Tag Archives: Mexican

Vegan Corn and Black Bean Cakes

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Every once in a while, the stars align — I get a recipe in my Inbox I think the whole family might enjoy and I happen to have all the ingredients. That happened recently with my weekly e-mail from Forks Over Knives. If you’ve never seen it, FOK is a documentary examining the belief that eliminating animal-based and processed foods from your diet can control or reverse most, if not all, degenerative diseases. Even if you don’t want to jump in 100 percent to a vegan diet, it’s a great film that might help you make better choices from time to time.

I have no idea if this recipe is in the FOK cookbook, which remains packed up in my garage, where it’s been since I moved to a new home four months ago. Yet another reason I’m glad I took the time to open this e-mail.  I’ve really enjoyed the recipes I’ve made from the book (including this Cheesy Baked Ziti I posted a year and a half ago) and will definitely make this one again.

Next time I think I’ll jazz it up a bit — more spices and maybe even a diced fresh jalapeño. The original recipe has zero spices in it. I try not to mess with other people’s recipes too much until I’ve tried them, but I saw the blandness coming. I put just a dash of a few spices in. Next time, I’ll start with 1/2 teaspoon of each and likely go up from there. I’ll include them in the ingredient list below. Also, I’m sure you could easily substitute gluten-free all-purpose flour in this and it would turn out just fine.

We topped ours with salsa and a little avocado. Next time I think I’ll definitely pick up some vegan sour cream. I served it with spiced roasted sweet and russet potatoes.

Ingredients
• 1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
• 1/2 c. cornmeal (I used a finely ground cornmeal)
• 1 Tbsp. aluminum-free baking powder
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1/2 c. unsweetened, unflavored plant milk (I used almond)
• 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce (next time I might add a little more to try to moisten it up a little)
• 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
• 1 10 oz. package frozen corn kernels, thawed
• 1 c. cooked or canned black beans, rinsed and drained
• 6 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced (I only had two…)
• 1/2 tsp. each cumin, coriander, chili powder, garlic powder
• sour cream, salsa, guacamole or avocado for serving
• chopped cilantro for serving, optional

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. I was roasting the potatoes, so I didn’t do this. Since you can only fit 2-3 cakes on the griddle at once (they are large) it might have been nice to keep them warm in the oven until we all sat down to eat. Really, wasn’t a deal-breaker though.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and spices until well combined.

3. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the milk, applesauce, pepper, corn, beans and onions. Gently fold the ingredients together until just incorporated. Don’t over mix.

4. Heat a griddle or large nonstick pan over medium heat until a few droplets of water jump in the pan and sizzle. You can always use oil, etc., but it’s really unnecessary if you have a nonstick pan. The key is to not touch them once added for a few minutes and you’ll be fine!

5. Spoon 1/2 c. of batter for each cake onto the pan, making sure they don’t touch each other. Cook until the undersides are crisp and they can be flipped easily without falling apart — about 4 minutes.

6. Using a spatula, turn the cakes over and cook until the other side is lightly browned and crisp — about 4 more minutes. The cakes are quite thick — I patted mine down a little, though I don’t know if it was necessary.

7. Transfer to an oven-proof platter or pan and keep warm in the oven until you’re ready to serve. Top with whatever you like and enjoy!

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Vegan Black Bean Tamale Pie

Look at me! Two posts in two weeks! I’m really on a roll, aren’t I? I decided I better post this ASAP or my week will get away from me. I made this for a client last week and have been craving it ever since. I finally got around to it tonight.

This can be vegan or just vegetarian, depending on what kind of cheese, milk and eggs (or egg replacers) you use. I chose to make it vegan. This is a really simple dish you can make with a few things you can keep in your pantry. If you have a bit of onion and some kind of bell pepper, that’s about the only produce you need (although I think I did throw some minced garlic in tonight because I can’t seem to leave garlic out of anything).

This got high marks from my better half too — he couldn’t stop himself from taking extra helpings. It’s really rich and filling, kind of like eating chili with cornbread all in one dish. It’s definitely a crowd pleaser and very easy to adjust the heat — throw some freshly minced jalapeno or habaneros in the early stages to kick it up a few notches.

Ingredients
• 1 tsp. olive oil
• 1/2 c. chopped onion
• 1/3 c. green pepper (I used yellow because it was what I had)
• 1 15 oz. can black beans
• 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
• 1 c. corn canned, cooked fresh or frozen
• 1 1/4 oz. taco seasoning mix (or throw some cumin, coriander, garlic powder, onion powder, etc. in and season to taste).
• 1 1/4 c. cornmeal
• 1 c. grated cheese (I used Daiya pepper jack style grated cheese)
• 1 1/4 c. milk (I used almond)
• salt and pepper to taste (Oops, I forgot this entirely today… it was fine)
•  2 large eggs, beaten or equivalent egg replacer (I used 3 tsp. egg replacer powder mixed with 4 Tbsp. warm water).
• Minced jalapenos or habaneros (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onions and bell peppers and cook until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Throw your minced hot peppers in at this point too if you’re using.  (Just before the next step is when I threw in the garlic and cooked for 1 more minute).

2. Add undrained beans, tomato sauce, corn, taco seasoning or spices, 1/2 c. of the cornmeal and 1/2 c. of cheese. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until thickened and cornmeal is cooked through, approximately 15 minutes, then put in 1 1/2- or 2- quart casserole dish.

3. Meanwhile, heat milk with remaining 3/4 c. cornmeal in a small saucepan and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly (Well, close enough. I stirred it often…) until all of the milk is absorbed. Remove from heat. Slowly add eggs or egg replacer and stir in the remaining 1/2 c. of cheese.

4. Spread over top of bean mixture and bake uncovered for about 40 minutes or until top begins to lightly brown. Mine didn’t get that far, because there were hungry mouths to feed, but it was 40 minutes and good enough.

I can’t believe I waited this long to make this for my own family — I have a feeling it will stay in the winter-time rotation!

Vegan Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Last night I had to make something for a gathering with a Mexican theme and I was stumped — I couldn’t think of anything new or original to bring. So, I took to the Internet and one of my first searches turned up this great blog A Couple Cooks. Their recipe for Stuffed Poblano Peppers sounded great, so I decided to go with that, as well as a basic salsa recipe. (Look for that tomorrow).

First the peppers. (I didn’t take pictures — this one is from the post on A Couple Cooks.)

I decided to double it, which was just enough for 10 people (who also had another entree going on). Everyone loved these and there were only 4 leftover. I’ll post the single recipe here though, which would be good for 4+ people.  If you found some mini bell peppers, you could make great little appetizers out of this recipe too.

Ingredients
• 4 poblano peppers (I did a mixture of poblano and bell peppers — prepare the same way)
• 1 c. uncooked brown rice (could use quinoa or another grain too)
• 1 1/2 c. salsa (I ended up using 2 c. for the doubled recipe and it was great)
• 1 15 oz. can black beans
• 1 1/2 c. frozen or canned corn
• 3 green onions
• 1 tsp. cumin
• 1 tsp. chili powder
• cayenne pepper or Tobasco to taste
• salt and pepper to taste
• olive oil
• Shredded cheese
• Chopped cilantro for garnish (which I forgot…)

1. Cook rice according to package directions. I ended up not putting in all of the rice I cooked for the double batch. As it was I had some filling left over (which is great, because we can freeze it or use it for tacos or something). SO, you could maybe go with 3/4 of a cup and see how that goes.

2. Whilte the rice cooks (you’ll have plenty of time to do everything else while the rice cooks for 45 minutes, FYI) prepare the peppers: slice in half length-wise and remove seeds and ribs. It looks nice if the stems are still attached, but obviously those don’t get eaten. You may want to wear gloves for this if you’re using poblanos (especially if you’re wearing contacts you’ll have to take out later!). This is my general rule of thumb for every pepper that isn’t a bell pepper, after burning my eyeballs far too many times.

Place skin side down, drizzle with olive oil, flip (so skin side up) and drizzle again. Put them under a broiler for 6-7 minutes (until they start to char a bit). Flip so they are skin side down and broil for another 6-7 minutes. Remove from oven.

3. While the peppers are broiling… chop onions, drain and rinse the black beans.

4. Place onions, black beans, corn (I went with frozen), seasonings (all seasonings to taste — go nuts if you like things spicier) in a large microwaveable bowl (especially if corn is frozen. If it’s thawed/canned, you might be good at room temp).

5. If the rice has been cooked and has cooled, add rice first, then heat in microwave. Otherwise, heat the mixture to warm (1-3 minutes), then add your cooked rice, along with a handful of cheese just to stick it all together a bit.

I split my mixture and used a regular Mexican blend of cheeses for the vegetarian ones and used Daiya vegan cheese for the vegan ones. (If you haven’t tried this cheese yet, vegan or not, you must!)

6. Place peppers back on baking sheet and fill with rice/bean mixture. My peppers were all oddly shaped so I had to get a little creative with this and pile it up and tuck it in crevices.

7. Top with a bit of shredded cheese (any kind you’re using) and place back under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, until the cheese melts and begins to brown a bit.

8. Top with sour cream (regular or Tofutti) and sprinkle with a bit of chopped cilantro if you have it or salsa.

This was easy to make, took less than an hour and was a crowd pleaser. I’ll definitely be making this again!

Refried Beans

My good friend Jay made this recipe and said they are crazy good and she’ll never buy refried beans again — that’s what I call a glowing review. I haven’t made them yet, but I had to share. It’s a Mark Bittman recipe, if you know who he is (he knows how to cook everything and tells us so). I have black beans in the cupboard, so I might have to whip up a batch of black refried beans, yes?

Ingredients
• 2 cans pinto beans rinsed
• 2 Tbsp. butter
• 1/4 c. chopped onion
• 2 tsp. cumin (or to taste)
• 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (or to taste)
• salt and pepper

From Jay:
1. Melt butter in a frying pan, add beans.  Mush using a potato masher, fork or the back of your spoon until you get the consistency you like.

2. Add onion, cumin, cayenne and salt and pepper.  Continue stirring until the onions are a little tender.  I added a little water to thin it up a bit since it was hard to stir.

3. Eat!  I ate mine with salsa, sourcream and tortilla chips.  No more canned refried beans ever again, these are way good…  I bet you could add garlic or really anything else you want.