Anyone who reads this blog is likely to notice at least a couple of things about me. First, I like to rant about my unpopular opinions on things and be an all around Wet Blanket at times (I learn from the best!), and secondly I love Mexican and Latin American food. A lot. I mean seriously. I like it authentic, I like food merely inspired by the flavors, I love the beans, grains, spices, textures, flavors, pretty much everything about it. I especially like traditional Mexican food, you know not Taco Bell. Real Mexican food can be a bit bland, and is definitely not as salty as Americanized ‘Mexican.’ My food is unauthentic in at least one way though, it is ALWAYS spicier than it probably typically would be, and at times, I crave a little more flavor so I go heavier on the spices. So expect to see a lot of Mexican. And no, it won’t always be wrapped in a flour tortilla, sometimes I go corn, sometimes no tortilla is needed. And yes, I will try to find some whole wheat tortillas I can tolerate as the flour ones are pretty bad for you.
So last night, I made, well, a Mexican inspired dish. I got the idea for this from our local vegetarian restaurant, Main Squeeze . I have a love-hate relationship with Main Squeeze. The love part is simply attributed to the fact that they have more than one vegan option for me to choose from (and they aren’t salads), which means I can always find something when I go there. What I don’t like is that the specials, which tend to sound really yummy and creative, seem to always be loaded down with milk, cheese, butter, sour cream, etc. Which means, in order to veganize it, it is nothing like what it was originally intended to be. I get Main Squeeze’s daily specials in my email as I work really close to it and will try to go there if they are featuring a good vegan special. But what ends up happening is that their specials are pretty much never vegan, so I just use them for ideas on making my own food at home. Which is how last night’s dinner was concocted.
The yams were roasted in coconut oil, as the always informative Lindsay, aka the Happy Herbivore , informed me that coconut oil is the only type of oil that DOESN’T release free radicals when heated to high temperatures (baking included). It didn’t negatively affect the flavor of the yams at all, in fact, if anything, it added to their yumminess, and she was right, cooking with it made my apartment smell nice. I am going to try to use coconut oil wherever I can and be sparing with my use of other oils. But certain meals just need other oils, so like I said, I’ll use it where it seems reasonable.
Oh, and this might be one of the only times you see this when I’m cooking Mexican, but this dish is NOT topped with tofu sour cream. Simply because I was out. And you know how I was talking about 'authentic Mexican' above? I used kale in this, so go figure.
Presenting the Fiesta Burrito (Brett’s name for it) aka the Seasoned Roasted Yam and Bean Enchilada Burrito (my long and very creative name for it).
Seasoned Roasted Yams
1 large yam, peeled, washed, and cut into small cubes
cayenne pepper (optional, I like spicy food)
salt (just a bit)
cinnamon (just a dash, but trust me, it makes a huge difference in the flavor of the yams)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Put about 1-2 tsp coconut oil into baking pan. Toss the pan in the oven for a minute or two so that the oil will melt.
Toss together yams and spices. Toss in pan to coat yams with oil.
Cook, uncovered for 30-40 minutes or until yams are soft stirring occasionally so they don’t stick to the pan.
Fiesta Burrito (aka Seasoned Roasted Yam and Bean Enchilada Burrito)
seasoned roasted yams
1 cup black beans
1/2 bunch of kale, shredded into bite pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 small onion, diced
1/4-1/3 cup veggie broth
roasted peppers (as many as you wish, I used roasted bell, poblano, and jalapeño peppers)
vegan Monterey Jack (I use Follow Your Heart) – optional
In a medium skillet heat the veggie broth. Add kale and onion and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and cook a few minutes more or until kale and veggies are tender.
Divide the ingredients among two burritos.
Layer kale mixture, seasoned yams, black beans, roasted peppers and optional vegan Monterey Jack on a warmed tortilla. Pour 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce over filling in each burrito. Roll up.
If browning it on a skillet, heat canola oil (I don’t think coconut would work very well here, so if you don’t want to heat canola oil, skip this step) in a medium skillet for a minute or two. Add the burrito and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, checking often to avoid burning the tortilla.
Once browned (or rolled up) top with guacamole and salsa if you like!
This got the omni seal of approval and mine as well!
A bit of an aside, but I have a positive feeling that Brett is slowly moving his way towards vegetarianism and possibly even veganism. We often eat frozen pizza on days when I don’t feel like cooking [these are Brett’s ‘cooking’ days :-)], and he used to get one with pepperoni on it (ick). He has now switched to Amy’s Mushroom and Olive pizza. We are thinking about ordering in tonight, and he expressed reservations about his wanting meat. He also told me that he doesn’t like cheese as much as he used to, and admitted that he likes the Follow Your Heart Monterey Jack and some of the vegan ‘cheese’ sauces I have made, and that its fine if I used vegan instead of regular cheese in his meals now. We found Vegan Rella the other day, and he seemed pretty excited about trying it soon! Not trying to get my hopes up, but it seems that, slowly but surely, he is coming around. I am very proud as this hasn't been a result of my harassing or prodding him to change, he is doing it on his own (which is how I believe lifestyle change has to be done if it is truly going to stick). Even if he never becomes a full-fledged veg*n, this development means a lot to me.