Monday, September 10, 2007

Recipe: Relaxed Sunday Dinner- Dairy free!

Yesterday we had some nachos with all the fixings for dinner. Since I realized dairy really bothers my allergies I have been trying to avoid it.

Real Food Daily in both Santa Monica and West Hollywood make great "better with cheddar nachos" which are, like all of RFD, vegan( free from all meats and fish, dairy and eggs)
I have been fascinated with their cheddar nut cheese since I first had it. Their nachos used to be a bit on the salty side but last time we had them in the West Hollywood location they seemed perfect, so maybe they adjusted their recipe or the chips they use. Even W likes them. I know the idea of making cheese from nuts may seem gross or too strange for some people. But you may be surprised. The combination of cashews, nutritional yeast and spices do make a flavorful cheese substitute for those who can't have dairy or who choose not to for whatever reason.

I came across a recipe for dry bulk "uncheese" on Vegweb and wanted to try some nachos. Vegweb is one of my favorite sites. If you make this "cheese recipe you may want to cut down on the salt, especially if you are using regular salt instead of Vege- Sal. On Vegweb people post their recipes, pictures and reviews. I secretly check it first thing every week when trying to make a list of meals for the week. I say secretly because a lot of times W does not like some of my wacky vegetarian, raw food or too- healthy -to- taste -good recipes I test out on him.

W made the guacamole and the pico de gallo. Maybe he'll post recipes later. After you make the dry mix for cheese you cook it with hot water. See the recipe.
Basically we just drained the black beans and then cooked them with a little cumin and garlic,
put them on the chips and then layered on the cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole and olives.
The only mistake I made is I didn't process the nuts enough so it wasn't as smooth as it should of been.

Below is a perfect example of how W and I differ in presentation styles (Also an interesting metaphor on how we differ in our painting styles)

Guess which one is mine?
The first one. I know I have to learn a thing or to about presentation. W is teaching me a lot both about food and about art. But hey in this case it's nachos so I feel I am ok.

Next time I would use just plain corn chips I didn't realize these were soy flax seed chips. I didn't like the texture of the chip or taste - too thick. Not to mention how I have a little headache today ( that's why I try to avoid soy, sometimes it gives me headaches behind my eye but that's a whole other post)
W said he couldn't really taste the cheese, probably because he made the salsa so hot! I thought it was really good. We'll see how he likes it later in the week, because I plan to make it again in other meals.

-W here. I can't recall how many times I've made pico de gallo or guacamole. Way too many to count. Remember that dinner party I was talking about? I used the tops of the cherry tomatoes I cut off of the pesto-stuffed cherry tomatoes for the salsa. Why waste a perfectly good product?

Here's a loose recipe of the pico de gallo and guacamole that I made for the nachos.

Pico de gallo-
-4 tomatoes. In this case, I used the tops of the cherry tomatoes(which equaled about 1 small tomato) from another dish I made as well as one large heirloom tomato. That heirloom was about the size of 3 regular vine-ripened tomatoes.
-Half of an onion, diced small.
-1 Serrano or Jalapeno chile, diced.
-1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped.
-2 tsp lime juice.
-2 cloves of Garlic. You can do a quick sautee on the garlic to mellow it out a bit, but make sure not to burn it. Personally, I like raw garlic in Pico De Gallo, but J likes it sauteed.

-Sea salt and pepper to taste.

Put the tomatoes in first, then add the rest of the ingredients. Adjust the seasoning at the end with salt and pepper. Refrigerate because it's best served cold.

Guacamole(this will be enough for the nachos and some leftovers)
There are so many different variations and the one I usually make has tomatoes and Cilantro, but since we almost overdosed on tomatoes this past week, I didn't want any in there and we had to save the cilantro for something else.

-3 ripe Avocados, chopped. We used a Reed Avocado this time, but Haas are available like weeds out here in LA. I find that the Haas are a gamble to buy sometimes and have stringy bits inside a lot of times. But, I love the richness and flavor of them. The Reed avocado was about the size of 3 Haas avocados.
-3-4 Tbs of lime juice.
-Sea salt and pepper to taste.
-2 cloves of Garlic, minced. (I like them raw, J likes them sauteed)

Add the avocados into a bowl or mortar and pestle. Then add the lime juice to avoid discoloration on the avocados. If you're just using a bowl, use a fork to mash the mixture until you start getting a good consistency.

Mince Garlic. You can add it raw or cooked. If you're going to cook it...

Do a quick sautee on the minced Garlic in some Olive Oil just to take some of the bite out and then quickly add to the Guacamole. Adjust seasoning at the end.


No comments: