Adventures in Dinner

Like many mothers I know, there are two things I don’t get enough of: Sleep and Time.

My weekday evening schedule goes something like this: Red…Yellow…Green…GO! I leave work and jet 30-40 minutes across ‘town’ to pick up the first treasure, then 30-40 minutes to stop #2 for the other two, then to the library or Lacrosse practice, the grocery store (last minute ingredients) and home. On a good night, that scavenger hunt ends at my front door at around 7:00 pm. Which means I have about an hour to review homework, supervise reading time, connect with my children and allow them to download their day to me, feed and water the dog and the plants, make dinner, get the kids bathed, read them a story and put them to sleep. Dear husband doesn’t get home in time for dinner most nights, so he is lucky enough to get the morning shift of running our house.

The dinner part for me is sometimes tricky. We’re new veg*n’s so that means no meat and eventually no animal products at all. Recipe approval is subject to a 9 year-old aspiring food snob, a 7 year-old who does not allow me a lot of wiggle room with taste and texture and a 4 year-old who goes from asking for sushi for dinner, to only wanting what her brother (the 7 year-old) will eat. Talk about ‘Dinner Impossible’ (I love that show!).

Enough blabbering, here’s last night’s dinner. Veg*n Tostadas with Roasted Tomatillo and Pineapple Salsa and Sweet Corn Tamales. Recipe after the jump.


Ingredients:

6 – 8 Flour Tortillas (whole grain or corn will work just fine)
Tostada toppings: Lettuce, Red Onion, Tomato, Green Onion, Cheese, Cilantro and Sour Cream

Refried Beans)2 (15 oz) Cans of Cannelli Beans (with liquid) pulsed until coarsely processed
1 Tblsp Garlic Po
wder
1 Tblsp Onion Powder
1 Tblsp Paprika
1 tsp Ground Cumin
1 Tblsp Chili Powder
2 Tblsp Olive Oil (Canola or other cooking oil can substitute)
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 Tblsp Tomato Paste
3 Cloves of Garlic (Minced)
1/4 Cup Diced Red Onion
Salt (To Taste)

Heat a pan on medium-low heat. Drizzle with Oilve oil. Add the Onions, garlic and cook them until they become translucent. Add the tomato paste to the onion and garlic. using a spoon, mix the onions, garlic and tomato paste until they are all incorporated. Add the pulsed Cannelli beans and the remaining ingredients. Cook on medium heat for 15-20 mins, until thickened. Stir frqeuently as the beans will stick to the bottom of your pan. That’s okay! Just scrape up the stuck-on goodies and stir them into the beans. It adds to the texture and flavor dimensions.

(Tostada Filling)
1 lb Gimme Lean ‘Fake Meat’ Crumbles or 1 Recipe Baked Seitan cubed and pulsed in a food processor until it resembles cooked ground ‘meat’
1 Tblsp Garlic Powder
1 Tblsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Ground Cumin
1 Tblsp Paprika
1 Tblsp Chili Powder
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
2 Tblsp Olive Oil (Canola or other cooking oil can substitute)
1 tsp Black Pepper
8 oz. Can tomato paste
3 Cloves of Garlic (Minced)
1/4 Cup Diced Red Onion
Salt (To Taste)
1/2 Cup of Water
1/4 Cup Chopped Cilantro
1 tsp Butter (optional)

Heat a deep pan on medium-high. Drizzle the pan with Olive Oil. Brown ground seitan (or Gimme Lean crumbles), onion, and garlic in the pan. Add tomato sauce. Stir in the remaining ingredients and simmer mixture for 25-30 minutes stirring occasionally, until thickened. Towards the end, I like to add a pat of butter (1 tsp or so) to help bind the flavors of the ingredients together. You can leave it out if you’d like.

(Sweet Corn Tamales)

1-1/2 Cups Frozen Sweet Corn
1/2 Cup Butter, (1 stick) softened
3 Tblsp Granulated Sugar
1/8 tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Corn Masa (corn flour)
2 Tblsp All-purpose Flour
2 Green Onions sliced
1 Tblsp Red Onion minced
1 Egg (You can substitute a flax egg: 1 tablespoon spoon ground flax seeds + 3 tablespoons spoon water)
Oil for fyring
Add 1 cup of the frozen corn to a food processor and pulse until coarsely pureed. In a medium bowl, combine pureed corn with softened butter, sugar, and salt. Mix well until smooth. Add masa and flour and mix until all ingredients are thoroughly combined (if the mixture is too think, add a splash of water, if it’s too thin a sprinkle of AP flour). Mix in the remaining 1/2 cup of frozen whole corn kernels, the egg, along with the minced red onion and sliced green onion. Mix well until all ingredients are combined. Heat a well-oiled frying pan to medium high heat. Spoon corn mixture into the pan. Flatten the mixture with the back of your spoon. Fry until golden brown on both sides, about 5 – 7 minutes.

(Tomatillo Pineapple Salsa – Kid friendly, Not Spicy)

3 Medium-sized Tomatillos (remove the papery skin and rinse)
1 Red Bell Pepper
3 Tblsp fresh cilantro
1 Poblano Chile
1 Can Pineapple Chunks (Fresh Pineapple is better if you have it)
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roast the Tomatillos, Bell Pepper, Poblano Chile, and Pineapple in a roasting pan until everything is nicely charred (about 15-20 minutes). Set the Tomatillos, Chile, Pineapple and Bell Pepper on a plate until cool. Remove the skin from the Tomatillos. Remove the stem, skin and seeds from the Bell Pepper and Chile. Place the Tomatillos, Bell Pepper, Chile, Pineapple and Cilantro into a food processor. Pulse for 1 – 2 minutes until coarsely pureed. Add salt, cumin and pepper, mix and adjust to taste.

Now for the real fun!

Assemble the tostadas. Warm the tortillas in the oven, or on the stove. Layer ‘meat’, refried beans, lettuce, tomato, red onion, green onion, cheese, sour cream and salsa. Serve with corn cakes on the side (or as part of your tostada tower!).

Feeds 6 -8 people. With enough left over for two small lunches. I doubled the recipe so that the kids and DH (along with some of his very lucky co-workers) could all have lunch. The salsa gets even more amazing the next day!

Love and Light

Nira