Happy Cinco de Mayo! For us, the 5th of May is about celebrating our love of Mexican food. And also taking advantage of our local grocery store’s deals on cilantro, peppers, limes, tomatoes, Corona, Pacifico, etc. We don’t celebrate our love for Mexican food in just one day, though. We manage to stretch the celebration out for about a week, or until the cerveza is all gone. Whatever comes first. Hooray for May!
To kick off the week, I veganized and healthified a Mexican restaurant standby: the chimichanga. The recipe that I adapted to create my healthier vegan version called for 8 cups of frying oil. Holy moly!! We didn’t miss the oil, and frankly, I don’t think that you will, either.
I made J’s favorite Mexican meal side dishes to go with the chimichangas: Mexican coleslaw (we call it ensalada), vegan refried beans and Mexican rice (adapted from a family recipe passed on to me by a friend whose parents were raised in Mexico). And I made enough food for plenty of leftovers, too, because that much cooking entitles me to a day off, or two!
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Baked Chik’n Chimichangas With Chipotle Salsa
Makes 6 chimichangas
Extra-virgin olive oil spray
1 cup red and/or yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 small to medium red onion, chopped
2 cups sliced mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 8-ounce package MorningStar chick’n strips, rinsed well and cut into “shreds”
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried chili peppers
1 4.5-ounce can chopped green chilies, drained
6 10-inch flour tortillas, warmed (I used sprouted wheat tortillas)
3/4 cup Daiya Italian or cheddar style shreds, or a mixture of both
Chipotle Salsa, recipe below
Non-dairy sour cream, for garnish
Heat a large skillet, sprayed with olive oil, over medium to medium-high heat. Add the onions, peppers and mushrooms and sauté until slightly softened. Add the garlic, chili powder, oregano, and cumin and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute, then add the shredded chick’n. Season with the salt and crushed red chili peppers; stir in the green chilies. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until heated throughout (add a splash of water, if necessary, to keep it from sticking to the pan). Set aside to cool.
Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Coat a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
Wrap the tortillas in foil and bake until warm and pliable, 8 to 10 minutes.
Lay a warmed tortilla in front of you and spoon about 3/4 cup filling in the center of each tortilla, but closer to you than the edge opposite you. Sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons of the cheese over the filling. Fold in the sides of the tortilla and roll the tortilla up away from you. Place on the prepared baking sheet, seam side down.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake until lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Spoon the chipotle salsa over the top of each chimichanga and serve hot. Garnish with sour cream, if desired.
3-1/2 cups chopped ripe tomatoes
1/2 cup diced sweet onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 2 limes
1 Tablespoon chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Combine the tomatoes, onions, garlic, lime juice, chopped peppers, cilantro and salt in a medium bowl; mix well. Cover until ready to serve.
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And just in time for a week of food feasting, I received my long-awaited copy of Hannah Kaminsky’s latest book of divine creations: Vegan Desserts. So, to finish off our Cinco de Mayo Eve dinner (I guess that would technically be Cinco de Cuatro!), I chose the Mexican Chocolate Creme Caramel as the first recipe from the book to try. Call me crazy, but I thought that baking this dessert could be strictly optional. It makes a fantastic mousse or pudding if left unbaked and chilled before serving. Yeah, only 5 of my 6 ramekins made it to the oven; it is just that good!
My photograph of the dessert will never rival Hannah’s (I’m not worthy!) and mine didn’t “plate” as pretty as hers did, either (I think I will continue to blame the high altitude baking thing!).
But, I do not think any photograph could ever do this dessert justice; it is simply fantastic.
If all the recipes in Vegan Desserts are this easy, and this delicious, then I am in serious trouble!