I recently ‘liked’ Epicurious on Facebook. They post some pretty interesting things, which come up in my news feed. Lately they have been telling me that October is Vegetarian Awareness Month (you can read more about it on the Epicurious vegetarian blog here). As you’ve probably already figured out if you’ve looked at the other posts on this blog, we are vegetarian. Or at least mostly vegetarian – sometimes we can’t resist the $1 tacos at the stand down the street.
This came about after my philosopher was a TA for an introduction to ethics class for a couple semesters. And they covered animal rights and factory farming… So we severely cut back on the amount of meat that we eat. It’s not that we will never eat meat again, or that we don’t sometimes eat meat when we are away from home and there aren’t other good options. Ideally we would like to eat ethically raised ( and butchered) meat. But that can get very expensive, so for now we are almost entirely vegetarian.
When I first started eating, and cooking, vegetarian I thought it would be difficult and that I would miss meat. And sometimes I do miss meat, but after about 6 months, I’m finding that eating and cooking vegetarian on a daily basis has gotten much easier. So perhaps in honor of vegetarian awareness month, I will post some of the recipes that I’ve changed, discovered, or adapted to suit our new vegetarian life and help me not feel like I’m depriving myself by not eating meat.
Tomatillo Salsa (based on this recipe from epicurious)
8-10 large tomatillos
2 large japalenos
2 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
1/2 an onion, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 bunch cilantro
Remove tomatillo husks and rinse under warm water to remove stickiness. Broil chiles, garlic, tomatillos, and the peppers for the enchiladas on rack of a broiler pan 1 to 2 inches from heat, turning once, until tomatillos are softened and slightly charred, about 7 minutes.
Pop the garlic out of it’s skin. Purée all ingredients in a blender.
3 bell peppers
1 1/2 onions
12 medium flour tortillas
3-4 ounces cheese, divided (I used jack cheese, but cheddar, pepper jack, or a Mexican blend would also be good)
Slice onions in to half moons and spread in an even layer in the baking dish that you used to roast the peppers and tomatillos. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Toss to coat everything evenly. Remove the skins from the peppers that you roasted with the tomatillos and thinly slice. Slice or shred all but about 1 ounce of the cheese.
Now it’s time to roll the enchiladas. Check the texture and pliability of your tortillas. Mine were quite soft, so I just microwaved them in sets of three for about 15 seconds. Other brands are a bit more stiff. For these you will want to soften them in a skillet with a little bit of oil. Once you have softened up your tortillas, place a little bit of each ingredient in them and roll them up tight.
Then place them seam down in a baking pan (I used the same one from the tomatillos and onions, no need to wash!).
After all the tortillas are filled and in the pan, pour the tomatillo salsa evenly over the top and sprinkle on the last ounce of grated cheese.
Bake the enchiladas at 375 for about 30-40 minutes, until the cheese is melted and everything is heated through.
Guacamole (for on top or as a side dish)
2 ripe avocados
1-2 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons small diced red onion
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cilantro (I also added 1 T fresh parsley, just because I had some)
1-2 tablespoons small diced tomato
Combine all ingredients, smashing the avocado with a fork.