1 Serrano small diced or thinly slices

3 cups Lacinato kale chopped into thin ribbons

½ cup cherry tomatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Salt and Pepper to taste.

Heat a cast iron skillet, over a medium high heat. Add oil and diced onions, quick sauté until translucent edges. Add Serrano, salt and pepper. Quick toss. Add Kale and vinegar, toss quickly and sauté until kale begins to welt. Add cherry tomatoes toss quickly until they warm up. Taste for salt and pepper, adjust seasoning if necessary. Transfer to a bowl or platter serve immediately.

6. Chipotle Soy Picadillo Chipotle Soy Picadillo_Vegetable-Taco-Filling_Yes,-more-please! copy copy

Picadillo is a typical homemade dish. One pot wonder, the original dish uses a combination of ground meat, lots of vegetables, sometimes you can find sweet picadillos for chiles en nogada, or like this version wich is the homestyle spicy chipotle version. I decided to use texturized soy wich is often used in vegetarian Mexican cooking. The brands I prefer, Bob Red’s Mill or Now Foods are my favorites they are organic and texture and taste is great. Yo also can find this TVP at Natural groceries  on the bulk section. This Picadillo its one pot wonder a great way to incorporate vegetables into this taco situation…I hope you like it!

Serves 4-6 taco using regular size 5” corn tortillas

1 cup texturized soy, follow the package instrucctions to rehidrate.

½ meddium size onion finelly chopped

1 garlic clove minced

4-5 Worcestershire sauce (if vegan, add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste or a couple of sundry tomatoes, and a few more dashes of black pepper)

1 small potato small diced

1 carrot small diced

1 small mexican calabazita (light green zucchini) small diced

¼ cup peas

½ cup small diced tomatoes

2 chiles chipotles en adobo plus about 1 teaspoon of the adobo juices and purée it.

(I like “La Morena” or “San Marcos”Brand)

½ teaspoon dry Mexican oregano

1 tablespoon Corn, Sunflower oil, or extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to your taste.

On a cast iron skillet, over medium hight heat, add the oil and onions until translucent. Add the diced potatoes, salt pepper, cover with a lid until potatoes are al-dente. Add garlic saute for 1 minute. Add the texturized soy and 4-5 dashes of Worcestershire sauce. Saute for 5 minutes. (Make sure the texturized soy is well hydrated, and remove all water excess before cooking) At his point add the diced tomatoes, the chipotle purée, and dry oregano. Saute for 1-2 minutes. Add ¼ cup of water, carrots, zucchini, salt and pepper. Toss well. Lower the temperature, and cover with a lid for 5 minutes, until carrots are cooked but not mushy. At last, add the peas and toss, taste , adjust for salt and pepper if necessary. Turn off and cover with a lid until peas are cooked but still bright green. Serve immediately. This filling can be made in advance and it tastes even better the next day, Enjoy!

7. Nopalitos and Onions in Guajillo – Pasilla SauceNopalitos and Onions in Guajillo-Pasilla Sauce_Vegetable-Taco-Filling_Yes,-more-please! copy copy

Nopalitos Cactus plant is known to have a slimy reputation, but when you cook them right, and utilizing the right ingredients, Nopalitos are delicious. They are tangy and soft, the texture and flavor reminds me like if an ocra and a mushroom had a child. The guajillo – pasilla sauce add great flavor and contrast to the tangy nopalito flavor. Nopalitos beside being a nacional simbol on the Mexican flag, are the miracle vegetable. So many nutritious value and health elixirs attributes, you just want to start researching now!… Seriously, give these nopalitos a chance and you will love them.

Serves 4-6 taco using regular size 5” corn tortillas

6 Tender Nopalitos pieces, cut into small squares.

¼ medium size onion

6 sprigs of cilantro

4-5 tomatillo husks

1 chile serrano

1 teaspoon salt

½ onion diced

2 good drizzles of extra virgin olive oil, or sunflower oil.

For the sauce:

2 dry chiles pasilla

2 dry chiles guajillo

1 garlic clove

1/8 teaspoon cumin powder

½ teaspoon salt

Clean chiles and remove steams. On a small pot, place 2 cups water bring to a boil, add the chiles, simmer for 10 minutes until well hydrated, soft and plumpy. In a blender, purée the chiles, garlic, cumin, salt with about ¼-to a ½ cup of the water in wich the chiles hydrated.

Set aside. On another pot start cooking the Nopalitos. Add at least 4 cups of water, the nopalitos squares, onion, cilantro, tomatillo husks, chile serrano, salt. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to low simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Check for doneness. Nopalitos should look olive-green, and fork tender. Remove cooked onion, cilantro and serrano. Strain the nopalitos and let the heat evaporate the rest of the water in them. About 4-5 minutes. By any chance, rinse them in water. These will make them slimy.

On a skillet, warm up the oil and add the diced onion, along with the dry nopalitos. And saute for 3-4 minutes, until onions are soft. Add the Guajillo-Pasilla Sauce, toss well, add about ¼ cup of water if needed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook on medium low for 4-5 minutes with lid on to avoid splatters. Turn off the nopalitos and they are ready to serve! You can sprinkle some queso fresco or cotija for a delicious accompaniment on the taco, and off course a few drops of lime juice, because what would be a taco with no lime right?…

8. Chard, Potatoes, and Shredded Carrot HashChard, Potatoes, and Shredded Carrot hash_Vegetable-Taco-Filling_Yes,-more-please! copy

This is the easiest of all the fillings. It is almost a hash. You can use spinach, purslane, kale or any type of green in season instead of the chard. Instead of potatoes you can use sweet potatoes, or zucchini. Carrots or/and yellow beets will work divine. This filling with an egg on it and a dollop of my favorite Mucha Muchacha Salsa, a match made in heaven. 

Serves 4-6 taco using regular size 5” corn tortillas

2-3 drizzles sunflower oil or extra virgin olive oil

1 medium wax yellow potato

1 small yellow onion diced

1 garlic clove

1-2 dry chiltepines…optional you can use pepper flakes for a less heated version.

2 carrots shredded or using one of my favorite tools  a  Julianne peeler. click here

4-5 cups Chard, cut into chiffonade

2 dashes of apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon golden raisins

Salt pepper to taste

Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) for garnish

On a cast iron skillet warm up the oil, saute potatoes and season with salt and pepper until potatoes are crispy. At this point add the onions , garlic and dry chiltepines crushed. (crush the chiltepines on a napkin. Avoid using your fingers directly to prevent chili burns.) Add the Juliane carrots, toss well saute for 1 minute. Add the Chard, raisins, apple cider vinegar salt and pepper. Toss well and briefly about 2 minutes. Just when the chard starts to welt, remove from heat and taste for salt ad pepper adjust if needed. Serve immediately, garnish tacos with pepitas, queso fresco or a dollop of greek yogurt.   Enjoy!

Make a Taco Tuesday…Wednesday, Thursday… Weekends…

Have fun and Let’s eat MORE VEGETABLES!!!

Music Pairing: A su Merced el Mercado- Liliana Felipe

View Post or View Comments 1

Salsa Mucha Muchacha AKA Salsa Macha

Salsa-Mucha-Muchacha-a.k.a-Salsa-Macha_Yes,-more-please!

This is one of my salsa obsessions. In the chile kingdom and its spice scale, this Mucha muchacha salsa has the best flavor and intensity in my opinion. Chiles are one of my dearest ingredients because by preparing them in different ways they transform and have multiple flavors and textures to offer far beyond simply spicy and hot. The level of spiciness can be tamed by the cook and by combining different chiles one can create new flavors. From smoking, toasting, roasting, frying, charring, grilling, steaming, boiling, its an endless combination that ends with a delicious result and the best accent for a meal.

Like this salsa.

This salsa will make your heart sing, and speak in tongues.

This recipe has a back story from my single years. I had a neighbor who became one of my best friends, Ultiminio. Yes, that was his name; he was such a great friend and had a great charisma. We lived in a four level small building. Bottom floor for a small retail area top tree levels for three little apartments. I lived at apartment No.3 and Ultiminio lived on the first level. On the weekends we used to scream at each other from our little balconies: ~Vecina!, Vecino!Whats for breakfast?…
We knew Sundays were for refrigerator inventory. So in less time than you imagine, we were gathering ingredients to make breakfast happen. Usually I had beans and he had one egg and I had another egg, a piece of cheese, a lost potato, tostadas or tortillas… and Coffee always was in both pantries. You get the picture, but this salsa, THIS SALSA always brought everything together. Ultiminio taught me how to make this salsa with chiles Moritas from his hometown Chiapas. It was absolutely fantastic and we would eat endless pots of beans and totopos, eggs, orange wedges, cucumbers, jicama, soups, you name it, this salsa was the excuse to prepare anything and everything. I remember dearly those days because no matter what we had we always ended up with a delicious breakfast and this salsa was always on the menu.

Later on, I adapted the recipe using my favorite chile, Chile de arbol and a hint of Morita. I always remember making this salsa and my tastebuds salivate every time, its my ultimate craving.

Mucha-Muchacha_Salsa-Macha-Chiles-de-Arbol

The flavor on this salsa its like no other, is intense chili, smoky and nutty. The spicy notes from the arbol bring depth and a settle spiciness, then just when you think your mouth its gonna be on fire, the chile Moritas hit you with their bright, sweet spicy almost like cherry flavor and all starts to mellows down, following by the hint of sharp garlic, salt and nutty notes from the oils. It is Like a roller coaster. Afterwards, a tamed pleasant spice lingers on your tongue and warms up your tastebuds leaving you wanting more.

Please do not be alarmed when you read the ingredients on the recipe, I know 64-68 chiles can be excessive, but this is exactly the type of salsa preparation that shows the versatility of chiles and the multiple spectrum of flavor versus heat, that chiles can offer. Bare with me and follow along, you are a few steps from salsa heaven.

Mucha-Muchacha-salsa-_Salsa-Macha-_ingredients_Yes,-more-please!

Salsa Mucha Muchacha AKA Salsa Macha

Makes 8-10 oz Jar

50gr. About 64-68 dry chiles de arbol, between 3.5” to 4” long approx.
3-4 chiles moritas about 2” 3″ in size
¾ cup corn oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons roasted salted peanuts
2 large garlic cloves (I used Ajo Criollo, its mild and very aromatic)
1 – ½ teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

1. Remove all the steams of the chiles. In a medium size pot place the ¾ cup oil and warm up the oil over medium heat. Place all the Arbol chiles and carefully toss constantly until all chiles look dark mahogany red but not burt. If you see some of the chiles getting darker faster than others, remove promptly and keep frying the rest.

Mucha-Muchacha_Salsa-Macha-Fried-Chiles-de-Arbol
2. Remove pot from heat and take out all the fried chiles to cool down a bit.
3. Return the oil pot into the stove and add the 3 Morita chiles watch carefully, because this Moritas tend to inflate like balloons. Once they are dark red, almost black, remove chiles from the oil and let them cool off.

Mucha-Muchacha_Salsa-Macha-Chile-Morita
4. Place the pot with the oil on a safe place to cool off for about 3 minutes. Then add the toasted peanuts and sesame seeds, into the oil and toss. Wait for another 3-5 minutes until the oil is at a luke warm temperature.

Mucha-Muchacha_Salsa-Macha-toastin-sesameseeds
5. Place the fried Chiles the arbol, The chiles Moritas, garlic cloves, salt and carefully poor all the oil with the sesame seeds and peanuts on the glass of a blender a small food processor or for best results use an immersion blender, and Puree everything until a lose paste.

Mucha-Muchacha_Salsa-Macha-How-to-make

Mucha-Muchacha_Salsa-Macha-immersion-blender-action_Yes,-more-please!
6. The salsa should look smooth enough but have some texture left from the seeds. Keep salsa on a air tight glass jar on the refrigerator. The chiles and oil tend to separate, just shake or mix well with a spoon before using. This salsa will last about 2-3 weeks if you are lucky. This salsa gets better and better every day. Enjoy!

Mucha-Muchacha_Salsa-Macha_Yes,-more-please!

A few suggestions on how to use Salsa Mucha Muchacha,

Its very versatile. It can bring to life any fried egg, avocado toast, creamy soup, or broth. It is specially good on black beans, quesadillas, tacos, aguachile, seafood and it is amazing on this Mariana’s Mexican Sashimi. It is also great on any stew, steak or roasted meat. Also as condiment fora roasted chicken, or use it as rub or marinade with a couple of tablespoons of vinegar.

Lately, one of my favorite ways to use it its when sautéing  greens, like Kale, Chard, Spinach, Purslane, Dandelions, even broccoli!.

Here is how it goes: Quick saute some kale, chard, or spinach in a little bit of olive oil add some onion slices, toss week until edges of the onions start getting cooked. Then add the greens, add one or two teaspoons of this salsa toss quickly until bright green and right before turning the pan off add a little splash-arooh of apple cider vinegar or a squeeze of lemon , toss briefly and serve over brown rice, quinoa, farro, beans, serve with slices of avocado add a dollop of greek style yogurt. Put an egg on it and there you have it, an unforgettable quick lunch that will make you crave your greens. Enjoy!

How-to-use-Salsa-mucha-muchacha_Yes,-more-please!

 

Salsa-Mucha-Muchacha-AKA-Salsa-Macha_Yes,-more-please!

Music pairing: Esquivel – Mucha Muchacha

View Post or View Comments 6

Privacy Policy Contact Us Yes, more please!

Top