Tag Archives: mexican

Jacked-up Jackfruit

10 Jun

I have eaten jackfruit a few times and have long been curious to cook with it at home. Over a year ago, Mr. X and I tried some barbecue jackfruit tacos from the Seabirds truck, which we absolutely loved. When Elise posted about barbecue jackfruit recently and I already had a trip to the Thai market planned for our Sri Lanka meal, I knew the timing was meant to be.

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I decided to go a step further and add fried avocado wedges, too, based on another Seabirds taco. The combination was wonderful! Here’s how it all goes down.

Barbecue Jackfruit Tacos with Fried Avocado

  • 1-2 cups barbecue sauce (I made a batch of my usual recipe
  • 1 can green/young jackfruit in water/brine, drained and rinsed
  • 1.5 cups black beans
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 avocados, sliced into 16 wedges total
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Splash of milk (any works)
  • 1/6 cup cornmeal
  • 1/6 cup wheat flour (any)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Oil for frying (about 4 tablespoons)
  • Combine jackfruit with 1 cup of barbecue sauce either in a slow cooker or a pot on the stove. If using a slow cooker, set to low for 6 hours or high for 3. In a pot, bring to a simmer and cook for about 45 minutes to an hour. The goal is to get the jackfruit really tender. Once it reqches desired consistency, use two forks to shred the pieces until it resembles pulled pork. At this point, add black beans and more sauce to your desired level of sauciness. Let cook for another 20 minutes or so, until beans are hot.

    Toast or heat your tortillas using your preferred method. We put ours directly on a medium flame on the gas stove until they get some black marks, maybe 20 seconds per side. Set aside.

    Beat your eggs with milk in a small bowl. In another small bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Dip your avocado into the flour mix, then the egg, and then the flour again. Place on a plate until all pieces are coated. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add just a few slices at a time and brown on all sides. It takes about a minute per side, depending on how hot your stove gets. Don’t be afraid to let it get truly brown (but not black). Set fried pieces on a paper towel. Top each taco with a slice or two of avocado.

    Serves 4.

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    We are eating these again tonight, so I will make a fresh batch of avocado tonight. Jackfruit has almost no flavor and barely any calories, so it relies on a delicious sauce. I added the beans for staying power, and they are a great addition. I suspect we may have a little filling left over, and I already have plans for topping some baked potatoes with it for lunch!

    Have you ever eaten or cooked with jackfruit? I plan to keep it in the rotation.

    In queso emergency

    23 Jan

    I used to have a ridiculous T-shirt from a chain restaurant I grew up going to called El Chico that had “in queso emergency” printed on it and some kind of stick-figure-esque guy heading towards an emergency exit. It made no sense, and it still doesn’t, but it was awesome.

    Anyway, it does relate to my post! This weekend, Mr. X and I were very excited to watch the playoffs to see if it was possible for me to be 100% wrong in all my predictions (spoiler: it was), so I built lunch around a football snacks theme. Here was the result:

    DipsVegan queso dip, homemade tortilla chips, curry hummus, and carrots. I have been eying Alicia’s Queso Dip with Raw Cashews since, like, forever, and I finally got around to making it. Holy freaking Hades! It was incredible. Seriously. Mr. X went crazy for it. I made a few tweaks:

    • Added 3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast (per Alicia’s suggestion)
    • Omitted onion flakes and turmeric (didn’t have any on hand)
    • Used TJ’s Chipotle Garlic Salsa
    • Subbed hot sauce for the crushed hot peppers (again, didn’t have any)

    We were so in love with this vegan queso that we built two more meals around it. The first was for dinner Sunday night:

    Egg burritoThis picture is horrid (our lighting situation after dark is pretty pathetic), but that’s the inside of an egg-mushroom-scallion-vegan queso burrito in a flour tortilla. We had salad on the side, which went unpictured but was just TJ’s Champs Elysees mix topped with a lemon juice-Dijon dressing.

    And then dinner Monday and Tuesday was this similarly unphotogenic guy:

    BurritoThe filling is a combination of sauteed onion, garlic and mushrooms to which I added precooked black, pinto and garbanzo beans and finally a bunch of kale until it wilted. It was seasoned with hot sauce, chili powder and cumin. To make the burritos, I layered the queso first followed by the filling, rolled it up, and then heated for 8 minutes in 300° F oven. We topped each one with more hot sauce, scallions and cilantro. Love in a flour tortilla.

    If you haven’t made Alicia’s recipe, you should do it immediately. We will have to bust it out again very soon.

    Soup and tostadas

    13 Nov

    I have a couple of easy recipes for you today. This past week, I wanted to make my Pro-Immunity Chickpea Noodle Soup, but neither Trader Joe’s nor Ralph’s had miso, and frankly I was not in the mood to drive anywhere else. I decided to improvise, and the end result was way more like traditional chicken noodle soup — minus the death. Even Mr. X commented on how authentic it tasted, so I thought I should share the recipe. Also, I want to note that I made this during the tenseness that was Election Night, so somehow I accidentally made a vat of soup. We ate every bite, though, so don’t let that deter you.

    Classic Chickpea Noodle Soup

    • 1 teaspoon olive oil
    • 1/2 large onion, chopped or 4 scallions, sliced
    • 3 celery ribs, chopped
    • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1 pint mushrooms (cremini or button both work), chopped
    • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
    • A couple of sprinkles of herbes de Provence (optional)
    • 4 cups vegetable broth
    • 4 cups water (plus more, as needed)
    • 1 bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
    • Cracked black pepper and salt to taste
    • 1/2 package cooked whole wheat noodles (I break them in half before boiling)
    • 6 cups cooked garbanzo beans (or 3 cans, drained and rinsed)
    • Several dashes of hot sauce, to taste

    In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Then add the celery and cook until softened. Now add the garlic, mushrooms and spices and stir until the garlic becomes fragrant and the mushrooms are coated with the mixture. This will only take about a minute. Pour in the vegetable broth, 4 cups of water, parsley, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the noodles and garbanzo beans. If the soup is too thick — like mine was — add more water (I ended up with two more cups). Taste for spice and add more, including a little hot sauce, to taste. Eat and enjoy.

    Makes a billion 8 to 10 servings.

    On Saturday, I wanted to spiffy up the tacos I was planning to make. Since our tortillas were a little stale, I turned them into tostadas. This isn’t so much a recipe as it is a method — a ridiculously easy one. Just preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray both sides of your tortillas with cooking spray (or brush on oil). Sprinkle with salt and spices, if you want. Bake until they are crispy. Mine went for about six minutes on each side.

    For the toppings, I sauteed onions and garlic and added soy chorizo and leftover pinto beans to the pan. That went down first, followed by shredded jalapeno jack cheese and then sliced avocado. We garnished with lime juice and hot sauce. Delicious! Mr. X got the fancy plate because it was his birthday.

    Tacos and their variants are so easy and delicious, so we pretty much always have tortillas in the fridge these days. They are also a big part of the reason that I have started cooking entire bags of beans at a time instead of just what I need for a recipe. I never run out of things to do with them.

    Tofu Breakfast Tacos

    8 Jun

    I have been craving tofu lately, and it all started with an idea to make tofu scrambles for breakfasts last week. That quickly turned into a full-fledged obsession.

    Anyway, over the weekend, I saw corn tortillas in the fridge and decided to transform my usual scramble into breakfast tacos. They were so good and incredibly quick, so now I share them with you.

    Tofu Breakfast Tacos

    • Spray oil
    • 2 corn tortillas
    • 1 scallion, sliced (and green and white parts divided)
    • 1/4 block of tofu, either pressed or just quickly squeezed of its liquid
    • 2 tablespoons of salsa
    • 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast
    • Optional for serving: fresh cilantro, more salsa, hot sauce, avocado, or sour cream

    Heat a medium saute pan over medium heat with a little spray oil. When ready, add the tortillas and heat just until warm. Set aside.

    Now add the white parts of the scallion (with more oil, if desired) and cook until they lightly soften, about 4 minutes. Using your hands, crumble the tofu directly into the pan. Add the salsa and the nutritional yeast and stir the mixture together. Cook until everything is warmed through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve in the tortillas topped with the green parts of the scallion and your favorite add-ons.

    Serves 1.

    You can see that I added a hefty amount of fresh cilantro to mine. There’s also a drizzle of hot sauce. Avocado would have been insanely good here, too.

    If you wanted to jazz things up, you could add a clove of minced garlic and 1/4 of a chopped bell pepper to the onion saute, as well as a handful of fresh spinach to the very end of the scrambling. I would probably do those things next time, though this mix was perfectly delicious on its own. Plus, you can’t beat the speed!

    Have you had any food cravings lately?

    Spicy Veggie Tortilla Soup

    26 Mar

    (This post is from a week ago. I apologize for the time warp but hope you enjoy it anyway.)

    I had a delightful kitchen victory on a very sleepy Sunday night. When I say “very sleepy,” I mean running on four hours of sleep for no good reason at all. I was sick on Friday and half of Saturday with a migraine, so as soon as I felt better, I decided to take advantage of it. The mister and I stayed up late playing games and having a ton of fun on a dreary, drizzly day. I rolled into bed at 3:30, an unheard-of hour for me. 7:30 struck the next morning, and I was wide awake with no chance of going back to sleep. My internal clock needs to be bashed over the head.

    Anyway, I was unable to go back to sleep but still barely functional all day (thanks also to some nasty cramps, TMI), and yet I managed to meal plan, grocery shop, cook soup, and tidy the kitchen afterward. Victory!

    I have been thinking about making tortilla soup for about a month now, and the time finally came. After looking at several different vegetarian versions, I based my final one on this recipe from the FatFree Vegan Kitchen. I tweaked the ingredients quite a bit, but the method is still mostly Susan’s. Here’s my version of:

    Spicy Veggie Tortilla Soup

    • Cooking spray
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • Pinch of salt
    • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped finely
    • 1 15-ounce cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes (mine had added green chiles, too)
    • 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, chopped (seeds removed if you want less heat)
    • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped (optional)
    • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
    • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
    • 4 cups water
    • 3 cups beans (I used two cans of a medley of red kidney, pinto, and black beans)
    • 1 cup frozen or fresh corn (optional)
    • 6 corn tortillas
    • 2 limes, cut into quarters
    • A bunch of Swiss chard, scrubbed and chopped
    • Black pepper (to taste)

    Spray a large soup pot with cooking spray and set over medium heat. When warm, add the onions and salt, cooking until softened. When the onions are nearly done, add the garlic and cook about two more minutes.

    Meanwhile, pour the diced tomatoes into a bowl and add the jalapeno or serrano, chipotle (if using), oregano, and chili powder into a bowl and combine well with an immersion blender. (If you don’t have one, you can use a regular blender.)

    When the onions and garlic are cooked, add them to the bowl (or the blender) and combine. Return everything to the pot and cook over medium heat until the tomato mixture thickens slightly, stirring often. Now add the broth, water, beans, and corn (if using) and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer, allowing the flavors to marry.

    Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375° F. Cut the corn tortillas in half and then slice into 1/4″ strips. Spray a baking sheet with oil, scatter the tortilla strips, and then spray the tops with oil. Sprinkle a little salt over the top. Place the sheet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, stirring once every five minutes, until they get crisp but not browned. Set aside.

    When soup is done, serve topped with black pepper, a squeeze of lime juice, and a sprinkling of tortilla strips.

    Makes 4 to 6 servings.

    The soup tastes even better the next day! Just store your tortilla strips separately and add them to each serving.

    Once again, I prepared this soup in my Le Creuset, much to the mister’s chagrin. It weighs a ton, and he’s the official dishwasher. Sorry, baby, but it’s love. It tastes equally good in a bowl and in a mug.


    Embrace the ugly: Mexican lasagna

    7 Feb

    It’s been a bit dull in the meal-planning department here recently, but I wanted to share a delicious recipe that has quickly become part of our tasty-quick-and-ugly repertoire: Mexican Lasagna.

    Yep, looks vommy, but tastes yummy. I promise. Pictured above is a slice of my vegan, cheese-free serving. You can also add the shredded stuff, which is how Mr. X likes it:

    Ever-so-slightly more photogenic.

    So here’s how you make it:

    Mexican Lasagna

    • 1 teaspoon olive oil
    • 1 red bell pepper, de-stemmed, seeded, de-veined, and chopped
    • 1 container mushrooms, chopped
    • 10 corn tortillas
    • 1 14 oz can vegetarian refried beans or 1 can black or pinto beans, drained and mashed
    • 1 4 oz can diced green chiles
    • 1 jar salsa of choice (less watery is better)
    • 1 cup shredded cheese OR 1/4 to 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (optional)

    Preheat oven to 375° F. Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the bell pepper and cook until it softens to desired consistency, about 5 minutes. Then add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for another minute or two, until they reduce. If your veggies are taking too long to soften, you can add a pinch of salt to draw out the liquid. Turn off heat and set aside.

    In a 9×13 baking dish, lay out your bottom layer of tortillas. I actually make this using two 8x8s, since I don’t have a bigger one. To make the bottom layer in my small dishes, I cut all the tortillas in half and use 2.5 in each. Just do it however it works best for you. On top of the tortillas, spread 1/2 the refried beans. You can heat them slightly if it helps, but I am too lazy to clean an extra dish. Now add 1/2 the green chiles, 1/2 the salsa, 1/2 the sauteed veggies, and 1/2 the optional cheese or nooch. Repeat starting with the rest of the tortillas and working your way up.

    Put the lasagna(s) in the oven and cook for about 30 minutes, until either the cheese melts or they’re heated through.

    Serves 4ish as part of a larger meal. He eats it in two servings, and I make three out of mine.

    This recipe, obviously, is very flexible. You could saute the veggies with garlic and onions (which I would do if that didn’t take extra time). You could add jalapenos or chopped chipotle peppers. You could ruin it by throwing in black olives — it’s all up to you. I can say we love this with blue corn tortillas, refried black beans, and Trader Joe’s Garlic Chipotle salsa. It’s warm, comforting, and filling, and it reheats nicely.

    Embrace the ugly and give this recipe a try.

    Lentil Tacos and a return to vegging out

    22 Mar

    I’m baaaack! Did you miss me?

    Life has been pretty crazy since January. Between closing my play, breaking up with my (now former) taller half, moving in with my new boyfriend, taking over managing director duties for a Shakespeare festival, and everything else in between, I’ve been chasing my tail for a while now. I am finally getting into the swing of things, though, and the internet has returned to me, so expect more updates. Yay!

    The only thing I still lack is a camera. OK, I have two cameras but still haven’t located a charger for either, so you’re stuck with cell phone pics for a while. Did I mention I upgraded to a smart phone? I love my Droid. 🙂

    So what better way to get back into my life as a food blogger than by showing you some comestibles. Enter my lunch this week: Lentil tacos and carrots with tahini dip.

    Oh yes, desk photos have returned. Holla.

    The tacos are a highly bastardized version of the one found in Skinny Bitch Ultimate Everyday Cookbook. I am not exaggerating with the phrase “highly bastardized.” Also, I am smirking over typing two of the naughty “B” words in that first sentence. Tee hee.

    Anyway, here is my recipe for Lentil Tacos with Fresh Salsa:

    • 1 cup dried red lentils
    • 2 tablespoons white or yellow onion, chopped finely
    • 3 cloves plus 2 cloves of garlic, minced and divided (or to taste)
    • 1 teaspoon of olive oil plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
    • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
    • 1-2 teaspoons chili powder
    • 1-2 teaspoons cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 2/3 cup cherry tomatoes, diced (and seeded if you abhor those little bugger as much as I do)
    • 2 tablespoons red onion, chopped finely
    • 1/4 of a jalapeno pepper, minced (and seeded if you want less spice)
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
    • 4 whole wheat tortillas
    • 1 large avocado, flesh sliced

    Bring two cups of water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add lentils and white or yellow onion. Return to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 10 to 15 minutes, or until lentils are cooked. Mash lightly (or, conversely, overcook them in too much water like I did and watch them mash themselves when you try to drain off the extra moisture) and combine with 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, tomato paste and spices. I found this pretty easy to do with a giant spoon, but you can use a blender.

    While the lentils are cooking, make the salsa (this is almost identical to Skinny Bitch’s): combine cherry tomatoes, 2 minced garlic cloves, red onion, jalapeno, lime juice, cilantro and 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a bowl. Mix well.

    Heat up tortillas either in a warm, dry skillet or in the microwave between damp paper towels (about 15 seconds per tortilla). Spoon 1/4 of the lentil mixture into each tortilla and top with 1/4 of the fresh salsa and – yes – 1/4 of the avocado chunks.

    Makes four servings.

    I nooched the heck out of mine before eating:


    I gotsta say, the fresh salsa makes this recipe. Oh man, it’s delicious! This attempt was actually my first ever making salsa, but it will not be my last. Maybe some mango-pineapple action will rear its head next? Also, the avocado was luscious and wonderful.

    The main changes I made to the original recipe were reducing the amount of olive oil (and actually I think it can be omitted entirely, especially from the lentil mixture); subbing red lentils in for the green, which changed the texture, but I much prefer the flavor of red; using whole wheat tortillas instead of crunchy corn ones; and, of course, adding more spice.

    The tahini dip I ate with my carrots was incredibly basic: about 1/4 cup tahini mixed with the juice from one lemon, 3 minced garlic cloves, salt and pepper to taste, and enough hot water to thin out the consistency. I made it originally to top an Edamame Corn Salad (literally just 12 ounce of frozen, shelled edamame and 1/3 cup frozen corn, plus salt and pepper), but there was enough extra for some dipping action. No complaints.

    So how’s that for my first post back in the game?