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MoFo #19: Chard-guacamole Quesadillas & Applejack Toddies

20 Oct

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You guys, I am so incredibly pleased with myself tonight. I mean, I just followed a recipe, but DAMN. If it were possible to marry a food, I would marry the heck out of these puppies.

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Tonight’s appetizer comes from The Inspired Vegan (see, I told you it would pop up again!). I’ve made these before and thought they were delicious but do you ever have those nights where a certain food really hits the spot like nothing else? That was me tonight. These are like the perfect healthy vegan quesadilla — rich, spicy guacamole and sweet & tangy chard smooshed inside a nutty whole wheat tortilla. Wowzers.

You start off by blanching a bunch of finely chopped chard. And then this….
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….becomes this. In addition to just draining the chard, I hand squeezed a lot of the liquid out because it helps in the sautéing step that comes next. I don’t think I’ll ever not be amazed by how much greens cook down!

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After the chard has cooled, you saute it with some garlic, currants (I used chopped raisins), and orange juice. I’ve made this greens recipe a lot just as a side dish, too. It’s a nice light way to cook up collards or chard.

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The mix goes into a tortilla along with some spicy guacamole and you pan fry them together for a few minutes so the tortilla gets nice and crispy. Then fold it in half, and you’re good to go!

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So these are great by themselves but I strongly recommend a little cashew crema on the side (my recipe comes from Viva Vegan). The rich and tangy cream is a great complement!

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That drink you see on the right is the second half of tonight’s post and is another Bryant Terry creation, this time from Vegan Soul Kitchen. It’s pretty much the perfect fall cocktail, drawing its flavor from cinnamon and apple brandy. The cinnamon stick is steeped in boiling water for a minutes, then you add apple jack, agave nectar, a little lemon juice, and some apple juice (I used cider!). I’m usually not a big fan of warm cocktails because the evaporating alcohol always burns my nose, but this was so tasty I’m willing to overlook that! I bought applejack specifically for this recipe but had decided to try it on its own first to get a good idea of the flavor. Blech — I am definitely not a brandy girl! It was way too strong and I couldn’t really appreciate the apple undertones. Mixed with juice and a cinnamon infusion, it was just right!

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Alright, that’s it for me tonight! I’m off to get my daily dose of snuggles from this guy! 🙂

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MoFo #10: Creamy chard soup

10 Oct

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I’m always looking for ways to incorporate more greens into our meals, so how stoked was I when I found this super easy recipe in The Inspired Vegan, by Bryant Terry. If you like to read cookbooks for fun, this one and Terry’s other book, Vegan Soul Kitchen, are great and the recipes really deliver! They don’t have the types of classic dishes you’d expect when you think of soul food, but feature a lot of the same ingredients, incorporated into dishes that mix soul with African and Caribbean recipes to give something really unique, fresh, and healthy. Whenever I cook from these books I feel like we’re really in for a treat! And, there are lots of recipes suitable for fall cooking, so expect some to pop up in the next few weeks!

This soup recipe is really simple: onion, garlic, chard, cumin, salt, broth, and coconut milk. That’s it! You basically simmer the sauteed onions and garlic with the chard and broth, blend it up, add the coconut milk, and enjoy!

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I couldn’t really taste the cumin, but I could tell that it added a lot of depth. The combination of greens and coconut milk made the soup so incredibly rich and delicious! All these years of cooking, and I’ve never put greens (other than spinach), in soup. This has to change. Now!

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The only thing I would adjust is the amount of broth because the soup comes out awfully thin. I added some corn starch to thicken it up, but it would be better to just use less liquid. I didn’t make the topping (fried plantains) because I am lazy. Maybe I will do that for the leftovers!