Monday, October 10, 2011

Taco Time

So, any excuse to bust out my new tortilla press, and I am ALL over it!!  I found a bag of Masa corn flour in the grocery store a while back, and decided to attempt home made corn tortillas.

The only problem was that, at this time, I did NOT own a tortillas press.  We (L, and myself) decided we could hand roll them... (heh, heh). WELL.. we did hand roll them, which was a giant pain in the asparagus, BUT they tasted so flippin AMAZING that I vowed to pick up a press next time I saw one...

Fast forward a month or two... Thank you, Kathy, (my Chili Cookoff friend)! I now have a $9.99 Tortilla press, and can make beautiful shaped tortillas like the ones in the pic below:

SO, last Saturday was lunch with an old friend, and instead of meeting up at Garden Grill (our usual) I decided to make us a Mexican Lunch at home.  I went a bit overboard, as usual, and made enough food for an army. Thankfully L joined us for lunch too, so my spread did not look SO ridiculously abundant for two.

Salsa de Arbol from the El Paso Veg Snob's blog
While browsing all the new and exciting Vegan Mofo posts, one can get slightly overwhelmed.  I saw this salsa post and was intrigued by the used of dried Arbol chilies (I have a big bag of them in my pantry and they are nice and spicy)! The directions stated 4-9 dried chilies. Not wanting to use the mere minimum, but not sure if my guests would be up for NINE chilies, I split the difference so-to-speak and went for five.  Good stuff! A nice, simple, tasty and fresh salsa with just the hint of spicy kick.

Cashew Crema from Viva Vegan!
I don't know why I haven't tried this sooner, what a complete and utter FOOL I've been.  I occasionally buy Tofutti sour cream, and have dabbled in making my own vegan sour cream varieties, too.  But I tell you Terry's Cashew Crema blows them ALL out of the water!!  It's so thick, rich and tangy, absolutely perfect for topping any part of a Mexican feast!  My omni better-half is a die hard sour cream fanatic.  SO much that, when I order a dish out in a restaurant that comes with sour cream, I have them leave it OFF my plate and give it to her.  Needless to say, sometimes the dairy free sour cream options are less than impressive to someone who is looking for the actual "cream" that is sour cream.  Tofutti works okay... but I like home made stuff, and so far my attempts at tofu based non-dairy sour creams have not quite lived up to her expectations...


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I mean, just LOOK at how lovely and thick it is.

I was fortunate enough to see Terry do a cooking demo at the Worcester VegFest, and the beloved Cashew Crema was featured on top of her CHIPOTLE, SEITAN, AND POTATO TACOS, which we all got to taste (my favorite part)!

CILANTRO LIME RICE:  I'm a big fan of serving rice alongside of my Mexican meals.  I wanted something simple, yet flavorful, so instead of my usual recipe for Mexican Rice, which is a bit involved, I decided to try something new. 

Viva Vegan strikes again with CILANTRO LIME RICE! Terry's tip: "This rice works well with rice cookers"*SOLD* One less pan on the stove! I doubled the recipe, and used basmati rice because I love it so.  Threw everthing into my rice cooker and hit the start button.

I came out perfect! The lime zest and juice really add a great fresh flavor to the rice.  Stir in some chopped scallion and cilantro at the end, and you are good to go!

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