Vegan or Vegetarian or Not – Spicy Beef & Cheese Nachos with Baked Corn Tortilla Chips & and Simple Guacamole

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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vromans front

vromans back

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First of all – a friend sent me this picture today.  It HAS to be ME – right?  Am I not the only cigarette-smoking blonde to ever “kill” Chucky?

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Here I am with Alex Vincent – then & now.

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At any rate – I am very pleased with that illustration!!!

So – this recipe requires two other recipes I posted today – the Purist’s Homemade Guacamole & Baked Corn Tortilla Chips.  OR – you can just buy some ships & use any guacamole you want – or skip the guac entirely.  Your call.

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I used these ingredients – Beyond Meat’s Vegan Beefy Crumbles & a can of hot chiles & a can of Campbell’s Cheddar Soup (so MY version was not vegan) :

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I want to say that Campbell’s has a Feisty Nacho Cheese Soup that would likely work better than my version of nacho cheese resulting from combining that 1 can of soup with that can of chiles & a tsp of sriracha.  I found the texture of the soup “cheese” to be more like a custard & not flavorful enough.  So – either try the Feisty nacho soup or use a can/jar of actual nacho cheese that you get in the chip aisle or – better yet – use REAL or vegan shredded cheese & bake the nachos in the oven the traditional way.  If you use the soupy cheese – you can just heat it stove-top & pour it over the chips.

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I used the Beyond Meat Crumbles but you could use another brand or even real ground beef.

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Spicy Beef

INGREDIENTS

11 oz vegan (or real) ground beef

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

olive oil (not required if you use real meat)

DIRECTIONS

If using vegan meat, heat 1 tbs olive oil over medium heat & add the other ingredients & heat through.  Leave on the lowest flame to keep warm until you are ready to assemble the nachos.  If using real meat, cook it with the spices until it is done.  Keep warm until you are ready to use it.

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NACHOS

INGREDIENTS are really just suggestions. I used:

1 fresh jalapeno – diced

Jarred pickled jalapenos

Chopped tomato

Cilantro

Cheese (see above) – you can use vegan or real grated cheese or a jarred nacho sauce or devise one (as I did with underwhelming results) from a combo of cheese soup, canned chiles & a tsp sriracha.

Chips

Guacamole

OTHER IDEAS that I did not include:  Salsa or pico de gallo, sour cream (or vegan alternative), sliced black olives, black beans, refried beans, corn, diced red onion, shredded cabbage or lettuce etc…

DIRECTIONS

Once you have your chips (homemade or otherwise) & guacamole (ditto) – assemble your nachos.  If you went with a pourable version of cheese – simply heat it & pour it over the chips & add the other toppings.

If you used grated cheese (real or vegan) – layer the ingredients (but not the guacamole or tomato/salsa & jalapenos or sour cream – because those are better added once the nachos come out of the oven) & bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until your cheese is as melted as you desire.

Garnish as you will & shove that shit in your face!  Mmmmmmmmm!

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A Purist’s Homemade Guacamole & Baked Corn Tortilla Chips

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I am an absolute purist when it comes to guacamole.  Three ingredients only!  Avocado, lime juice & salt.  I know people add salsa and cilantro or jalapeno or spices etc but if the avocados are perfect, I think it is a crime to fuck with them.

These chips used only cooking spray & 12 minutes in the oven.  So much healthier & just as crunchy.  I hear they keep in an air-tight container for up to 5 days but I ate all mine – so I cannot vouch for that.

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Baked Corn Tortilla Chips

INGREDIENTS

Corn tortillas

Cooking spray

Salt (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the tortillas & spread on parchment paper (or cooking sheet treated with cooking spray) – spread without touching each other so they crisp the most, spray with cooking oil (add salt if you want to) and cook 10-12 minutes or until they are golden & crunchy.  My oven heats unevenly so mine cooking unevenly.  To avoid this – you might want to spin the pan in the oven every few minutes.

Put into a bowl to cool & set aside.

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A Purist’s Homemade Guacamole

INGREDIENTS

2 avocados (keep the pits!)

juice of 1/2 lime (or more to taste)

1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)

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DIRECTIONS

Scoop the avocado out of the skin & chop in a bowl.  Add salt & lime juice & keep mashing until it is as chunky or as smooth as you like.  Put the pits BACK INTO the bowl when you are done & this tricks the avocados into thinking they are still in tact & the guacamole will not brown nearly as quickly.  Serve with the chips & a cold cerveza & get your chow on.

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Chicago Veggie Hot Dog Taco on a Gluten-free Cauliflower Tortilla

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Another way to avoid carbohydrates!  Cauliflower tortillas!  A traditional Chicago hot-dog would be served on a poppy seed bun & use something called sport peppers.  I didn’t have sport peppers (nor have I ever heard of them) but I did have leftover roasted jalapenos – so I used those.  A real Chicago dog would use white onions – but I had red.  They call for dill pickles – so I used my homemade ones.  Yellow mustard only – no Dijon or other fancy stuff & sweet relish, which I usually hate but I thought it was great on these.  And lastly, it should be sprinkled with celery salt but I discovered that I had none after it was too late.  I loved the result here so much, however, that I am buying celery salt tomorrow & I am going to look for sport peppers.

You could make these using real hot dogs or with a real bun.  But these guys are really satisfying the way I assembled them so, if you eat veggie dogs & wanna go even lighter with them – this is the way to go.

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24-Hour Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles

INGREDIENTS

1.5 lbs cucumbers (I used cocktail cucumbers – but you can try any variety you find available) – cut into spears or 1/4″ chips.

8 garlic cloves – 4 quartered, 4 left whole

8-16 sprigs fresh dill

2 TBS coriander SEEDS (not ground)

3 TBS sea (or Kosher) salt

2 TBS sugar

1 1/3 cups white vinegar

water

Jars for containing the pickles

DIRECTIONS

NOTE – these are very garlicky!!!  If you don’t LOVE garlic – cut the garlic back a lot.

In a sauce pan – heat the vinegar & add the salt, sugar & coriander seeds.  Heat, stirring, just until both the sugar & salt dissolve.  Try to get this done before the vinegar gets hot.  If it gets very hot – let it cool before pouring over your cucumbers.

Put your cucumbers in the pickling container (a mason jar, old pickle jar – or other container with a water-tight lid) – with the garlic & the fresh dill.  Pour the vinegar mix over the cucumbers.  Add water to fill the container to the top.  Seal the container & chill in the fridge for at least 24 hours.  Try one.  ENJOY!

These should last in your fridge (in a sealed container) for up to one month.  If they get too vinegary – drain the jar & replace the vinegar with fresh water.

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Chicago Veggie Hot Dog Taco on a Gluten-free Cauliflower Tortilla

INGREDIENTS

Hot dogs (heated whichever way you like)

Cauliflower tortilla (or a bun) – toasted or not – as you like

Sport peppers (or roasted jalapenos)

Yellow mustard

Sweet relish

Dill pickle spears

White onions – diced

Tomato – diced

Celery Salt

DIRECTIONS

Layer the cauliflower tortilla (or other tortilla or bun) with the hot dog, mustard, dill pickle spear, onions, sweet relish, tomato & celery salt.  Shove it in your face like a competitive eater.  Smile!

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Gluten-Free Cauliflower Tortillas as Goat Cheese, Roasted Pepper & Spinach Pizza or Margherita Pizza

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I made these cauliflower tortillas as part of a recent effort to shed a few pounds – quickly.  I am cutting out bread, pasta, white rice, flour tortillas, potatoes – you know – white carbohydrates.  I am on day three of just cutting out those things & have lost four pounds already!  Of course, I lost two of them in just a single, one-hour class at my gym (owned by Billy Blanks siblings – Irene & Michael).  I lost two pounds this morning despite downing a 51 ounce bottle of water during the class.

At any rate, I made these with the plan to make tacos out of them last night but pizza just sounded so much better!  So – little 6″ pizzas it was.

This is really just a simpler variation of my Cauliflower Pizza Crust Dough recipe – but they really are easy & can be used as the basis for pizza or tacos or, as I will show soon, to replace hot dog buns.  One fairly large head of cauliflower produced about six 6″ tortillas.  The toppings I used were sorta random.  I had a bunch of jalapeno, red & orange bell, red jalapeno & poblano peppers that were getting a tad wilty.  I roasted them on the stove top.  You do this right on the burners (or under a broiler in the oven) by just charring the outside completely black.  You then steam them for 5-10 minutes by putting them in a covered container.  Under cool water, rub the skins off & remove the seeds.  Then just store them for later use.

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Gluten-Free Cauliflower Tortillas

INGREDIENTS

1 large head of cauliflower

3 eggs

Generous pinches of onion powder, oregano and S&P.

DIRECTIONS

Rice the cauliflower by grating it – either by hand or with a food processor.

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Put an inch or two of water in a large stock pot & add the cauliflower.  Bring to a boil & then reduce heat to med-low & simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.  Drain into a colander lined with a kitchen towel & run cold water over it.

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Squeeze as much water out of the cauliflower as possible.  The drier you get it, the better!

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Mix in a bowl with the eggs & spices.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper & press the mixture into little tortillas about 1/4′ thick or thinner.

Bake in an oven pre-heated to 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes & then flip & repeat.

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Cool on a wire rack so they do not steam themselves & get soggy.

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I made two mini-pizzas from these guys by baking them (with toppings) at about 425 for about 10-15 minutes (or until cheese is bubbly & melted).  One was topped with:

Spinach

Goat cheese

Sliced tomato

Chopped roasted peppers

Crushed red pepper

and the other was simply – Margherita using:

Sliced tomato

Mozzarella

Crushed red pepper

Chopped basil as garnish

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Lavash Pizza with Whipped Feta, Grilled Eggplant, Red Onions & Arugula Salad

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I love pizzas with cold salads on top of them.  I will even dump a bunkus “house salad” of iceberg lettuce & shaved carrots on a slice – if I find myself in a pizza joynt.  But arugula salad is my favorite salad & arugula tops pizza so delightfully – I hope you give this a try.

This particular pizza was so delicious last night – I kept thinking, “I think this is my favorite pizza ever.”  That is saying a lot because I experiment with pizza nearly weekly.  Last August, I posted a Grilled Indian Eggplant Pizza with Feta, Tomatoes & Black Olives made with tiny, little Indian eggplants.

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And while that pizza was yummy – the one last night was a revelation.  Maybe the lavash (rather than pizza dough) allowed the subtle flavors to come through better.  I’m not sure.  But I really recommend this pizza with all the enthusiasm I can muster.  If lavash isn’t available near you – try this with tortillas – like I did HERE.

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I used Japanese eggplants here & sliced them VERY thin.

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You can use regular eggplant but that can sometimes be bitter.  I sliced my Japanese eggplants as thin as I could with a mandolin & then dredged them through some bullshit Italian dressing I had.

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I grilled them on each side for about a minute or two.

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You could pan sear them a few minutes on each side or use a grill pan – or even roast them at 450 for just a few minutes.  But I think precooking them some way is sorta critical to the overall result here.  Still – you could probably use them raw – just slice them PAPER thin.

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I will not give specific quantities of certain toppings here because that is really a matter of personal taste – but I will show you what I used.  Also – fresh mozzarella is nicer than the processed kind you typically buy grated up for pizza topping but that can also be used.  The fresh is better, though.

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Lavash Pizza with Whipped Feta, Grilled Eggplant, Red Onions & Arugula Salad

INGREDIENTS

Lavash (or tortillas or pizza dough)

Whipped feta ((t is made by simply blending 8 oz of feta with 3 oz cream cheese & just enough water to get them to blend in your food processor (or other tool you use to whip things)

Japanese eggplant – sliced very thin

Red onion – sliced paper thin

Cherry tomatoes (or other tomato) – diced

Fresh mozzarella – sliced

Fresh oregano – chopped

Crushed red pepper

S&P to taste

Arugula

Lemon

Olive oil

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DIRECTIONS

If using lavash or tortillas, preheat the oven to 350.  If using pizza dough – heat it to 500.

Dip the sliced eggplant in an oil based Italian (or Greek) dressing (or olive oil) & grill just to soften & give some color.

To assemble simply layer your lavash with whipped feta, eggplant, fresh oregano, mozzarella, tomatoes, onion and crushed red pepper.   Bake for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted & the lavash is browned at the edges.

Meanwhile, toss the arugula in a LITTLE olive oil & some fresh lemon juice.  Add S&P to taste.

When the pizza is done, top it with the arugula salad & serve it up!

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Tortilla Pizza with Whipped Feta, Cilantro Pesto & Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Today is the first anniversary of my blog!!!!!!  AND – the 4th birthday of my gorgeous daughter, Moxie!!!  Here is how she woke up this morning.  As you can see – my dogs have it pretty rough.

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At any rate – a year!  Today!  I can hardly believe it.  And I wonder if I can come up with another year’s worth of entries.  It is already a challenge for me to come up with new things – so you might want to brace yourself for some kooky ideas!

Thanks for reading.  Please – tell your friends.  And if you are not already receiving emails about my posts – just click the “follow this blog” link under my photo there on the right.  Cheers!

So!

Pizza on flour tortillas!  Easy & fast.  And maybe a little lighter in the carbohydrate area, too.  The salsa recipe here is quite spicy but really tasty.  You might opt to cut the amount of jalapeno or lose the chipotle pepper – if spices bother you.  The feta & cilantro & salsa really do create a wonderful combination of flavors, though, so the salsa is worth the effort.

I went rather light with the toppings so that they did not get the tortilla too soggy so keep that in mind when you assemble yours.  The layer of whipped feta seemed to create a decent barrier between the tortilla & the wetter ingredients.

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Tortilla Pizza with Whipped Feta, Cilantro Pesto & Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

INGREDIENTS

Flour tortillas

Cherry (or other) tomatoes – diced

Fresh mozzarella – sliced

Whipped feta (It is made by simply blending 8 oz of feta with 3 oz cream cheese & just enough water to get them to blend in your food processor (or other tool you use to whip things).

Chopped cilantro for garnish

For the cilantro pesto

1 bunch cilantro – stems & all

1/4 cup walnuts

2 TBS Parmesan – grated

2 garlic cloves

juice of 1/2 lime

1/4 cup (or so) olive oil

S&P

For the roasted tomatillo salsa

10 tomatillos

1 Roma (or other) tomato – quartered

2 jalapeno peppers

6 cloves garlic still in their peels

1/2 onion

1/3 cup cilantro

1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce

1 TBS lime juice

olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

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DIRECTIONS

For the cilantro pesto

Toast the walnuts in a dry pan for about 3 minutes or until fragrant – being careful not to burn them.  Put them in your food processor with the remaining ingredients & pulse into a pesto.  You might need more or less olive oil so you can reach your desired consistency.  A little water can be added to thin it, too.

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For the roasted tomatillo salsa

Heat the oven to 375.  Peel the papery skins off of the tomatillos & wash them.  Take half of them & put onto a baking sheet with the UNPEELED garlic (ignore that mine pictured here are peeled) and the jalapenos & toss in a little olive oil.

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Roast for about 30 minutes or until they begin to char.  Place in a sealed container for about 15 minutes to sweat them.  Squeeze the garlic out of the skins into your clean food processor.  Then – under cool water, peel & seed the jalapenos & the tomatillos.  The tomatillos are likely to have roasted away to almost nothing.  Place the peeled (don’t worry if you cannot get all the skin off) tomatillos & jalapenos into the food processor.

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Cut the stemmed tops off the remaining, uncooked tomatillos.  Quarter them & put them in the food processor with all the remaining ingredients.  Pulse into a puree.Image

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Lower the oven temperature to 350.

Assemble your tortilla pizza with some whipped feta, a layer of cilantro pesto & the fresh tomatoes & mozzarella.  Bake on a cooking sheet for maybe ten minutes or until the cheese melts.  Check it while it cooks to be sure you do not burn it.

Top with a dollop of roasted tomatillo salsa & some chopped cilantro.  Mmmmmm!

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Road Kill Roasted Cauliflower & Hominy Tacos with Homemade Corn Tortillas & Spicy Peach, Pineapple & Mango Salsa

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Roadkill?  Caught your attention, didn’t it?  Silly!  I don’t eat meat.  But I did buy some Dean Jacobs Road Kill Grill Rub because of the promise that it “Makes all critters taste great.”

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I bought it in Gilroy (the garlic capital of the world) for my boyfriend, Miles, who lives almost as exclusively on meat as zombies do on brains.  Whenever I think of zombies, and these days – what with their resurgent popularity – I think of them quite often – I think of my favorite zombie chant.  (I stole the image below from Google.)

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The monomaniacal nature of zombies can sometimes be quite endearing.

At any rate – I bought the Road Kill rub in Gilroy on a road trip that led to my vagina-centric post about Elsy’s Antojitos & my Shrimp & Cheesy Grits post which got into my pug, Memphis, and his tooth removal & the drunken, loopy slob he returned home as – still wobbly from getting put under.  Look how drunk he looks in the pose he struck!  🙂

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That was last September (when I bought the Road Kill Grill) & Miles has never used it so I decided to bust that shit out.  It has a very smokey salty flavor & it worked AWESOMELY for this dish but, if you cannot find it, any taco seasoning or other grill rub would likely work.  Even a homemade blend of spices would work – and you can Google a zillion options for that.

The recipe for the corn tortillas is HERE.

The recipe for the Spicy Peach & Pineapple & Mango Salsa is HERE.

You can use pre-made corn tortillas and any kind of salsa you like.  The real magic here is the roasted cauliflower & hominy filling.  I have been long obsessed with each of those ingredients & the threesome we had last night was – well – worth repeating.  Much like my Vegan Pozole, and any taco recipe, the toppings are up to you.  Here are a few ideas:

IDEAS for the toppings –

Grilled or fresh corn cut from the cob

Chopped tomatoes

Chopped cilantro

Sliced avocado

Sliced radishes

Lime wedges

Chopped cabbage (red or green)

Red onion – diced

Lettuce – chopped

Feta or Cotija (or other) cheese

Sour cream or yogurt or Mexican Crema

The only thing you need from me here is the recipe for the roasted cauliflower & hominy – so let’s get to it!  I found myself devouring it right off the roasting pan.  Try to use a high quality spice mix – and not something that has been in your pantry for 6 years & requires a fork to break it up.  OK?  I can’t take responsibility for your old, ashy spices!  🙂

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Roadkill Roasted Cauliflower & Hominy

1 head cauliflower – broken into the tiniest florets

2 cups hominy

3 tsp Road Kill Grill rub (or rub/spices of your choice)

olive oil

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat your oven to 425.

Place your tiny cauliflower florets on a greased cooking sheet.  Drizzle with a little olive oil & toss TWO (reserving one) of the tsps of spice rub in.  I tossed this with my hands to get a good even mix.

Roast for 15 minutes.  In the meantime – toss the other tsp of spice with the hominy with a teensy bit of olive oil (not more than a teaspoon).

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When the cauliflower is done, add the hominy to the pan & roast all of it another 15 minutes.

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Take out of the oven.  Try not to just stand there & eat that shit.

Now – you simply have to assemble your tacos!

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