Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Taco time

I am woefully late in posting about this yummy dinner. What can I say? I've been busy with work, more work, wedding stuff, and trying to determine which of these is the better rhyme:
1) abuse me/ muesli
2) on ya/ Apollonia
(if you have an opinion, let me know!)

Anyway, one of my favorite vegan (or vegan-friendly) meals for guests is make-your-own tacos. It sure uses a lot of bowls but seems to satisfy all tastes. The picture above shows chipotle brown rice, avocado-corn salsa, Yves fake meat with tomatoes, onions, and chili powder, as well as soy cheese, lettuce, beans, etc. Although I'm not particularly drawn to meat substitutes, Yves is my favorite of the type. It tastes good and is filling, yet is freakishly low in fat and high in protein.

I wish I had gotten some pictures of the actual tacos people made but that's a good reason to have Taco Nite again. For dessert, we had mango-strawberry cobbler. This picture came out terribly blurry but it's all I had. I only remembered to take it the next day when the cobbler was nearly gone.

This cobbler is no ordinary dessert, at least not to me. A friend once described it as one of the best desserts he'd ever had. The secret is cardamom. I know, a container of it costs 7 bucks or more, but it is essential in this recipe. If you omit it, all bets are off. (Note that the recipe requires ground cardamom. If you buy the kind in the pods, you'll have to grind the seeds first.) Here is the recipe, heavily adapted enough (one might say cobbled) that I don't feel bad about sharing it:

Mango-Strawberry Cobbler

Fruit Layer
2 mangoes
1-1/2 pints fresh strawberries (about 4 cups, chopped)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 tablespoons flour

Peel the mangoes and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Wash, remove the stems, and chop the strawberries into halves or quarters. In a bowl, mix together all fruit-layer dry ingredients. Add the fruit to the bowl and toss to coat.

1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 cup oil
1 cup "milk"

Stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Add the oil and milk and stir together until just combined. Place the fruit-layer mixture in a 8" square pan (you want the fruit layer to be pretty thick, thicker than in my picture, ideally). Gently pat the topping mixture over the fruit layer. Use a light touch--the less it is messed with, the better the topping will rise. Bake at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes. Serve topped with your favorite vanilla ice cream alternative.


Theresa said...

I think mexican is my favourite cuisine. Make-your-own tacos and burritoes are such a perfect, simple meal.

That cobbler sounds amazing. Australians don't know what cobbler is, but I may have to change that in my very local world.

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

I haven't made tacos in a long time... but I'm planning a party, so I love the idea of a make-your-own taco party :o)

Melody Polakow said...

Yum! I love tacos.. I can't deal with the fake processed meat, but I do like TVP.. of course, now with the raw, I like walnut/cauliflower taco meat! oy..

Your cobbler sound divine! Cardamom is sooo fabulous with mango.

Anonymous said...

You can never go wrong with make your own taco bars. I often like to bake flour tortillas (while draping them over an oven safe bowl) so that they become taco salad shells.

Veggie said...

I like the 1st better. I thought it was hilarious.

Tacos are such a great meal for non-veg guests.