Tag Archives: Vegan Mexican Food

Chocolathon!

My friends and I come up with the BEST potluck themes!  The latest one: chocolate.  Yep, a whole meal centered around chocolate.  It was awesome.

I made Black Bean and Yam Enchiladas with Mole Sauce.  I got the recipe from a wonderful blog called The Keen Kitchen.  Check it out!

The mole was actually really easy to make and really rich.  I can’t wait to make it again!

The lovely Sara made a unique and delicious pasta dish!  It was tossed with a light citrus-zest sauce and topped with finely grated chocolate.

Half of us really enjoyed the complex flavors, but half of us preferred the pasta without the chocolate.  Personally, I have always felt that citrus and chocolate is a winning combination.  All of us agreed that the pasta and enchiladas were surprisingly good together.

Next came the important part: dessert!

The beautiful Jenny brought us heavenly chocolate-pumpkin muffins with pumpkin glaze.

My description will not do these justice.  They were super chocolatey, and the pumpkin glaze was super pumpkiny!

Sara really outdid herself by bringing an entree AND a fancy dessert!  She made these lovely little chocolate tarts.  They involved puff pastry shells, chocolate pudding, and mini marshmallows.  They tasted like s’mores.  But classier!

We also enjoyed a lovely Malbec with our meal, provided by the gorgeous Kate (who was not able to drink any, since she was pregnant at the time, but she has since delivered a healthy baby boy…Yay!)

We decided that our next potluck theme should be Greek food.  I’m excited about that one, but I also think that we should repeat the chocolate theme soon.

Another Absolutely Wonderful Trip to San Francisco

First of all, I would like to point out that this blog is now one year old!  Woo hoo!  Thank you to all of my readers and supporters over the last year!

Now, down to business…photos from California!  Breakfast on the first day was a hearty veggie curry pastie from John Campbell’s Irish Bakery on Geary Street.  Yum.  Granted, this was probably not 100% vegan, but it was vegetarian and savory, and perfect for eating in Noor’s Land Rover on the way to Peet’s Coffee, which has the best coffee EVER (+ 2 vegan cookie options!)

For dinner one night we headed across the Bay Bridge to Oakland to eat at the incomparable Zaki Kabob House.  Noor really wanted to take me there, because he noticed that the menu has a whole column of vegan dishes!  It was hard to choose!  As an appetizer we shared the Mashweeya salad: tender roasted eggplant, fresh tomatoes, crisp red onions, lots of garlic, and good olive oil.

For my entree I ordered the Zaki Mediterranean Plate so that I could try a little bit of everything.  It had hummus, baba ghanouj, dolmas, falafels, and unlimited pita bread.

They provided complimentary fresh mint tea, and I also ordered a Jerusalem Mint Lemonade, which was SUPER minty: the perfect way to wash down a delicious meal.

This is a wonderful family-owned restaurant with a lot of integrity, definitely a new favorite.  The other purpose for our Oakland trip was a stop at Fenton’s Creamery, where Noor did get me to sample their heavenly Toasted Almond ice cream, but even there I did manage to find a vegan option in the raspberry sorbet.

All of their treats are freshly made by hand.  This was a far cry from the hard-frozen sorbets at the supermarket.  It was soft, flavorful, and not too sweet.  I know that Oakland gets a bad rap, but I had a great time there!

The next day I took the bus downtown by myself because Noor had to work.  At SFMOMA I got to see a work by one of my favorite artists.  Here I am in front of Janine Antoni’s Lick and Lather.  In this piece she cast self-portrait busts in both chocolate and lard.  Then she slowly erased her identity by licking the chocolate and washing with the soap.

After working up an appetite by looking at art, I really wanted to eat at The Plant, having read about it on Amber Shea’s Almost Vegan blog.  However, I got there and found that it is closed on Saturdays!    The location in the Financial District is only open Monday through Friday.  Oh well.  I wandered a bit and then headed over to the Ferry Building.

The Ferry Building is host to an upscale (and fairly pricy) farmers’ market, but it was winding down for the day.  I did find some wonderful food from The Slanted Door at their to-go window, called Out the Door.  I ordered the Vegetarian Curry and Iced Tea and walked outside and found a bench.  This was my lunch:

This was where I ate my lunch:

…and this was my dining companion:

Not bad, huh?  The curry was lovely.  It was a Vietnamese curry: not heavily seasoned, but hearty.  With potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and broccoli, it was almost like a good stew.

In addition to trying some great new places, I also got to enjoy some old favorites.  On Sunday morning/afternoon we had brunch at La Palma Mexicatessan while listening to the church bells.  I got the Vegetarian Burrito (no sour cream or cheese) again, but this time I tried the tomato-basil tortilla (last time I had the spinach tortilla).  Yum.  Here it is untouched but already bursting at the seams with goodness:

…and here it is after I destroyed half of it.  Noor also got me some chips and guacamole and vegetarian sweet corn tamales to take back to his place (because he knows the way to my heart)

They accidentally gave us the cinnamon tamales, but they were good!

We also went down to San Jose to visit our good friend Scott, and, of course, we hit up Falafel’s Drive-In.  I had the Falafel Sandwich again, and it was awesome again!

In San Jose I also got to say hi to our friend Jane’s chickens. These are some happy chickens.

This one thinks she’s a cat and roams around the house looking for spiders under the furniture.

Needless to say, I felt no qualms about eating some eggs from THESE chickens!  Thank you, Jane, for the wonderful eggs!  Look at how pretty the colors were:

Noor made me another potato omelet, which I devoured!


I think the steam was fogging up my camera lens here, and I was too hungry to care, but you can still tell how rich and yellow the egg yolks were: not at all like the ones from the store.

Noor also made VEGAN CHILI for me!  Yeah!  It had black beans, quinoa, Morningstar crumbles, tomato paste, and onions, and was well seasoned with chili powder and cumin.  It was thicker than what I usually make.  In fact, the texture was downright meaty!

On my last day we got breakfast at the farmers’ market in the parking lot of the mall by his apartment.  I love that you can’t swing a dead cat in San Francisco (not that a vegan would ever do that) without hitting a farmers’ market.  It was a foggy, misty morning: very pretty but no good for taking pictures.  We got a nice loaf of French bread, and then we happened upon a hummus stand.  The hummus guy was a very good salesman.  He let us try all of the flavors, including yummy Artichoke, Tomato-Basil, and Avocado-Cilantro.  He explained that their hummus has a super creamy texture with half the oil and tahini of traditional hummus, thanks to a special blade for blending it smoothly.  It was super yummy and only 250 calories per tub.  We chose the Cilantro-Jalapeno Hummus and also the Italian Caponata (a yummy eggplant-tomato-olive spread).

After putting a big dent in our bread and spreads we also each had a piece of bread with some off-brand Nutella that happens to be vegan as our “breakfast dessert.”  Then we headed over to Peet’s to wash down a fabulous breakfast with the BEST coffee.

What a great trip!  I can’t wait to go back and get some more of that hummus!  I love that I’ve spent enough time in San Francisco now to have old favorite restaurants but that I also had the chance to find some new favorites.  I also love it when my BF cooks for me.  I’ll have to make him a nice meal when he visits me in KC next month.  If you were a (mostly) vegan cooking for a confirmed omnivore, what would you make?

Simple Homemade Burrito Bowl

This is a really simple concept: just cook some rice.  Meanwhile saute half an onion and 2 cloves of garlic in a tablespoon of oil.  Add a can of black beans, drained.  Season with chili powder and cumin.  Throw in any veggies you like (I used grape tomatoes, halved, and baby kale, because I had them on hand).  And make some simple guacamole by mashing 1 avocado with the juice of half a lime and a little bit of salt.  Serve the beans on top of rice.  Garnish with guacamole and your favorite salsa.  This makes 2 servings for me (and so does a Burrito Bowl from Chipotle).

  • Rice: $0.22
  • 1 tablespoon oil: $0.05
  • 1/2 onion: $0.17
  • 2 cloves garlic: $0.10
  • 1 can black beans: $0.79
  • spices: $0.05
  • tomatoes: $0.59
  • baby kale: $0.45
  • 1 avocado: $0.88
  • 1/2 lime: $0.09
  • salsa: $0.25

=$3.64

That’s probably about half the cost of eating at Chipotle.

Restaurant Review: FÜD

FÜD is an all-vegan restaurant that opened just over two years ago in Kansas City and, as far as I can tell, has been thriving.  This is one of my favorite restaurants in town, but obviously it’s not just the vegan crowd keeping this place in business.  Across the nation, people are starting to realize that vegan meals can be rich, hearty, and delicious.  And if anybody honestly believes that the Midwest is a “vegetarian wasteland,” obviously he hasn’t sampled the fare at FÜD.

I’ve been here many times in the last two years, but I normally devour my food before remembering to photograph it.  Last night, although hungry, I was determined to have some good images to share.  I started with a fresh juice: the Organic Sunrise, which has orange, carrot, beet, apple, and ginger.

They also have a wide variety of yummy milkshakes, teas, and even hot chocolate.

I ordered the soup of the day: Cheezy Baked Potato.

(I love their fun vintage dishes!)

This soup was not only thick and creamy, but had nice chunks of potato, broccoli, and crispy smoked “tofu bacon.”  What more could a vegan want?

It’s always really hard for me to pick an entree here, because I’m unaccustomed to the freedom of being able to choose anything on the menu.  I wanted to choose something I hadn’t tried last night, so I went with the Tex-Mex Chick’n Wrap.

Both the Chick’n and the Phish at FÜD are made from savory young jackfruit (often used as a meat substitute in Southeast Asia).  The texture is remarkable.  But the menu at FÜD is really built around showcasing Heidi VanPelt-Belle’s famously rich cashew cheeze sauce.

Most of the entrees can be made gluten free, and a lot of them are raw.  Speaking of raw, I don’t think I can possibly go to FÜD without ordering their raw, vegan ice cream for dessert!  This is a half order (!) with raw chocolate syrup:

The ice cream is made from cashews, agave nectar, and vanilla, but the secret is that they have a soft-serve machine, which apparently makes it wonderfully creamy!

As much as the wonderful food, people hang out at FÜD for the relaxed atmosphere.

The owners’ toddler son is often seen dining in the restaurant, and co-founder Jerimiah frequently spins jazz records.  Last night he was playing an album called Afro Disiac by Charles Kynard (1970):

Last night I ran into my neighbor across the hall (the one who made that awesome potato curry), dining with her husband and a colleague.  I also saw one of the owners of Mud Pie Vegan Bakery and Coffeehouse (review coming soon) with his toddler daughter.  In the past I’ve made conversation with complete strangers at FÜD.  And since it’s so family-oriented, it all seems so genuine.  This place lacks the hipster pretensions that could so easily run amok in an all-vegan restaurant and make omnivores feel out of place.  Not so here: the comforting cuisine and intimate ambience have made this restaurant one of THE places to be in Kansas City.

Last but not least, I just have to say that their brightly colored decor is a lot of fun, and my favorite part is the painting in the bathroom:

YES!  This IS glitter puff paint on black velvet!

If you’re in Kansas City, be sure to enjoy FÜD:  http://www.eatfud.com/

Another Visit to San Francisco

I just got back from another trip to San Francisco to visit my boyfriend.  As always, I had some wonderful food, although we spent most of the time relaxing and watching movies (Lord of the Rings marathon!)

When I arrived, he took me to Don Pico’s, a fun Mexican restaurant.  The guacamole was stellar.  It had an earthy spice I couldn’t quite pinpoint.  I thought it might be cumin or coriander.  Noor thought it might be nutmeg or mace.  I talked to my friend Kate when I got back, and she said that people sometimes add turmeric to guacamole.  I think that’s it, but I’ll have to do some experimenting at home to be sure.

They had a few vegetarian entrees.  I chose the grilled vegetable paella.  It was delicious and a very generous portion!  I especially liked the addition of black olives.

The decor was really fun too.  Almost everything in the restaurant is an antique, including paintings from the movie Citizen Kane.  Also, there was a lady singing bossa nova classics, which enhanced the ambience.

The next afternoon we went down to the Mission district to make a stop at La Palma Mexicatessan.  It was a beautifully warm day, and were thirsty, so Noor suggested a visit to St. Francis Soda Fountain.  It was a fun spot, and I was pleasantly surprised to find vegan milkshakes on the menu, made with soy gelato!  Yum!  I chose chocolate.

This place also had neat antique decor.

La Palma actually had the sweet corn tamales this time, so I finally got to try them, and they did not disappoint!

We went back to Ton Kiang for their fantastic dim sum.  Of course, I had the pea shoots again.  I also had some shrimp dumplings.  As Noor always points out, he eats more vegetarian fare when I’m around, so if I eat a few shrimp, it’s okay because it all balances out.  Speaking of which, I got a sweet phone call from his Mom, who has been inspired to eat vegetarian a few days a week now!

At Ton Kiang they had these really cute fruit salad cups this time.  We had to get one, mostly for the photo opportunity because we loved the presentation.  It was really good, fresh fruit too, better than what we can get in the Midwest this time of year.

Before dropping me off at the airport, Noor took me to an Indian buffet called Great India.  The lentil-rice soup, aloo matter, and dal were really good.

Now I’m home for a while.  School starts tomorrow, so the sandwich challenge is back on!

 

 

Chili Verde

There’s no doubt that chili (sin carne) is a vegetarian staple.  Without the meat it’s still hearty enough and recognizable enough to please omnivores and vegans alike.  But, of course, variety is the spice of life, so I’ve been thinking about developing a veggie version of a white chili or green chili recipe for some time.  When I had some friends over for my birthday this week, it was the perfect chance to test my idea, and I was happy with the results.

Before leaving for work I threw the following into my crock pot:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 2 cans green chiles
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 fresh jalapenos, chopped
  • 2 small zucchini, cubed
  • 1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

I let that cook on low for about 7 hours (or you could cook it on high for just a few hours).  When I got home, it was a bit soupy, so I added:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa

…and let it cook for another hour.  That soaked up the extra broth and added exactly the textural dimension it needed.

Feel free to garnish it with fresh cilantro, lime juice, crushed tortilla chips, Tofutti sour cream, etc.

  • 1 can chickpeas: $0.89
  • 1 can cannellini beans: $0.89
  • 1 can corn: $0.49
  • 2 cans green chiles: $1.58
  • 1 onion, chopped: $0.25
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped: $0.10
  • 4 fresh jalapenos, chopped: $0.80
  • 2 small zucchini, cubed: $1.40
  • 1 pound button mushrooms, sliced: $1.99
  • 4 cups veggie broth: $1.99
  • 1 teaspoon oregano: $0.02
  • 1 teaspoon cumin: $0.02
  • 1/2 cup quinoa: $0.67

=$11.09/8 servings

=$1.39/serving!

PS: Kudos to my friend Kate for bringing over homemade guacamole and pico de gallo.  They were delicious!!!

Copycat Breakfast Burritos

I crave protein in the morning, but a lot of vegetarian breakfast options are sweet/starchy.  That’s why Amy’s Breakfast Burritos are one of my favorites, but at $2.50-$3.00 a piece, the cost can really add up.  Recently, I tried my hand at making my own version.

I started by reading the ingredients on an Amy’s Breakfast Burrito wrapper, then I purchased my ingredients.  Obviously, I had to estimate the amounts.  I decided to go with a jalapeno pepper instead of bell pepper, but you can always adjust the recipe to your own spice preference.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound extra-firm tofu
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1 potato
  • 1 28-oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 14-oz can black beans
  • 6 whole-wheat tortillas

My main concern was preventing the burritos from being soggy, so I started by draining my tofu.  I sliced it in half lengthwise and wrapped half in a clean dishcloth:

Since I was only using half for this recipe, I stored the other half in a container of water in the fridge until I was ready to use it for something else.  Then I placed a cutting board on top of my wrapped tofu and put a can on top of it for about 30 minutes to gently squeeze out most of the water.

  • Meanwhile, I sauteed the onion, garlic, and jalapeno in a little oil.
  • Next, I cut the drained tofu into cubes and added it to the pan and cooked it over medium-low heat until nice and brown (about 20 minutes).
  • Then, I drained the beans well and added those.
  • I drained the tomatoes, saving the juice for soup, and added those.
  • I stabbed several holes in the potato with a fork, then microwaved it for about 4 minutes.  I let it cool, peeled and cubed it, then added it to the mix.
  • I cooked all of this together for another 10 minutes or so, until the flavors melded.   Then I divided the mixture between the tortillas.

Next, I folded up the tortillas, wrapped each one in Saran wrap, put them all in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag, and stored them in the freezer for busy mornings.  In the morning, I pulled one out, wrapped it in a paper towel, and microwaved it for about 1 minute on each side.

  • 1/2 pound extra-firm tofu: $1.40
  • 1 onion: $0.33
  • 2 cloves garlic: $0.10
  • 1 jalapeno pepper: $0.56
  • 1 potato: $0.28
  • 1 28-oz can  fire-roasted tomatoes: $3.39
  • 1 14-oz can black beans: $1.99
  • 6 whole-wheat tortillas: $2.59

=$10.64 /6 servings =$1.77/burrito

So, if the average cost is $2.50 at the supermarket, I saved $4.38 by making 6 burritos at home.  If I ate one of these every day, I would save $266.45 over the course of the year (versus buying them at the store).  Not bad.  And, of course, I made these with all-organic ingredients from the co-op.  If you bought non-organic ingredients at the supermarket, you could make it even cheaper.

The best part is that you can tailor this recipe to your own taste.  It would be really good with a sweet potato or squash instead of a white potato.  You could also add other veggies like spinach or mushrooms.  The possibilities are endless.