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.

Oven-Baked Mac-N-Cheese / Tuna Vegetable Casserole

This is a recipe I use time and time again in different forms depending on what’s in my fridge and what my stomach demands. You can use the basic guidelines to make basic baked Mac-N-Cheese with crunchy delicious breadcrumbs on top, or to make a cheesier version of a tuna casserole. This is a great way to get rid of bags of pasta, logs of cheese and cans of tuna that have been sitting around.

A few things you’ll need:

a big ol greased casserole dish

a bag of pasta (preferably macaroni but you can also use penne, bowties, smaller sized pastas)

a log of cheddar cheese (colby or monterey jack work too, but don’t do mozzerella, it’s too stringy)

a more cured cheese (something like parmesan works great, or asiago, but if you don’t mind spending money I highly recommend Manchego. Viva España!)

1-2 cloves garlic

1-2 cups cream

3 tbs butter

3 tbs olive oil

1/4 cup flour

1/2 diced onion

frozen peas

can of tuna

random vegetables (I used zucchini, cherry tomatoes, but you can also use: spinach, mushrooms, thinly sliced potato or broccoli, go crazy!)

and some old bread, bread crumbs, or home-made croutons (recipe to follow!)

First thing you need to do is boil your noodles. Boil those fuckers til they’re al dente (the half-boner of noodles), and then strain them and put them aside, rinse them with cold water so they don’t overcook. This is easy to do while you are also preparing our sauce base.

Just melt your butter and olive oil in a generously sized saucepan. Mixing butter with olive oil prevents the butter from burning, it also gives a more complex flavor to all the veggies and sauce. Add your garlic and onion to the oil mix and as you turn the heat up to medium-low start slowing adding in the flour. This is my version of making a rue which is traditionally just butter and flour, but it is the base for sooo many delicious sauces. Mine is always garlicky because I make it like I’m going to make alfredo sauce. So basically you mix the flour in slowly, bit by bit, and keep stirring as you do so it doesn’t clump up. Once you’ve got all the flour mixed it, start stirring in the CREAM and turn the heat up just a bit, you don’t want it to burn. Add the rest of the cream and keep stirring the whole time, the sauce should bubble lightly and should not be erupting or splattering like a teenage boy.

Once you have the warm, creamy sauce base bubbling in your sauce pan, start grating some cheese in (or if you’re all TOGETHER and ORGANIZED you will have already grated it and can just sweep it gently and smugly into your sauce.) I do a mix of about half the the cheddar and the hard cured cheese until I have a pretty thick and creamy sauce. This is when you mix in the frozen peas (a half a bag to a whole bag depending on how much you love peas, love, unity, respect you dirty hippie), tuna and your noodles. Get everything all sloppy and cheesy and pour half of your mix into a greased pan and give it another layer of grated cheese. Layer your vegetables on top of this with a sprinkle of salt n pepper and then some more cheese. Pour the rest of your creamy mix over the top, top with cheese (especially a bunch of the cured cheese) and handfuls of breadcrumbs, bake in the oven at 425 for about a half hour or until everything is bubbly and golden brown. I like mine really crusty on top so sometimes I’ll bake it at 450 for a bit longer.

This shit keeps so well and ALWAYS tastes good for lunch, dinner, even breakfast (which I am eating it for today.) I like a big cold glass of milk with my warm cheesey, crispy tuna mac n cheese casserole. So fucking good. The vegetable layer in the middle makes it seem healthy and really balances out the carbo-load. This isn’t quite as overwhelming as a Boston Market carbo-fatty version. This is why I love it! Well-balanced, super cheesey, delicious when microwaved, ready to take anywhere. This is a great dish to bring to a potluck, people always eat the shit out of it and make you seem like some sort of food-wizard. I am in love with this super homey & customizable recipe!

Good enough to penetrate. Enjoy!

My First Food Blog! Bloody Marys & Canned Vegetables for Garnish!

Something I’ve been doing lately is pickling vegetables. My focus has been mainly vegetables that can be used as garnishes for my spicy bloody marys. My first batch was a bunch of organic asparagus spears and green beans from the local Mexican market. I made a simple brine of white vinegar, salt, sugar and water and added my own bulk spices. For the green beans I added brown and yellow mustard seeds, a cinnamon stick, peppercorns, serrano pepper and a bit of cilantro. These are SOOOO good! Crispy, light, spicy, a great snack you can just pull straight from the fridge when you get home.

 They’re super easy to make too. We used a Youtube video as a guide to our pickling.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10XdOcVwizM

Let me make it clear that this is not “pickling” in the true sense of controlled fermentation, etc, this is simply brining vegetables in an acidic solution, in this case, vinegar. I also love making spicy carrot sticks because it’s a good way to get your vitamin A and they’re super crunchy and delicious to just pull out and chomp on when you need a snack. I keep tweaking my brine every time I make them but they’re great to pickle with jalapeno slices, cilantro and onion. If you cut them into jar-length sticks they’re easy to pluck out and bite into. To make your own bloody marys all you really need is some V-8 or tomato juice, ground pepper, worcestershire sauce, tobasco, salt and lemon to taste. They’re a great way to get in your vegetable servings for the day and they’re great with or without vodka. If you pop in an asparagus, green bean and carrot stick you have a nice refreshing beverage-salad that is surprisingly filling. I LOVE BLOODY MARYS. Yum.