Monday, September 28, 2009

Soyrizo Soft Tacos

Lately, I have not been making too many new dishes. I have been feeling a little mentally tired lately, and have not had too much creative energy. It's really disappointing to lack mental energy, because there are soooo many things that I want to be doing! I have a lot of interests, and I am trying to dig up the creativity to begin working on music and playing the clarinet again. Not only am I mentally exhausted after work, there is simply not enough time to do all of the things that I want to do. For now, I am going to attempt to make more new meals and focus on the music a couple of times per week. Maybe that will change in the future, but I do not want to force myself to do something - I want to enjoy all of my endeavors. :)

Anyway, here are soyrizo tacos. I don't think that I have ever had actual chorizo, but this soyrizo is what I imagine the real thing to taste like. It is so rich and flavorful! I fried the soyrizo in a pan with some olive oil over high heat, so as to char the soyrizo a bit, adding to its authenticy. I then spread it into a corn tortilla (one of the 357 that came in the package I bought) with the usual Mexican accompaniments - lettuce, tomato, avocado, Tofutti sour cream, and some cheese for me. I just can't believe how many corn tortillas came in the package - I have a feeling they will languish in the fridge for quite a while. Good thing I'm not squeamish about expiration dates!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Chicken Shawarma

Last week, Jeffrey and I took a road trip to San Francisco. It was amazing, and went by way too fast. On the way, we stopped in San Luis Obispo to eat at The Natural Cafe and stay the night in a hotel. We made it to San Francisco the next afternoon, and had such a blast hanging out with family and friends. We ate at a ton of great places, but of course, I took no pictures. We did go to a place called Weird Fish twice during our stay. They offered lots of fish dishes and also vegan fish (seitan) and chips, as well as a "fish" (seitan) sandwich. Delicious. We also went to Herbivore, before a night of especially drunken debauchery, where I had a giant bowl of curry noodle soup, Jeffrey's sister Amanda had a tempeh sandwich on foccacia, and Jeffrey had the delectable chicken shawarma, which he of course asked me to repeat at home immediately. I did some research on the chicken part to see if there was something other than seitan that I could use, but with no luck. A last minute decision included frying strips of Morningstar Farms chicken strips until they were just tender, letting them cool, marinating them, then frying again until crisp and delicious.

I also finally learned how to make real hummus, as opposed to the chickpea mash that I have been making for years. The secret, I learned, was to combine the lemon juice and tahini until it becomes a frothy cream, then adding the chickpeas, one handful at a time, and blending until smooth and delicious. I should mention, that a decent blender is required for this process. Otherwise, you will be like me, combining said lemon juice and tahini in a crappy blender, pulsing on low and adding water like mad. But anyway, just be careful if you have a cheap blender and not something like a VitaMix, over which I covet daily.

Chicken Shawarma
one bag of Morningstar Farms chicken strips
4 whole wheat pitas
one cucumber, sliced
2 pickles, sliced
2 C shredded lettuce
1 tomato, sliced
1 recipe chicken marinade (follows)
2 c hummus, homemade or storebought

3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 tbl lemon juice
3 tbl olive oil
1 tsp curry powder

Cook the chicken strips until just warm and tender. Coat with the marinade and let sit for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, chop cucumbers, pickles, tomato and prepare hummus if making from scratch. Also, shred lettuce if not using the pre-shredded kind.

Fry the chicken on a skillet in olive oil until brown and crispy. Set aside. Warm each pita briefly on the same skillet. To assemble, spread 1/2 C hummus on a pita, followed by lettuce, cucumber, pickle , tomato and chicken. Fold with care, by beginning to wrap the pita from the bottom in the shape of a cone. Follow with aluminum foil and wrap the pita about halfway. Serve hot.