Thursday, June 7, 2012

Say (No To) Cheese!

I've been off for four days...  It's hard to come back to work when you've had a small taste of summer vacation.  Waking up whenever the heck you want, planning your day around what you're going to eat/walk to/read/watch on YouTube.  Wearing your "off duty" outfit.  Mine consists of flared jeans that are beginning to fray at the ends, a tank or tee shirt of some kind that isn't allowed at my day job, and flip flops.  We all have our "off duty" uniforms - this is mine.

Usually time off includes me going somewhere.  Like to a cabin in the woods, or on a long road trip to see old friends.  And while the four days didn't exactly enable me to get too far away, I still worked out some awesome things to do in my town.  Like eat.

Of course, me being me, I had to plan my four days around food.  SHOCKING.  I'm sure you didn't see that one comin'.

I made a birthday cake for my dear friend.

Strawberry mojitos for some other dear friends.

And a rockin' dish of vegan enchiladas.

I'm gonna just put this out there, that I thoroughly impressed myself with these things.  I even bought cheese to top mine with, promptly forgot about said cheese, and didn't even miss it!  THAT'S HOW GOOD THESE ARE.

In 2007 I became vegetarian.  Veganism was not on the agenda because I had such a crush on cheese (and heavy cream, and white chocolate, and eggs, and buttermilk).  Several close friends of mine were vegan, and had made delicious vegan food for me occasionally, but seriously?  I loved cheese.  LoooOOOooooved it.

(and still do.)

I just... like to try new foods, so I acquired an amazing vegan cookbook called Veganomicon.  Have you seen this thing?  It's huge, has a beautiful cover, and is like the Joy of Cooking for Introductory Veganism 101.  I've made some stellar things from it, including a pasta dish that requires a crap ton of garlic (see: 8 cloves) and 3 avocados.  Amazing.  Didn't miss cheese there.  Those things I find, like that pasta dish, keep me trying new and wonderfully eye-opening dishes that are sans-animal anything.  I'll keep dabbling, veganites.  I promise.  You just keep serving up excellence.

Looks like ol' Marie Antoinette got some tomatoes thrown at her face again.

The recipe I found on the ever-popular Pinterest site boasted a vegan enchilada dish of tremendous caliber.  The site, Love and Lemons, is run by the married duo of Jeanine and Jack.  One is an amazing cook, and the other is a video game company owner.  They're down in the great city of Austin, TX, and they take beautiful photographs of food.  Seriously... so much white.  I love it.

These enchiladas will knock your socks off for several reasons:

1. There are sauteed mushrooms and spinach for the filling.  Guilt. Free.

2. The recipe gets you to roast your own veggies. If you have never done this, get on the bandwagon quick and roast some peppers.  Seriously the easiest and fanciest thing you'll ever do with home-made salsa.  WHAT??  You don't make your own salsa?  Pshh.  Get roasting!!!

and 3. Poblano. Cashew. Cream.  *claws face*

The last one should become your entire reason for living.  No joke.

See... it's all about the cashews (and the roasted poblano pepper).  Cashews are one of the richer nuts out on the market, and take to sweet or savory very well.  But soak them in water for a half hour or so and then put them in a food processor, and you have created lemonade from lemons.  Pesto from basil.  GANACHE FROM CHOCOLATE.  *ehem*  Goodness.  You've created goodness.

The recipe for this cream may seem like it makes a lot, but trust when I tell you to just pour all of it on your enchiladas.  It's magic, and who is frugal with magic??  No one.

So while I figure out what I'll be doing on my next set of days off (probably packing and some sort of baking action, I'm sure), I'll let you get on to making some enchiladas.  Let's get to gettin'!

Vegan Enchiladas with Tomatillo and Poblano Cashew Cream
Slightly adapted from Love and Lemons

The Poblano Cream:
1 1/2 cups whole raw cashews (submerge in water for at least 30 minutes prior to using, then drain)
3/4 cup of water
1 garlic clove, smashed (you can roast it if you're feeling really fancy!)
1/4 of large sweet onion, minced
1 roasted poblano pepper, skin, seeds and stem removed (instructions at the bottom of the recipe)
2-3 sprigs of cilantro
juice of 1 lemon
sea salt (to taste)

Combine all the ingredients, minus the salt into a food processor or blender.  Add more water to make smooth, if needed.  Continue scraping down the sides of the blender until everything is completely smooth and incorporated  Scoop into a bowl and mix in salt, to taste.  Set aside until ready to use.

The Tomatillo Enchilada Sauce:
1/2 a sweet onion, chopped
4- 5 medium roasted tomatillos, skin, stem, and tough core removed (roast with the poblano pepper)
1 medium roasted jalapeno pepper, skin and seeds removed (roast with the tomatillos and poblano pepper)
1 clove garlic, chopped
2-3 sprigs of cilantro
several pinches of red pepper flakes (optional)
olive oil (for the pan)
sea salt (to taste)

In a medium skillet over medium heat, sautee the onion until brown.  Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute more.  Remove from heat and place in food processor, along with the tomatillos, jalapeno, cilantro and red pepper flakes.  Pulse until smooth. 

Put the skillet back on the heat, add a splash of olive oil, and add the tomatillo salsa to the pan.  Bring to a boil and let reduce a little.  Add 1/3 cup of water and a pinch of salt and let reduce a bit more.  Set aside to cool.

The Mushroom Sautee:
olive oil
1/4 of a sweet onion, thinly sliced (this should be all that is left from the 1 onion you bought)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pint baby bella or white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
2-3 handfuls of fresh spinach
splash of white wine or light beer
sea salt to taste

1/2 cup cooked (or canned) black beans

*preheat the oven to 375 degrees*

Using the same skillet you've been using this whole time (why dirty a bunch of dishes?), add a splash of olive oil and heat over medium heat.  Add the onion and sautee until translucent.  Add the garlic clove and cook 1 minute more.  Add the mushrooms and sautee 8-10 minutes, or until they start to brown up.  Splash some wine (or beer) into the pan and scrape up the crusty bits off the bottom of the pan to deglaze it.  Turn off the heat and add the spinach, turning with tongs until it begins to wilt a bit.  Add salt to taste, and then throw in the beans.  Just... throw em' in there.

To Assemble This Mess:
8 corn or flour (I used flour) tortillas, about 8 inches wide or so
the poblano cream
the tomatillo sauce
the mushroom sautee
2 sliced avocados
1/4 of a red onion, finely chopped
lime wedges

Spoon half of the tomatillo sauce into the bottom of a 9x13" baking dish.  Add several splashes of olive oil and mix around until the whole thing is coated on the bottom.  Dip each of the tortillas, front and back, into the tomatillo sauce in the dish.  Coating both sides will prevent them from drying out and cracking, making it easier to roll them.  Once they have all been coated, one by one, fill them with a bit of the mushroom sautee and beans, roll them up, and place them in the dish.  You'll eventually have to snuggle them up to each other to fit.  This is just fine.

Once all the enchiladas have been made and placed in the pant, pour the rest of the tomatillo sauce over them and spread it around evenly.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly when done.  Spoon the poblano cream down the center (there is a lot - use it all!) of the enchiladas.  Top with avocado slices, cilantro, and the chopped red onion.  Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over the top. Great with mexican beers or mojitos.

To Roast Everything:

Turn on the broiler and get out a rimmed baking sheet (your roasted items will leak, so this is kind of important).

Place the poblano, jalapeno, and tomatillos on the baking sheet, evenly spaced apart.  Roast under the broiler for 5 minutes.  Remove the pan, turn everyone upside down with tongs, and roast again for 5 minutes.  At this point, the poblano pepper and the jalapeno should be evenly blistered and ready to come out.  The tomatillos need to be turned again and roasted for 5 more minutes.  Check them, turn them, and roast 5 more minutes.  They are very dense, and consequently need more time.  Once they are done, remove from the broiler, and let everyone cool until you can handle them to take off the skin and remove the seeds.  With the jalapeno, you'll only remove the seeds if you don't want the heat.  Don't forget to wash your hands!


  1. Can we put that cream on anything else? Cause it was amazing...