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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

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Cauliflower Chowder

Cauliflower-Chowder_cauliflower-Yes,-more-please!

After enjoying these days of caloric ecstasy and extravagances, it’s hard to immediately switch to the light and healthier road. It feels like you are giving a kid a candy and 5 minutes later you change that to a cucumber… it is just plain hard. All my taste buds are still in frantic mode and my serotonin levels are a roll a coaster. But Nature is wise, and perhaps knows these facts by sprouting a great Winter abundance of greens, root vegetables, cabbages and cauliflowers among other vegetables.

These are my saviors for this caloric transitional period. I need soup to warm me up and fill up my belly with out the extra filling out of my pants.. ahem.

Last weekend at my farmers market I ran into these beauties, a warm yellow and a purple cauliflower, rainbow carrots, sweet potatoes and fresh dill. How can you not be inspired when you see all this colors? Soup it is, I was craving the creamy textures and luxurious caloric meals, but with no guilt. So I decided to make an all vegetable chowder using all these winter bounty.

Cauliflower-Chowder_-rainbow-carrots-

Cauliflower has a delicate flavor. When it is cooked and pureed it resembles potatoes. You would be surprised how close you can prepare it to mimic the potato. I’m sure you’ve heard of cauliflower mashed, cauliflower rice or cauliflower mac & cheese in which this humble Brassica acts like a carb-chameleon. With this premise I started my vegetable chowder by cooking and pureeing part of the cauliflower as the soup base to give that rich starchy like consistency that characterizes a chowder. I reserved some of the cauliflower into little florets which are added latter to the soup to add texture and enhance the cauliflower flavor. The extra creamy chowderiness comes from unsweetened coconut milk which gives this soup the luxurious velvety chowder texture and it adds lots of good healthy fats that are well needed at this point of the healthy road transition. Do not fear about the coconut over taking the flavor on the soup, you barely can tell is here. Carrots, sweet potatoes and onions add sweetness, texture and light flavor. Fresh dill adds a great herbal aroma to the soup and complements the cauliflower flavor in a very delicate way.

I recommend organically grown vegetables if possible. I know that’s not easy, but increasingly supermarkets are adding those options if you don’t have access to a farmer’s market. In my opinion the flavor is better and I think with a lightly seasoned dish like this one, those flavors are going to shine through.

This Cauliflower chowder will warm you up, fulfill your starchy desires, and settle down your taste buds. I would say this soup is the ticket to redemption road.  Time to tame the growling carb lions…

You also might like this recipes:

 Grilled Cauliflower with Garlic and Cumin rub or My favorite Cauliflower Ceviche …check them out!

If you want to know more about the wonderful benefits of Cauliflower, please check out this unique and complete article, written by Helen Nichols, 28 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Cauliflower  Enjoy!

Cauliflower-Chowder_how-to-cut-Florets

Cauliflower Chowder

Serves 4 or 2 hungry Vegans.

2 small or 1 medium Cauliflower heads. Any color is great about 6-7 cups of small cauliflower florets total, use organic if possible they have the best flavor.
6-7 small carrots, diced or sliced into rounds.
I used red, yellow, and orange, use what ever is freshest available at your market.
1 medium sweet potato peeled and diced.
1/2 large sweet onion
2 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cups vegetable stock
1 – 14oz can unsweetened coconut milk/cream
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 sprig fresh dill, or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon if using dry and upon your taste.
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika or 2 sundry tomatoes**
6-8 good cranks of fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon Sea salt

Garnish with:

Fresh dill/not fan of dill?… Basil, Thyme, Chives, Tarragon are great substitutions.
smoked paprika
(Crostini or toast drizzled with olive oil and Parmesan cheese optional)

*I used water instead of vegetable stock, because I wanted the cauliflower flavor to come through. The first time I made this soup I used vegetable stock and I felt it masked the cauliflower flavor to much. Feel free to use whatever you prefer.
** Recently I made this soup adding 2 sundry tomatoes. It was a delicious variation, it gave the chowder a slight tint of color and deep of flavor.If using sundry tomatoes add them on step four so they can soften up before pureeing the chowder.

Preparation method:

1. Chop and diced your vegetables. With a small paring knife cut the cauliflower into small florets. Reserve about 2 cups of the little florets to add to the soup at last. For this soup I used the yellow cauliflower for the soup base and the purple florets to add whole to the soup, it adds eye appeal.

Cauliflower-Chowder_Carrots-and-sweetpotatoes_cooked
2. In a small pot, bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil. Pre-cook the diced carrots and sweet potatoes for 4-5 minutes, until al-dente, rinse with cold water. Set aside.
3. Over medium-low heat in a medium size pot, add the extra virgin olive oil, and sauté the chopped onions and garlic until translucent, season with salt and pepper.
4. Once the onions are translucent, add ¾ of the cauliflower florets. Toss and add 2 cups of vegetable stock or just enough to cover the florets. Add bay leaf, thyme, fresh sprig of dill/or dry,  salt, and pepper, cover with a lid and let them cook for 7-8 minutes or until very soft and tender. Once cooked, purée them in a food processor, blender, or use an immersion blender until smooth.
5. Place this cauliflower purée back into the pot, add the coconut milk and stir well until blended. Season with celery salt, salt, paprika and black pepper. Add a bit more vegetable stock if the consistency is too thick.
6. Add the reserved mini cauliflower florets, and the pre-cooked carrots and sweet potatoes. Cover with a lid and bring to a slow simmer cook for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if necessary. Check for doneness on the vegetables; I like my vegetables on the al-dente side, not hard but not mushy. Taste them and decide if you like them softer keep cooking them for another 2-3 minutes.

Serve immediately into warm bowls, sprinkle fresh dill, a little drizzle of olive oil, salt, and fresh cracked pepper.  One or two whole wheat crostinis won’t hurt right?… Enjoy!

Cauliflower-Chowder_How-to-make-the-chowder

Cauliflower-Chowder_serve-warm-with-fresh-dill

Cauliflower-Chowder-Yes,-more-please!

Cauliflower-Chowder_Warm-up!-_Yes,-more-please!

 

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Cauliflower Chowder

Course Soup
Cuisine wholesome
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 small Cauliflower heads, Any color is great about 6-7 cups of small cauliflower florets total, use organic if possible they have the best flavor.
  • 6-7 small Carrots, diced or sliced into rounds.
  • 1 medium Sweet potato, peeled and diced.
  • 1/2 large Sweet onion diced
  • 2 medium Garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups Vegetable stock*
  • 1 14-0z can Unsweetened coconut milk/cream
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme, dry or fresh
  • 1 sprig fresh dill, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon if using dry upon your taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Smoked Paprika or 2 sundry tomatoes
  • 6-8 cranks Fresh Black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Sea Salt, or more upon your taste

Instructions

  1. 1. Chop and diced your vegetables. With a small pairing knife cut the cauliflower into small florets. Reserve about 2 cups of the little florets to add to the soup at last. For this soup I used the yellow cauliflower for the soup base and the purple florets to add whole to the soup, it adds eye appeal.

    2. In a small pot, bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil. Pre-cook the diced carrots and sweet potatoes for 4-5 minutes, until al-dente, rinse with cold water. Set aside.

    3. Over medium low heat in a medium size pot, add the extra virgin olive oil, and sauté the chopped onions and garlic until translucent, season with salt and pepper.  

    4. Once the onions are translucent, add ¾ of the cauliflower florets. Toss and add 2 cups of vegetable stock or just enough to cover the florets. Add bay leaf, thyme, fresh sprig of dill or dry, salt and pepper, cover with a lid and let them cook for 7-8 minutes or until very soft and tender. Once cooked, purée them in a food processor, blender, or use an immersion blender until smooth.

    5. Place this cauliflower purée back into the pot, add the coconut milk and stir well until blended. Season with celery salt, salt, paprika and black pepper. Add a bit more vegetable stock if the consistency is to thick.

    6. Add the reserved mini cauliflower florets, and the pre cooked carrots and sweet potatoes. Cover with a lid and bring to a slow simmer cook for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if necessary. Check for doneness on the vegetables; I like my vegetables on the al-dente side, not hard but not mushy. Taste them and decide if you like them softer keep cooking them for another 2-3 minutes.

    *If using sundry tomatoes add them on step 4 so they can soften before pureeing the chowder.

Music Pairing:Paris Combo- Je te vois partout”

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Vegan-mato a Vegetable Cocktail

Vegan-mato-veg-cocktail-Yes,-more-please!-drink-your-veggies-in-a-fun-way!

Need some veggies in your life? Let’s veg-out!, I mean Veg-in, Vegan-mato is a vegetable cocktail that delivers a fun way to drink and eat your vegetables. Let’s  throw a party in a glass!
Sometimes you just need something that boost your inner health and some vegetable motivation in liquid form is the way to go. Not sure what to do with left overs veggies of the week? juice it up!
This Vegan-mato is waiting for you, perfect summer power drink, made with fresh vegetables, all natural, extremely flavorful and fun to make.

It can’t be easier than to throw all the veggies on a food processor, season, squeeze some lime juice, sea salt, a little hot sauce kick, some ice, a straw and some extra veggies to munch and crunch.

This Vegetable-non alcoholic cocktail is one of the best ways to drink you veggies.

Have a great weekend…Enjoy!

Do you need an umbrella to go with this cocktail? Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps…
Check our music gallery for our music-recipe pairings…

VEGANMATO_VEGCOCKTAIL_ingredients_Yes_moreplease

Vegan-mato a Vegetable Cocktail

Serves 2 large mugs or 4 short glasses.

4 Roma tomatoes
3 large carrots
1 medium orange peeled
2-3 small cucumbers
1 spinach handful
2 large celery stalks including the leafy tops (celery leafy tops are a great source of magnesium do not waste them! Drink them, include them on your salads.)
1 sprig of parsley
1 green onion
2 inches of fresh ginger

Season with:

the juice of 2 limes
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 pinch of celery salt
2 pinches of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of spicy brown mustard
2, 3, 4 dashes of your favorite hot sauce.

Garnish with:

2 bamboo skewers
Celery stalks
Martini Olives, jumbo pepper stuffed olives or Jalapeno stuffed olives.
Pickles
Fresh cucumber wedges
Cherry tomatoes
Radishes and chopped capers

Some extra sea salt and a half of lime to cover the rim of the mug.

Note: It is very important to me to make emphasis on how important it is to buy organic produce when juicing. Flavor, nutritional value is superb when organic vegetables are used; believe me you don’t want to be drinking pesticides. Please take this in consideration…

Vegan-mato_extract-the-juices_Yes,-moreplease!

Directions:

1. Chill your Mugs, by placing them on the freezer.
2. Wash and cut the hard ends of vegetables.
3. With the help of an electric juicer, juice all your vegetables first and add the orange last. The juicy orange will help to clean up all bits of vegetable flavor on your juicer.
4. To this juice, add the soy sauce, sea salt, pepper, spicy brown mustard, a few dashes of hot sauce, and the juice of two limes. WHISK!!! until well combined. Taste to adjust the flavor.

Vegan-mato_a-Veg-cocktail_squeeze-the-limes!

Veganmato_vegcocktail-party-Yes,-more-please!

Veganmato_vegcocktail-party-Yes,-more-please!
5. Make your vegetable skewers, using what ever you prefer for garnish, cherry tomatoes, radishes,caper-berries, olives, pickles the limit is your imagination.
6. Take the mugs out of the freezer, rub some lemon on the rim and dip it in salt. Add lots of ice.
7. Add your celery stalk, a garnish skewer, a straw, umbrella, sandals, a sunny porch and some great music check our music pairings here!

Sip-crunch-munch-repeat_Vegan-mato_Yes,-more-please!

Cooking music Pairing: Guardians of the Galaxy- Awesome Mix Vol. 1

 

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Upside down Carrot+Coconut+Ginger Cake

Upside-down-carrot--coconut-ginger-cake~Yes,-more-please!

Lately everything in my world seems upside-down, but the little wacky moments in everyday life can be fun. Being playful in the kitchen is my kind of fun. And boy, if this cake screams upside-down, I’m seeing life straight up now!~
After making the Leek and Potato Tarte tatin, a light bulb turned on in my head and crisscrossed with the idea of a carrot cake. What if I apply almost the same concept of a pineapple cake to the carrot cake? Without hesitation I made ½ of a recipe, and it turned into a delicious unexpected result. I placed the carrots on the bottom of the pan and used coconut butter instead of regular butter to create a coating. I added some honey and turbinado sugar which caramelized beautifully on the bottom. Adding some freshly ground ginger was the final touch; fragrant with a spicy lemony note.
I think Ian looked at me funny when I told him I was baking an upside-down carrot cake. He probably though I was crazy…and then when he saw the cake, he just smiled and understood, and when he tried it he asked: “When are we shooting this?”… So I guess he liked it!
The cake is mildly sweet. The caramelized carrots add the sweetness and texture to this scrumptious cake, without being overly sweet. It is more of a coffee cake than the classic carrot cake with cream cheese icing, (which I adore) but, in this case, the no frosting makes the idea of baking and eating cake for breakfast more…manageable…*hehehe*

This recipe I wrote is for a small 6” cake, since is just Ian and I it is more than plenty. You can easily double it and bake a 9”-10”. for bigger crowds. This upside down carrot+coconut+ginger cake  will make a fantastic bake good for brunch or a simple delicious birthday.  I’m really hopping you enjoy this recipe, shoot us a comment, we’d love to hear from you!

Upsidedown-Carrot-cake-ingredients

Upside down Carrot Cake

Makes 1- 6” cake, serves 4-6

Dry:

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground clove
½ cup shredded carrots
¼ cup shredded coconut
¼ cup roasted Macadamia nuts, roughly chopped

Wet:

1 tablespoon freshly ground ginger
¾ cup turbinado sugar
½ cup safflower oil
2 eggs

For the bottom of the cake pan:

4 tablespoons solid extra virgin coconut oil  I used this kind or butter if you prefer
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
4 tablespoons honey
1-1 1/2 cups of long shredded carrots
¼ cup shredded coconut
½ tablespoon freshly ground ginger
¼ cup roasted macadamia nuts halves or whole.

Preparation:

Preheat oven at 350F /176 C

1. Shred your carrots, This julienne peeler is one of my favorite tools, it is so easy to use, so much fun and time saver. Makes the julienne a dream!

Upsidedown-carrot-cake_juliane-peeler

Prepare the mold:

1. In a 6”x 4”tall pan, spread an even thick coat of the solid coconut oil.
Thinly grease the sides of the pan as well.
2. Scatter evenly the sugar and honey
3. Layer the shredded carrots evenly
4. Sprinkle the roasted macadamia nuts halves
5. Sprinkle the shredded coconut in an even layer.
6. Set aside in a cool place

Upside-down-carrot-cake_assambling-the-cake
7. In a medium size bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients.
8. Add the ½ cup shredded carrots, shredded coconut, and roasted macadamia nuts.
9. In a small size bowl whisk first oil, sugar and ginger, then add the eggs one at a time and whisk until well combined.
10. With a spatula, mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients until well combined.

Upside-down-carrot-cake_-mix!
11. Poor the batter on top of the carrot layer, and bake for about 30-35 minutes. Until a toothpick in the center comes up clean.

Upside-down-carrot-cake_bake-time
12. Cool on a rack for 20 minutes and un-mold the cake before its completely cool.
Knife… Ready, set go!… first slice is mine!…Enjoy!

Upside-down-carrot-cake_-cake-reveled!-Recovered

Upsidedown-Carrot-cake-caramelized-carrots

Upside-down-carrot-cake_Yes,-more-please!

Upside-down-carrto-cake_Yes,-more-please!-slice

~Scrumptious~

 

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Carrot Corn dogs

Carrot-Corn-dogs-ingredients
So many carrots too little time… Its carrot bonanza season, rabbits everywhere, and have you started to turn orange yet?… Well I hope not, because this recipe is gonna drive you insane. As you know, despite all the wholesomeness I believe in, I have a weakness for a certain processed food… hot dogs…I know,  its terrible isn’t it? I know every fact of how the industry introduced us into this strange tubular meat, but yet I’m still hooked.
So in the search for a less processed option, a friend told me about this place in L.A where they serve sous-vided carrots and make vegetarian hot dogs, how crazy good does that sound?
That’s when I had a revelation: How about creating a corn dog, with carrots? Kaz-zam! Done deal. I made them. No, I do not own a sous-vide machine and nor the rest of the mortal cooking souls on earth but if you do , call me we can hang out!; So I oven roasted the carrots, to give some extra flavor and also to pre-cook the carrot. I made the most basic recipe for the batter. But they needed a little extra luv. I wanted a contrast in textures, that thing you crave in a fried object, the crusty salty outside and soft inside.
To that end I added 1 part of rice flour, peas, green onions and corn kernels into the batter.
The result is crazy good!… when you deep fry these babies, they get crusty outside, soft inside, and the peas and corn kernels pop in your mouth with a burst of extra flavor. The carrot center is stellar.
Don’t be nervous about deep-frying,  using the proper technique will ensure you  great success. I do not deep fry food very often, so I do not own a deep fryer and I do just fine.
You can easily get great results with the following tips:
Get a thermometer for crying out loud!
They cost around $9-14  no need to break the bank and it is one of the best kitchen investments.
Buy Peanut Oil:
It is the best oil to deep fry, no saturated fats, no smells, no greasy food.
Now a days you can buy small amounts of peanut oil at the super market.
Use a heavy bottom,  6″-8″ diameter deep enamel or aluminum pot. Straight sides for easy thermometer attachment.
And remember safety always come first when dealing with hot oil.*

This carrot corn dogs are great for kiddos and vegetarian adults in need of a little indulgence, Enjoy!

Carrot-Corndog-bite~Yes,-more-please!

Carrot Corn dogs

Makes 12-16 / 3” mini carrot corn dogs.

6-8 Long, medium thick carrots.
You will need about 12-16 of  3’” long pieces.

For the batter:

½ cup yellow corn flour
(I used Larry’s Corn Meal, from organic/non-gmo Coyote Creek Mill corn)
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup stone ground rice flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
¼ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons honey
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk or unsweetened coconut milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 scallion finely chopped
½ cup  fresh corn kernels
¼ cup fresh peas or frozen if you must.

16 oz Peanut Oil for deep-frying.
16 wooden or bamboo sticks.

Utensils:

Long tongs, deep fryer, or candy thermometer, 6”-8”diameter pot  with straight walls for deep-frying, cooling rack.

Preparation Method:

1. Cut carrots into 3”- 4” long. Place them on a roasting pan, season them salt and pepper do not drizzle oil. Roast them at 400F for about 12-15 minutes.
Carrots should not be soft, al dente centers is best, since they gonna keep cooking when frying.

2. When ready, set the carrots aside let them cool completely, then proceed to insert the bamboo sticks.

3. Meantime in a medium size bowl, mix all the dry ingredients, then add all the wet ingredients, mix until well incorporated , small lumps are ok. Fold into the batter corn kernels and peas. Refrigerate for about 10-15 minutes

Carrot-Corndog

4. Place your chilled batter into a tall glass or jar, this will allow you to easily submerge the carrots into the batter.

5. Prepare your utensils and have everything ready, tongs, cooling rack, batter in a glass, see picture below.

Carrot-Corn-dogs_set-up

6.  Start  heating the oil. Check the oil temperature 360-375 degrees / 185-190 Celsius.
7. Dip the carrots into the batter, one at a time, holding the carrots from the stick with tongs, carefully and slowly drop it into the hot oil.
8. Monitor the temperature, it should not drop more than 15 degrees, when placing the corn dogs.
9. Do not crowd the pan. Fry 3-4 corn dogs at the time. This will ensure you evenly  golden brown  and well cooked batter.
10. How to know when they are cooked and ready to come out of the oil?  Corn dogs are floating, look evenly golden brown color, the bubbles around them are smaller.
11. Use tongs to take them out. Place them onto a cooling rack. Keep them warm in the oven.
12. Serve warm, with the dipping sauces, or simple ketchup and mustard. Enjoy!.

Carrot-Corn-dogs_1,2,3,4-stepsCarrot-Corndog-cooling-rack

Dipping Sauces:

Curry Ketchup:

¼ cup Ketchup + 1/4 teaspoon yellow curry + ¼ teaspoon rice vinegar = Mix.

Honey Mustard:

2 Tablespoons Honey + 2 Tablespoons Whole grain mustard + 1 teaspoon yellow mustard = Mix.

Dill Yogurt:

¼ teaspoon dry dill + plain greek yogurt + ¼ teaspoon celery salt = Mix.

Carrot-Corndog-dipping-saucesCarrot-Corndog~Yes,-more-please!

Watch out wacky wabbits!

*Be aware, hot oil at this temperature can inflict a lot of pain and injury so use a back burner on your stove if possible and keep the cooking pot (and its handle) away from children. In fact, I think its best to keep younger children away from the whole process and never let the frying pot leave your attention so you can monitor the oil’s temperature and keep the food from over cooking. Deep frying this batter, or anything else, some oil is bound to spatter so use long tongs or a spider to handle the food. This will prevent you from getting burns too. Focus and be on a Zen frying mode. The reward is  scrumptiously good.

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Pizza Primavera

PIZZA-PRIMAVERA-~Yes,more-please!

Pizza Primavera is a celebration of Spring! Using all the tender, sweet, crisp and fresh vegetables that the season gives us and inspired by all those beautiful shapes, colors, and textures this pizza has a refreshing taste of renewal. For me renewal translates as experimenting and trying ingredients and flavors that come with the new season.

Recently I’ve been experimenting with different gluten free flours, like oatmeal, brown rice, potato starch, tapioca, garbanzo, and quinoa. The fact that lately a lot of people have been diagnosed with a gluten intolerant condition means more are in need of extending their cooking horizons. Even if you don’t have gluten intolerance you should try this for its variation in flavor and texture.

Recently I baked an Irish Soda bread using 1/2-1/2 whole wheat and oat meal flour, which gave to the bread so much flavor than regular all purpose flour. That got me excited and I started to experiment with the not so easy task to come up with a gluten free pizza dough. For this pizza crust I experimented with different ratios, of brown rice flour, tapioca, potato and millet flour. The results were delicious and flavorful. However it ended up a bit overpriced for what a pizza dough should cost. I used 3-4 different types of flours each one had a mission to give the right texture to the crust, great achivement, but not very practical. So in my quest for a more reasonable option I stumbled upon a great mix, Bob Red Mill Gluten Free Organic Pizza Dough. I read the ingredients and to my surprise this mix is based on almost the same combination of 4 different flours I was trying to combine. The difference: I bought one bag. This simplifies the whole process for a fraction of the cost, and in my case pantry space. (I have a tiny pantry). 

Next, I gave myself the task to make this crust using this mix… and it was great!. Flavor and texture were spot on. When trying new things you have to see with new eyes, and tastebuds. The texture of a regular crust has a certain chewiness for which gluten is the responsible. When you have no gluten, other textures and flavor come to replace that chew factor. This crust has a lovely light texture, great flavor, and crunch, with a tender bite, making it easy to love. The tender light crusty and crunchy crust is the perfect canvas for the sweet delicate Spring vegetables. The mix is ready in 5 minutes and it does not requires kneading. Proofing time is 20 minutes and it bakes in 12 minutes total. It’s fun to make and I loved trying something new. This crust is a keeper!

For this Pizza Primavera, pre-roasting the vegetables is a must. They add extra flavor deep to the pizza. I love to leave the carrots al-dente, they add a bit extra crunch and texture to the pizza. Cheese?…my advice: go light on the cheese you want to be able to taste the vegetables. I chose a smoked provolone to balance the sweetness on the roasted vegetables. You must try this pizza, I assure you, you will fall in love with it. Give your self the chance to explore and renew your taste buds, perhaps for your next dinner party or get together… and have fun welcoming Spring!

Pizza-Primavera_Ingredients

Pizza Primavera

A pizza with spring vegetables and a delicious gluten free crust…

Makes 4 – 8”  pizzas

Vegetables:

12-16 small spring carrots cut in half.

2-3 bunches thin sweet green beans cut on a bias.

2 cups Sliced Cauliflower florets.

½ cup fresh peas

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes halved

For the caramelized onions:

1 large red onion thinly sliced

a glug of extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

a pinch of salt and fresh cracked pepper.

For the sauce:

2 cups roasted crushed tomato sauce.

2 grated garlic

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste.

2-4 sprigs of fresh herbs, like oregano, rosemary or basil.

Cheese:

3 cups grated smoked provolone cheese or tofu for  a vegan option.

Grated parmigiano regiano cheese.

Pizza crust:

1 package of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free pizza Dough

(The mix includes an envelope of dry active yeast, how awesome is that!)

1-1/2 warm water

2 eggs or 2 tablespoons of flaxseeds and 8 tablespoons of water for vegan option.

Follow the instructions on the package.

 

Gadgets and utensils:

Pizza peel: It’s a must!, its so much fun to use and since it has a long handle keeps you safe from the oven heat. (I like this wood kind)

Pizza Stone or  Saltillo tile*

You can use a cookie sheet or a metal round pizza tray that will work too. I recommend, if you are a pizza lover, a pizza stone or the Saltillo tile, are a great investment. The crust gets a fantastic  color, and it gets crunchier when is cooked onto a stone surface.

*How or where to get a Saltillo tile? 
At your local home improvement store. You must make sure its and unglazed quarry tile.Usually the name is Saltillo tile, from the region in Mexico. They come in two sizes, I prefer the 11×11. Usually you can fit 4 into your oven, if you are planing to make a big pizza, For us 1 or 2 tiles are enough. A smaller size pizza like an 8” will cook great and evenly onto an 11x 11. The magic of these tiles is that you can use them in the oven and over the grill, if you feel like you want a grilled pizza, this works like a charm, price-wise we paid around 1-3 dollars per tile. This is a good solution if you don’t happen to have a pizza stone. And regarding durability: we’ve been using the same tile for six years!

To prepare the tiles for baking: Presoak them in water the day before, and let them air dry. Once they are totally dry they are ready to use. Be careful not to heat them wet to avoid cracking and of course let them cool before removing them from the oven or cleaning them.Pizza-utencils

Preparation Method:

Preheat your over at 450F/ 232C

Place your pizza stone or Saltillo tile into the oven to start warming up.

(This step is crucial, to get a great crusty crust, the hotter the surface the crustier it will get.)

Pizza dough:

Start by making your pizza dough. Follow the instructions on the package, I did not use the mixer, I used a wood spatula and kneaded by hand for a bout 2 minutes. Divide the dough in 4 equal parts, pre shape into 4 balls, cover with plastic wrap and let it proof at rom temperature for about 20 minutes.

Pizza-Primavera_Making-the-dough

While your dough is resting, prepare your toppings:

  1. In a sheet pan, lined with some parchment paper, place the carrots, cauliflower and green beans, drizzle with a bit of olive oil salt pepper and roast at 450 F for about 5-7 minutes. The vegetables should look not completely roasted, as they will continuously cook when placed on the pizza. You want the vegetables, tender with a bite.
  2. Meantime in a saute pan add a glug of extra virgin olive oil and the red onions and saute on medium heat for about 5 minutes, add some salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and add about 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Leave them on low heat tossing occasional for about 15 minutes or until tender and caramelized. (see picture below)
  3. Mix all your sauce ingredients, adjust salt and pepper, and warm for a few minutes to marry the flavors.
  4. Cut your tomatoes, grate the cheese, season your sauce, pre-roasted vegetables, have everything ready to have fun topping your pizza!

Pizza-primavera_mise-in-place

The making!

  1. Crank up the oven temperature to 500F. This gets the crust crunchy when it cooks on the hot pizza stone.
  2. Add a generous amount of corn meal onto the pizza peel. Apply some extra virgin olive oil in your hands and take one portion of pizza dough. Shape it into a disk and place it in the middle of the pizza peel. With the tip of your fingers, starting from the center out gently massage and start flatten and shape the dough into an 8-9” disk. (see picture below)
  3. Pizza-Primavera_-Shaping-the-pizza-dough
  4. Once you have the 8-9”round pizza dough, make sure its lose, by gently shaking the pizza peel in horizontal motion. The dough should scoot around easily.
  5. Place the pizza peel onto the pizza stone. Gently shake the wood peel back an gently forward to slide the pizza crust onto the pizza stone. See picture below. Be as quick as you can so the oven does not loose temperature.
  6. Immediately close oven door. And adjust oven temperature to 450.Bake crust for 5-7 minutes until slightly golden brown.
  7. Pizza-Primavera_-in-the-oven
  8. With the help of the pizza peel remove the crust from the oven and proceed to place the toppings.
  9. Start with a thin layer of tomato sauce, and place the roasted carrots and veggies along the radius of the pizza crust. Add the caramelized onions, top with grated cheese, and sprinkle fresh herbs.
  10. Place the pizza back into the oven for another 7-8 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and it has some color. With the help of the peel pull out the pizza into a wood board. Let it rest for 1-2 minutes, and proceed to cut. You can use a pizza cutter or a chef’s knife.
  11. Pizza-Primavera_Assambling-the-pizzaPizza-Primavera-sliced~Yes,-more-please!

Serve immediately.

 Top with arugula, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, squeeze of lemon salt and pepper…

Enjoy! 

Pizza-Primavera_slices~Yes,-more-please!

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