CAULIFLOWER TACOS WITH CHIPOTLE ROMESCO SAUCE

I debated whether to insert the “V” word into the title, but yes, this is vegan. And delicious with a big “D.” The sauce packs a huge hit of flavor. I used the smallest recommended amount of chipotle pepper in Adobo sauce, if you are a braver soul, go for the kill and add more. Obviously, you can use meat instead of cauliflower and please all the omnivores at your table. But whatever your gastronomic inclination, MAKE THE SAUCE.


VEGAN CAULIFLOWER TACOS WITH CHIPOTLE ROMESCO SAUCE
(adapted from Minimalist Baker)

for the cauliflower:
1 large cauliflower head, cut in small pieces
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt

for the sauce:
1/4 cup raw almonds
1 15-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes (drained)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium lime, juiced
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp sea salt (plus more to taste)
1 Tbsp maple syrup (plus more to taste)
1-2 whole chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (more for spicier sauce)

for serving:
corn tortillas
Lime juice / wedges
Fresh cilantro (optional)
shredded cheese (vegan, if you prefer)

Coat the cauliflower pieces with the oil and the spices. Either roast it in a 400F oven, or air-fry it for 15 minutes. Reserve.

Toast the almonds in a dry non-stick skillet until they start to get fragrant and get a bit of color, but do not move away from the stove and move them constantly to prevent them from burning. Add them to a blender (Vitamix works best) together with all other ingredients for the sauce. Blend until very smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, or maple syrup, depending on your preference.

To serve, warm up tortillas, add the sauce and the warm cauliflower on top, then more sauce, and any toppings you like.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This sauce will definitely show up in our kitchen regularly because it is so easy to make, and absolutely perfect for our taste. When I first made it I thought it was too spicy, but it is not, it mellows down as you add it to the other components, and matches all sorts of protein or veggies. I enjoyed it next day with some leftover grilled chicken breasts.


ONE YEAR AGO: One gift, one dough, two recipes

TWO YEARS AGO: Rocking the Zucchini Boat

THREE YEARS AGO: Polenta Bites with Spicy Tomato Sauce

FOUR YEARS AGO: Vague Mousse Cake

FIVE YEARS AGO: Cottage Loaf, my very own technical challenge

SIX YEARS AGO: Pork Ribs: Sticky, Spicy and Awesome

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Sobering Peach Sorbet

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Buttermilk-Blueberry Breakfast Cake

NINE YEARS AGO: Silky Cauliflower Puree with Almond Milk

TEN YEARS AGO: Beef and Broccoli Stir-fr

ELEVEN YEARS AGO:Wheat Germ and Sage Sourdough Bread

TWELVE YEARS AGO:Popeye-Pleasing Salad

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO:Summer’s Finale

EGGPLANT-HUMMUS PHYLLO ROLLS

Another recipe that should not compete for looks, but gets high grades in the taste department… So easy to put together that it almost qualifies for my Incredibly Simple category. I used store-bought hummus. We like Sabra brand but any brand will likely work. Of course, you can make your own for added bliss.

EGGPLANT-HUMMUS PHYLLO ROLLS
(adapted from Messy Vegan Cook)

1 medium eggplant, cut vertically in 1/2 inch slices
1/3 cup olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
hummus (I used Sabra traditional)
6 sheets of phyllo dough (3 per roll)
olive oil spray

Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Brush that mixture on the eggplant slices and use a grill pan to lightly cook it, no more than a couple of minutes per side. You can use an outside grill, but don’t let the eggplant overcook and get mushy. Let the slices cool before proceeding with the recipe.

Lay one sheet of phyllo on the surface, spray olive oil lightly. Lay two more sheets on top, spraying olive oil each time. Lay two slices of eggplant overlapping (as shown in the picture after the recipe). Spread some hummus on top. Fold the phyllo over the eggplant, forming a long strip that totally encloses the eggplant. Gently roll. Place on a roasting pan and bake for 35 minutes at 375F.

Let it cool slightly before serving.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The main thing to keep in mind is that the eggplant will cook in the rolls for 35 minutes, so make sure not to overcook it in the first step, and do not cut it too thin. Phil wants to have a variation with eggplant and mushrooms together, so I will definitely try that soon, but I already leave the idea for you. I also think adding a couple of thin slices of roasted red bell pepper would be delicious.

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TORTA DI ZUCCHINI, A FLASHBACK

This is a recipe I used to make all the time and for some odd reason disappeared from our menu. The other day I was searching the blog for ideas, and fell on this post from twelve years ago! I made it twice, two in a row, and tweaked it slightly. This is a lower-carb version, and if you skip the breadcrumbs on the topping it can also be gluten-free.

LOW-CARB TORTA DI ZUCCHINI
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

4 zucchini, 2 grated, 2 thinly sliced
4 eggs
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp Herbes de Provence
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup almond flour plus more to sprinkle on plate
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano cheese
topping: 1/4 cup breadcrumbs + 1/8 cup Parmigiano cheese
drizzle of olive oil

Grease a pyrex pie dish with butter. Sprinkle some bread crumbs or almond flour to coat.

Mix the beaten eggs with the lemon zest, herbs, Parmigiano cheese, 1/4 cup of almond flour, salt and pepper. In another bowl, place the grated and sliced zucchini. Shake the dish carefully to distribute the slices more or less evenly. Add the egg mixture to it, mix gently, and pour into the prepared pie dish. Sprinkle the remaining mixture of bread crumbs (or you can use almond flour) and cheese on top, forming a very light coating. You may not need to use it all. Drizzle a bit of olive oil.

Bake in a 375F until set and golden on top, 25 to 30 minutes. Allow it to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This is the type of recipe that makes the cook a bit nervous. As you put it together, it seems impossible to work. But trust me, it does. Normally recipes using zucchini tell you to squeeze the liquid, but this one does not. The mixture of grated zucchini with the slices is what makes the whole texture perfect. Think about a baked frittata, but without that intense eggy flavor that some people object to. I used almond flour in place of bread crumbs in the body of the recipe, but added some bread crumbs to the topping. You can just use almond flour instead for an even lower in carb concoction.

It is very important to let the torta rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing. I actually like to leave it for about half an hour and enjoy it barely warm. That’s when everything sets nicely. I don’t know why this delicious side dish left our rotation, but it is so simple and so tasty, I felt it was worth re-blogging, with the minor modifications I introduced in this version. I hope you give it a try… Next on my plans? To make a mixture of carrots and zucchini. Stay tuned!

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VIETNAMESE “PIZZA”: BANH TRANG NUONG

I am super excited to share this recipe with you! I had never heard of this concoction, which is essentially a street food in Vietnam. But during our trip to California last month I had the chance to try it in a restaurant in Los Gatos and could not wait to make it at home. Rice paper instead of pizza dough. Scrambled egg instead of tomato sauce. Seafood almost always the topping, although the one I had used pork belly instead.

VIETNAMESE “PIZZA”
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for each individual pizza:
2 rice paper round sheets
2 tablespoons olive oil
fresh herbs of your choice (I used basil and oregano)
1 egg, scrambled (it is easier to scramble 2)
salt and pepper to taste
cooked shrimp, 4 to 5 per serving
Thai sweet red chili sauce (store-bought is fine)
roasted salted peanuts

Make a flavored olive oil sauteeing the chopped herbs with the oil until fragrant. Reserve. Cook the shrimp by any method you like. I just used a little butter, salt, pepper and a squirt of lemon juice. Reserve. Scramble the egg with salt and pepper, and if you have a plastic squirt bottle, pour the egg mixture inside. Reserve.

Heat a griddle pan on medium heat. Grab two sheets of rice paper and spray water all over the surface of one of them, add the other on top. Quickly add the double paper to the pan, and carefully using a couple of spatulas or wooden spoons, make the heat stick them together. Once they start to join and the bottom is getting opaque, flip the papers and start heating the other side, always working on the surface to make them glue well. Once the paper starts getting white, brush a bit of the flavored oil on the surface, then pour the scrambled egg, a small amount will do. Push it to the edge with the back of a spoon, but don’t let it fall off on the pan. Cook until the egg starts to set, then quickly add the shrimp. Cook until the shrimp is warmed through. Sprinkle a good amount of sweet chili sauce all over, then the crushed peanuts, and serve. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Best way to serve it is to cut in wedges with scissors!

ENJOY!

PDF coming soon, stay tuned

Comments: This was such a delicious meal, I think I still need to practice the preparation, particularly handling the double rice paper, but overall I am super happy with the outcome. It is quite unusual, I know we’ll be enjoying it often with different toppings. If you’ve never heard of BANH TRANG NUONG, give this concoction a try, chances are you will fall in love with it also.

You can see a video of the preparation here, but I should warn you things did not go as smoothly for yours truly. Maybe different brands of rice paper behave differently. At any rate, it is worth any trepidation to get to the finish line…

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SMOKED SHRIMP TACOS WITH ROASTED JALAPENO SALSA

To make this simple recipe, you’ll need a smoker. If you don’t have one, use the same rub on the shrimp and grill it. I am not too wild about liquid smoke, and would rather omit that component than include it in the rub, but if you have a brand you are fond of and know how much to use, go for it. The Roasted Jalapeno Salsa was published last week on Mimi’s blog, and I made it on the same day I read it. I just knew we would love it. Beware, it is spicy!

SMOKED SHRIMP TACOS WITH ROASTED JALAPENO SALSA
(from The Bewitching Kitchen and Mimi’s blog)

for the dry rub:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp hot chili powder
2 tsp salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed

Heat the smoker to 200F with mesquite, oak, or pecan wood.

In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the dry rub. Pour the rub over the shrimp and make sure everything is well coated. Add the shrimp to the smoker and smoke for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with the salsa, and your favorite toppings.

ROASTED JALAPENO SALSA
(slightly modified from Chef Mimi)

6 large jalapeños
4 Roma tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 generous bunch cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper, to taste

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Start by preparing the jalapeños. Remove the stems, then slice them vertically around the core of seeds. Discard the seeds and stems. Roughly chop the jalapeño slices and place them in a medium-sized bowl. Chop the tomatoes into quarters and remove the seeds, then place them in with the jalapeños. Toss the mixture with the oil and salt, then place it in a baking/roasting dish. Roast until vegetables are caramelized, about 30 minutes.Place the roasted jalapeno-tomato mixture with the cilantro and other ingredients in a food processor and pulse, until the desired texture.

ENJOY!

to print the recipes, click here

Comments: I made the salsa around lunch time, kept it in the fridge and brought to room temperature as I prepared the shrimp. Everything was ready then in less than 30 minutes, perfect weeknight meal. The shrimp turned out juicy and tender, with a nice flavor from the dry rub. And the roasted jalapeno salsa went perfectly with it. But if you are not into spicy food, this is definitely not for you. My Dad, the pepper-addict, would be proud of me! The shrimp is actually quite mildly flavored, so consider just serving it with a store-bough mild salsa if you prefer.

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