Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Stand for Tacos

With all the cooking going on around here lately, we eat a lot of new dishes, but go back to favorites frequently--mostly when I'm feeling lazy or uninspired. We eat these tacos often--they are easy, fast, and delicious. I'd serve these tacos to people I was trying to win over. They're much different than what I think of when I think of a regular taco--there's no meat, just beans; there's goat cheese; and there is a lot of cabbage. You can still have your meaty taco with shredded yellow cheese and pico de gallo, but add these to your tacosphere. There's room.

That's right! There's room in your belly!

This is one of the few of my recipes I consider an original. I saw a recipe for black bean tacos on Epicurious and built a recipe around my tastes and preferences. A couple of notes: 
Beans: I usually cook dried beans instead of using canned. I cook a pound or so of beans at a time, which yields roughly six cups of cooked beans, and then I freeze them in two- or three-cup batches. Besides giving better-tasting beans, this is more economical than using canned beans. On top of that, the BPA and DEHP used in some canned goods present health concernsCanned beans work just fine too though. 
Tortillas: In the great debate of flour vs. corn tortillas, I am firmly on the flour side for this recipe. I once tried adding a little virtue by using whole wheat tortillas. Let me say: Get your virtue somewhere else and go with white flour tortillas. I've made my own tortillas before, but they've never been pliable enough to withstand the folding required here. I'm sure that fresh, homemade tortillas would propel these tacos to worldwide fame, but in the meantime, I suggest the handmade flour tortillas from Trader Joe's.
Crispy Black Bean Tacos
Yields 4 large tacos

Bean mixture
2 cups black beans (or 1 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed) 
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder mix, divided
salt and pepper to taste

3 teaspoons olive oil
juice from 1 lime
2 cups shredded cabbage
3 tbsp red onion, minced
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

4 flour tortillas
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
cooking spray

Place beans, cumin, garlic powder, ½ tsp chili powder mix, and salt & pepper in a small bowl; partially mash and set aside.

Mix olive oil and lime juice in medium bowl; add cabbage, red onion, ½ tsp chili powder mix, and cilantro and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside. 

Preheat the oven to 200, and prepare a pan or sheet of aluminum foil to keep the tacos warm while the last one cooks. Heat a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat and coat it with cooking spray. 

Place a tortilla in the pan, and spoon 1/4 of bean mixture onto one side of the tortilla. Sprinkle goat cheese on top and cook for 1 minute. Fold taco in half, pressing them down a bit to smash the beans and cheese together, and cook until the tortilla is golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. (I usually start the next taco at this point, temporarily covering the folded taco with the new taco, spraying the pan again before each taco. Having two tacos in the pan just speeds up the process.) Remove the taco from the pan and transfer to the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining tacos. When ready to serve, gently open the tacos and fill them with slaw. Serve with lime wedges, sour cream, and hot sauce.
Per taco: 354 calories, 12g fat, 14g protein

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Bakesale Recipes

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Bakesale for Japan yesterday at the Cakespy shop. I wanted to share the recipes for the gluten-free peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and the chocolate torte I brought. In my baking frenzy, I forgot to take pictures of the cookies, but I'll add them the next time I make them. 
Alert: Both of these recipes are RICH. I thoroughly endorse intense desserts, but I just want to warn you that a bellyache could be lurking around the corner of any hypothetical second servings. 

Chocolate Torte

Adapted from Orangette | Serves 12
7 ounces (200 grams) semisweet chocolate (I like Callebaut brand)
7 ounces (200 grams) butter, cut into ½-inch cubes (the high-fat European kind, like Plugra, is especially lovely here, but I usually just use regular Costco butter)
1 1/3 cup (250 grams) granulated sugar
5 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and butter an 8-inch round pan. Line the base of the pan with parchment, and butter the parchment too. (Or use the baking spray with flour instead of butter.) Chop the chocolate and melt it gently with the butter in a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring regularly to combine. Add the sugar to the chocolate-butter mixture, stirring well, and set aside to cool for a two or three minutes. Then add the eggs one by one, stirring well after each addition.

Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until the center of the cake looks set and the top is shiny and a bit crackly-looking. The middle of the cake should just barely jiggle, if at all. Let the cake cool in its pan on a rack for about an hour. Put a large plate on top of the cake in its pan, then turn it all upside down to empty the cake from the pan. Put another plate or a serving platter on the bottom of the cake, then invert it all again so that the cake is right side up on your serving plate. We love this cake with sweetened whipped cream and berries, or just a dusting of powdered sugar. As an added bonus, it freezes beautifully.
Per 75-g slice: 320 calories, 20g fat, 4g protein

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from a Paula Deen recipe | Yields 2 dozen
1 c. creamy peanut butter
1 c. packed dark brown sugar
1/3 c. white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp orange zest
2 tbsp vanilla (yes, tablespoons!)
1/2 c. chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli semisweet)
pinch sea salt

Preheat oven to 350. Mix ingredients together. (Because there's no flour or butter, you can just mix them all at the same time.) Form into walnut-sized balls and place onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with additional sea salt or kosher salt, depending on your preference. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until they just begin to brown on the edges. Remove them from the oven and cool them on a wire rack. (Really. I hardly ever wait for cookies to cool, and normally wouldn't dream of suggesting that you do, but because these are mostly just baked peanut butter, you need to let them set up a bit before you try to eat them. Trust me.)
Per 26-g cookie: 121 calories, 6.6g fat, 3.2g protein