tacos

Entrée, Gluten Free, Spring, Summer

ANCHO CHILE MUSHROOM TACOS

Ancho Chili Mushroom Tacos . Portobellos . Sprouted Kitchen

I came across this quote from Rob Bell via my friend Stacy's blog :

You and I were raised in a modern world that taught us how to work hard and be productive and show up on time and give it our best...
We learned lots of very valuable skills, but we weren't taught how to be here, how to be fully present in the moment, how to not be distracted or stressed or worried or anxious, but just be here, and nowhere else - wide awake to the infinite depth and dimension of this exact moment.

 As someone whose work and personal life come with an extreme amount of overlap, I have a tough time enjoying things for what they are. My husband is also my work and parenting partner. I feed my family, but testing and writing recipes is also my job. When I am with the kids, I feel like I should be working on something - often irritated because I know I have to hustle for my own living. Or if I am working, I feel like I am missing moments with my kids. I don't know any of us come equip with how to just be here - it's cultural, often generational, the extent of which indicative of ones' personality.  When I feel the most at ease, is when I am simply doing whatever it is I need to be doing. If it is working,  then I just live in that time, cooking or writing, going through the motions of something I understand how to do, being grateful that I have flexibility and generally enjoy what I am doing. Or if I'm corraling my kids at a park or building block towers, that I may see the "depth of that exact moment". How do you practice that in your own life? I have to make those decisions consciously, does it ever become a habit? Asking for a friend ;) 

I figured I would make obligatory tacos this Saturday for Cinco de Mayo. Maybe we'll have some friends come over, do bean and cheese burritos for the kids, make margaritas with fresh grapefruit juice. Having people over, sitting around a table in the backyard, may be the easiest place for me to just be in the moment. It is the place where my mind does not dart around between which bills I need to pay or how dusty the open shelving is or how I may grow my brand or researching Kindergarten options. Even if we can't be savoring every little thing, our angst pulling our brains to other places, I think there is always at least one place that it feels easy to just be there. For me, that is the table. Hope you can name where that is for you, and be in it or doing it, soon. I've found that recognizing it is the biggest step forward. 

Ancho Chili Mushroom Tacos . Roasted Portobellos . Sprouted Kitchen

ANCHO CHILE MUSHROOM TACOS

Serves 2

I assume about 1 larger portobello per person, once sliced, it gives you two full tacos with all the garnishes. Multiply as needed for however many you are serving. If you do not stock these spices, your favorite taco seasoning is fine, just be mindful if it includes salt or not.

The Tacos

  • 2 large or 3 medium portobello mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp. avocado oil
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. orange juice (apple cider vinegar will do)
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. ancho chile powder

  • 4 corn tortillas, warmed 

The Garnish

  • pickled onions
  • fresh lime
  • avocado
  • cilantro
  • shredded cabbage, optional
  • queso fresco (or soft goats cheese)

Directions

Stem the mushrooms. In a small bowl, combine the oil, maple, salt, cumin and ancho chile powder. Arrange the mushrooms on parchment and brush the spice mixture on both sides of the mushroom. This can be prepped a few hours in advance.

Preheat the oven to 375'. Roast the mushrooms for about 20 minutes or until they are browned and collapsed down (they should look wet and shrink in size). If the weather permits, you can grill the mushrooms over medium heat for 6 minutes on each side (or until they collapse a bit).

When cool to the touch, cut the mushrooms into slices on a diagonal. Arrange the tacos with some smashed avocado (lightly salted), a pile of mushrooms, pickled onions, cilantro, shredded cabbage (if using), cheese and a squeeze of fresh lime. Enjoy. 

Ancho Chili Mushroom Tacos . Sprouted Kitchen


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Entrée, Fall

MUSHROOM + BLACK BEAN TACOS WITH CILANTRO BLENDER SAUCE

I had a rough time the first two years of college. It was up and down and there were certainly parts I really liked, but I remember crying in my car asking my parents if I could quit and switch schools on more than one occasion. I was an English major and turns out I am a slow reader with poor retention and grammar. I’d graduated high school with a really tight group of friends I had known my whole life and making new friends was a skill I’d little experience with as an adult. I had broken up with the boyfriend I thought I was going to marry and had one great but a few rough roommates to start. It just seemed...hard. I believe we are equipped to do hard and challenging things but I couldn’t quite find the silver lining. I really wanted to go home. So as my last effort to finish what I started, I applied to study abroad in Spain my Junior year to get better at Spanish (because clearly my English wasn’t awesome) and to hit refresh. And it worked. I loved the experience, saw so much of Spain, started a little romance with Hugh via email, didn’t get much better at Spanish to be honest but came back to school to live with a group of girls that just had great chemistry together. They were fun, kind and communicated well instead of gossip and hurt each other which unfortunately, groups of girls often have the potential to do. I can’t really explain it, or I wouldn’t do it justice if I tried, but those ladies changed me. By the time I moved back towards home to start a career, I was dragging my feet. You couldn’t have told me that three or four years prior. 

I spent last weekend with a few of those ladies and while we don’t keep up as often as I’d like, they are the same sweet women they were in that season. We all now have kids and lives going different directions but I was inspired by our conversations around our rental’s dinner table. One of these was talking about feeding a family, ideally somewhat healthfully, when you are short on patience, energy and creativity. I like to cook and I still find this hard. One of my girlfriends is a nutritionist and and she really believes we dumb down flavors for kids starting at baby food, often followed by bland starches so there is work involved in turning that around when you get to the point of wanting everyone to eat the same meal. It got me thinking of meals I could make that represent something we could all make on a weeknight. I am guilty of dumbing things down too. Hugh and Curran love tacos and burritos so I started with something generally popular, and then made it a little different. I nabbed the name “blender sauce” from the new How to Celebrate Everything cookbook by Jenny Rosenstrach and it’s so telling because you literally throw all the ingredients into a blender at one time and give it a few pulses. My KitchenAid® Pro Line® Series blender has a pulse function so I could keep the sauce a little chunky like I like it and I chopped the mushrooms small so Curran couldn’t single them out from the beans. We ate tacos and even little Cleo girl ate bits of the mushroom saute and avocado bits. We all ate at the same time! I can’t say that happens very often and it was really nice. More of that, please. 

This post was created in partnership with the new KitchenAid®Pro Line® Series Blender.

Mushroom and Black Bean Tacos with Cilantro Blender Sauce // Serves 4

The sauce can be made in a blender or food processor and can sit for a few days so make it in advance if you’d like. The heat of the jalapeno is in the ribs and seeds. The sauce needs some for spice but adjust to your taste. Here it’s drizzled on tacos, but makes for a great salad dressing too. If you don’t stock the spices below, 1 teaspoon of your favorite taco seasoning will do. I was trying to not over stuff the tacos but a little shredded cabbage is welcome here too. 

cilantro blender sauce 

1 bunch of cilantro
2 garlic cloves
4 green onions, light and dark parts
1 jalapeno, barely seeded
juice of two limes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. drained capers
1/2 tsp. salt and pepper

2 Tbsp. grapseed or coconut oil, divided
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 large or 3 smaller portobello mushrooms, cleaned and stemmed
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (roughly one 14 oz. can, rinsed and drained)
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. paprika

8 corn tortillas
2 avocados
goat, feta or queso fresco, for garnish

Throw all the sauce ingredients in the blender and pulse until everything is well chopped and combined. Set aside. 
Warm 1 tablespoon of the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt to the pan and cook for a few minutes until softened. Dice the portobellos and add them to the pan with the garlic, remaining oil and another pinch of salt. Saute until browned and the mushrooms have reduced, about 5 minutes. Stir in the black beans and spices and adjust to taste. 
Lightly char your tortillas over the stove. To assemble, mash some avocado down the center of the tortilla. Drizzle a large spoonful of the sauce and top with some of the mushroom bean mixture. Garnish with a sprinkle of cheese and enjoy. 



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Entrée, Gluten Free, Dessert

FEEDING BABIES : COOKING WITH MY NIECES

Cooking with my Nieces . Sprouted Kitchen

I could pick out clothes or a new lego set, but what I really wanted was quality time with my nieces, who are turning 7 and 4 this month. My sister-in-law actually came up with the idea, I just needed to plan and execute a cooking class with them. I mentally prepared myself to forget trying to keep everything tidy and I asked them their favorite foods to be sure we made something they'd like. These girls are great eaters, the only request was to not have mushrooms or curry involved, which left me a lot to choose from. After a few attempts in the past, I will be honest that I don't really enjoy teaching. Not cooking at least. It is something I just have a feel for by way of experience and am pretty quick with because of that. I find it difficult to teach things that I've learned by trial and error myself. I can tell when cake batter looks too wet or smell if a vinaigrette is too oily only because I've messed those things up myself. Luckily, a four and seven year old are mostly concerned about when the cookies will be done and who gets to put the kale down the food processor shredder, so they were forgiving students. Leading the girls through this opposed to adults was refreshing. They were eager to touch and work and less concerned with the reasons and science that can be involved in making food taste good. It was so nice to have an afternoon with them even if I'm not sure I taught them anything, per se.

I can't speak as an authority on the subject, but I learned a few things about cooking with kids through this. First, the mise en place thing was huge, especially with baking. I measured and set out all of the ingredients, but they got to do the pouring and the mixing. I basically prepared half of the recipes in advance to keep their attention and for it to not take all day long to make some tacos and cookies. Example: I made the slaw dressing, but I saved the limes for them to squeeze in. Or the fish was cut and set in it's dish, but they were able to oil and season it. Yes, it's slightly more work than doing it yourself, but they were so excited to eat what they made I'd slow down again in a heartbeat. I am in the clean-as-you-go camp but that just doesn't work with kids around. Let the sink pile up and do it later. On recipes. Like I said, these girls, thanks to their mom, eat all sorts of things and are great with vegetables. Curran (2), prefers things a little more hidden and is exercising his own autonomy by using "no" often. In order to make one meal please everyone, I pulled out some crunchy beans on their own for his plate, and made his taco with melted mexican blend cheese, fish, easy slaw, rolled it up and called it a burrito because he'll eat nearly anything if he thinks it's a burrito (so long as any green vegetables are cut very small). 

I realize I was sharing kid friendly recipes based on how I was learning to eat well with a young toddler and then jumped ahead a few years on you but this can still work. On a normal day, I am not making everyone here different meals, we are just rearranging the one meal, to please everyone. 
The taco recipe is below and for the cookies, I worked off this thumbprint cookie recipe from Green Kitchen Stories. Based on my own pantry, I swapped in almond meal for the sunflower seed meal, whole wheat flour for the buckwheat flour and used the whole egg in the dough since I didn't put seeds around the outside. I also used store bought jam to save time and it worked great. 

Cooking with my Nieces . Ingredients . Sprouted Kitchen
Cooking with my Nieces . Sprouted Kitchen

FISH TACOS WITH CREAMY KALE SLAW AND CRUNCHY BEANS
Serves 4

The beans and fish need to be made fresh, but the dressing and slaw can be prepared in advance. I used wild rockfish here, but halibut or salmon would be great as they are in season now. If you are not a fish person, sub in your protein of choice, or even some mashed black beans or sweet potatoes could work. 

1 1/2 cups cooked garbanzo beans, rinsed, drained and dried
1 generous Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400'. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Spread of the dried beans and drizzle the oil, chili powder, cumin and generous sprinkle of salt. Toss to coat. You want them coated well to get crispy. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 20 minutes or until crispy. Set aside. 

2 lbs. firm, white fish or wild salmon
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. taco seasoning

2 heads lacinato kale, spines removed
1/2 of a small red cabbage
4 green onions

// cilantro pepita dressing //

1 clove garlic
1/4 cup toasted pepitas
1 tsp. capers
1 jalapeno, seeded
1 larger bunch of cilantro
juice of two juicy limes
2 tsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. agave nectar
2-3 Tbsp. mayonnaise or vegan alternative
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. each sea salt and pepper

8 corn tortillas
crumbled feta cheese
hot sauce, for serving

Cooking with my Nieces . Thumbprint Cookies . Sprouted Kitchen
Cooking with my Nieces . Cookies . Sprouted Kitchen

Put the fish filets in a baking dish and oil both sides. Sprinkle on the taco seasoning and salt if your mix is unsalted. Brush or rub the mix into the flesh of the fish. Set aside.

For the dressing, in a food processor, blitz the garlic, pepitas, capers, jalapeno together until mostly blended. Add the cilantro, lime juice, agave, mayo, oil and salt and pepper and blend for 30 seconds until mostly smooth. Taste it and season to taste. This will be a dressing, so it should be thick, but still easy to distribute. Adjust oil and lime juice as needed. Set aside. The dressing can be made up to a week in advance. 

Shred or chop the kale and cabbage very thin. I use the shredder blade on the food processor to get a fine, consistent cut. You should have about 4-5 cups of shredded vegetables. Cut the onions and add them to the mixture. Toss with desired amount of dressing and set it in the fridge while you cook the fish.
Preheat the grill to medium heat. Grill the fish about 4-5 minutes per side until just cooked. Timing will vary based on thickness of the fish. Note, it may also be broiled if you don't want to grill. Broil for about 8 minutes total.

Heat your tortillas over the grill or stove. Assemble with a piece of fish, slaw, crunchy beans and crumbled feta cheese.

Cooking with my Nieces . Fish Tacos . Sprouted Kitchen


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