Truth be told, after a day of baking combined with my busy schedule and living alone, I cook whatever is quick and easy for dinner. Lots of beans, veggies, stir fries, and grains. At the end of the day, it’s just not always practical to make elaborate dinners with multiple sides (and multiple pans and dishes to wash by hand) just for myself. But I do love cooking, so when I do get the chance to cook (and be in the presence of a dishwasher), I go all out.
Chipotle Black Bean Tacos with Mango Jicama Lime Garnish
These tacos combine so many different textures, flavors, spice, and temperature. The black beans are flavorful and pack a little punch from the chipotles, the veggies are smoky and roasted, the mango jicama garnish is cool and spicy, and adds a crunchy texture from the jicama and sweetness from the mango. They’re great for parties because everyone can serve themselves buffet-style and make their tacos to their liking. If you want more or less spice, vary the amount of jalepeno you use rather than the chipotle, which adds a lot of flavor.
1 lb dried black beans*
Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large onion
1 green bell pepper
3 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper
1 ripe mango
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons jalapeno, finely diced
1/2-1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 large chipotle pepper, plus sauce
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
*The chipotle flavor cooks into the black beans, so using dried beans is ideal. However, if you would like to use canned beans, let the chipotles marinate the black beans for as long as possible before you cook the beans.
Soak the black beans according to the package’s instructions. Drain them, then add to the cooking water 2 chipotle peppers, and half the adobo sauce in the can, the smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Cook until the beans are soft.
In the meantime, make the mango jicama garnish.
Slice the mango and jicama into thin chunks:
Add the juice of the two limes, the garlic, jalapeno, smoked paprika to taste, the chipotle pepper, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
When the beans are almost done cooking, roast the veggies. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Slice the bell pepper and onion into strips, dice the garlic and jalepeno, and combine in a large bowl. Drizzle in some olive oil to lightly coat and toss with the spices, to taste. Everyone’s spices and tastes vary and I don’t usually measure spices when cooking, so add your spices a little at a time to your liking. Squeeze in the lime juice. Spread the veggies over a baking sheet lined with foil and coated in a thin layer of olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn over the veggies and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.
While the veggies are roasting and your beans finish cooking, drain the excess water. Over medium heat, drizzle in some olive oil, and add extra chipotles, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir until incorporated and let cook for 5-10 minutes.
Heat a skillet to medium-high heat and warm your tortillas, one at a time, and place a basket lined with a towel and cover until ready to use.
Set out all your ingredients, like so, and make your tacos. Take a tortilla, fill with beans, top with veggies and the cold mango jicama garnish, as well as some salsa. Serve on a plate with some lime wedges so each person can squeeze on some lime to taste. Enjoy!
Seitan Piccata with Dill Cayenne Mashed Potatoes, Grilled White Wine Squash and Asparagus with Lemon Butter Sauce, Raspberry and Grilled Peach Arugula Salad
Makes 4 servings
Candle 79 Seitan Piccata (recipe from here)
6 seitan cutlets*
Whole-wheat flour for dredging
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons drained capers
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
2 tablespoons soy buttery spread (soy margarine)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
*I made seitan loosely based off of the PPK recipe, then soaked it in a marinade of white wine, olive oil, lemon, caper brine, garlic, salt and pepper. After making the seitan and grilled veggies, I mixed the marinades together then thickened it up by whisking in cornstarch over medium heat, adding a bit of lemon zest, more juice, and Earth Balance margarine. I drizzled this Lemon Butter Sauce on the mashed potatoes and over the grilled veggies.
Dredge seitan cutlets in whole-wheat flour, shaking off any excess.
In a sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over high heat. When oil is hot, sauté cutlets until crisp and golden brown, about 30 seconds per side. Place each cutlet on an individual plate or arrange them all on a platter.
Add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to the sauté pan and return to high heat. Add shallots, onion, garlic, and capers, and sauté, stirring frequently, until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in wine and lemon juice and cook 3 to 5 minutes more.
Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 1 minute to combine flavors. Whisk in soy spread, parsley, salt, and pepper. Pour over seitan cutlets and serve at once.
Dill Cayenne Mashed Potatoes
6 medium russet or Yukon gold potatoes
1/4 cup Earth Balance margarine
1/4 cup soy milk
2 teaspoons dried dill
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Salt and pepper to taste
Peel the potatoes.
Bring potatoes to a boil in a pot of water over medium-high heat and boil until soft, 10-15 minutes.
Drain the water from the pot, then mash the potatoes.
Add the Earth Balance buttery spread and continue mashing,
Gradually add the soy milk as you are mashing. Depending on how thick you want your potatoes, you may not need to add the entire amount, or may wish to add more.
Mash in the dried dill, cayenne, and salt and pepper. Start with a little cayenne at a time depending on your spice preference. Cayenne can get really spicy!
Scoop your mashed potatoes and serve!
Marinade the veggies (I used yellow squash and asparagus, but any veggies would be great) in a mixture of white wine, olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon, then grill both sides thoroughly in a vegetable basket. For the peaches, I used a mixture of olive oil, salt, and pepper.
On each dish: plate the arugula and toss on a few raspberries and the grilled peaches. Dress with olive oil, lemon juice (and/or a balsamic vinegar), salt, and pepper. Place a scoop of mashed potatoes next to the salad, as well as the grilled veggies and drizzle with lemon butter sauce. Plate the seitan cutlets, top with the piccata veggies and a slice of lemon. Drizzle on the piccata sauce, as well as a grind of salt and fresh pepper, and serve!