19 September 2006

I am Awesome... Tacos.

The other night I decided it would finally be "taco night". I grew up with a taco night and it was always fun because my mom would set out the prepared ingredients to go into the tacos in small bowls or plates and we would fill our own. Mine usually consisted of just veggies and cheese. Well, in those days mostly cheese, then veggies. I always refused the meat. These days (umpteen years later), I don't eat cheese and I eat a shitload of veggies, so I decided to make some unusual tacos. I remember Dreena making quinoa tacos one time and the idea stuck in my head. She called them ta-quin-os! I still will not eat fake meat although I do plan on having some ground round one day for Ray to enjoy filling his own tacos. We didn't have taco night as I am used to (fill your own) but these filled-by-Leslie tacos were amazing. Ray even gave me the biggest compliment by saying he was glad we didn't go to Green (a vegan restuarant that's amazing) that night. The chili was way thicker than it looks here.

I have had those Garden of Eaten blue corn taco shells in the pantry for a while. I have never had a vegan taco so I decided to just make it filled with what I wanted and didn't care that it was not a traditional taco. What would that mean anyway? I needed a basic guideline for the chili as it's been a while for me. I used Dreena's Last Minute Chili and Taco Filling recipe from Vive le Vegan just as a guide so I wouldn't forget crucial taco flavors. I ended up coming up with my own chili recipe. Wow, can you all believe I'm actually posting a real recipe?!

Leslie's Awesome Organic Chili Recipe
1T olive oil
1 small yellow onion
5 cloves garlic
1t sea salt
black pepper to taste
1t cumin
2t cayenne (could use more!)
1t paprika
1t oregano
1 green bell pepper
1/2 red bell pepper (that's what I had)
32 oz canned fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 habanero pepper
1 jalepeno pepper
2 cans black beans
1 can kidney beans
1c frozen corn
handful of chopped fresh cilantro

First heat the oil and add the onions, garlic and spices. Cook it until the onions are clear and the spices fill up your house with awesomeness. Toss in the rest of the ingredients (except for some of the cilantro), bring them to a boil and then reduce to simmer until it is thick (about 30 minutes). While that is simmering it's a good idea to make the quinoa or other grain. Add the remaining cilantro towards the end of cooking or toss it on top of each individual serving. Taste the chili to make sure it's how you like, then do what you want with it.
Here is my wonderful plate of blue corn taco shells, homemade chili, homemade guac (oh my goodness it was the best guac ever... Miriam, I may have crossed over to the dark side!), quinoa, Muir Glen organic salsa and a lime. Yum. The hardest part about this whole meal was stuffing the taco shells and the best part about this meal was everything (ok, maybe the guac really topped it off). There were three on each of our plates but I could only take down two.
I froze the leftover chili for a few days and tonight we are going to have that with new fresh quinoa and guac again, but in a taco salad form... blue corn chips with the same toppings. I highly suggest making these.


Anonymous said...

i want some of that, looks so good!

Anonymous said...

I had taco night growing up too, and it was just as you described. But I never had quac...that's a new addition!

It all looks lovely

Miriam said...

Oh that really looks perfect! Can you believe I've never had tacos? Nor enchiladas, nor burritos, etc, etc. Todd keeps asking for that stuff. I need to get to it, and you have inspired me!

And the guac? Looks totally divine. The dark green always means extra delicious fat to me. Lately I have gotten a few batches of ripe avocados that are very pale/light green on the inside and have been severely disappointed.

As for the post below... how awesome! That vase is indeed a pitcher, that pours right into your mouth! They use them often in the little villages up in the mountains. They were originally made out of clay, to keep the water cool during the day.

Great posts, and I shall be taco-ing it soon.

bakehouse dori said...

I like the blue taco's. I think I want to try Leslie chili to see how your desrt chili differs from my midwest (living in the middle of many cornfields) chili tastes like.

I remember when you got a giggle when I had a pronunciation guide to the word flauta. Up until I saw them on the vegan lunchbox I had never seen one before. :)

I am making a pot of chili right now. Now that I have many cats... many, 3 adults, 4 babies, and one adult is expecting babies too. I'd love to know what info you discover from the vets. Hope Killian feels better soon. :)

Anonymous said...

These look incredible. How'd you make your guac?

I haven't seen the blue corn taco shells ut they're super cool so I'll have to keep my eyes open for them. I used to love crunchy taco shells when I was a kid. Marty likes soft corn tortillas but I've never been able to really get into them.

I just found a new blog. Have you seen it yet? If not, run - don't walk - to it. Quickly. It's awesome. http://veganicecream.blogspot.com/

Maryjamie said...

We used to have taco night with the fam when I was younger as well. I tried just eating the refried beans and cheese when I was vegetarian and it just didn't work, but now we make some pretty good vegan tacos. I actually really liked the taco "meat" stuff we used once (can't remember the name). It's all about the seasoning, it makes it taste like old-school taco nights.

p.s. I am looking for pics of vegan dogs for my blog. Know anyone else with a vegan dog?

funwithyourfood said...

WOAH sounds spicy.
I think I'd like to make this with black beans. They sound heavenly right now


Mary said...

I've never been a huge fan of mexican food. My stepmother is mexican and she used to make me eat refried beans. I hate refried beans! I'd be willing to try it, only because you actually posted a recipe. Don't know if I'll ever be a guacamole fan because I hate avocados!

KleoPatra said...

Colour My World, Leslie.

WOW! Incredible!!!

A hearty (literally) thank you for sharing that recipe for the organic chili. I'm big on Mexican food, Leslie. Living in SoCal, how can i not be?! Nicely done, all of it. I just can't get over the beauty, not to mention the goodness in general of all that food!

Beautiful post, girl.

kris said...

Wow, Leslie, that all looks heavenly! I will definitely be trying out your chili recipe soon. That looks like an incredible way to eat tacos! I've been thinking of making quinoa tacos, too, ever since Dreena's post. I think you may have relit the fire under my feet to do it. Oh, and I bet the leftovers made great taco salad. I love taco salad!

Oh, any hints for your amazing guac would be good. Mine is always "meh", not quite "yay!"

Don't Get Mad Get Vegan! said...

We usually do tacos or taco salads at least once a month (which, invariably means days of taco like fixins. YUM!). I never thought of Quinoa, but as much as we love it, can't wait to try!

seem to have fallen of the wagon as of late, but these make me want to hop right back on, and fast!

Your guac does look incredible. I find I'm a sucker for Dreena's cashew avacado sauce. oh my.

wonderful blog!

Patty said...

Those Tacos look great. We had chili last night and my kids were here, no one even realized it was vegan, well my own children would know, since they have been raised 99% veggie, but their significants others wouldn't know and never seemed to know.
Will try these tacos, they just look so pretty too.

Anonymous said...

Wow Leslie! Those are AWESOME looking tacos!!!!! I'm officially craving tacos... and I think I have some vegan refried beans somewhere too :)

bazu said...

Oh yes- taco night. burrito night. whatever you want to call it, an excuse to eat beans and salsa and guacamole is heaven for me. We have that at least a couple of times a month. I think my favorite way of eating is smorgasboard style, when you can pick a little bit of this and that from a large selection. Your tacos are beautiful! I'd never thought of using quinoa, but I will now.

Nikki said...

Hmm...your chili recipe is very similar to mine! I had the same thing for dinner last night. :)

I love those blue corn taco shells!

laura jesser said...

Leslie, that looks wonderful! There are few things I love more than tacos... black bean chili... homemade guac... blue corn chips... and limes. You have an entire meal centered around many of my favorite foods! Your chili recipe sounds good--I will have to try it soon and compare it with mine. :)

Where do you find Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes? I've heard so much about them, but alas... wherever I look, I can't seem to find them.

Dreena said...

oh, wow, those look super excellent! Better than the ones I made - I especially love all the contrasts in the colors - the blue corn included... I've never seen those here, too bad, I'd love them!

I fully agree that the guac sends tacos... as well as chili/nachos and just about anything spicy... over-the-top with delicousness!!

Quite a compliment too to be chosen over a vegan restaurant! Well done!

Anonymous said...

You just totally cracked me up with your comment about secretly wanting to see my house. I want to see everyone else's house also. It's so interesting to me how people live and I like being able to picture them in their house cooking or watching TV or playing with their kitties. It makes it so much more real when you have pics.

maybepigscanfly said...

Oh I just love how versatile quinoa is. And your presentation of them in these tacos is simply wonderful. I'm definitely going to be having this soon. And the blue corn shells are a great idea too.

Have you tried red quinoa yet? I don't know if its just in my head or not, but I prefer the red over the white. Plus its pretty to look at. I also saw that my co-op has black quinoa, which I want to try soon- but its a little pricey for me.

Glad to see you back and posting so much.


Lindy Loo said...

Those look so fricking good!

How DID you make your guac--any special recipe?

Catherine said...

Hey Leslie! I haven't been posting lately because, well, when you spend a couple of hours a day sitting in front of the computer looking for stupid jobs, the last thing you want to do is sit in front of the computer some more! Ack. (The cookbook is suffering on account of this problem as well.)

Yummy looking tacos! I make quesadillas pretty often -- my latest favorite is refried black beans, spinach, (well, not very lately with the spinach,) and mushroom. Yuuuuuum. I heart guacamole, btw.

Melody said...

Those looks absolutely delicious..

I just bought some blue corn shells yesterday.. hmmm..
I love that you used habanero in your chili.. Habanero peppers are one of my favorite foods.

EatPeacePlease said...

First a message to everyone: I forgot to mention, I squeezed a bit of lime juice into the chili while cooking. I'm sure lime rind would be awesome too. Getting on with the comments...

Johanna, these tacos were so good!

Megan, I can't believe you've never had guac! Something has to be done about that.

Miriam, no I can't believe you've never had tacos or anything of that sort. You need to get off the east coast and get your butt down here to the border! Or just make you and Todd some of it in Boston. Thanks for the info of the EBreek too.

Dori, I'd like to know how your chili is compared to mine. I'm more interested in what spices you use than anything else! I'll let you know about Killian, thanks for all that info, I've been doing a lot of reading the past few days (getting prepared to open my big mouth!).

Crystal, I made my guac by first anxiously waiting for my avocado to ripen, then I hollowed it out into a small bowl. I have no recipe, I usually just toss a splash or two of lemon juice (this is per avocado), 2 shakes of sea salt, a few grinds of black pepper, I used chopped fresh cilantro but I also use a few shakes of dry when I don't have any fresh, and a pinch of cumin and garlic granules. I would like some tomatos in there too one day.
I'm like you and Ray's like Marty with the hard and soft shells. I only like soft with a burrito. Thanks for pointing me to the vegan ice cream blog! It's heavenly. I must fix my ice cream maker.

Maryjamie, vegan tacos are way more interesting than vegetarian and for sure meat ones. I think Crystal (vivacious vegan) has a vegan dog, but I'm not sure. I just have a dog in a cat's body. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Teddy, it wasn't that spicy. I would next time add more spice!

Mary, wow, you are picky about a lot, huh!? I don't care for refried beans either.

Kleo, I had a feeling you'd be big on this. I love living down here because of the foods. I love New Mexico chiles (not chili) too. Thanks for your sweet sweet sweet comments!

Kris, I'd like to know what you think of the chili. I wouldn't say my guac is "yay", but it used to be "muh" like you said about yours. Look up at my response to Crystal for the "recipe". It's really just tossing some stuff together and making sure you have a great avocado.

Don't get Mad get Vegan, thanks for visiting my blog. I'm glad you already eat all those tacos, now you have a new addition with the quinoa. Does fell of the wagon mean the vegan wagon?

Patty, I would think that meat would ruin all the great flavors in the chili anyway. I'd be interested to know how you like these tacos.

Pure Zuke, go make tacos.

Bazu, thank you for the kind comments. I hope you like the quinoa variation.

Nikki, thanks for commenting!

Laura Jesser, you are funny with the few things you love more than tacos... taco ingredients! I find the Muir Glen all over the place, Whole Foods, the co-op (although it's pricey there), and the Sunflower Market. They have many varieties out there.

Dreena, I wouldn't say they look better than yours, they are certainly messier. The blue corn shells really complete the meal.

Crystal again, I commented to your other comment on your blog.

Teresa, thank you for your nice comments. I haven't tried red quinoa yet, but I just spotted some at the Sunflower Market here. I heard it is the same flavor (possibly more nutritious because of the color, but it's already loaded with nutrition), but I've never heard of black quinoa.

Lindy Loo, look up at Crystal's comment response and there's a guideline to a recipe there. I tend to not follow recipes when I'm doing my own thing.

Catherine, sorry you are spending so much time doing un-fun things at the computer. I hope you get a good job that you want and you can get back to the finer things in life such as cooking, eating, blogging and writing your cookbook!

Melody, I can't wait to see what YOU do with those shells.

Thanks for the comments everyone!

Vicki said...

blue corn tacos sitting appropriately upon a blue plate! such pretty pictures and a mouth watering view from here. i LOVE guac! :o)

Urban Vegan said...

So pretty. Where on earth did you find the blue taco shells? I was lucky to find yellow shells that weren't hydrogenated.

Carrie™ said...

I've never seen blue taco shells either. They really liven up the meal. Your taco fillings are perfect!
I went over to that ice cream blog. It's been going on since June?? How come I've never heard of this? Makes me wonder what else I'm missing.
I'm also curious on your guacamole. Any secret tips?