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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Leftovers Transformed Ep.3- Gluten Free Dairy Free Enchilada Recipe

August 23rd, 2007 yum Posted in Mexican, Vegan, Vegetarian, leftovers, tortillas 7 Comments »

yumenchilada.jpgwhitetortillas.jpgSome time back, I made an order with Allergy Grocer for some bulk gluten free flours, including Bette Hagman’s gourmet blend. At the time they offered an interesting incentive to buy with them- for every X number of dollars you spent, you got to pick out a free mix from their collection. I ended up getting to pick about 4 free mixes. It was a fun chance to try out some products I wouldn’t otherwise have bought. I got their biscuit mix, a bread mix, a cake mix, and a white GF tortilla mix. A few days ago, I pulled the mix down from the cupboard and got my trusty tortilla press out and set up my kitchen as a mini tortillaria. I mixed up the batch following the ingredients on the back, but I was concerned because it resulted in this very sticky, gooey batter that didn’t seem dry enough to roll out. My concerns turned out to be well founded- after rolling it out between my cut open ziploc bag, when I tried to pull off the plastic, the batter was like toothpaste and stuck to everything in globs. I gritted my teeth and started adding flour- first Tapioca starch, and then white rice flour. It took a LOT of flour to make anything resembling a proper tortilla dough that could be rolled out and handled, and the resultant tortilla was a little TOO floury. However, I cooked them briefly in a pan on both sides and found myself with a lovely stack of non-corn white tortillas. They might have been slightly rough around the edges, but they were definitely tortillas. I love those moments!

mytomatoes.jpgMy meal plan that first night was to use my fresh heirloom organic tomatoes that I have been lovingly growing on my balcony all summer. Two plants that are heavily producing right now are my favorites- a beautiful Costoluto Florentino tomato that looks like a little red pumpkin, and a Japanese Oxheart with pepper or heart shaped tomatoes, depending on your perspective. I made them into some tasty pico de gallo with some fresh cilantro, also grown on my balcony. Then I sauteed up some veggies and black beans to make some lovely gluten free white tortilla quesadillas. I used a mixture of low fat feta and mozzarella cheese, and served my quesadilla triangles with fresh pico de gallo and low fat sour cream. Mmm, very tasty. For a snack the next morning, I filled one of the leftover tortillas with my sauteed veggie mixture and garnished it with pico de gallo, sans any dairy products, and it was very fresh and flavorful.

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Day two: I still had a big stack of gluten free non-corn tortillas in my refrigerator, so I started daydreaming about recipes using them. This time I wanted to make something delicious, rich, and decadent- but dairy free. I searched for vegan enchilada and vegan quesadilla recipes, and came across an intriguing recipe at You’re the Chef that used a cornmeal and tofu base to make a cheesy filling and sauce. It inspired me to hunt down a recipe for enchilada sauce and come up with my own vegan enchilada recipe using a wide variety of fresh vegetables and spices for a fresh, flavorful, and very healthy vegan quesadilla.

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*Note- If you are allergic to soy, you could try making up a huge batch of some almond nut “cream” and mixing it with the polenta. The “cheese’ sauce should be as light as possible, and almost airy. Or, you could try mixing a white sauce made from rice or almond milk in with the polenta. Unfortunately, silken tofu is the best way to achieve the proper consistency, but let me know if you come up with a good soy free version. Also, the enchilada sauce is fairly distinctive and “adult” in flavor. For a milder version, you can use a canned enchilada sauce, cut down on the chilies, or just use a good red salsa with or without chipotles.*

Vegan Veggie Enchilada Recipe
1 1/2 c. water
1/2 c. cornmeal
2 tsp margarine
2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp onion powder
10 oz Silken Tofu
1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 c. fresh spinach, chopped
2 tsp. garlic salt
ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. sweet basil
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 c. red bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 c. white onion, chopped
2 diced cloves of garlic
2 tsp capers (optional)
1/2 c. chopped green onions (the green part)
1/2 c. black olives, pitted and sliced
1 c. black beans, cooked

6 corn tortillas or 4-6 non corn homemade GF tortillas
as needed oil for frying

1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce (can or use the following recipe)

Bring your water to a boil in a pan and add your cornmeal gradually, whisking continuously until it thickens thoroughly (takes a few minutes.) Take it off the burner and set it aside to cool slightly.

Add margarine, garlic salt, and onion powder to the cornmeal mixture, and then put it all into a food processor with your silken tofu and blend. Add your fresh spinach, parsley, and additional herbs and process until smooth and creamy with green flakes evenly distributed through the mixture. Don’t blend it too much.

Heat a non-stick or cast iron pan on the stove, and throw in your chopped garlic and white onion, sautee until they are translucent and slightly caramelized. Throw in your capers. Let heat through and then take off the heat. Throw in your chopped red pepper and olives, mix, and season if needed with salt and pepper. Remove to a plate or bowl, rinse out your pan and heat it again.

Add a marginal amount of olive oil (think teaspoon, not tablespoon) to the pan and then when the oil is warm, fry your tortillas one at a time, heating each side until slightly oily and more flexible.

As each tortilla is done, put them in a baking dish, glop a good circle of the tofu/cornmeal mash in the center, and top it with your sauteed veggies and garnish with your black beans. (Be a little sparing with your mash, depending on how many you are making- you want to have some left over to top the enchiladas!) Spread a little enchilada sauce on top and gently close each enchilada to make a “taco” type shape. If it won’t stay shut, gently lean a large spoon on top of the taco and let it cool- it will eventually hold its shape. Do this for all of your tortillas, until you have a lovely little row of stuffed enchiladas in your baking Dish. Top them with the remaining ingredients. First I put a thick strip of tofu/cornmeal mash down the center, sprinkled it with the veggie sautee, and put a racing stripe of enchilada sauce down the center. then I basted the uncovered edges of the tortillas with enchilada sauce and garnished with more tofu/cornmeal mash as appropriate.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until you can’t wait any longer. Enjoy! These babies are GOOD and pretty darned good for you, too.

Ancho Enchilada Sauce
4-6 dried ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded
2 small dried red chilies
5 small to medium heirloom tomatoes
4 chopped garlic cloves
1 1/2 cup water
3/4 tsp freshly ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. sugar
Bring chilies, whole tomatoes (with skin on), garlic cloves and water to a boil and then cover them with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes. Use slotted spoon to lift out the tomatoes and skin them. Let the chilies simmer in water for a little while longer, and then put everything in a food processor and blend on high until you have a smooth sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

One small recipe for enchiladas will use up 1/3 to 1/2 of the recipe. You can keep the sauce in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze if desired for later use.

Additional Pictures
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