Veggie Enchiladas

9 11 2012

Whoa, November. Another year is quickly speeding to the finish line and it seems winter has shown up a wee bit early. It’s hard to ignore the changes in our climate. Besides the dump of snow we got here, hurricane Sandy and the follow-up storm has many folks stopped in their tracks, the devastation is clearly unbelievable. We need to reflect on the impact climate change has had on our environment (while some continue to deny it). Hopefully we not only sort out a recovery but how to adapt and rethink how we interact with our world.

Back to food (and dreaming of warmer days already)…growing up, Mexican food was a staple in our house including taco night, dad’s nachos (he makes good nachos) or going to Chi Chi’s with family and friends. Like many Canadians, trips to Mexico started as teens to escape our long winters. No all-inclusive for us, we always had an apartment and mom cooked with local ingredients. Later on, travelling there on my own, staying with friends, I learned the art of making great guacamole.

I can hardly call this veggie enchilada recipe a ‘recipe’ because it’s so easy. If you can, pick up fresh corn tortillas and pepper sauce from a Mexican store. I get mine from Sabores at Kingsland Farmers Market. I think the enchiladas are $5 for a stack and they last me two enchilada dinners. I just freeze half for a second dinner. The corn tortilla is what separates an enchilada from a burrito, so for gluten-free folks, it’s the way to go. Pick a filling, roll up and cover with sauce and a bit of cheese and bake. You can make your own pepper sauce, recipes are plentiful, pick a red or green, but I cheat and buy them to make this an even easier dinner to throw together. Here are two simple ways to get your enchilada on, veggie style.

Filling #1: Mexican Veggie Ground Round

  • I package Yves or other Veggie Ground Round (I season my own, but you can use the Mexican one if you’d like)
  • 1/2 tsp ground Cumin
  • 2 tsp ground Mexican seasoning or Taco seasoning – season to taste
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground Chipotle seasoning
  • Olive Oil for sautéing
  • 1/2 small Sweet Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small Red or Yellow Pepper, sliced
  • 6 White Mushrooms, sliced
  • Heat the veggie ground round, season to taste
  • Saute the onion, peppers and mushrooms in a bit of olive oil until softened and move to enchilada construction

Filling #2: Refried Beans

  • 1 can black or pinto Refried Beans, warm in a pot over the stove, season to taste
  • Sautéed veggies from filling #1
  • Move to enchilada construction

General ingredients:

  • 10-12 Corn Tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups of salsa or pepper sauce of your choice – I buy a red sauce from Sabores, it’s perfect but I have also used a canned Mexican green sauce bought in the Mexican section of your grocery store
  • 1-2 cups of shredded cheese or vegan alternative of your choice. Monterey Jack and Mozzarella work well

Enchilada Construction:

  • Lightly coat a 9×13 glass baking dish with a non-stick spray.
  • Before assembly, you have to soften the tortillas, work with them at least at room temperature, but they may crack. I did some research and there are two ways of making them easier to roll, heat in oil or lightly steam in microwave, I chose the latter.
  • Wrap the tortillas in a damp cloth or paper towel (wet and squeeze out water), put in the microwave for 30-60 sec. Now work fast.
  • In each tortilla, place 2-3 tablespoons of the bean or ground round filling and then a small amount of the veg on top. You don’t want to over stuff. Practice makes perfect.
  • Roll softly, they don’t have to be tight, place seam side down in the pan. You don’t have to tuck in the sides like burritos, just roll them up. If they crack, don’t panic, try again. Tuck them beside each other to keep in place.
  • Cover with sauce and then cheese.
  • Bake in the oven until golden brown at 375 for 40-50 min.
  • Serve with fresh guacamole, salsa, sour creme or whatever you’d like.

The best part about these is that they make great leftovers (if there are any). Ole!

Eat well, Be well,

Nat





Freezer Fruit, Quick Tip and some Aloha

13 05 2012

Well another season of growing has sprung. We’ve done our spring cleaning, prepped the garden and planted a few cool weather crops like radish and lettuce. A new home for the composter means new possibilities in the garden and space which we needed badly. The rhubarb is over a foot tall already, in its new home in the fresh tilled garden (we added our favourite sea soil again this year + our home made compost). The sorrel is a few inches tall and also has a new home in a sunnier location.

Frozen fruit ready for oven

In all this prepatory garden work, I realized I hadn’t eaten half of what I froze last year! I’ll have fresh rhubarb in weeks and bags of it in the freezer still. The past couple of months I’ve been baking fruit to make room in the freezer. Crumbles are such an easy and healthful dessert, they are a common write up here. The last one I made was a delicious mix of Okanagan peaches and blueberries and rhubarb from the garden. Just take the fruit out of the freezer, let it defrost for 30 min or so. Remember to freeze cut fruit and berries on cookie sheets first, easy to pull apart later. Here are some recipes: Rhubarb Crumble with Walnuts, Rhubarb Peach Apricot Cobbler and Blueberry Peach Cobbler.

Travel has limited my kitchen time. I have been sticking to old favourites and well buying lunch quite often, which I don’t love doing. I have discovered a place to get veggie chilli, and that got me through an entire week once. Last week I pulled a fast one – put together a quick version of my quinoa salad for lunch.

  • Bought a large container of quinoa salad from Planet Organic.
  • Added chopped and deseeded cucumber, diced yellow pepper, diced carrot and celery from my favourite market KFM and a can of chickpeas.
  • There was enough dressing and flavour in the salad from Planet – so I mixed it together and enjoyed for a few days.
  • Nice! Lunch for days in 5 min.

I hinted at Aloha last blog…here is a short food tour through Maui…I cry when I leave Maui, I love it there. From the moment we land we seek out the best fish tacos. My pescatarian diet flourishes near the ocean, fresh seafood everywhere. We have a favourite, Paia Fish Market. I think T loves those tacos more than me for brief moments ;-).

I also had the best veggie tacos filled with grilled Portobello mushrooms at Fred’s (thanks Joanne for the tip).

Each morning on the way to practice with Nancy Gilgoff, you’d drive past the sugar cane fields. They burn them to harvest, eek. We visited the museum last time, lots to consider. Sugar has taken over other less profitable and natural crops and has huge historical impact.

On the road to Hana, you gotta stop and pick up toasted coconut ‘candy’. 4 bags for $20, leave your money in a box and take the flavours you like, it’s an honour system. I grabbed vanilla, regular and candied ginger as well, which you may need if you get car sick on the way to Hana. 

Mmm and the Hawaiian purple sweet potatoes, so good. We ate at a new place in Kihei a couple of times, Three’s, we highly recommend it.

Mmm fish tacos (and a beer) on the beach.

Eat well, Be Well and Aloha

Nat





Chipotle Veggie Chili

27 11 2011

Nothing warms up the soul like a bowl of chili and this recipe’s got heat, that’s for sure. I think I added one too many chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, so that’s your fair warning. I searched for hearty veggie chili recipes and found one called ‘Ultimate Vegan Chili’ and when I saw the use of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, I knew it had to be good. If you like the Spicy Black Bean Soup from my blog, you’ll love this chili. I love it because it is another way to use those yummy chipotle peppers. Remember you can freeze what you don’t use and thaw a bit to use again.

I hate chili that relies on onions for bulk or main ingredient, so I didn’t go that route. I used a small onion and added celery for the texture. The original recipe called for seitan, a gluten based protein substitute. I couldn’t find any, but I wanted to try it. I figured for all those out there that are gluten intolerant, it wasn’t necessary to use it, so I opted for soy based veggie round. Here is my adaptation of the chili:

  • 1 small Onion, diced
  • 4 stalks Celery, diced
  • 2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1-3 cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 1 or 2 (not 3 like I did) Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, minced
  • 2 cups finely chopped Mushrooms (use crimini, button or Portobello)
  • 1 pkg veggie ground round like Yves Original
  • 1 small can Tomato Paste (or 3-6 Tbsp if you have some in a tube. I bought Italian tomato paste in a tube from the farmers market. It’s handy, just keep it in the fridge)
  • 3 tsp Smoked Paprika (a good addition to your spices)
  • 2 tsp dried Oregano
  • 2-3 tsp Mexican Chili powder seasoning
  • 1 tsp of Sea Salt (or more to taste)
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 14oz can Diced Tomatoes (with liquid)
  • 3 19oz cans of cooked beans, drain half the liquid (choose from Pinto, Black and Kidney and mix it up)
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped Carrots
  • 2 Tbsp Tamari, Soy Sauce or Braggs
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

Heat the olive oil in a big soup pot over medium-high heat, add the onion and celery and saute until soft and the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and chipotle peppers and cook for another minute, stirring. Add the mushrooms and saute until cooked down and liquid is released, about 4-5 min. Add the veggie round, tomato paste, paprika, oregano, chili powder, salt and water, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 min.

Add the rest of the ingredients, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 1 hour stirring occasionally. Chili is ready when carrots are tender. Serve with slices of a toasted baguette (we love the Turkish bread from Cobbs) and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese (or your vegan choice).

Eat well, Be well,

Nat





Roasted Peppers

4 07 2010

A long weekend usually includes sharing time with friends. We had some good friends of ours over for a BBQ on Friday, the sun didn’t stay out but that didn’t stop us from filling the BBQ with veggies and ah sorry, steak for the boys. Tony got to use all the new BBQ tools I bought him for his birthday.

Jess brought over a yummy goat cheese appie. Round slices of goats cheese drizzled with olive oil, balsamic, garlic and herbs. Spread it on fresh pita oiled and grilled on the BBQ. Use the thicker ones, Greek pita? Yum.

A perfect and accidental accompaniment to this was roasted peppers. My mom makes these (funny, Jess’s mom makes the goat cheese one). I roasted two red and one yellow pepper over the gas stove, you can do this on the BBQ as well. Fire them until they are black all over. Stick them in a paper or plastic bag and let them sweat for 30+ minutes. Once they are sweated, remove and scrape the blackened skin off them, I used a knife. Poke a hole in them, squeeze the juice into a bowl. Once the skin is removed, remove stem, cut down one side and scrape the seeds out. Slice into thin slices and place in the bowl with the juice. Drizzle some olive oil, minced garlic (which I omitted), salt, pepper and a few basil leaves finely chopped. My mom uses a small amount of anchovy paste as well for flavour, I skipped this.

Toast slices of a french banquette in the oven, lightly oil them with olive oil. To make a quick garlic toast, when they are toasted and warm, rub a garlic clove on them when they come out of the oven.

Serve the toasts with the peppers and in our case, the goats cheese. We dug into the goats cheese so fast I forgot to take a picture.

I hope you enjoyed your long weekend.

Eat well and Be well,

Nat