Sunday, June 7, 2015

Easy Lentil Taco/Burrito Filling

With the help of store-bought cooked lentils, this meaty filling comes together quickly.  There are tons of awesome of lentil "meat" recipes out there, but this is what I do when I'm feeling lazy (which is often) and want an easy filling for tacos, burritos, quesadillas, flautas, chimichangas, etc.  The fennel seeds add great flavor here.  I love them.  But as always, remember to adjust the ingredient amounts and spices to your liking. :)

Lentil burrito with chipotle sauce

Makes about 2 servings

1 tablespoon cooking oil of choice
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 large shallot, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup cooked brown lentils (I use Trader Joe's pre-cooked steamed lentils)
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
A handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (or into quarters if they're big)
A handful of baby spinach, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the minced garlic, chopped shallot, oregano, fennel seeds, and chili powder.  Sauté until fragrant.
  3. Add the cooked lentils and nutritional yeast.  Sauté for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes and spinach.  Sauté for 1-2 minutes until the spinach has wilted.
  5. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

You can mash the lentils too.  I like leaving them whole.  Other possible add-ins:  cumin, fresh cilantro, diced jalapeño, potatoes, leeks, hot sauce...I could go on.  :)

The chipotle sauce pictured above is store-bought from Whole Foods.  For a homemade version, you can try this vegan Creamy Chipotle Dressing from Vegetarian Times.

I've never used this filling on nachos, but now I'm thinking it's long overdue.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Avocado Rose

It's been a while since I last blogged.  I'm just popping in to post this photo that I recently created for my Instagram account.  There seems to be a lot of interest around this photo on various social media outlets.  And I may write a separate post about that later.

This mini tutorial is something I quickly created because many people on Instagram had asked me how I make an avocado rose or flower.  I'm not an avocado art expert and still need a lot of practice, but I thought it would be fun to put together a little collage.  There are other photos on Instagram and beyond that show similar methods and I'm sure there are also YouTube videos out there that show different ways to do this.  Undoubtedly, a video is the best way to go with any tutorial like this, but I didn't create one for various reasons.  There was no one else around to shoot the video and I don't have a tripod or another reliable way of mounting my iPhone. (my only camera)

Unfortunately, I couldn't fit every step in this 9-photo collage.  But all you need is a large ripe avocado (on the soft side, but not too soft), a knife, and enough room to shift the pieces (petals) around into a spiral using your hands.  Try it.  It's fun.

One question I saw multiple times regarding this photo was, "What happened to the pit?"  Remove the pit before peeling the avocado half.  Another question I saw a lot was simply, "How?" I don't really know how.  It's hit or miss depending on the avocado.  And finally, some people asked, "Who has time to do this?" Apparently I do.  (it takes a few minutes to do)

In any case, this is just a little fun in the kitchen.  Nothing life-changing.  Just eye candy.  Play with your food.