Monday, August 29, 2011

Veggie Enchiladas

We celebrated Back to School eve with dinner at Rudy and Angie's, our favorite Mexican restaurant. Although it's not on the menu, they made me some vegetable enchiladas and they were so good I couldn't stop thinking about them . . . so I attempted to create my own version--which came out pretty yummy as well.

Veggie Enchiladas
Lots of veggies and refried beans wrapped in tortillas and smothered in sauce. One of the ultimates in Mexican comfort food. This makes a nice big batch, which is great because they taste great the second day too. You don’t need to be too fussy in dicing the vegetables. They just need to be in bite-sized pieces, small enough that they will roll up in the tortilla. If your in a hurry, use prepared enchilada sauce rather than making it yourself.

Enchilada Sauce:

Olive oil
1 small onion, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
Salt, to taste
Hot Pepper Sauce, to taste


Olive oil
1 red onion, coarsely chopped
10 white mushrooms, quartered
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 carrots, cut into half moons
2 cups chopped broccoli or cauliflower
Kernels cut from 1 ear of corn or 3/4 cup frozen corn kernels
Black pepper
Hot Pepper Sauce

The rest:

12 corn tortillas
1 (16-ounce) can refried beans
2 cups Enchilada Sauce (page xx)
1/2 – 1 cup shredded Jack-style dairy or vegan cheese (optional)

Prepare Sauce as follows: Place a small pan over low heat with just enough oil to coat the bottom. Add onion and sauté 5 minutes, or until soft. Stir in chili powder, cumin, oregano, and garlic. Sauté 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the onions and sauté a couple of minutes. Add the remaining vegetables and stir together. Cover and cook about 5 minutes—just until vegetables are bright in color and slightly tender--uou want them to be crisp. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with salt, black pepper, and Hot Pepper Sauce to taste.
Set up your assembly area with the tortillas, beans, and vegetable mixture and a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Pour a little of the Enchilada Sauce into the pan—just enough to spread a thin layer across the bottom. Working with one tortilla at a time, spread a couple of tablespoons of the refried beans down the middle of the tortilla. Then spoon the vegetable mixture over the filling—enough so it will fill the rolled tortilla but not so much that you can’t roll it. Roll the tortilla tightly around the filling and place it seam side down in the pan. Corn tortillas can be delicate so don’t worry if they crack. Just kind of push them together in the pan. Continue until the pan is full. I usually do 8 tortillas placed horizontally down the length and then place the last four 2 and 2 vertically along side them. If you have any beans or filling left, just spread them over the enchiladas. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas, spreading to make sure they are completely covered. Sprinkle cheese evenly over all, if using. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Serves 6-8

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rhubarb-Peach-Raspberry Crisp

We just can't get enough of all these delicious local summer fruits--nor can we get enough of the yummy desserts made with them. Here's our latest experiment. I did the filling and my daughter Emily came up with the topping!

Rhubarb-Peach-Raspberry Crisp
Serve with whipped topping, ice cream, or try our favorite—a generous dollop of vanilla yogurt.

3 peaches, diced (about 2 cups)
3 cups sliced rhubarb
1 cup raspberries
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup natural granulated sugar
pinch salt

3/4 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup barley, spelt, or whole wheat flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a 9-inch square baking pan. Gently toss filling ingredients together until fruit is coated. Pour into baking pan. Stir topping ingredients together. Pour evenly over filling. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until topping is golden.
Makes 9 servings

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Reuseable Sandwich Bags

I just heard about this product and thought I'd share. I haven't tried them so I'm not endorsing but for those of you wanting to avoid the pollution and cost of plastic baggies, this sounds like a good option.

Lunchskins are reuseable cloth bags that are dishwasher safe and free from BPA and lead. They come in snack size, sandwich size, and sub size.

I also understand there is a free shipping special right now:

Just in time for back-school shopping, you can purchase LunchSkins, the reusable, dishwasher-safe baggies with FREE SHIPPING. Just enter code BTS2011 and you’re all set to make those healthy lunches on the go.

If anyone has tried these, please let me know how you liked them. If I get some, I will post a review.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Loving that summer produce!

Had a delicious vegan, almost 100% local dinner tonight thanks to the wonderful produce from Rutiz Farms in Arroyo Grande. Corn on the cob, roasted zucchini and green beans, braised spinach, and salad. Seasoned with olive oil, blood orange balsamic vinegar, and seasoning mix from Global Gardens in Los Olivos.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Gluten-Free Ginger Peach Corn Muffins

Once again, putting off grocery shopping has forced me to be creative with surprising results. I was in the mood for muffins but since I didn't have any wheat flour, I tried brown rice and corn flour. And it was yummy--and not only are these muffins vegan, but they're gluten-free as well. I already made a second batch to freeze for school lunches.

Ginger Peach Corn Muffins (Gluten-free)
Sweet, spicy, and moist.

3/4 cup corn meal
1 1/4 cups brown rice flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup nondairy milk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 peaches, diced
3 tablespoons diced candied ginger (found this at Trader Joes)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil 12 muffin tins. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and corn meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, vanilla, milk, and vinegar. Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until combined. Fold in the peaches and ginger. Pour into muffin tin, filling each cup about 3/4 of the way full. Bake 30 minutes, or until tester comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing muffins from tin. Serve warm or room temperate. Cool completely on a wire rack before store in a covered container. These freeze great too!

Makes 12

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Braised Kale and Tomatoes

Sometimes the simplest ingredients make the yummiest meals. I'm just home from vacation and haven't had a chance to shop yet but I have tomatoes and kale growing in pots--so I made this side dish and it was so darn good I ate almost the whole thing by myself.

Braised Kale and Tomatoes

Olive oil
1 bunch Dinosaur Kale, washed and chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoons fresh oregano
Sea salt, to taste

Coat the bottom of a skillet with olive oil and place over medium-low heat. Add the kale and garlic. It’s good if there is some water clinging to the kale—it’ll help steam it. Cover and cook about 5 minutes stirring occasionally until the kale is bright green. Add the tomatoes and oregano. Sprinkle with sea salt. Cover and cook another 5 minutes, or until the kale is tender.