Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Tortilla Salad, Roasted Corn, Kale with Leek

My wife, unfortunately, doesn't like Mexican food - or so she says. I know that she loves my fajitas and today I made a tortilla salad that she really enjoyed.

I started with premade wheat tortilla chips that I picked up at Whole Foods Market. I put some crispy lettuce, diced roma tomato and avocado, and spicy tomatilla salsa on top of the chips - that's it!

I also prepared some corn off the cob, as I usually make it. I roasted the corn on an open flame on my gas range, stripped the kernels using a knife, and served it with some Earth Balance margarine, salt, and lime juice.

Finally, I prepared kale. I quickly sauteed leek (after first washing it carefully, cutting it down the length and washing again, then slicing into half discs) for maybe two or three minutes, adding some cumin seed in the last 15 seconds or so. Then I put water in the pan along with a bouillon cube and salt, and brought to a boil. In the meantime, I had hand stripped the kale leaves from the stems, roughly shredding the leaves to bite size. I cut the stems into approximately 1-inch lengths. Once the water was boiling, I added the cut stems, then about 5 minutes later added the leaves. I cooked for a total of about 10 minutes till the stems were reasonably tender.

We're excited to have a friend over for dinner tomorrow. She is visiting from New York on business and coming over to see us. We're so in love with the sauces that the slow cooker can make that we're making pasta for her. Just like I did in mid-January and a week later, I prepared tonight the sauce ingredients; what I am trying new is to use some well sauteed small chunks of seitan, as well as some bell pepper. Tonight, I had my wife finely chop and de-seed 9 medium roma tomatoes. I very finely diced 5 cloves of garlic, 3 shallots, and 1/2 onion, and less finely chopped a few tablespoons of green bell pepper and about half of a box of seitan. I sauteed the seitan for a good 10 minutes to brown it then added the vegetables, sauteeing just 5 minutes or so more.

I added the contents of the pan into the slow cooker, where the tomato pieces already were waiting. I put in a few tablespoons of olive oil, a little salt and pepper, 1/3 t dried oregano (we've had some very cold weather, making my oregano finally dormant as of a few days ago), and 2t basil (I found at Trader Joe's frozen cubes of fresh basil!). I've asked my wife to turn the slow cooker on to low at around 8a, which should give it about an 11-hour cook time. I can't wait for the wonderful smells I expect tomorrow afternoon!

I received a phone call from the Raleigh News and Observer newspaper today. They are doing a story about vegetarianism and will publish an article the day after tomorrow. I hope that it comes out well and will link it in to my Friday blog entry since we're eating out after my class on Thursday. I happened to also be mentioned in a bicycling article back on February 1.


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