Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tiny Tacos Tuesday Take Two

Tacos on Tuesdays is becoming a ritual in the Cowgirl Kitchen, and I can't get enough of these tiny corn tortillas from Mi Rancho. They're tasty, gluten-free and made from organic corn. Cantina-style tacos are totally trending, so I invented another two more yummy recipes with the ingredients I had on hand.

Tacos Almendras
(serves 2)

For the filling:

1 cup raw almonds
1 tablespoon tamari (or soy sauce)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
dash cayenne
dash coriander
dash cinnamon

For the toppings:

2 red radishes, diced
2 green onions, chopped
1 lime, cut in wedges
fresh cilantro, minced


Pulse almonds in food processor until they're right in between chunky and crumbly. Add the tamari, vinegar and spices and set aside to let the flavors soak in. Marinate for 15 minutes if you're in a hurry or make ahead of time and refrigerate.

When you're ready to eat, chop up some fresh toppings. Load your tiny tortillas with filling and toppings, then squeeze a little lime juice over top for extra pizzazz. For a raw version, fold inside a crispy leaf of lettuce.

Tiny tacos are great finger food for appetizers at your next party!

Tacos Aubergine 

For the filling:
1 cup Grilled Eggplant Dip

For the toppings:
hot sauce
minced cilantro
minced garlic
mixed baby greens
black olives (I forgot to put black olives on mine but that would have been really tasty)

Lightly steam the tortillas. Fill them. Sprinkle with salt. Squilch a bunch of hot sauce on and eat them!!!

More tacos, anyone?



Did you know that the Virtual Vegan Potluck has a weekly Linky party?
This post is part of Linky Potluck #7 - join me in the festivities!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Grilled Eggplant Dip

It's summertime, aka grilling season. I am not very experienced at cooking on a grill, but I have all these veggies and I wanted to try it, so I decided to grill an eggplant.

Nothing could be simpler! Just throw a whole aubergine on the grill. That's all you have to do, besides maybe turning it occasionally. Make sure that the grill isn't too hot - you should be able to hold your hand over it for a few seconds - and plop that eggplant on the barbie. Close the grill and wait. After roasting for 30 minutes or so, the eggplant will kinda deflate, which means it's done.

deflated eggplant
Slice the roasted eggplant in half and scoop out all the gooey inside (or peel off the skin, whatever works). Put it in a food processor with some tahini, lemon juice and seasonings (smoked paprika would be really good!) 

 I added:
1/3 cup tahini
1 tablespoon tamari
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon black pepper
Now simply whizz it all together...
...and voila! Grilled Eggplant Dip!

Serve as an appetizer with pita triangles, tortilla chips or cucumber slices, or make it part of an entree or dinner salad. What I did was, I made myself a big bowl of rice, sauteed some zucchini slices in olive oil with garlic, glopped my roasted eggplant dip on top, then tossed in some cherry tomatoes, chopped almonds and fresh herbs (dill and cilantro). It was delicious. I want some more...

In fact, there is more, and I'm hungry. I think I'll make this again for lunch...

You might also like:
Sweet Sesame Tempeh with Baba Ghanoush

 Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian

Shish Kebab Boom Bah

Friday, August 1, 2014

Native Foods Café, Denver

One of my favorite things about visiting a new city is trying new restaurants, and Denver boasts several plant-based establishments. Whenever I go to a new restaurant, I gauge the quality of the food by ordering one of my favorite dishes. For instance, if I'm trying a Thai restaurant for the first time, I will invariably order a Green Curry. At a vegan joint, I always try their burger.

Native Foods Café did not disappoint - far from it! I went to their Glendale location and tried the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger. Flippin' delicious!! If vegan bacon and vegan cheddar aren't enough to get your mouth watering, allow me to inform you that there are battered dill pickle chips on top. I don't know about you, but I'm crazy about deep-fried pickles. Fried pickles are second only to fried avocados in my book. Mmm...

Getting a vegan burger right is not an easy feat to accomplish. Sometimes they're squishy and flavorless, with a few sad tortillas chips on the side that make you want to cry. Other times, they totally rock! I've eaten many a vegan burger in the last 8 years, and the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger from Native Foods now ranks in my top three, up there with Café Blossom's Soy Bacon Cheeseburger (NYC) and The Steer's Baja Burger (Buffalo). This is definitely the best burger west of the Mississippi!

Native Foods restaurants have been serving vegan fare for 20 years, and they know what's up. Just take a look at the Oklahoma Burger's description: "Our thinly sliced Native Original Seitan, melted cheddar, caramelized onions, and crispy Native Bacon on a bun slathered with BBQ sauce and ranch dressing, romaine, carrots, onion and tomato. Topped with crunchy battered dill pickle chips." The only way to improve on this burger is to add a side of sweet potato fries. So I did.

Native Foods has three Denver area locations: Boulder, University Park and Glendale. I'll be back again soon!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tiny Tacos Tuesday

I've said it before - anybody can make tacos! Yesterday, when I was shopping at Natural Grocers, I found these super cute tiny tortillas made from organic corn. Today I whipped up some easy guacamole and refried beans for tiny tacos! Because today is Tuesday, and I love eating tacos. I also enjoy smashing foods with a fork.

For the guacamole:

3 ripe avocados
3 (or more) cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
1 lime
sea salt to taste

Smash up the avocados in a bowl. Add the minced garlic and cilantro, and squeeze in the juice of that lime. Add salt to taste. Done.

For the beans:

1 can pinto beans
1 tablespoon oil, for frying
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon chili powder
dash of cinnamon
dash of cayenne, if you like it hot
dash of salt

Heat the oil over medium flame, add the cumin seeds and onion, and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the pinto beans, salt and spices, and stir until the beans are warmed. Turn off the burner. Smash the beans roughly with a fork. Done.

Taco time!

You might also like my other taco-related posts:

This post is now part of Virtual Vegan LINKY Potluck #5!
Hop on over to browse this week's entries.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Paleolicious Cauliflower Couscous

Last night I succeeded in making a dinner that was both Paleo and Vegan - as well as delicious.

Lots of people are eating Paleo these days and enjoying better health because of it. Cutting all processed foods, sugar and dairy from your diet can only be good for you. But what if you don't eat meat or eggs?

For vegans, a Paleo diet gets a little tricky. Quite a few of my vegan staples are not allowed: no grains, no beans, no potatoes and no grain-like seeds, not even quinoa. I've been doing my best to stay gluten-free, and rely pretty heavily on cornmeal and rice. I also love my beans; what would I do without hummus and tofu? Or lentils? I love lentils! Especially with rice.

As far as I can tell, a Paleo Vegan diet isn't much different from a Raw Vegan diet, except that you're allowed to heat things up. Think about it - can you eat grains, beans, or potatoes raw? No way. Seems logical...so okay, just replace all those yummy rice carbs with veggies like cauliflower or yams, eat lots and lots of nuts - is fresh ground peanut butter allowed? - swap soy milk for coconut or almond, and make hummus out of zucchini.

I am staying with my brother, who has been following a Paleo diet for some time, and I challenged myself to come up with a meal that we could share. First, I searched Pinterest for Paleo/Vegan recipes. The results were mainly raw desserts, interspersed with a few salads and smoothies. I wanted some ideas for a hearty and satisfying dinner, and quickly realized I would have to invent one myself. To the refrigerator!

I knew that I had to do something with my baby bella mushrooms; fungi need to get eaten right away, so I decided to make a new version of my Cauliflower Couscous, with raw almonds for extra protein and red grapes for sweetness. Cauliflower Couscous is one of my favorite dinners; it's easy to make, versatile, and doesn't take much time. If you have a food processor, dinner is ready in 20 minutes or less. Paleos and Vegans, please enjoy:

Paleolicious Cauliflower Couscous
(serves 2)

1 head cauliflower
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 cup red grapes, sliced in halves
1/2 cup fresh cilantro or parsley, minced
1/2 cup raw almonds
2 or 3 cloves garlic
2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-low flame. Sauté the sliced mushrooms with a little black pepper until tender and browned.

While the mushrooms are cooking, roughly chop the cauliflower into florets. Put the cauliflower and garlic into a food processor and pulse several times, until it looks like couscous. Add to the skillet of mushrooms and sauté for about five minutes.

Pulse the cilantro and almonds in the food processor. Slice the grapes. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and season with sea salt and black pepper. Serve warm.

I know there weren't any food processors in the Paleolithic Era; you can use a knife (or a rock?) to pulverize the ingredients if you prefer.

R Cowgirl

This recipe is now part of Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck #4! Hop over to visit An Unrefined Vegan and check out this week's round of recipes.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Ruthless' Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Summer is the season for picnics and parties, and there are plenty of vegan foods that everyone can enjoy. Just take a look at this delicious salsa:

I was snacking on some salsa that my sister made, and couldn't stop, so I begged her for the recipe. Here's my version of...

Ruthless' Black Bean & Corn Salsa

2 cans black beans
2 ears corn (raw or roasted)
2 avocados
2 hot peppers
1 small red onion
1 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of 2 limes
1 teaspoon salt

Drain the beans and dump them into a large bowl.
Cut the kernels off the corn - do this right over the bowl.
Dice the avocados, chop the peppers and onion and mince the cilantro and throw them in.
Slice the limes into quarters and squeeze their juice over everything.
Sprinkle a teaspoon of salt on top.
Stir it all together and serve with tortilla chips.

I made a big bowl for the Fourth of July to share with my neighbors. They loved it.
Ruthless knows how to make some kickin' salsa.

This post is part of the 2nd Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck! Bon appetit!

Friday, July 4, 2014

American Classics: Perfect Potato Salad

Happy Fourth of July! On this all-American holiday, I'm dishing up another American Classic that's ideal for a picnic or a potluck. Here's some Perfect Potato Salad to bring along to your neighbor's next barbecue.

Perfect Potato Salad
Serves 12

12 Yukon Gold potatoes
1 small red onion, minced
3/4 cup Vegenaise
1/4 cup capers, with brine
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 sprigs dill weed, minced
1 teaspoon salt

Boil water in a large stock pot. Chop potatoes into 3/4"cubes. Boil potatoes until easily pierced with a fork. Drain, transfer to a large bowl and chill. (If you're in a hurry, stick the bowl in the freezer and stir occasionally.)

Add the minced red onion, Vegenaise, Dijon, capers, dill and salt. Stir until all the potatoes are coated with dressing. Serve cold. Share with friends.

Leave the skins on! Wash your potatoes well and remove any blemishes. The skin of a potato is the most nutritious part, with iron, calcium, potassium and B and C vitamins.

Red potatoes and fingerling potatoes are also great for potato salad.

For those with soy allergies, try the soy-free version of Vegenaise or substitute olive oil and apple cider vinegar.

Nutrition Information:
Calories per serving: 201
Calories from fat: 8.9g
Saturated fat: 0.4g
Carbohydrates: 25.9g
Protein: 2.9g

This recipe is a party-size version of my Best Potato Salad Ever.

Here are some more picnic-perfect recipes:




This post is also part of Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck #3!