Category Archives: Vegan Latina book

I break for recipe testers!

I’ve only posted my search for testers here and on a local board populated mostly by friends, but the response has been wonderful and encouraging. Thank you everyone who has signed up!

I estimate that I should have everything up and running toward the end of next week, and then everyone who has contacted me will get a heads up. I’ll also post here when testing has officially kicked off…and if you signed up and haven’t heard from me by then please bother me and I’ll make sure you haven’t been forgotten.

If you’re just chancing upon this call for testing now there is still time to be included. There is also the chance that I may do a second wave of tester sourcing down the road. So if recipe testing interests you but you can’t see yourself doing it now, but maybe come March or April, let me know here and I’ll keep you in mind.

Until then maybe invest in some containers to bring lunch to work. If you’re hitting the kitchen as much as I am you may just find yourself with lots of tasty leftovers for lunch!

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Wanted: Vegan Latina cookbook testers

Salvadorian pupusas stuffed with black beans, fried plantains & tofu chicharrones

Salvadorian pupusas stuffed with black beans, fried plantains & tofu "chicharrones"

Greetings from the long lost. A lot has been going on and it’s done a fine job at keeping me away from blogging. But big things are coming down the pike. To be brief:

This is my first quiet call-out for testers for my upcoming Latin American themed vegan cookbook, known for now as Vegan Latina. I hope to have a full-fledged private testing forum in the next few weeks. What to expect should you choose to sign up:

-A mélange of vegan recipes with Latin American sabór! Sometimes I will veganize traditional favorites while other recipes are purely driven by inspiration. This will feature the whole enchilada including: soups, salad, desserts, sauces, entrees, sides, sweets, etc.

-A lot of recipes to test, but this all depends on you. I will be posting over 100 recipes for testing. Anyone who tests at least five recipes will get a thank you in the book. Testers that are gung-ho and test more (an amount I’ll determine soon, but if you’re psyched and an enthusiastic cook you will certainly qualify), will get a copy of the book for free.

So, ultimately how much time you are willing to donate will figure into how many recipes you want to test. I appreciate and value all the help I can get!

Not familiar with Latino cooking? Well then I hope to get you a little more comfortable around it. Generally you’ll be eating healthy with plenty of fresh veggies, grains and beans. But of course there will be dessert and a little frying now and then. There may be ingredients unusual or hard to come by, but that’s part of the testing process. If you’re willing to do a little online ordering for ingredients then hopefully everyone can be covered. And there’s always substitutions!

Who I am looking for: the open minded, home-cooking-lovin’, internet-using person who thinks they can swing at least two home cooked meals a week and post about how it went on an online forum. You don’t even have to be vegan to cook this stuff, just excited to give it a chance! Of course if you cook like five meals in one evening once a week, or five little things over the course of a week and a half that works too. I’m just generalizing what kind of pacing will be needed for testing recipes.

I estimate that testing should span early February to late spring/early summer.

If this sounds like something you want to do, please give it a shot! Respond to this post and I will contact you shortly.

Oh, besides all of that I’m up to my eyeballs in cookies (and there are so many more I haven’t had a chance to post pics of here).

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Veganmofo 7: Chili Relleno day parte dos y metal show recovery

A Poblano pepper vs. the blue flames of hell. Cue metal guitar

A Poblano pepper vs. the blue flames of hell. Cue metal guitar

I promised you a chili relleno recipe, not a rose garden. If I could provide both you better believe I would. Until they create a smelly flower widget for the interweb you’ll have to image just that while cooking up this recipe for filling, very rich but totally worth it comfort food this weekend or whenever you have a million hours to spare cooking.

I had all good intentions about posting this yesterday but I was dragging through my day, recovering from the most truly evilest night ever of The Blackest of the Black Tour. I only caught the tale end of Norwegian carnival-in-Mordor rockers Dimmu Borgir but my intentions were to see the little angry one himself Danzig, who I think I’ve been waiting since senior year high school to finally catch. It was a little sad because his crooney-Elvis voice seemed stricken with sickness and/or touring. It was downright painful to hear him speak, but he could still belt it out at the all the right moments when need be. The show wasn’t even really that late, but due to crappy subway antics our train took an extra half hour to get home. All I can say is that these old bones can’t party like they used to. At least it makes me totally sympathetic with Danzig’s bald spot.

But I digress. This recipe admittedly is still in the works, but it received rave reviews from all that tried it. Like I’ve mentioned this is stick-to-your ribs eating, at least hearty enough for the meat n’ potatoes (at it does have potatoes covered) crowd. I’m toying with turning the chili batter into a rightful beer batter, but then again there are plenty of elements in this recipe to keep one occupied. And besides rather than eating that beer wouldn’t you rather drink it cold after a long bout with frying on the stove?

Chilies Rellenos con Papas y Alemdras
Serves 8-4, depending on size of chilies and portions served

There are a few schools of thought regarding chili relleno batter, including those veering toward thin and crisp and something that’s more like a puffy omelet. For obvious reasons we’re not going near the omelet incarnation, but this batter is somewhere in between those two, a puffy tender texture with a little crispness on the edges.

Depending on the size of your poblanos you may have leftover filling. If those chilies seem a bit small pick up a few extra to stuff.

8 poblano chilies, average about 4-5 inches long

Filling:
1 lb waxy yellow potato, such as Yukon Gold
1 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2-3 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 cup corn kernels, frozen or fresh
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
freshly cracked pepper and salt to taste

Cornstarch for dusting (about 1/3 cup or more)

Cornmeal batter:

1 cup soy milk
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Peanut oil for shallow frying

Shallow Frying Tip: I like to do my frying in a cast iron pan, as the thick metal provides even heat conduction, not to mention the heavy pan lessens the worry of accidentally tipping a skillet full of hot oil.

For ease with frying the battered chilies have handy 2 separate sets of long handled tongs and a metal slotted spatula. Use one of the tongs just for dipping and to coat chili with batter and use the other to maneuver the frying chili in the pan. The metal slotted spatula is essential for gently flipping the frying chili. To flip, make sure to gently slide it under the chili to minimize any tearing of the cooking crust. I find that using the frying tongs and spatula together when turning chilies over ensure that each side of the chili is cooked to perfection. Try it out and see what works for you.

Prep cook’s tip: Because this dish can murder you with all of the prep work I do not recommend attacking the whole thing from scratch all at once, especially on a week night. The easiest thing to do in advance is to roast, skin, seed and prepare the chilies for filling up to 2 days in advance. Just store prepped chilies in a tightly covered glass or plastic container.

The filling can be made also in advance, but be sure to warm it (in the microwave with a sprinkling of water if it seems a bit dry). This ensures that the dense interior will be just as warm as the quickly cooking fried exterior.

Now for the recipe!

Roast the poblano chilies first. For the sake of trimming down this post use whatever method you prefer. I’m a on-the-gas-stove kind of girl (see pic) After chilies are cool enough to handle, remove charred skin and with a sharp paring knife make an incision running down 3/4 of the way from stem to bottom. Remove seeds. Set aside and prepare potato filling.

Have ready at least 2 quarts of cold water in a large heavy pot. Peel and chop potatoes into 1 inch chunks, place in water and bring to a boil, cooking 8-10 minutes till very soft and tender. Remove from heat, reserve about 1/3 cup cooking water, drain chunks and set aside.

In a heavy large skilled heat over medium heat olive oil and chopped garlic. When garlic starts to sizzle and become fragrant add sliced almonds, stirring till almonds just start to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Add corn kernels and cook another 2 minutes. Add cooked potato, cumin and oregano, stirring and mashing potato a little for 2-3 minutes. If mixture seems very dry add 1 tablespoon of reserved potato cooking water a time till mixture appears moist and chunky but not as creamy as regular mashed potatoes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro, lime juice, salt, pepper and nutritional yeast. Taste mixture and adjust with more salt, pepper and lime juice if needed. Allow potatoes to cool to touch.

With a small spoon or your finger very gently push potato mixture into each of the chilies. Be generous and with a little gentle pressure you’ll find that the filling can coalesce into a nice firm mass inside the chilies. I like to leave a little space near the opening so that it’s easy to overlap just a little the two sides of opening on the chili. Use one or two sharp toothpicks to secure the chili flaps, weaving the toothpick in and out of the chili flesh. Remember where those toothpicks are though as you’ll need to find them later on a thickly battered and fried chili relleno!

While you’re stuffing your chilies it’s a good idea to start heating up the frying oil. Use a heavy bottom skillet and fill with enough peanut oil to have at least 2 inches. The oil is ready when a small chunk of potato rapidly fries and starts to turn golden within 30 seconds of hitting the oil.

Prepare the batter. In a large bowl pour soy milk then sift in corn meal, flour, cumin, baking soda and salt. Whisk till a thick batter forms.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees (or any “keep warm” setting) and have ready a baking sheet inside.

Dust stuffed chilies with a little cornstarch on both sides. With one pair of tongs carefully dredge chili in batter, turning to coat all sides. Carefully lower in hot oil. See frying tips above. Depending on the size of your pan and the filled chilies, stick to frying no more than 2 chilies at a time, as they should have plenty of room to be turned without touching one another. Fry till all sides of the chili are golden, which should take less than 4-5 minutes in total. Keep them warm in that pre-heated oven until ready to serve. Remember to remove toothpicks from finished chilies!

Serve with warmed salsa (if you’re not going to cook anymore) or chili sauce, rice, guacamole and a simple tomato and lettuce/cabbage salad. A small side of refried beans wouldn’t hurt either.

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Veganmofo v.5: “Bring your chili relleno to work” day

Vegan Chili Relleno makes some office space

What a day. I’m such a noob to blogging and I hit my first bump wrangling hosted web images here. Yesterday’s photo-filled post came up blank for too many viewers. I hope I have it nailed now. Surely I’ll be hearing sooner or later if I do (or don’t).

If it weren’t enough I’ve also spent last night slaving over a hot stove, all in the name of vegan chili rellenos. And of course I forgot the camera at work, sigh. Hence the less than glamorous shot of my chili relleno (out of it’s native dinner environs) on my desktop for lunch. All cradled in pyrex and guacamole. Two of these tasty, comforting gutbombs and you’re set with eating for nearly the rest of the day.

Why chili rellenos, why now? It’s all for my upcoming Vegan Latina book in 2010 (expect more in the future). By the way I can’t believe I’m saying “twenty-ten” and not wearing a silver jumpsuit at the same time. Probably won’t fit into said silver jumpsuit if I keep these batter-coated hijinks up, so I’ll also be including a toothsome non-fried casserole variation of these as well.

I rarely shallow fry (if 2 inches of oil can be called that) so making these rellenos was a challenge to my comfort zone. After I got into a groove of battering and rolling around the chilies in hot oil it was no big thing. The farmer’s market last week was overrun with these huge blocky monster poblano chilies, which are exciting to dip in batter and sizzle really loud when they hit the oil. Apparently I don’t have enough to complain about, because these giant poblanos were magnificent and made some serious one-chili-a-person servings. In-person testers were delighted and satisfied with these crisp-but-puffy batter coated chilies stuffed with potato, corn and other good stuff.

The recipe is teetering on epic but when I get a chance later in the week I’ll post it for your frying pleasures.

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