Roasted Tomato Jalapeño Salsa



I was going for Frontera's Roasted Tomato/ Jalapeño Salsa here. This didn't come close at all, but is still a solid salsa, so I shall share:

1 lb tomatoes (mine were on the vine)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lg jalapeño pepper, chopped fine
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can tomato paste
1 cup broth (I used Better than Bouillon no chicken flavor)
1t salt
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 lg lime, juiced
*

Heat oven to 350, roast tomatoes for 1/2 hour turning once or twice. I broiled them for a few minutes after to blacken them. Sautée onions until tender, add garlic and jalapeño and sautée for a few more minutes. Chop roasted tomatoes and discard cores. Add tomatoes to onion mix with paste, broth and salt. Simmer at least 1/2 hour. Add cilantro and blend. Stir in lime juice and serve.

*Here's my notes for next time: Though this salsa is super good (better the next day too after flavors have had a chance to get married), It wasn't as blackened and roasted as I was hoping for. I think that next time, I shall roast the onions, Jalapeños and garlic as well and really char the bejeezus out of everything. Also, I didn't leave the jalapeño seeds in, next time they stay to spice things up, as well as probably using 2 vs 1 to up that flavor in the salsa.

Stuffed Poblano Peppers



This is the Stuffed Poblano Peppers from Candle 79's cookbook with the Sautéed Swiss Chard and the Roasted Red Bell Pepper and Tomato Sauce.

The sauce was fantastic. I love how roasting the veg deepens the flavor so much. The dish on the whole (all 3 parts together) was really very good- which is great b/c it was another one of those huge time investments- so I'm glad that there was a payoff. There was just so much to it- roasting veg for the sauce, charring the poblanos to remove the skin, rice making, chard sauteeing...

On the whole, though, I thought that it needed a beefier element. This is weird for a vegan to say, but some dishes that are just 100% veg (curries and stir fries aside) just need more variety to me. This is why most of the world eats them as a side, I guess- but maybe even some black beans in the pepper would have done the trick. It tasted great, it just needed a protein element, I guess. It was good, though.

Papusas!



Not the most glamorous food pic I've ever taken, mostly because the bottom papusa is half eaten... (I forgot to photo them until I started dinner!).

These are from "Viva Vegan!". This version is filled with refried beans and left over chorizo from the sopas (HERE). It was my first time making homemade refried beans, and that's really the best part about having made this recipe- those were fantastico!

I must say, between the sopas and the papusas, I think I preferred the sopas. The papusas were great too, but the masa overpowers the other flavors of the fillings a bit more just because they're wrapped in it (versus sitting on top of it where you can pile your fillings up to the moon). Still, they're relatively easy, pretty darn tasty and really versatile.You could probably stuff them with almost anything that you'd put in a burrito or taco. And who doesn't love new incarnations of those?

Sopas!



These are good. They're from "Viva Vegan!" a book that I just got by Terry Hope Romero (co-author with Isa Chandra Moskowitz on a bunch of books). This recipe, and quite a few in the book, are similar to RFD's in that each recipe calls for ingredients made with other recipes in the book. For example, for the Sopas here, there was; the masa dough, the chorizo, pickled onions and cashew crema (skipped that one) and then, of course, the recipe itself. I also inadvertently skipped the onions despite having made them 2 days ago (forgot about them in the fridge, outta sight, outta sopa). So, to me now, this complexity in a recipe implies that it will be good. If I have the time, I'll go for the long, drawn out recipes because they generally are better. Short, fast and easy ones tend to reflex their simplicity in their taste (spoken like a true snotty foodie). Which is not to say that I still don't love me some pb&j and other quickie meals.

The crust/ tart/ tortilla-esque shell on this is great. The author likens making papusas to making clay ashtrays and that's exactly what this reminded me of. A masa ashtray. The spinach was perfect on it, it was creamy and moist, but I'd scale back on the lime juice next time. The chorizo, I am sad to say, I did not like as much as Isa Chandra's from the Vegan Brunch book (HERE). These are spiced differently (and more intensely) which is nice, but it was the method of preparation that I think made the difference. The others are steamed and these are baked. After cooling them for hours, I cut into them and they were really sticky and not firm inside, even though the outside was fully cooked and dried out. The Vegan Brunchers have a seitan-ish gluten meat texture, and these are way...puttier on the inside. Also, she instructs to pan fry them with garlic, which did not work out well. The chorizo had to be cooked so long to get some semblance of firmness that the garlic got charred (not a taste I'm fond of). So, next time, I'll probably make this with Isa Chandra's Chorizo- or a hybrid. Viva Vegans spices + the rest of the Vegan Brunch recipe.

I was surprised that the recipe didn't call for tomatoes with the toppings, but when I ate my tasty sopa, I found that it didn't need it. There was enough moisture in the spinach and crust and enough tomato flavor in the chorizo. I wish I had remembered the red onions on top (they turned a crazy neon magenta from the pickling process), but the rest (cabbage, radish and avocado) was amazing. This was one of those meals where you sit in silence and let all of the flavors bounce around in your mouth and think about how lucky you are to be eating like this. (i.e.- I highly recommend it) And, I have three chorizos left so I will try the papusas or something else from the book in the next few days too.

Chipotle Mexican Chili



I made this up. I rarely do that unless I'm aiming to replicate something amazing that I've eaten elsewhere. But, I was drawing on deadline and didn't have the time to go get groceries. We had a lot of bits of good things in the house, and I figured that they had to amount to something.

This was testing the theory that any combo of protein, onions and spices, and broth and/or tomatoes will make a good chili. Turns out, I think that's true. This recipe came out amazing! It was intensely flavorful, has great textures and a nice smoky aftertaste. If you adore chipotle, I would add an extra pepper in. The flavor is there as-is, but it's not overwhelming or overpoweringly chipotle flavored.

1/2 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic
1T cumin seed
2 small tomatoes, diced
2.5 cups vegetable broth
1 chipotle chili (in Adobo sauce), de-seeded and diced
2T chipotle/ Adobo sauce from the can
1 1/2 t oregano
1T chili powder
1 16oz can pinto beans
1 green bell pepper, diced
5T tomato paste
1/2 cup TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein)
2 bay leaves
1t salt
1/4-1/2t cayenne pepper
1T canola oil

Heat oil in a large stock pot. Sautée onions until translucent, add garlic and cumin seeds and sautée another two minutes or so until fragrant. Add the broth, tomatoes and all other ingredients except the can of beans. Simmer 1 hour. Add rinsed beans and simmer another 1/2 hour.

This is great with crumbled tortilla chips on top.

Tarascan Bean Soup



This is the Tarascan Bean Soup from Beans and Barley's Little Book of Beans Volume One. I'm not sure what they were going for with this (or what I was going for with this slanty slanty pic). The soup is basically a soupier version of refried beans, which I'm not fond of eating by the bowl. It could be "soup" if you thin it like the directions say, but I'm not sure why you'd want that. I had thought before I made it that it would be more of a hearty, whole bean soup.

After soaking the dried pintos overnight and making the soup, I basically realized that it's refried beans in soupy form and decided that it wasn't for me. I ate this bowl to be sure (it was weird), and then cooked it longer to thicken it and just made a mexican casserole with this, black beans, the spanish rice from RFD and tortillas. It was pretty good.

So, using this soup as a refried bean mixture (keeping it thick) is a winner- except I would ditch the coriander seeds. I really don't know what those were doing in there, and when you hit one while eating, it's overpowering (and makes you just want curry). On the whole, the recipe's not so much of a winner, but it was fine and on the up side- this was the first time that I used dried beans in a recipe (I'm slightly embarrassed to admit). My goal is to start using them at least half of the time or more in the future. They're cheaper, have less sodium and make me feel more like a real cook!

Bayless Mole Enchiladas starring "chicken style seitan"



This sauce recipe from Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill is the single most involved thing that I have ever cooked- ever. It took a total of four and a half hours from start to finish yesterday! A bit over two hours of that is simmer time, but that leaves two hours and some change of actively cooking to make this. It involves roasting, frying, blending, and then the hours of simmering.

Now, I have to say, it tastes amazing. It tastes like it was labored over- which is good, or I probably would've thrown it and the pot that I made it in out of the window. It's not at all heavy on the chocolate taste. In fact, no one flavor (of the eighteen ingredients) dominates. If I had to choose one that stands out, it's the peppers (there are three kinds), but just when you think you're tasting the cinnamon, then you taste the almonds or the anise or the garlic or the tomatillos. It's kind of a dance of flavors going on, which is amazingly interesting. It is probably the best mole that I've had.

However, that doesn't change the fact that you need the bulk of the day to make it, so it will be a very special occasion sauce. And really, it's not a sauce that would be good to eat weekly anyway. I have no idea what the calorie count is, but I'd guesstimate it at about 400 cals per serving (for the sauce alone). This is, of course, completely pulled out of thin air, but based on the fact that some of the ingredients have a lot of calories (almonds, raisins, chocolate, oil), and the peppers, almonds, garlic and raisins are all oil fried before going into the sauce (and that oil stays in the sauce).

Which leads to the other down side of this sauce. It is ridiculously messy. So there's that oil that I mentioned- it's a 1/2 cup (or starts out as that before you fry all the aforementioned ingredients). Then, after soaking the chilis for a half hour, you puree them with some of the soaking water and then add that puree into the oil. If you've ever put water into hot oil, you'll have an idea of what you're in for. Now make that splatter mess reddish brown and that's the treat that you're in for for the next hour of cooking until you get to the point where you add broth to calm that noise down (then have that all simmer for two hours).

Having said all of this, it is a decadent sauce to behold and will surely make you feel like a master saucier for having gone through all of this work. I kept the enchilada filling simple since I spent so much time on the sauce that it would be lunacy to then have other flavors battling the mole. I just sauteed onion, garlic, green pepper and cubed "chicken style" seitan (from the RFD book, see Fajita post), added a bit over a cup of sauce to the mix and used that for the filling. A lot of the mole that was in the pan and on top of the enchiladas dried during baking, so I saved about 2 cups to use for dousing before serving and froze another 2 cups to have another time.

Also, I halved his recipe which makes 3/4 of a GALLON of sauce. As I said, I still got to freeze 2 cups after making a saucy dish, but if you feel that you would only be up for this mole production once in your life, it may be a good idea to make the whole recipe and freeze a whole bunch to then pull out when you don't feel like cooking all day but want the mole fix.

If you're up for it, you can find the recipe HERE

Fajitas starring "chicken style seitan"



These are the Fajitas from the Real Food Daily Cookbook (I gotta branch out, but... why?) These are amazing! The "chicken style" seitan has different ingredients than the standard stuff (this one has onion, garlic, cannellini beans and garbanzo flour). It changes it up a bit, although it's hard to tell the taste difference b/c this fajita recipe adds a bunch on top of it.

There's a "marinade"- the driest marinade known to man, only 4T of liquid to, oh, about 20 T of spices. I marinaded it overnight. After that, it's easy peasy to make- just chop the peppers, onions and tomatoes, pan sear it all and voila! It's a delicious dish, and I appreciate the recipe a lot because I would never, ever have used those herbs (oregano, thyme, basil + others) for a mexican dish.

I have one pound of the seitan left, which will go in some mole enchiladas, so again, it'll be doused in something disguising the flavor, but there is a clear difference, and I can see why you'd want to use the "chicken style" versus plain for different applications. It's also nice to expand our non-soy protein base with a different flavor.

Mexican Quinoa Salad



This is a recipe from Milwaukee's Beans and Barley café. It's a great place that I utterly miss not living closer to. This is from their teeny book "Another Little Book of Beans". I have no idea if they still sell their cookbooks, this is from the year 2000. I hope that they do, though, b/c this is volume 2, and I'd like to get #1.

Anyway, this is delicious. It's great as a side, great alone, would be great as a pot luck or picnic dish, it's amazing. For such a little salad, there's a ton of nutritious goodness in it; the qunioa, black beans, peppers, tomato, avocado, etc. It made a TON (I noticed after the fact that it said that it made 8-12 servings), and I made it only for Davey and me. So, right now, I'm tired of it and won't be making it probably until summer when we have a picnic to go to where I want everyone to be asking who made the tasty salad.

Vegan Chorizo




Craaazy! Vital wheat gluten is a thing of wonder.

To continue my trend of making things that I henceforth never considered actually making (bagels, seitan...) this is a homemade vegan chorizo from scratch, featuring the magic of vital wheat gluten and zero soy. The rest of the base of this is mashed pinto beans. Then there's a bunch of spices, veg broth and tamari (oh, a bit of soy, I guess).

This is from Vegan Brunch and for the life of me, I can't imagine how anyone could invent this- but I'm so happy that she did. It's magical. You make this springy dough and then form it into "sausages", roll it in tin foil and steam it for 40 minutes. Then, slice it, pan sear it a tad to get a nice crispy outside and a better, deeper color. This stuff is amazing. It's spicy, flavorful, eyes-roll-back into your head amazingly good. Plus, there's no intestinal casing involved (not to get grodie, but that's a pretty nasty component of real sausage.

This is used as a brekkie side (hence it's origin in the Vegan Brunch book), but we made tacos with it. Flipping. Amazing.

Black Bean, Sweet Potato Burrito



These are from La Dolce Vegan and have become a staple in our house. The first time that I saw the recipe, I thought it sounded weird. The sweet potatoes are boiled and mashed and then layered with seasoned black beans. The beans have a very deep, rich flavor, and coupled with the sweetness of the taters- these are amazingly tasty. I used Frontera's Jalapeño and Cilantro salsa- a bit inside and some on top. Also, from the crappiest little taco hut in Chicago (Burrito House, oh how I miss thee), I got the trick of pan cooking a finished burrito to get that crispiness on the top and bottom. I don't do it for all burritos, but it's absolutely necessary for this one. A soft tortilla just wouldn't work with this. This recipe is also always a hit with non-veg peoples too. It's A+ #1 delicious.

Seitan Tacos





So, these are familiar, they're from RFD's book (p.155), but are very similar to the East Sider Tacos that I've talked about from Flore. However, as much as I love Flore's East Sider's (and my knock offs), the Seitan Tacos at the RFD restaurant are probably the best tacos that I have ever had ever ever ever... ever. If you are in Los Angeles, you must go eat them now. If you aren't in Los Angeles, this and the ocean are why you need to come visit.

So, despite having perfected my version of the Flore tacos, I had to try making RFD's at home. I should start this with stating the fact that mine aren't the same, and i will never do this again. But, they were good. I did two alterations to their recipe, I used taco sauce in lieu of Ranchero and made Meet Market knock off Cashew Cheese instead of the Tofu Cheddar. I will post that Cashew Cheese recipe when I iron it out, it's still not perfect. But, this was all very tasty.

The issue was that it's fried. Which is messy. And greasy. The restaurant has a fryer and can flash fry it. They get to the perfect level of crispy awesomeness without being greasy. In a pan, it takes a good minute per side to turn a corn tortilla into a hard shell taco. Thats a ton of time for the oil to seep all in to the seitan (you have to put the filling in before frying to keep the shape). So, they get pretty greasy, but I really wanted to try making hard shells, and it worked. But, we've been going to they gym, and that kind of thing makes you think twice about eating this kind of thing. At least at the restaurant, with the grease being absent, I can delude myself into thinking that they're healthy!

RFD Nachos





Oh. My. Gosh. Okay- if you're in Los Angeles, just go to Real Food Daily and order the nachos. They are beyond. The best mix of flavors that ever I have had in a nacho- and I consider myself a connoisseur. To make these at home is quite a lot of effort, but like all recipes from RFD's cookbook- it's well worth it.

There are five recipes within this recipe; The Cashew Cheese, the Black Beans, the Pico, the Guac and the Sour Cream. I mod'ed these out b/c I had made their burritos or something which required making the ranchero sauce and the spanish rice. So- these particular nachos have; The Spanish Rice, The Guac, plain Black Beans, Cashew Cheese and the Ranchero Sauce. Amazing!

I have to talk about this cheese too. I was addicted to Meet Market's cashew cheese, but the damn restaurant closed. Also, theirs is more of a spread that's the consistency of hummus or something. It was delicious and I'll still try to replicate it, but RFD's is in a universe of its own. For one, it melts. When you first make it, it's a sauce (see the pic). It has phenomenal flavor as well. But then the magic part happens after its cooked. Any cheese sauce that's left over can be poured into a tupperware and refrigerated. Hours later- you have a block of f-ing cheese that you can grate to put on top of tacos, burritos, etc. Can you even believe that? It's like some magic substance (real cheese). It blows soy and a certain name brand oil based faux cheese out of the water. It's the absolute best, and I shall never go back to any other cheese substitute. I cannot sing it's praises any more, it's the best!

Chiliquiles. Tastier than they look.



This would be an instance of the photo really not doing the dish justice! This is a Rick Bayless recipe- mutilated into veganness (no cheese or meat). I did use refried beans in it as a protein (otherwise, you're really just eating saucy chips). It's an excellent recipe (no real surprise, the man makes amazing food). Spicy, saucy, flavorful- and the perfect way to get rid of multiple 1/2 bags of chips.

http://www.rickbayless.com/recipe/view?recipeID=64

Bayless' guac



The non-veganized recipe is here

This unique guac is from chef Rick Bayless of Chicago's Frontera Grill, which, having lived in Chicago, I know to be amazing. My husband saw him on GMA and sent me the link, so I veganized it with tempeh bacon and made it the other night.

Holy. Phenomenal. Guac is pretty much always good anyway, but the Chipotle chilis and tempeh bacon really add another dimension to it. Mr. Bayless also advises to rinse off onions, which I think is a great technique that keeps the onion from overpowering the dish (maybe everyone knows about this, but it's the first time that I've seen it in a recipe).

The tempeh needs to be marinaded for at least 4 hours before frying it up in a pan for this dish. That sounds like a hassle, but on a afternoon that you'll be home anyway, it's totally easy peasy. I printed the tempeh marinade recipe before, but to save you from digging, here it is...

I use an 8 x 8 baking pan and whisk ingredients

4 T Tamari
1/2 c water
1 T Agave Nectar
a pinch- 1/8 t garlic powder
1 T Liquid Smoke

Mix all 5 ingredients in pan. Slice tempeh about 1/8" thick lengthwise, coat each slice in marinade, and leave for 2 hours. After 2 hours, turn to coat other side of slices.

Black Bean Tostadas




This is from Real Food Daily p. 165 + 135 (and could be potentially from p 70 and 64... geez!) Only this book could turn tostadas into a 4 recipe affair. Again- it's time consuming b/c it's good, but even I don't have that much time on my hands.

The Spanish rice for this is really good, but again- makes a vat for an army. Next time, even though it would involve halving a carrot and a few bell peppers, I'm halving it. If I even make it again, it was good, but not amazing good. I think that the other flavors in the tostada just don't balance it enough. It's really pretty sweet from all of the tomatoes, so I feel like it needs some spicy seitan or something instead of black beans.

Also, I didn't make the tofu sour cream (I had tofutti in the fridge, but forgot to add it), or the Pico de Gallo because I had already been cooking for hours and was tired of chopping. Also, the rice has enough tomato flavor, the dish didn't really need more.

It was cool to make my own tostada shell by baking a corn tortilla though. I'm sure it's Mexican cooking 101, but I've always bought the crispy shells vs making them (duy).

I am happy, with how high this was piled, that Davey worked late tonight since I ended the meal with as much tostada fixings or more on the plate and my lap as were on the damn thing when I started.

All in all- it's so-so. That seems to be my pattern with this book so far. Over the top amazing or ... eh, s'alright. Maybe the over the top ones just set the bar too high (?)

Tortilla Soup




This is from Real Food Daily's cookbook p 90/ 106 (what can I say, I'm excited at the new prospects in this book!). I should preface my opinion of this with a disclaimer. I have never tried tortilla soup before today.

The story in the book on this one is that there was some trash talking in the kitchens at RFD about whose family makes the best tortilla soup. They decided to have a smack down, and the published recipe is the winner.

Holy tortilla- it's f-ing amazing! It took quite awhile to make even though the book puts it at about 45 min, I spent about double that. But, I was on the phone, so I was probably being kinda pokey. It is an amazing array of flavors, and I think because I mistakenly bought a serrano vs a jalapeno- it is really crazy hot. But it's hot in an "I want to conquer this" way, instead of a "f-that, my teeth are burning" way.

I did half the recipe because this book seems to be under the impression that I'm cooking for 10 instead of 2. Halving it still would make about 4 decent sized bowls, which is all we need.

Also, the garnish is (another recipe) is AMAZING! All it is is sliced corn tortillas coated in oil with chili powder, sweetener and salt on it baked to crispiness, but my gosh, it's good. I had to make a second batch because I snacked my first garnish batch away while cooking (hey, I skipped lunch).

A+ #1 Awesome soup- this is worth getting the book for alone.

Enchiladas Verde (that's Spanish for "awesome")




Hey, guess what? I got a new cookbook! It is: The Real Food Daily Cookbook by Ann Gentry. Real Food Daily is an L.A. restaurant chain that is vegetarian and organic. Disclaimer- I've never been there (to any of the locations). I've read good and bad reviews and live no where near any of them, so I just have never bothered. But the cookbook is beautifully designed, full color (unlike most of my books- not that I have anything against low and minimal budget printing, it's the content that counts). But this one is damn pretty. What really caught my eye with it though was the seasonal sections in the back. The chef lists recipes by seasonal ingredients after the usual sections (soups, salads, entrees, etc).

One thing that I noticed when I got it home and really delved into it, was that the recipes that are most interesting to me are rather complex. there's a lot of listing of ingredients and then buried in the list will be "x sauce (see page blah blah)". Meaning that you have to make things to have the ingredients to make things. Which undoubtedly makes them better, but also takes up some serious time.

But anything worth doing is worth doing well, right? So this is the Enchiladas Verde (more or less) from page 152. I say more or less b/c I cheaped out on making my own Seitan and just bought some. I'm ambitious, but I have limits.

I did make the Salsa verde, which was my first foray into tomatillos. They're kinda creepy as I found a large dried up spider in one (in between the husk and the fruit). Anway, the salsa is an excellent recipe in itself. I did hit on a happy accident with this too. I made the salsa and had a minor catastrophe last night (almost lost my engagement ring while making it- we found it after 2 hours of looking. It was in the onion drawer). Anyway, I didn't feel like finishing up enchiladas, so I stuck the salsa in the fridge. It turns out that having it steep overnight is really good for the flavor.

Today, I made the enchilada part with store bought seitan (oh, whatever, it's good). The recipe is delicious! Davey thinks it's the best green salsa that he's ever had. It has great flavor, and after the addition of the second chili in the enchilada sauce, a nice simmery spice to it. the seitan takes on a very faux chicken feel, and the whole combo of flavors is really over the moon.

I also got ingredients for a nice peanut noodle salad that I'll be trying. I'm hoping that all of the recipes from the book are as out of the park as this one. And, I have to get around to trying out the restaurant as well!

Tamales!






Wow. I thought that Indian food was a time investment. I had always heard how Tamales are a huge ordeal, but really, including cooking time- it was over FOUR hours! Three for cooking and clean up. It's nothing that I would do on a regular basis, but a few times a year- for how good these are- would totally be worth it. These are DELICIOUS! The Masa is a hint greasy, but it's so flavorful. The filling that I made with corn was great because it was so sweet and when balanced with the spice of the peppers... I may have ate 6 of them (I skipped lunch and they were small- don't judge) This is another case of the photos not doing the food justice- Davey had the good camera at work, and by the time I finished, there was pretty much no light left in the day!

This was another Ellen recipe, so the recipe is HERE

I ended up varying from the recipe a tad. Here's what I did:

Filling:
1 pan of Gardein faux chicken cut into strips with some of the chili sauce mixed in
1 pan of; 2 cobs of fresh corn, 1/2 small fresh green chili, 2 green bell peppers- all cooked in a skillet and then mixed with some of the chili sauce.

Husks:
I only used 1 bag and had more than enough (the recipe calls for 2)

Masa:
I made double the masa that the recipe calls for- this is b/c I used up all of the masa and had tons of husks and filling left. It was no biggie to make more, but in the future, I'd double it to start with, so everything goes more smoothly

Chili Sauce:
I goofed on this- I bought 1/3 of the dried Anchos that the recipe calls for and was too lazy to go back to the store. I should've thirded the recipe to keep it all in proportion, but felt chaotic at the start of making everything and didn't. Next time, I'll intentionally 1/3 the whole recipe b/c this makes a LITER of sauce, and after mixing some in "just to coat" the fillings, there was still 750ml left! Way more than you need even if you use it for serving. Also, my lack of peppers made it far less intensely flavored than it should've been, but it was still really good!

I used a small veg basket steamer. Standing them all up was a bit challenging, but worked fine. 31 fit in a sauce pot. Making these is so time consuming that you have to be in to it. You have to relax and be zen and get kinda meditative with it or you'll just be angry that it's taking so long! It's such a great pay off though, totally worth the ordeal.

East Side-y Tacos



I semi-de-coded another Flore recipe. I have to add a disclaimer. Home versions are good in their own way, but it's just not the same. Going to Flore and partaking in their food pretty much can't be beat. But, if you don't live in L.A., or want to make knock offs at home like me, fakes are alright.

This also requires buying their brand of Cashew Cheese, which is sold at their sister café Meet Market east of Flore on Sunset. This stuff is awesome. For cheese eaters, or even anyone looking for a cheese substitute- you should know that this doesn't resemble cheese at all. It's its own thing. Its own wonderful thing. It's a spread (versus a shredded or grated cheesy substance), the flavor is nothing like cheese- which is not a bad thing at all. This stuff is spiced perfectly and has such a rich, amazing flavor. It totally makes anything you use it on. It's a crucial component of their East Sider Tacos, and although I'm not positive that the stuff at Meet Market is exactly what they use on the tacos, it's real close and just as tasty.

So, this is pretty easy peasy and good for a "tired after work" night. You'll need:

2 packs of Seitan (I buy the blue packs at Whole Foods)
1 packet of Whole Foods taco seasoning (I suppose you could use any brand you wanted though- but it's the powdered kind)
Cashew cheese to taste (I used about 3 t per taco)
Shredded lettuce
Diced tomatoes
Hard corn tortillas

Prepare the taco seasoning according to the directions. Put both packs of seitan (broken up a bit more, the chunks in the pack are pretty big and these need to fit into the shells) into a large skillet, pour taco seasoning over. Cook until most of the liquid dissolves, but there's still a bit of sauciness in there. While seitan is cooking, shred lettuce and dice tomatoes.

Spread cashew cheese all throughout the inside of the taco shells. Put seitan in the bottom about 1/2 way up the shell, top with lettuce and tomatoes to taste.

Voila! Tasty amazing tacos that I'm betting even carnivorous friends would enjoy!