"Good chefs, like artists, are visionaries. You have to have a vision of the taste, the look, the smell of your masterpiece; you hold it in your mind and make it materialize."

Onid Jatteri

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Where's the BEEF?

Well, in a Vegan Taco Salad, there IS NO BEEF. 

HOWEVER ~  this version satisfies in every way, with taste, texture and true southwest Arizona-style flavors!

The original recipe listed " corn chips, crumbled". I prefer to avoid processed oils, and fresh dehydrated chips are so easy... thinking and planning ahead, I started the process the day before, making dehydrated Corn Kale Chips.  You don't have to have a dehydrator, the chips can be oven dried - lowest setting on a convection oven works well, with careful monitoring towards the end. However, from experience in making crackers, I have to say a dehydrator makes life easier, producing a crisp tasty end product with less handling and NO potential of blackened mystery "things" on the baking sheet!  (they are scary, trust me...)

Corn Kale Chips
Puree' in food processor:
 2 c. corn kernels (fresh or frozen, thawed)
 2 cloves of garlic (or more, if you love garlic like I do!)
juice 1/2 lime
Put into mixing bowl.  In processor, puree':
2 c. corn kernels (fresh or frozen, thawed)
1-2 tsp. taco blend seasoning
1/4 tsp. sea salt
Add and pulse blend:
2 c. kale, chopped
Add to bowl and stir well.  
Spread batter about 1/4" thick on teflex dehydrator sheets; score with knife or pizza cutter.
Begin drying process at 145 degrees for 1 hour.  Reduce heat to 115 degrees, for 8-10 hours. (I time dehydrator projects so the longest drying time happens during the night)  Flip teflex sheets over, peeling off chips onto drying screen upside-down. Continue drying to very crisp - about 4 hours or more.

Serve warm for a real flavor treat!  Store cooled chips in airtight container.

Vegan Taco Salad  (serves 1 generously, or two smaller portions)

Taco Beans
Simmer 2-3 minutes in small fry pan:
1/2 small onion, coarse chopped
3 T. water
1 c. rinsed canned garbanza beans (or just use the whole can!)
1 tsp. taco blend seasoning (make your own!)
Cook uncovered 2-3 minutes until mixture is hot through.

Mash in small bowl:
1/2 large (or two small) avocado
Stir in:
1 T. onion, finely diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1-3 T. fresh cilantro, chopped
juice 1/2 lime (or 1 whole if small)
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Arrange in salad bowl:
2 c. chopped romaine 
1 tomato, chopped
Taco beans
scoop of guacamole
top with crumbled corn kale chips

Left-over guac (ha!) can be frozen in a snack bag - prevents darkening, and thaws quickly.  The taco beans keep well for several days refrigerated; they are good as a quesadilla filling, too.

I went through several days of really craving and enjoying a variety of South West flavored dishes, this was my very favorite!

Light and Bright

Starting my morning off with fresh juices seems the right thing to do here in the sunny desert!  When the urge for something as light and bright as the brilliant morning light and clear blue sky strikes, this is a go-to recipe for goodness, nutrition, energy, and smiles!


1 beet (yellow if possible, red works)
1/2 grapefruit, peeled
1 summer squash (yellow if possible, or a zucchini works)
1/2 cucumber
1/4 head SMALL green cabbage
1 apple (or firm pear)
1 small handful fresh mint leaves

Wash the fruit and veggies: fill sink with cool water, stir in 1-2 T. unprocessed sea salt and juice of one lemon.  Wash produce with small soft veggie brush.

Peel grapefruit and beet, and cucumber if it is waxed (buy organic - no wax!).

Cut produce to fit your juicer.

Juice and enjoy!!

Grapefruit has a refreshing slight bitterness.  If that isn't your cup of tea, substitute an orange, peeled.

Substitute 1/2" of fresh ginger root for the mint, for a totally different zing!

Don't be afraid to get creative with a recipe, let your taste buds tell you when it is "perfect".  Make notes so you can have the same yummy juice again!

(basic recipe and photo courtesy Reboot With Joe)