Tacos with Fresh Corn Tortillas

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We’ve tried our hand at making flour tortillas on occasion but only very recently did we get a tortilla press and try making corn tortillas from scratch. We decided to take the plunge because the corn tortillas we were buying in the store were dry and crumbly. Then some friends put us on to some packaged, uncooked corn tortillas that you cook yourself at home (just a minute or so on either side in a hot pan). They were so much better than the dry crumbly ones! And the next logical step was to buy some masa and a tortilla press and make them totally from scratch. Which is very easy to do, and just a little time consuming but not too bad.

So now we’re making fresh tacos fairly regularly. For dinner last night we made them with our go-to “cheese” sauce and a tofu/kale mixture that was sauteed together and seasoned with cumin and chili powder. They were topped with avocado and salsa and the 7 year old ate 5 of them! OK, they were fairly small but still…

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Happy New Year 2016

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We hope everyone had a great holiday season and we wish you well for 2016. Yesterday we continued our tradition of having black-eyed peas and greens on New Year’s Day. This year we had some friends over for New Year’s dinner so we made a lot of food. It was two years ago when we first made the Black-Eyed Pea and Collard tacos from Isa Does It, and again they were a great twist on our New Year’s Day tradition. We also made a variation of the Happy New Year Chili from Robin Robertson’s Fresh From the Vegan Slow Cooker. In addition to the black-eyed peas called for in the recipe we also added of collards and corn, so this chili was the embodiment of the phrase “peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and corn for gold”.

One fun idea we have for 2016 is to make at least one recipe from a different cookbook every week all year. Since there will likely be times we don’t keep up with this goal we’re starting with two cookbooks here. Some weeks we may miss and other weeks we may do more than one but by the end of the year we hope to have posted about 52 cookbooks. Check out the 52 cookbooks tag to see how we’re progressing!

Happy New Year!

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Some thoughts on meat substitutes

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Beyond Meat and seitan tacos with cashew sour cream, avocado, kale and salsa

 

A few months ago I read an interesting article about Beyond Meat. Around the same time I also happened upon a coupon Beyond Meat was offering for a free package of one of their products. We tried the chicken strips in a salad at Whole Foods once but had never cooked with the stuff. Since it was free I figured we’d give it a try and I picked up a package of the faux ground beef (retail price, $5,99 for a 12 oz. package). Then I put it in the freezer and didn’t pull it out until recently. I sort of forgot about it but also it’s probably been 20 years since I cooked with ground beef and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Finally one day Darlene suggested we use it to make tacos so that’s what we did.

First, the package was a bit small and I wasn’t sure we’d have enough so I added some homemade seitan we had in the fridge (we got this particular recipe long ago from the Real Food Daily cookbook and it’s posted here). Typically we might make tacos using only the seitan, or maybe some tofu or refried beans. I think people who are new to veganism (or are just trying to eat less meat) find these meat substitutes convenient because they’re not sure how else to make their favorite meals. That’s not an issue for us and it shouldn’t be for you either with just a little bit of experience (or just poking around on the interwebs).

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Can you tell where the Beyond Meat stops and the homemade seitan starts? I can’t.

So with a bit of experience and/or research on-line or in cookbooks, you can find plenty of fabulous meals to make without resorting to meat substitutes. To the extent that they provide a convenient alternative for people who might otherwise be eating meat, Beyond Meat and other similar products are fine with me. The main problem I have with them is the cost. The package of faux ground beef we used was $8 a pound and that’s a little much for us to be buying on a regular basis when there are so many less expensive alternatives. These products can also give people the idea that eating vegan is expensive when in fact quite the opposite is true. I applaud companies like Beyond Meat for bringing disruptive technology to bear in an attempt to change the world and I hope they’re successful. Until this stuff is selling at mainstream grocery stores for less than the cost of meat though that success will be slow in coming. I think they still have a long way to go because they won’t change the world with products that sell for $8 a pound at Whole Foods.

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Happy New Year!

Though we’re not Southerners by heritage, we’ve been living in Virginia for 12 years and at some point during our time here we started honoring the tradition of eating black-eyed peas and greens on New Year’s Day. If you’re not up on Southern food traditions, the black-eyed peas represent good luck and the greens represent wealth in the new year. We broke from tradition this year though in how we prepared our peas & greens. We got ourselves a copy of Isa Does It for Christmas and as soon as I saw the recipe for Black-Eyed Pea & Collard Tacos, I figured that would be a great twist on our New Year’s Day tradition. The apple-avocado salsa is a great accompaniment and we may well make these our new tradition. Here’s to a healthy and prosperous 2014!

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