Day sixteen of vegan recipe challenge: a Sunday cooking investment pays off

Confession: I had never – even in my pre-vegan days – made enchiladas. And, growing up in the Southwest, making enchiladas were practically a rite of passage. Regardless, I still ate them like they were hot cakes – covered in cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze (I really wanted to emphasize the layers of cheese typically covering this dish. Can you feel the gooey weight?)

SO, this past Sunday, while the Detroit Lions battled the Dallas Cowboys upstairs (to no avail in the land of football playoffs), I took on another Veganomicon recipe: Potato and Kale Enchiladas.

onions
Sweat baby sweat

Fair warning: it took me about 30 – 45 minutes longer than the hour time projection from the cookbook. I can certainly take the fall for being a little slower than the average bear in the kitchen, but it was one of those meals where I wished that I had a cooking partner or a few additional limbs to help out. Still, it was worth every minute. We enjoyed the leftovers for the next two days. AND THE ENCHILADA SAUCE is just divine – rich and spicy and I will make this and pour it on other dishes (I ate it directly out of the pot multiple times).

INGREDIENTS:
Enchilada Chile Sauce:
2 Tbs grapeseed oil or olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 large green chilies (such as Anaheim or Italian-style long green peppers), roasted, seeded, peeled and coarsely chopped (I did roast my own chilies – oh my! So much fresh flavor. If you have to use canned chilies, go for it. If you can roast them the day before, do it! I chose not to peel mine either)
2-3 tsp Ancho chili pepper power (I used chipotle because I bought the wrong spice – it was still good)
1-1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp marjoram or Mexican oregano (epazote)
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, roasted preferred
1 tsp sugar (I used agave)
1-1/2 tsp salt

Potato and Kale Filling:
1 lb waxy potatoes (Yukon gold or red) – I used Yukon
1/2 lb kale, washed, trimmed and chopped finely
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 C vegetable broth or water
3 Tbs lime juice
1/4 C toasted pumpkin seeds
1 1/2 tsp salt (I used just one teaspoon – I still found this dish salty so I would reduce further in future making sessions or remove it altogether)
12 – 14 corn tortillas

Directions: [Note: I am pulling these instructions from Epicurian Vegan because they are FABULOUS. Check out this site for so many more amazing recipes!]

Preheat oven to 375. Use a 11.5″x7.5″ casserole dish. To save yourself a headache: first, get the kale washed, trimmed and chopped, and peel and dice the potatoes.

To prepare the sauce, saute the onion and oil in a large skillet over medium heat, about 4-7 minutes. Add remaining sauce ingredients, bring to a simmer.

Remove from the heat, let cool, then taste it to adjust seasoning, if necessary. Puree in an immersion or regular blender until smooth. (I used the food processor). – I used my blender!

To prepare the filling, boil the potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside. (This next step, I recommend doing while the potatoes are cooking) Cook the grapeseed oil and minced garlic in a sauce pot (I used the same skillet from the sauce–just washed it out) over medium heat until garlic just begins to brown. Add the kale, sprinkle with some salt and stir often. Partially cover the pot and steam the kale about 4-6 minutes. Then add the potatoes, broth (or water), lime juice, pumpkin seeds, and salt. Mash the potatoes a little bit with a spoon. Cook another 3-4 minutes.

To create these fabulous enchiladas . . . finally. . . the recipe says to ladle some sauce in a shallow dish and a heated griddle. Seriously?! My kitchen already looked like the Swedish Chef had made a 10-course meal in it and adding another pan to my already-crowded workspace just wasn’t going to happen. Plus, the tortillas I used are perfect for rolling—they’re soft enough already that they won’t crack. So if you wish to torture yourself, this is what the original recipe says: Ladle a bit of sauce onto the bottom of the casserole dish (ok, I did do that). Take a corn tortilla, place it on the heated griddle for 30 seconds, flip over and heat until soft and pliable. Drop the tortilla into the sauce and cover it completely with sauce. Place it in the casserole dish and layer it with another heat, sauce-covered tortilla (or use one. Or don’t do it that way at all). Seriously, too messy and labor-intensive. Fill with potato filling and roll up. Ok, I took the easy epicurean vegan way. After adding a layer of sauce on the bottom, I scooped some filling into my already soft and wonderfully pliable tortilla, rolled it up and placedit in the pan. That easy. Continue until the pan is filled.

Katie interjection: Here’s my “enchilada making station.” And I definitely did not heat up my tortillas because at this point, I was also wiped and just wanted to eat:

stationAlmost looks like cinnamon applesauce. I need to learn how to take better food photos.

After reserving about 1-1/2 cups of the sauce, pour the rest over the enchiladas. Now, I can’t imagine enchiladas without cheese, so I sprinkled some Daiya cheese shreds on top. – I left mine cheese-less and I still thought they were great. Will definitely try with cheese next time!

Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10-15 minutes. Top individual servings with the extra sauce (that you’ve warmed up). You may not recognize your kitchen once these are in the oven, but at least while they bake, you’ll have time to reclaim your space

So, here’s what mine looked like –

enchilNo wonder they grow so much cheese on it. I may not have let them “cool” long enough before I attacked with my spatula. The end result = messchiladas.

I even threw some avocados on top during my lunch reheats. Yum. Yum. Yum.

Day nine of vegan recipe challenge: a good kind of crunch

Not that post-beach, swish out your mouth ten times crunch.

sandmouth

Not that post-dental “polish” that you still find repulsive after 20+ years of enduring.

dentist

This is the kind of crunch you want – and may need – in your life. Did I mention that it involves cashews?

cashewThank you for being Ambitious, Monique!

Today’s vegan recipe comes from the kitchen that pushes itself to new limits. Perhaps you would call it the Ambitious Kitchen..or wait, that’s its name. Blogger Monique has dozens of delicious, quality vegan recipes (plus many are gluten-free, etc., etc.) for you to add to your cooking repertoire. This is one of my favorites because: 1) I’m a sucker for cashews; and 2) I’m a big fan of eating from bowls (sorry plates).

So, I share with you a nutrient-packed salad with the nice amount of roasted crunch to satisfy your salt and sweet tooth(s?) Teeth? Whatever.  From The Ambitious Kitchen:

Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing
Serves 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes; Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
  • ¾ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1-2 cups shredded red cabbage, depending on how much crunch you like
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup diced green onions
  • ½ cup cashew halves or peanuts
  • Optional: 1 cup edamame or chickpeas
  • Fresh lime, for a bit of tang

For the dressing:

  • ¼ cup all natural peanut butter [Krema is one of my favorite peanut butters if you prefer to purchase]
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce, gluten-free if desired
  • 1 tablespoon honey (use agave if vegan)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Water to thin, if necessary
Instructions:
  1. To cook quinoa: Rinse quinoa with cold water in mesh strainer. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 ½ cups of water to a boil. Add in quinoa and bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all of the water. Remove from heat and fluff quinoa with fork; place in large bowl and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes. You should have a little over 2 cups of quinoa.
  2. To make dressing: Add peanut butter and honey/agave to a medium microwave safe bowl; heat in microwave for 20 seconds. Add in ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, and both sesame and olive oil and stir until mixture is smooth and creamy. If you want a thinner dressing, simply stir in a teaspoon or two of water or olive oil.
  3. Add as much or as little dressing as you’d like to the quinoa. I always start out with a little bit of dressing and usually add more to suit my taste preferences. Alternatively you can save the dressing for later and add when you are ready to eat; however the flavors of the dressing usually soak into the salad so I love adding it to the quinoa first.
  4. Next fold in red pepper, onion, cabbage, carrots, and cilantro into the quinoa. Garnish with cashews and green onions. Serve chilled or at room temperature with lime wedges if desired.

How do you get your crunch satisfaction?

Warming Up From the Inside Out

In case you were hibernating in an underground lair last week, the majority of our country experienced the still trending Polar Vortex. I experienced the coldest temperatures ever as an adult: a high of 27F. How to counter the chill of Jack Frost outside of continual transitions between hot baths and nestling up to the space heater? Make warm, delicious comfort food. Last week had two new gems for dinner entrees:

1) Spicy Vegan Black Bean Soup via Cookie + Kate

IMAG1172Mmmmm…

This was an easy, relatively quick dinner to make during the week. My soup isn’t quite as dark in color as the one pictured in the blog due to using homemade black beans instead of canned. This did affect the overall seasoning profile; I will be sure to add more if I use homemade beans in the future. I would also puree less of the soup than I did in the first batch – I love the chunks of carrots, beans, onions, and celery. We paired it with a slice of crusty Italian loaf from Guglhupf Bakery here in Durham.

2) Chipotle Quinoa Sweet Potato Tacos via Half Baked Harvest

IMG_20140108_190430Didn’t I just see those toppings…?

After having some overwhelming, tear-induced experiences with chipotles in adobo, I was a bit gun shy at first with the recipe. TWO minced peppers? And one tablespoon sauce? AND cayenne? Well, I opted to leave the cayenne out, which was great because this recipe did  boast a nice, robust heat (but no tears – only when I was done with my plate because I wanted to inhale more). This recipe is SUPER filling and made more than we anticipated. I did not make her Roasted Cranberry Pomegranate Salsa, but I will. Oh yes, I will.

In other fun cooking exploration in the last few days, I attempted making homemade Lara bars via 100 Days of Real Food. Since I absolutely adore anything cashew, I opted to make the bars with 1 cup cashews, 1 cup dates, 1/4 cup peanut butter, and 1 – 2 tablespoons water (i used 2). Now, this recipe SAYS it makes 12 bars. Square bars. After whipping this up in the food processor, I was shocked to feel how oily the mash had become – much more difficult to form into squares than anticipated. So, I made bars more similar to the packaged Lara bars and cut them in half. I think they are delicious, and it is great to have just a small pick me up to grab before working out. Currently, I open a Lara bar and break it into two, saving the other half for the next day.

IMAG1176

Jump into the pool!

IMAG1177

It’s getting there…

IMAG1178Awww..hey little bar (and penguin blanket – I swear, it’s my cats….right)

IMAG1180Or…not….

What are your comfort dishes on those blustery winter days?