Vegan Corn Pupusas W/Roasted Sweet Potato, Sauteed Mushrooms & Chipotle Mole Sauce

I never knew how easy pupusas were to make until I spotted a bag of “corn masa” mix at the Mexican market. I was like, “hey we could make vegan tamales, or PUPUSAS!” and we got all excited and subsequently I bought way too much food, as is my way. I also happened to have a jar of mole sauce in my cupboard so I decided to do sort of a pupusa/enchilada hybrid which turned out SO GOOD. These are super easy to make and you can top them with whatever veggies you want and smother everything in mole. Here’s what you’ll need:

For the pupusas:
2 cups corn masa (you should be able to find this at any Latin grocery)
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 tsp salt

Just mix all three together and knead until everything is soaked in. Let sit for at least 5 minutes before squashing them into pupusa-submission.

For the filling:
ANYTHING YOU WANT
You can use vegan cheese, spinach, broccoli, tomato, shredded carrot/zuchini, potato, vegan “meat,” tofu, pumpkin, even fruit like apple or banana/plaintain is great for a sweeter filling. I used sweet potato which I roasted with onion until it was soft and lightly browned. Should be lightly seasoned with salt, I also added paprika and cayenne pepper.

For the sauce:
Dona Maria Mole sauce (comes concentrated in a glass jar, totally cheap, so fucking amazing)
can of diced tomato (I used Muir Glen Organic tomatoes w/chipotle peppers)
3 cups water
salt to taste

You’ll have to dig out the mole paste and simmer it with the water for at least like 10 minutes, stirring until it has completely dissolved. Then you can add the tomato and however much salt you like. I also like to add some ketchup and tobasco because I’m a shameless gringa.

For the topping:
Cilantro (Put cilantro on EVERYTHING, and I’m not just talking today or this dish, I mean everyday on everything)
Saute whatever vegetables you fancy; we did a mushroom mix with onion.
You don’t really need to season these at all since it will be drenched in very flavorful sauce. You could seriously put anything on top of your pupusas: corn, zucchini, tomato, Libertarians, whatever tastes good to you. Traditionally pupusas are served with a light cabbage/pico-de-gallo-esque slaw, but since this was an enchilada hybrid, I left that part out. Feel free to slaw it up.

PUPUSA PROCEDURE:
When you’ve customized whatever filling you want for your pupusas, make sure it is precooked, as these will be fried relatively quickly and are better with a softer middle. Make sure your filling is cool too, so you don’t burn the shit out of yourself trying to pupusify it.

Heat some vegetable oil on medium in a nonstick pan. Put some of the dry masa mix down on a cutting board before rolling the dough. You want some dough about the size of a ping pong to smash down and roll out into a circle. I just used my hands because I’m ghetto-artisan like that, but you can use a rolling pin cause you’re so domestic-chic. Plop your filling in the middle of the flat circle of dough and squash another ping pong ball of dough down onto it. Then you just need to clean up the sides with your hands to make sure the filling is fully covered and the sides aren’t split. The dough is crumbly, so you really have to use your hands to make it your bitch and then a spatula to get it off the cutting board and into the hot oil. Be careful putting it in there cause it causes quite a wave. Let it cook on each side about 2-4 minutes each or until the sides start getting brown. When it’s done, scoop it out onto a paper towel and lightly press on it to remove excess oil. The mole sauce should already be fatty enough, fatty.

These are now crispy, warm and ready to eat topped with your sauteed veggies, a ladle full of your chipotle mole and a shopping cart’s worth of cilantro. SO GOOD YOU GUISE. Making these for guests makes you seem much more cultured, less racist and you can also say it’s “fusion” cooking or some bullshit. Make something up, their mouths will be full so they won’t talk back.

For side dishes we made lightly sauteed chard topped with toasted pumpkin seeds and warm smashed black beans. They go really well with everything and add more fiber to your already colon-motivating pupusas. But make it your own, so that if it sucks, you can’t blame me. Mine was fucking delicious.

2 Variations on Vegan Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

Who doesn’t love chocolate cake? If you know someone, please reach out to them and force-feed them this recipe until they admit they love it. This recipe has a 86% success rate in converting non-believers. Vegans are often cheated of the fluffy, eggy texture of many baked goods, but this chocolate cake recipe is moist, fluffy, richly chocolatey and delicious. It is another recipe I have adapted from my Vegan friend Miyuki, but these are two versions with my own nerdy foodie twist on them. I made a blackberry chocolate cake and a salted caramel chocolate cake. I’ll include the recipes for the blackberry and caramel sauces for those interested.

The basic chocolate cake recipe is as follows:

3 cups white flour
2 cups sugar (I used half white sugar half raw brown sugar)
6 tbs cocoa (Hershey’s is fine)
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups water
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tbs vinegar
2 tsp vanilla
(What I added was)
1 tsp cayenne pepper (for a subtle kick, most people won’t even notice)
1/2 tsp cinnamon

For the vegan chocolate ganache:
1/3 cup “milk” of your choice (I used vanilla almond milk and it was a taste success!)
2 tbs Earth Balance
1 cup vegan chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees FARENHEIT cause this is an AMERICAN cake

First off, mix your dry ingredients together and make sure your baking soda doesn’t clump. Make a crevas in the middle and slowly mix in the wet ingredients. Make sure you mix this thoroughly, there should be no clumps! Pour the mix into two well-greased circular cake pans and bake for about 40 minutes.

While this is baking you can make the ganache (icing) which is totally my favorite part. You can get creative with this stuff, if I was making it for myself I would have added more cayenne and cinnamon so the outside packed a bit more heat than the sweeter cake inside. Or I might have added Frangelico or Grand Marnier for a boozier sauce, but since I was making this for a birthday, I kept it classic. Use a “double boiler” method to melt the Earth Balance and mix with the almond milk and chocolate chips. For those of you unfamiliar with double boiling this is where you heat water in a bigger sauce pan and put your ingredients into a smaller saucepan immersed in the hot water. This keeps your ingredients from burning and just melts them nicely together. Mix these up until they are smooth and let the ganache cool a bit before icing the cakes (they will have to cool as well.) Make sure it stays smooth by stirring it if it begins to solidify.

The caramel sauce I made was done with a double boiling method as well. That combined 1 cup brown sugar, 2 tbs Earth Balance, a tsp of salt, 3 tbs flour and 2 tbs almond milk. Mix the flour, salt and sugar together first so they don’t clump in the liquid. Then add the milk and Earth Balance and melt everything together. It should be smooth and taste almost butterscotchy. You can totally add whisky or Frangelico if you’re feeling saucy, it’s up to you. Caramel sauce should be monitored just like the chocolate sauce, let cool, mix if it gets stagnant.

The blackberry sauce is just regular blackberry preserves, heated until they turn into a thinner syrup and poured warm onto the cake once it has cooled. This sauce should be poured right after heating as it coagulates pretty easily.

After you pull the cakes out, let them cool somewhere other than the hot stove top. Once they are relatively room-temperature-ish, you can slice the tops off so they’re both flat. Put a plate over top of each one to flip them over. Give it a couple of good taps and slowly lift the cake tin off. If you greased them with furious abandon, as directed, they should slide out no problem and have a super elegant shape to them. Let each cake cool for about another minute before icing.

If you’re just making the basic vegan chocolate cake, you’re going to use the chocolate ganache on top of one of the cakes and then put the other cake on top and coat both of them. Or you can always just make two and pour ganache on each separately. Your ganache is your business, that’s what I always say.

If you’re choosing to make a cake with the caramel or blackberry sauce, pour that sauce onto the cake and spread evenly before you put on the chocolate ganache. The ganache covers everything with a super smooth finish, so it goes on last. For the caramel sauce, you’ll have a lot of it, so save about half to drizzle over the slices themselves later. After saucing your cake up, you can pour the chocolate ganache over, as evenly as possible. It should spread over smoothly and drip down the sides, so you shouldn’t have to spread it much (you should avoid spreading it as it could disturb the cake underneath.) It will look amazing, shiny, velvety and enticing; but it will taste even better. For the caramel cake, feel free to drizzle a bit on top for looks, and then coat the whole top with semi-fine rock salt. This concludes the most delicious vegan chocolate cake recipe you will ever experience. You’re welcome.

So you’ve got leftover rotisserie chicken, eh?

I used to love buying those pre-made rotisserie chickens at QFC, especially at the end of the day cause they were like $5 and would feed me for a week with these TRICKS!

Usually I’ll eat a good portion of the chicken while it’s still warm and crispy. Maybe folded up in a baguette or with some mashed red potatoes and gravy. MMM! But then I’ve got half a fuckin’ chicken carcass sitting in my fridge making everything else smell like KFC and my creative culinary mind is the only thing that can get it out of there.

I have a few different methods I have employed, depending on what I’m in the mood for. Yesterday, Aurora told me the rest of her herb-roasted chicken was up for grabs and I decided to make some easy chicken vegetable soup with it. This shit is SO GOOD FOR HANGOVERS, I know because I just ate some and I have one. I feel better now, AND YOU WILL TOO ONCE YOU MAKE THIS GOD DAMN SOUP OK.

It’s super easy. You can pretty much just use basic shit you  have laying around in your fridge and cupboard too. Here’s what I used.

2 tbs olive oil

a diced carrot

1/2 cup onion

6 chopped mushrooms

half a diced sweet potato

1 cup diced cauliflower

really wish I had had celery cause then I would have used that too

some spinach

and I almost put in some zucchini but someone already had dibs on it

Saute the diced onion and carrot (and celery if you have it) in the olive oil until the onion turns a bit clear and smells REAL GOOD. Then you can throw your chicken in there and a bunch of water (you can really add as much water as the amount of soup you want to eat, this stock can go a long way.) I like to boil the chicken and then let it baste on medium low for about 20min or so. This will make the chicken all warm and soft again and you can pull it out, let it cool off, and start picking little pieces of the meat off and throwing them back in the soup.

You always want to plan when to add your veggies to soup so that they don’t get overcooked. Mushrooms are great to add whenever cause their texture doesn’t really change and they just soak up all the deliciousness of whatever they’re in more and more as they sit there. But things like the sweet potato, cauliflower, zucchini and spinach will get a bit soggy and gross if you’re boiling them up with everything else. If your soup is really hot when everything else is done cooking, just throwing the veggies diced up relatively small at the end should cook them without any additional heat.

Some other shit you can add to this to give it personality are: alphabet noodles, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, tomato, corn, peas, greens, sprinkle on some fresh-baked croutons (goodbye stale bread hello delicious multi-purposed topper) and, BTW, grated cheese and a bit of pepper never hurt anybody.

This stuff is so easy to heat up in a saucepan and eat with a piece of chewy toast or some tortilla chips or just on its own. Like I said, it is a bit of a miracle cure for a hangover and probably the reason why I haven’t puked on anybody today. It soothes the tummy and makes you feel all hearty, warm and full. It smells like what I bet heaven smells like. Mmm.

Ginger Carrot Bread W/Raisins, Toasted Walnuts, Wheat Germ & Flax Seed (Vegan)

Today I’m attempting a variation of my friend Miyuki’s Vegan Carrot Bread that I fell in love with and ate most of. Her recipe is great on its own but I wanted to really ginger-it-up and add some wheat germ, oatmeal and flax seed.

The recipe I started from is:

Miyuki’s Slow-Bake Carrot Loaf

2 cups wheat flour

1 cup tightly packed brown sugar

1 tbs cinnamon

2 tsps baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

3 cups grated carrot (about 3 moderately sized carrots)

¾ cup vegetable oil

¾ cup orange juice

1 cup raisins

1 cup chopped walnuts

What I added was:

1/4 cup wheat germ

1 tbs flax seed

2 tbs oatmeal

1/2 cup apple sauce

1 tbs honey

1 tbs shredded coconut

2 tbs pressed ginger juice mixed with some of the grated bits

2 tbs diced candied ginger

1 tbs molasses

And I substituted pineapple papaya juice for the orange juice.

Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour (check it by putting a knife through the middle and seeing if it’s still doughy)

Really I give all the credit for this recipe to Miyuki cause it’s pretty much perfect as is, I just wanted to hippie it up a bit more, San Francisco style. I sprinkled wheat germ on top of the dough when I put it in the oven and that was one of my favorite parts, it gets all crispy and has a great flavor and texture.

THIS TURNED OUT SO GOOD YOU GUISE

It’s really spicy and gingery and light and soft. I have already eaten two big pieces. Oh goddddd. Last time I ate this bread I made a fried egg and dipped it in the warm runny, salty yolk. That may sounds weird but it was SO GOOD. Just because this is really a pretty lightly sweet bread, it’s like a sweeter toast. Oh man I love this stuff, hope you do too.

Roasted Corn & Black Bean Salad – High Fiber, Low Fat, Totally Fucking Delicious

Sometimes after BBQs a couple ears of corn go uneaten and end up in our fridges, neglected and under-appreciated. When I gaze upon this foresaken maiz, I see a world of opportunity, creativity overtakes me, and I am forced to concoct one of the most delicious dishes for Summer eats, ever. This is of course, my take on a roasted corn and black bean salad. Simple, light, high fiber, low-fat and vegan, even if you’re not a healthy hippie you will love the crunch of this dish.

For this recipe you will need:

– a can of black beans (salted or unsalted depending on your blood pressure)

– a few ears of corn (the corn to black bean ratio is up to you, I use at least 2 ears of corn)

– a red pepper & a green pepper

– cilantro

– a lemon

– olive oil, salt, pepper to taste

– Other things you can chop up and add are: onion (red onion looks especially nice), avocado (gives this a nice creamy taste I love and is really charming if you end up using it for salsa, just make sure to add it last so it doesn’t get mushy), sliced cherry tomatoes, jalapeno, diced orange or tangerine, pineapple, celery or quinoa. All delicious and add a different slant to this basic recipe.

I tend to like my corn re-roasted once I remove the husk. It gives it this nice brownish/charred look, which on top of the golden yellow, looks really fantastic in a salad. I lightly oil a skillet and rotate the corn on it about every 30 seconds. Once the corn has a nice color to it and smells good, I remove it and slice the kernels off with a paring knife. Then you can add your RINSED can of black beans, I rinse them so they don’t have that slimey liquid they come in. Dice your peppers and chop your cilantro and add them in too. Squirt lemon over everything to taste, and add your olive oil, salt and pepper if that’s your bag.

As you can see, this salad is so simple even cooking-impaired bachelors could make it, and it just happens to be really healthy and keep really well. It can be used in a variety of ways other than just a salad to be eaten with a fork. it makes a great salsa, is a great topper for burgers, is great fried up with eggs or wrapped up in a tortilla (with or without the eggs/bacon/cheese and some meat/tofu.) It is so versatile and such a great base for many other entrees, I really love to make it.

Hope you enjoy eating it as much as I love blabbing about it!

Roasted Corn Black Bean Salad The Morning After

Homemade Kombucha – Super easy, healthy and delicious

Making your own kombucha is so fucking simple I don’t know why anyone would pay $4 a bottle for it. All you need to make your own kombucha is:

– A bottle of kombucha

– a piece of a light cloth (something that breathes)

-a rubber band

– a bowl

– Black tea

– Sugar

-Bottles with a rubber top to trap carbonation

Basically, you can use the bacteria from a store-bought bottle of kombucha to grow more kombucha. All you have to do is brew a few bags of black tea in like 2 cups of water, add 1/4 cup of sugar, let it cool to room temperature and mix it with the liquid and chunky bits of your store-bought kombucha.

Then all you have to do is cover it with your breathable piece of fabric and secure it with a rubber-band. Set that in a cupboard in a warm area for 4-7 days until it has a nice little pancake of film (the scoby) resting on the top. Then  all you have to do is brew more tea w/ sugar and add it to the mix to continue to feed the kombucha (remember to let it cool or it will kill the bacteria.)

Should take about two weeks total to brew a batch and be able to bottle the liquid and keep the mother for additional batches. You can taste the mix as you go along and judge for yourself when you think it is done. It should be slightly carbonated and as sweet or sour as you like it (too sour? add more sugar!) I like to bottle mine with about 1/3 fruit juice and sliced ginger. Makes a super healthy and refreshing drink straight out of the fridge. YUM!