Vegetarian International Recipes at Home: Corn Quesadilla Recipe with Rice and Beans and Thai Peanut Noodle Salad Recipe

January 3rd, 2008 yum Posted in Corn Tortillas, Mexican, Peanut, Salad, Thai, Vegetables, Vegetarian, tortillas 4 Comments »

salad4.jpgWhen I returned from my month long trip to India and then Austria, one of the things I was most looking forward to was being in my gluten-free kitchen again. Silly? Maybe, but being away from home, especially somewhere where you don’t speak the language, can offer all kinds of dining challenges, and I was pretty tired of the gluten-free staples I’d relied on overseas. Potatoes and cold salads can be tasty, but I was ready for some variety. The first meal I prepared when I returned home was boring, but something I always crave after a long flight- gluten-free pasta and tomato sauce from a jar with Parmesan cheese. Gourmet, no? Ok, maybe not. But to me it is the ultimate comfort dish. DH enjoyed it as well when I switched from rice pasta to Mrs. Leepers corn pasta. But that’s not a very blog-worthy meal, and I have so many things to post about from my trip. Posts on the drawing board include…

South Indian Cuisine: Dosas, Idli’s and other naturally gluten-free foods
Reformhaus or Health Food Stores in Austria and Germany: Review of Gluten-free foods by 3Pauly, Schar, etc.
Dining Gluten-Free in Restaurants in Austria: Vienna, Salzburg, and Fussen
Gluten-Free Gasthaus: My Experience at a Zoeliakie Bed and Breakfast in Austria
Decoding a Coffee Menu in German: How to order the perfect gluten-free espresso beverage

Also, now that I’ve been exposed to the cake and coffee culture in Austria, I’ve been inspired to come up with gluten-free recipes for all kinds of Austrian cakes. You can expect experiments for Apple Strudel, a Gluten-free Sacher-style torte (Chocolate Cake), and more.

I’m torn between experiences of the past and present at the moment. I definitely want to share all of my past experiences with you, but now that I’m back home I have a lot of tasty plans for new dishes. So, I think I’ll alternate posts about our trip with posts about my latest culinary creations. Our first real meal home was basmati rice with southern fried tofu and roasted chili garlic broccoli. But after that, I started playing around with some new recipes. To use up leftover basmati rice, I came up with Spanish Rice Quesadillas with Refried Bean Recipe for a tasty and healthy breakfast. DH made a special request for dinner, asking for a “main dish salad with Asian flavors.” I adapted a sauce recipe from an unpretentious cookbook called “All You Can Eat Chinese and Thai Cooking” and came up with a mixture of lettuce, carrots, jicama, apple, and rice noodles for the base of the salad- enough carbs and vegetables to make us both happy. DH proclaimed it to be exactly what he wanted, and oddly enough, it turned out to be just what I wanted, too. In fact, it was so good I wanted to share it with you all right away. My next post will probably be the conclusion of my series on our Indian culinary experience, but for now, here’s a little taste of the activity in my kitchen lately. I plan on making a batch of DFIL’s Gluten-Free Norwegian Christmas Bread today, and still intend to share Adeena’s yummy recipe for Gluten-free Teff Dinner Rolls, so you can expect to see these recipes soon, too… Enjoy!

*note: as always, you can substitute any nut butter for the peanut butter in this recipe.

Spanish Rice Quesadillas with Refried Beans
1 tbsp olive oil
2 or 3 cups cold long grained rice (white or brown)
1 whole white onion, diced
1 tbsp capers, diced
1-2 cloves garlic
2 tsp or more whole cumin seeds
sprinkling of fajita seasoning

corn tortillas
canned vegetarian refried pinto beans
1 or 2 oz. skim mozarella or other white, lowfat cheese, sliced (optional)

1/2 fresh jicama, cubed
1/2 fresh avocado, cubed
lime juice

hot sauce if desired

Heat your olive oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat and add diced onion when hot. Sautee your diced onion and when it begins to look translucent, add your capers, garlic, and cumin seed. When seasonings are warm, add rice and sprinkle it with fajita spices and mix. If you have room, move your rice over and heat a dash of little peanut oil in a corner of the pan, adding your mashed refried beans to the oil and letting them heat. If you like, take two corn tortillas and heat them one side on the surface of the cast iron pan, moving the rice so that it is on top of the tortilla. When one side of the tortilla is lightly browned, turn over one tortilla, and layer cheese (if desired), the refried beans, some seasoned rice, and the other tortilla, with the browned side facing the filling. Let the cheese melt and turn over your quesadilla so both sides are browned.

Prepare your jicama and avocado, sprinkle them with salt and squeeze some lime juice on them. Top your quesadilla with extra seasoned, mexican rice and the seasoned jicama and avocado. Add some hot sauce to the edges of your plate and enjoy.

This was a good way to use up the basmati rice DH wasn’t especially excited about…
Cold Szechuan Sesame Noodle Salad
Mild Szechwan Peanut Sauce:
3 tbsp natural peanut butter
2 tbsp wheat free tamari (i prefer San-J low-sodium variety)
1 tbsp water
4 tsp. sugar
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
a few drops of hot sauce (optional)

8 oz. skinny rice noodles (thai or vietnamese variety)
a few drops of sesame oil
Mild Szechuan Peanut Sauce
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds or pine nuts

1 package firm tofu
peanut oil

1/3 head of romaine lettuce
2 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1/4 jicama, diced
1/2 apple, sliced (optional)
salt, lime juice

Combine ingredients for sauce in food processor or blender and process until smooth.

Prepare rice noodles by bringing water to boil, submerging your noodles, turning off the burner and letting them soak until soft. Rinse in cold water and drain, reserve.

Cut tofu block in half and press between towel for at least 30 minutes. Slice tofu into strips, heat a small amount of oil (1 tbsp, more if desired) in a cast iron pan and fry strips, turning when golden on one side. When both sides are golden, sprinkle with salt and put on plate with paper towel to get off any excess oil. When cool, cut into thin strips slightly bigger than a matchstick.

Prepare and clean lettuce, carrots, jicama, and apple. Lightly sprinkle jicama with salt and lime juice.

Make salad by preparing a bed of dry, spun lettuce leaves and topping it with the cold noodles. You can add a few drops of sesame oil (baby droplets) to the noodles to loosen them if they’ve stuck together and distribute through your serving of noodles. mix with sesame seeds or pine nuts, and other prepared vegetables (and apple). Drizzle dressing and top with tofu strips. Enjoy!

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La GF Tortillaria: Gluten Free Vegetarian Fajita Recipe

September 21st, 2007 yum Posted in Corn Tortillas, Mexican, Tex-mex, Vegetables, Vegetarian 8 Comments »

fajita1.jpgfajitaness.jpgI’ve loved fajitas ever since I realized that many mexican restaurants will let you order them with corn tortillas instead of wheat tortillas. While a shared grill or cooking surface can be a problem with cross contamination in mexican restaurants, as wheat and corn tortillas are used indiscriminately, fajita tortillas are often warmed together in a tortilla warmer or other enclosed package, making them more likely to be a safe bread choice. In Boulder, Colorado, La Estrallita restaurant first introduced me to the vegetarian fajita. They had a dish with yummy fresh vegetables, caramelized onions, green peppers, and yummy mushrooms, sauteed in a hot cast iron pan. (And yes, it’s easy to burn yourself!) Interestingly, it seems that the fajita is not strictly a mexican dish, but rather, a tex-mex creation. “A fajita (IPA: /faJita/) is a generic term used in Tex-Mex cuisine, referring to grilled meat served on a flour or corn tortilla. Though originally only beef, popular [ingredients] today also include chicken, pork,shrimp [or vegetables!]. In restaurants, the meat is often cooked with onions and bell peppers. Popular condiments are sour cream, guacamole, salsa, pico de gallo, cheese, and tomato. . . Use of the word fajita has evolved from the term for a cut of beef to include the cooking method (thus chicken fajita) and also to define the grilled strips of peppers and onions that usually accompany the meat.” (source: Wikipedia) You absolutely don’t need meat to make a delicious fajita, and one of my favorite easy, light meals is a fajita feast where everyone puts together their own fajita from ingredients on the table. Home made corn tortillas take this dish up a notch, but you can also use pre-packaged corn tortillas. Either way, it’s yummy. Also, dairy is completely optional. You can provide sour cream and cheese or leave it off, just garnishing with guacamole, pico de gallo, and fresh veggies, adding non-dairy sour cream if desired.

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In the mood for Mexican food? Here are some more Mexican inspired vegetarian recipes we’ve had at the Book Of Yum:
Dairy Free Cheesy Enchilada Recipe
Instructions for making homemade corn tortillas and Pico de Gallo recipe
Mexican Soup with Gluten-free Corn Dumplings
Enchiladas and Kalamata Greens

Vegetarian Fajita Recipe with Corn Tortillas
2 tbsp cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon fajita seasoning blend (Spice Harvest)
Fresh herbs to taste (thyme, oregano etc)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
garlic salt to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon peanut or other favorite oil
2 whole cloves garlic
1 white bit of a scallion, halved

Main Ingredients:
1 med/sm. red onion, sliced
2 portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
minced garlic to taste

1/4 iceberg lettuce head, sliced
1 medium tomato, chopped

Heated vegetarian refried beans, if desired (for added protein)
Guacamole and sour cream, if desired
Corn tortillas, homemade and kept warm (or packaged, sniff)

Combine marinade ingredients in a large, wide bowl or casserole dish with main ingredient vegetables.

Heat oil in cast iron pan, add garlic and scallion until they turn brown, remove them from pan, leaving flavored oil. Throw in onion slices and let them sizzle in the pan and begin to caramelize. Then add portobello mushroom and let begin to soften. Turn as needed (but infrequently). Add red and yellow pepper and as it softens, toss in the minced garlic.

Serve fajita ingredients on table with plate of lettuce and tomatoes, with guacamole and sour cream (optional) if desired. Bring out your warmed corn tortillas and let everyone make their own. Yummy!

DH enjoyed this too!
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