Sunday, April 29, 2012

Black Bean and Mushrooms Tacos with Purple Cabbage, Carrot and Yam Salad

This is one of my favorite meals in the whole universe! It's very very easy to make! And it's vegan! Ever since I read the book "Eating Animals" by Jonathan Safran Foer, I have become a full vegetarian (no more seafood) and I am attempting to substitute more and more vegan meals.

For the tacos, I use a very basic recipe and top them with a mild store-bought salsa (el-paso) and my own homemade fresh salsa.
All you need is:
1 can of black beans
white mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
package of corn tortillas
Heat the black beans in a pot atop the stove until they start to boil and thicken. I like to use a potato masher and mash the beans so that it creates a paste-like texture. Add salt and pepper to season. 
Saute the mushrooms in a pan with butter over medium heat until they are browned and delicious.
Heat the tortillas one at a time in a pan until warm.

For the salsa, you need: 
1 avocado
1 tomato
1/4 white onion
lime juice
salt and pepper
Chop the avocado, tomato, onion, garlic and cilantro, and mix together. Add a teaspoon or two of freshly squeezed lime juice and mix. Season with salt and pepper. 

I like to serve the tacos with a cabbage, yam and carrot salad, which I call my "rainbow salad." It's very crunchy and delicious!

For the salad, you need: 
red cabbage, chopped into thin slices
1 yam, boiled and chopped
2-3 carrots, sliced into thin slivers
pumpkin seeds
balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
Mix the cabbage, yam and carrots together. Add the pumpkin seeds and craisins. Top with the vinaigrette, and mix!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lemon Meringue Pie!

When it comes to meringue and custard, I always get a bit nervous. There is always much care and concern involved, and lots and lots of tedious steps. However this Easter I wanted to make something light and fluffy to match the sunny weather and clear blue skies.
This pie is like a piece of heaven! The tart pastry dough adds a crisp and sweet cookie-like crust to this pie.
I got this recipe off of the Food Network (see the post here:
Lemon Meringue Pie
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 T. sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup unsalted butter
1 large egg
1 T. lemon juice
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup water
5 T. cornstarch
5 large egg yolks
dash of salt
1 T. lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 T. unsalted butter
5 large egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
5 T. sugar
1 T. cornstarch
1. For crust, combine flour, sugar and salt. Cut in chilled butter until a rough crumbly texture and little bits of butter are still visible. In a small bowl, whisk egg and lemon juice. Pour all at once into flour mixture and combine just until dough comes together. Shape dough into a disc and chill for at least one hour.

2. Preheat oven to 400 °F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to just less than ¼ inch thick. Sprinkle a 9-inch pie shell with flour and line with dough. Tuck in rough edges and crimp (pinch) with your fingers. Put pie shell in freezer just for 10 minutes to rest and firm up. Once chilled, line pastry with aluminum foil (and have foil hang over crust edges to protect it) and weigh down with pie weights, dried beans or raw rice. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 375 °F and bake 15 minutes more. Remove aluminum foil and weights and bake 10 minutes more, to dry out center of the shell. Cool completely before filling.

3. For filling, whisk sugar, water, and cornstarch in a heavy-bottomed saucepot. Whisk in egg yolks and salt and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, whisking constantly. Increase heat to medium and, still whisking, cook until filling becomes glossy and thick, about 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and strain. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice and butter until butter dissolves. Pour immediately into cooled pie shell and let cool 15 minutes. Chill completely before finishing with meringue, about 4 hours.

4. For meringue, preheat oven to 350 °F. Whip egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. While whipping, gradually pour in sugar and whip on one speed less than highest until whites hold a stiff peak (the meringue stands upright when whisk is lifted). Whisk in cornstarch and dollop over chilled lemon filling. Use sweeping motions with your spatula to create swirls and peaks that look so enticing once browned. Bake pie for 10 minutes, just until meringue browns lightly. Let pie cool or chill until ready to slice.

Vegetarian Chili

My first chili attempt ever! I got the recipe from the Domestic Goddess and made a few adjustments of my own (see post here:
The chili turned out spicy, beany and delicious - it was so good that I made the recipe twice in one week.
Vegetarian Chili
1 T. olive oil
half of an onion, diced
3 large cloves
2 ribs celery
1 small green pepper, diced
1 small red pepper, diced
1 zucchini, sliced
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
dash of red chili flakes
1/4 cup white wine
1 small can tomato paste
1 can stewed tomatos
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 cup chopped parsley
3 bay leaves
1/2 can of baby corn
chives, for topping
1. Preheat large heavy-bottomed sauce pan and add olive oil. Saute onion and garlic for one minute, then add celery and peppers. Saute for another two minutes and then add zucchini. Add salt, pepper and chili flakes. Turn down to medium-high and saute for another five - ten minutes, until vegetables have begun to soften.

2. Deglaze pan with half of wine and then add tomato paste, beans and tomatoes. Then add spices, parsley, bay leaves and remainder of wine and stir to combine. Leave to simmer on stove for at least 30 minutes, if not much, much longer (as long as you can stand it!).

3. About 15 minutes before serving add corn and stir to combine.

Owl Cupcakes!

I found this recipe on Chocolate Shavings a few months back and knew that it was far too cute to resist! (see their post:
For the cupcakes, I used a chocolate-vanilla marble cake recipe from my breast cancer cookbook. Then all you need is chocolate frosting, oreos and milk duds for the eyes, and smarties for the noses!