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Leek Potato Charred Poblano Soup

Hello, hello! We are back in the saddle and hope you had a fantastic Holidays and a fresh start to 2017. We have been on a rollercoaster of change and highly focused on our book. Besides some adversities with Miss. Mildred (our stove), we are working on her retirement and the stove transition to make it happen. We are extremely grateful for all the great people who have supported us during this time, whether if it has been a word of encouragement, an e-mail, a phone call, or a donation funding for the new stove to come. To all of you, THANK YOU so much! On the other hand, It is taking a little longer than we expected, with permits and responses, but as soon we have the stove we will shout it out loud and proud!, and of course we will send you a photo.

In the meantime, dealing with our bi-polar weather and stove, soups have been my ultimate effort to save our dinners. One coil burner and a quick prep and 20-25 minutes in the kitchen, can yield the coziest, warmest, and most rewarding bowl of goodness to your table on any given dinner night. This classic velvety soup of leeks, potatoes, and cream has the flavor force of 1,000 horses. It always amazes me how so few ingredients treated with care can yield some of the best soups. Despite the classic version of this soup being one of my favorites, I’m giving this classic velvety soup a rustic and hearty twist. I find this soup much more comforting when its not blended all the way. So I reserved some sautéed leeks, and when it comes the time to pure, I used my immersion blender just a few times, enough to give the desired creaminess from the classic version, and leaving about half of the potato bites. These slight changes give great texture and hearty body to the soup. My irreverence, the addition of charred poblanos, I think is the best thing that could happen to this soup

Chiles Poblanos, as you know, when charred take on a smoky, and pleasant heat that when added to the soup create a spectacular synergy of flavors. Creamy texture small potato bites, soft buttery leeks with a smoky mildly spicy accent, a dollop of Greek yogurt, some sea salt, and a crusty bread on the side is all you need to make your dinner memorable.
Best 25 minutes invested in your kitchen. Hell yeah!

Leek Potato Charred Poblano Soup

Serves 1 Mama bear, 1 Papa Bear, 2 cubs

3  large leeks washed, use just bright lime and white parts, sliced.
1  pound Maris piper or yellow wax potatoes, peeled and medium diced.
3  tablespoons butter
1  tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3  cups chicken stock
1  cup heavy cream*
1/4  teaspoon dry dill
3/4  teaspoon sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
2  poblano peppers, charred, skinned, de-seeded and cut into strips.

Garnish with:
Greek yogurt, dry or fresh dill, serve with toasted cheese crostinis or rustic bread.

* For vegan or non-dairy soup version, use about 1 can of unsweetened coconut milk and add just one clove of garlic when sweating the leeks, to tame the coconut flavor…it makes a delicious version!

Preparation:

1. Rinse and wash leeks. The best method I have find is to cut the green parts just above when the bright lime and white leek color starts. Cut the top hairs of the leeks and slice in half length wise. Rinse under running water holding from white tops to greenish ends. This will
prevent the sand and dirt getting into the white parts. Make sure you use a clean board to slice the leeks after washing them. Sand particles are very sneaky and they can ruin your soup, be alert. On a separate note, Save deep green parts, wash them, and cut into 3″ pieces, you can make a marvelous stock for feature soups.


2. Over medium heat, warm up a medium large pot, melt butter and oil, add leeks a pinch of salt and 4 tablespoons of chicken stock. Toss well, cover pot with a lid, lower the heat and let them sweat for about 4-5 minutes.
3. When the leeks start softening, and still bright green, reserve about 4 tablespoons in a little ramekin set aside.
4.Add diced potatoes, chicken stock, black pepper and salt, bring it to a high simmer, cover pot and reduce heat. Cook for about 8 minutes or until potatoes are soft but still retain their shape.

5. Meantime charr the popblanos on the direct flame of your stove, use tonges in order to rotate and char them evenly.Set aside cover them with a plate and let them rest for 3-4 minutes. Te plate will create steam and will help when its time to remove the skins. With a spoon, gently scrape the skin, cut the top of the Chile, then slice and open. scrape all the seeds with the spoon and remove the veins. process to think slice or dice what ever you prefer. If you do not own a gas stove… As we do not…use a torch or rub the chiles with a tinny drop of oil, and use the oven broiler. watch them at all times because they can get from char to burnt on a blink of an eye!… Then proceed with the same method to de-vein and de-seed them.
6.Once potatoes are cooked to your desired consistency, add dill, and heavy cream. Stir, and lower the temperature about medium low. with the help of an immersion blender just pulse 2-3 times into the soup to add some creaminess. I leave about 1/2 of the potato diced and half pureed. If you do not have an immersion blender, grab a potato masher, or puree 1 cup of the soup in the blender, until smooth, then add to the soup and stir until well incorporated. At last add the poblanos, cut into strips or diced, and save some to garnish the soup when served. Let the soup warm up, do not let it boil. Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt and extra slices of charred poblanos. Enjoy!

Music Pairing:  Segundo, Pink Maritini – Je dis Oui!

 

 

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Leek Potato Charred Poblano Soup

Course Soup
Cuisine wholesome
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4
Author Mariana McEnroe

Ingredients

  • 3 large leeks washed, use just bright lime and white parts, sliced.
  • 1 pound Maris piper or yellow wax potatoes peeled and medium diced.
  • 3 tablespoons un salted, butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup cup heavy cream* * For vegan or non-dairy soup version, use about 1 can of unsweetened coconut milk and add just one clove of garlic when sweating the leeks, to tame the coconut flavor...it makes a delicious version!
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry dill
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Fresh, ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 medium Poblano Peppers, charred, skinned, de-seeded and cut into strips.

Instructions

  1. 1. Rinse and wash leeks. The best method I have find is to cut the green parts just above when the bright lime and white leek color starts. Cut the top hairs of the leeks and slice in half length wise. Rinse under running water holding from white tops to greenish ends. This will

    prevent the sand and dirt getting into the white parts. Make sure you use a clean board to slice the leeks after washing them. Sand particles are very sneaky and they can ruin your soup, be alert. On a separate note, Save deep green parts, wash them, and cut into 3" pieces, you can make a marvelous stock for feature soups. 

  2. 2. Over medium heat, warm up a medium large pot, melt butter and oil, add leeks a pinch of salt and 4 tablespoons of chicken stock. Toss well, cover pot with a lid, lower the heat and let them sweat for about 4-5 minutes.

  3. 3. When the leeks start softening, and still bright green, reserve about 4 tablespoons in a little ramekin set aside.

    4.Add diced potatoes, chicken stock, black pepper and salt, bring it to a high simmer, cover pot and reduce heat. Cook for about 8 minutes or until potatoes are soft but still retain their shape.

  4. 5.Once potatoes are cooked to your desired consistency, add dill, and heavy cream. Stir, and lower the temperature about medium low. with the help of an immersion blender just pulse 2-3 times into the soup to add some creaminess. I leave about 1/2 of the potato diced and half pureed. If you do not have an immersion blender, grab a potato masher, or puree 1 cup of the soup in the blender, until smooth, then add to the soup and stir until well incorporated. At last add the poblanos, cut into strips or diced, and save some to garnish the soup when served. Let the soup warm up, do not let it boil. Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt and extra slices of charred poblanos. Enjoy!

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Enfrijoladas

Enfrijoladas_easy-to-make-weekday-diner

Enfrijoladas are one of the most beloved humble dishes made out of beans in Mexico. I almost can imagine some Mexican grandma in a hurry trying to make a meal with ingredients for two that will serve four or six with the beans she had. So Bad-a-bim! …she created a sauce, in order to stretch the beans, for all to eat. Aren’t these kinds of recipes the ones that everybody loves the most?…Serendipity in the kitchen can work love spells, just like this recipe.

Imagine fresh corn tortillas smothered in a smooth velvety bean sauce that has been seasoned and tinted with dry chiles. This dish features smokey anchos and a bright flavor guajillo chiles, sauteed onions and a couple of garlic cloves, all seasoned and blended to create a light and velvety bean sauce. Enfrijoladas are the cousins of enchiladas, only lighter. This velvety sauce, has a mild spice flavor, that in combination with the earthy and creamy bean texture make the most luscious bean sauce.

Enfrijoladas are typically filled with a mild creamy cheese called requeson, which would be the Mexican ricotta, creamy morsels of soft cheese mixed with crisp diced onions. Many other fillings are welcomed for a heartier meal like shredded roasted chicken, chorizo, spinach and cheese, zucchini, mushrooms, the combinations are endless. Put a sunny side up egg on it and call it breakfast!,
I personally like them served straight up. I love the flavor of the bean sauce. The chiles, onions, and garlic cloves season the creamy beans with out compromising the bean flavor; earthy, mild spicy, light and smooth. If you are feeling adventurous add some extra crunch and sprinkle some pork skin crumbs (chicharrones), to die for.

For me these bean cousins of enchiladas are my simple pleasure, beans, queso fresco, my mucha muchacha salsa, avocado, and a dollop of crema that will make me happy any day! Summer or winter, rain or shine.

Just make them, Enfrijoladas are a sure love at first bite, extremely easy to make, wether you make them as a casserole or plate them as you go, this
simple ingredients treated with a little extra love, will always “madly” love you back!
Enjoy!

Enfrijoladas_Ingredients_Yes,-more-please!

Enfrijoladas

2 cups cooked pinto beans*
2 cups bean broth
1 cup chicken stock or water
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 medium chile ancho, de-seeded and tail removed
2 long chile guajillo, de-seeded and tail removed
½ cup diced white onion
2 large garlic cloves
½ teaspoon salt

½ cup extra of water or milk to adjust the bean sauce consistency.

16 corn tortillas, 5” regular store bought.
For home made corn tortillas** use about a walnut size dough ball to make a 5”round
2-3 tablespoons sunflower oil

For the filling:

½ pound queso requeson(mexican ricotta), queso fresco doble crema, or crumbled goat cheese
¼ cup small diced red onion
salt to taste.

Garnish with:

Queso Cotija
Crema Mexicana
Avocado Slices
Salsa Mucha Muchacha recipe here
Quick pickled Red onions:
Thinly slice ½ medium red onion, rinse under running water really well. Place onion slices in a small bowl, squeeze ½ lime, add a generous pinch of sea salt, a pinch of dry oregano and 2-3 tablespoons of water.

*How to cook your beans tutorial
**How to make homemade corn tortillas tutorial

Preparation Method:

1.On a large sauce pan, over medium heat, warm up the oil. Add the pieces of dry chiles, onion, garlic and a pinch of salt, saute until onions are softened, dry chiles have a bright color, and slight blistered. At this point add the cooked beans along with the bean broth, and chicken stock. Bring to boil and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until the dry chiles look re-hydrated and plumped.

2.Set beans aside cover for 5 minutes. Place the sauteed beans, onions chiles into a blender.
Remember to always be extra careful when transferring hot liquids into a blender. You can also use an immersion blender, or a food processor to make this sauce, although I’ve found that the blender works best to leave a smooth airy velvety sauce.

3.Transfer back the sauce into the sauce pan, keep it warm at the lowest temperature stirring now and then. Taste, and adjust for salt, or liquid if to thick. To test thickness submerge a wood spoon on the sauce, and run your finger over the back of the spoon. If the two sides remain separated, the sauce is on point. This bean sauce, should feel smooth creamy but not overly thick. If to thick add a bit more water, or milk. If it is to thin, cook up some of the liquid whisking at all times.

4.Warm up each tortilla by quick frying in a little oil, you want them soft and playable, but with a little color. Gently submerge each tortilla into the warm bean sauce. Place them into a platter fill them with the requeson-onion mixture (mexican ricotta cheese) and fold them in half or into fourths like you would do with a crepe. Once you have them all folded keep them warm in the oven. Reheat the reminder of the bean sauce and add a little more milk or water to adjust consistency.

5.Serve 3-4 Enfrijoladas per plate and ladle one or two spoonfuls of the bean sauce on top, add a dollop or squeeze some crema, sprinkle the cotija cheese, garnish with avocado and red onions…and a little drizzle of “that” Salsa Mucha muchacha

A comer!…Enjoy!

Enfrijoladas_How-to-make-enfrijoladas_step-by-step_Yes,-more-please!Enfrijoladas_Easy-Mexican-Cooking

A few drops of my mucha muchacha salsa… Mmmm!

Enfrijoladas_Yes,-more-please!

Let’s cook!

Music pairing: Bonito – by Jarabe de Palo

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Enfrijoladas

Course Breakfast, Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Pinto beans
  • 2 cups Bean broth
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons Sunflower oil
  • 1 medium Chile ancho de-seeded and tail removed
  • 2 long Chiles Guajillo de-seeded and tail removed
  • 1/2 cup white onion diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves halved
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 cup extra water or milk to adjust the sauce consistency
  • 16 pieces corn tortillas home made will be amazing1
  • 2-3 tablespoons Sunflower oil to slightly pan fry the tortillas

For the Filling:

  • 1/2 lbs. Queso Requeson (Mexican Ricotta), queso fresco doble crema OR goat cheese.
  • 1/4 cup red onion small diced
  • Salt to taste

Garnish with:

  • Queso cotija
  • Crema Mexicana
  • Avocado slices
  • Quick pickled red onions

Instructions

  1. 1.On a large sauce pan, over medium heat, warm up the oil. Add the pieces of dry chiles, onion, garlic and a pinch of salt, saute until onions are softened, dry chiles have a bright color, and slight blistered. At this point add the cooked beans along with the bean broth, and chicken stock. Bring to boil and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until the dry chiles look re-hydrated and plumped.

    2.Set beans aside cover for 5 minutes. Place the sauteed beans, onions chiles into a blender.

    Remember to always be extra careful when transferring hot liquids into a blender. You can also use an immersion blender, or a food processor to make this sauce, although I’ve found that the blender works best to leave a smooth airy velvety sauce.

    3.Transfer back the sauce into the sauce pan, keep it warm at the lowest temperature stirring now and then. Taste, and adjust for salt, or liquid if to thick. To test thickness submerge a wood spoon on the sauce, and run your finger over the back of the spoon. If the two sides remain separated, the sauce is on point. This bean sauce, should feel smooth creamy but not overly thick. If to thick add a bit more water, or milk. If it is to thin, cook up some of the liquid whisking at all times.

    4.Warm up each tortilla by quick frying in a little oil, you want them soft and playable, but with a little color. Gently submerge each tortilla into the warm bean sauce. Place them into a platter fill them with the requeson-onion mixture (mexican ricotta cheese) and fold them in half or into fourths like you would do with a crepe. Once you have them all folded keep them warm in the oven. Reheat the reminder of the bean sauce and add a little more milk or water to adjust consistency.

    5.Serve 3-4 Enfrijoladas per plate and ladle one or two spoonfuls of the bean sauce on top, add a dollop or squeeze some crema, sprinkle the cotija cheese, garnish with avocado and red onions…and a little drizzle of “that” Salsa Mucha muchacha…

    A comer!…Enjoy!

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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

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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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