Tostadas con Mole
One final blog challenge before my BIG trip, this time heading to Mexico for /r/52weeksofcooking. Mexican food is a regular in our household, normally enchiladas or tacos but occasionally fajitas. I am trying to push myself with these challenges so I decided to attempt a mole sauce, with enough ingredients on hand to make enchiladas suizas just in case. I checked out more than a few recipes online in order to get idea of the basic ingredients, knowing that I would have to make more than a few changes in order to keep the mole peanut free and vegetarian friendly. I also decided to use my slow cooker in order to keep the heat in my kitchen at a manageable level.
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 tomatillos, well washed
- 2 poblano peppers
- 1 serrano pepper
- 6 dried ancho chilies
- 4 dried mulato chilies
- 5 dried pasilla chilies
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp peppercorn
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 vidalia onion, diced
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp cashews
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 stick Mexican cinnamon
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 14 oz can roasted tomatoes (or 2 roasted plum tomatoes)
- 3 oz mexican style chocolate
- 1 plantain
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 stale corn tortillas
- (can do this the night before)
- Heat oven to 450 and use the vegetable oil to grease the bottom of a roasting pan. Add the poblano and serrano peppers along with the tomatillos. Roast for 40 minutes, turning once halfway thru.
- Once the peppers are roasted add to slow cooker along with remaining ingredients minus the stale tortilla. Cook on low for 6 hours, then use immersion blender to break up the ingredients adding the stale tortilla in pieces along the way. Turn heat to high and cook for an additional hour.
- Serve over crispy tostadas, nachos, or any other treat!
I decided to make my own tortillas, which is why this dish wound up being tostadas instead of enchiladas. I also cooked up some squash and zucchini, which were originally going to go in the enchiladas but worked just fine on top of the tostadas. In the end everything was delicious and I have ton saved in my freezer for nachos, enchiladas, and maybe more tostadas.
When one is a vegetarian blogger seafood challenges require thinking a little outside the box. After all what most people picture when they hear seafood is NOT vegetarian and while at one point I did include those recipes I don’t really make that anymore. So with /r/52weeksofcooking’s seafood challenge I really had two options: fake seafood or using a sea-based vegetable. I debated recreating Richard Blais’s banana scallops but while those are really outside the box they aren’t exactly challenging so I decided to keep looking. Then while reading a Washington Post article I saw a recipe for vegan sushi and instantly latched on to giving sushi a try. I liked the idea of using mushrooms for one of the fillings, which is what WP had listed, but switching the suggested citrus soy sauce for a sesame ginger sauce. For the other filling I decided to use sweet potatoes, which are right there with eggplant on my must have in kitchen at all times list. I decided to make a garlic ginger soy sauce for the sweet potatoes which resulted in a very crowded stove top.
Mushrooms with Sesame Ginger Sauce
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 lb shitake mushrooms
- 1 tsp ginger, shredded
- 1/2 tbsp sesame sauce
- 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
- Cut the mushrooms into matchstick size pieces. Set aside.
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a shallow saute pan. Add the ginger and cook for 2 minutes allowing it to slightly brown. Add the mushrooms then turn the heat down. Cook for 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent sticking/burning. Add the sesame sauce, stir well and cook for a final 2 minutes. Toss with the sesame seeds and set aside to slightly cool.
- Roll the sushi (see link below recipes) and enjoy!
Garlic Ginger Sweet Potatoes
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 shallots, diced
- 1 tsp garlic, shredded
- 1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in to matchsticks
- 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add the garlic, shallots, and ginger and cook for 3 minutes, allowing everything to turn slightly golden. Add the sweet potatoes then cover and cook for 5-7 minutes stirring once to prevent burning but allowing the sweet potatoes to get a slight crust on them. Stir in the soy sauce then cover and turn heat to low.
- Cook for a final 3 minutes then set aside to slightly cool.
- Roll the sushi (see link below recipes) and enjoy!
I did cheat a little in using Alton Brown’s sushi rice recipe, figuring I had enough work figuring out the right sauce to vegetable ratio. For rolling the sushi I watched a few videos to get the idea and used plastic wrap to make up for my lack of a mat. I served the sushi with some siracha sauce since fresh wasabi is not an easy to locate ingredient at my local market, and also skipped the soy sauce. I was surprised in how easy these were to roll, even without a bamboo mat!
Posted in 52Weeks, Asian, Quick Weeknight Recipes, Vegan
Tagged garlic, ginger, mushrooms, seaweed, sesame, shallots, sushi, sweet potatoes
Many moons ago a good looking guy with curly dark hair asked the office HR girl if she would help him find an apartment. Seeing as how she had lived in the area for the better part of a decade she decided to help out, agreeing to meet him on Saturday at a local “fast food” place for a quick bite before looking at places. A few years down the road, wedding bells were ringing and as of tomorrow the software developer and (former) HR girl will have spent one year in wedded bliss. I still can’t believe it’s been a year since our wedding, and I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am to be spending the rest of my life with such an amazing person.
In honor of our anniversary I decided to attempt to recreate that first lunch, which was spent at a Middle Eastern restaurant. This happened to fit perfectly with this week’s r/52weeksofcooking challenge as falafel is one of my go-to fast food options. I know it isn’t the “standard” concept of fast food but being vegetarian the standard fast food joint doesn’t really work for me. Luckily I’ve always worked near a place offering these delicious protein packed treats, be they in pita form or served with golden rice. Since Joe and I both got the falafel platter and not the pita, I decided to go that route and make some delicious coconut & tumeric rice to go with. I also made up some of my lazy Greek sauce which got drizzled on top of everything.
- 2 cans chickpeas, well rinsed
- 1 red onion, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp Ras El Hanout seasoning
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp bread crumbs
- enough vegetable oil for frying
- Pulse the chickpeas, onion, garlic, and seasoning in a food processor to create a thick paste-like dough.
- Roll the dough in to golf ball sized balls. Place on a plate then refrigerate for an hour or place in the freezer for 20 minutes. (for best results keep falafels in the fridge until they are reading to be fried)
- Meanwhile heat up the oil in a deep saute dish. Oil needs to go halfway up the falafels so around 2.5inches of oil. Oil is hot enough when you can flick water in and it bubbles off the top (can also use wooden spoon method), gently add the falafels to the oil being sure to not crowd the pan. Cook on each side for around 3 minutes or until a deep golden brown, removing with a slotted spoon.
- Remove the falafels to a plate covered in a paper towel. Allow to cool then serve and enjoy!
I can’t stress enough the importance to keep the falafels as cold as possible before cooking them up. This will help them keep their shape, something that is not so easy to do with vegan falafels. The other important thing is to make sure the oil is at the right temperature: too hot and the outside will burn leaving a raw middle; while too cold will cause the falafels to fall apart and cook unevenly.
Braised Eggplant in Spicy Garlic Sauce
Eggplant is a standard ingredient in my house, it can be cooked in so many ways and essentially goes with everything. However I tend to always prep it the same way – pressed – and cook it one of two ways: stir fry or baked. I’ve branched out once before with poached eggplant and wanted to do that again, even it meant having pasta on hand just in case. So I searched the internet, and my cookbooks, and decided to give braised eggplant a whirl after seeing claims of a softer more flavorful dish. It’s closer to how eggplant is cooked in most Oriental restaurants and I liked the idea of the eggplant absorbing more sauce, and with that more flavor. This cooking method also meant I needed to salt my eggplant, instead of pressing it, to insure it was as “dry” as possible for maximum sauce.
- 3 Japanese (Ichiban) eggplant, roll cut
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 5 garlic cloves, diced
- 1 tsp ginger, diced
- 3 scallions, diced
- 4 shallots (green onions), diced - whites and greens
- 1 thai chili, chopped
- 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp water
- Salt the eggplant in a strainer and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Meanwhile chop and prep the remaining vegetables.
- Heat the oil in a large flat bottom saute pan. Add the eggplant and cook for 7 minutes, or until eggplant is soft. Add the garlic, ginger, and scallions and continue to cook for another 7-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile puree the white parts of the shallots with the chili, soy sauce, and rice vinegar - forming a sticky paste.
- Add the paste to the eggplant along with the water. Stir, cover, and cook for 10 minutes then add the green tips of the onions stir and Serve!