Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Taco Night

Tonight was a brazen veganization of a meaty dinner—beef hard tacos. We had half a log of fake ground beef. I had used it previously for the tomato sauce, and liked it because it didn’t taste meaty. I have never enjoyed the meat-style veggie burgers. (But, of course, that might be because I eat meat.) I have written before, that my husband doesn’t like the masquerading tofu as a meat dish. This was a risk, yet it is a quick meal to make and had a high chance of success with Belle. The result was really nice. Meat-lover substitute, no complaints, nice. It is a meal that I will repeat, no doubt. I wouldn’t say it wasn’t the vegan culinary revelation that the Shepherd’s Pie and Tofu Galbi Sandwiches were. This to me seemed a real vegan mom staple. I would make some changes eventually to increase the nutritional aspects—add some diced tomato and cucumber in the summer or maybe some finely sliced Brussels sprouts sautéed with garlic and coriander.

I remembered the episode of America’s Test Kitchen in which Christopher Kimball and his tiny blond chefs recreated the American Suburban Tex-Mex Favorite, but better. They brought out the blue box, cracked apart the stale yellow taco shells, and then displayed the atomic orange beef-filling. Then, they proceeded to make it right. I am someone who will actually eat, and sometimes enjoy, American cheese. I will eat low-end food and find something to like. So, this premise of America’s Test Kitchen that you can make these bad foods better doesn’t always sit well with me. That said, I do hate everything in that blue taco box. I didn’t use the ATK recipe, because when I checked on the America’s Test Kitchen site ages ago you needed to log in. I don’t need to belong to any more sites. I created the recipe without their original recipe in hand. What I really took was the way that they turned wheat tortillas into shells. Fry the whole tortilla, and then form in over a wooden spatula. It was messy and added to the fat content of the meal, but it did make for appealing tacos. We included a side of so-called Spanish-style brown rice and refried black beans.

The whole point of this blog has been to save the recipes Belle loves. And, tonight was a success. Last night, she ate so little, I felt terrible. But, tonight she had 1 ½ tacos. She had a hard time biting the fried ones, but she enjoyed the meal—so it is a recipe to keep.


Sautee in olive oil the following:
1/2 package beef-flavored fake ground meat
1/2 cup diced onion
1 T garlic, crushed
1 t chilli powder
2 t ground cumin
2 t ground coriander
2 t dried Mexican oregano
salt as needed

In a separate pan, sautee or steam until tender:
1 cup diced carrot (parcook this before adding other ingredients)
1 cup diced zucchini
1/2 cup corn
1 t coriander
salt as needed

In the pan in which the meat filling was sauteed, add 1 inch of oil (olive or vegetable) and fry tortilla shells.

Fill the tacos, with meat, sauteed vegetables, refried beans, grated soy cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, tomatillo salsa.

In a sauce pan, sautee
1/2 small red onion diced
1/2 cup diced carrot
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

after 1 minute, add
2 cups water, veggie stock or 1.5 cups water and .5 cup orange juice
1 t chilli powder
2 cloves garlic crushed

Simmer 15 minutes and then crush with an potato masher

Sautee in olive oil:
2 cups pre-cooked brown rice
1/2 small red onion
2 T tomato paste
2 t Mexican Oregano

Serve warm.

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