Food! Glorious Food!

8 December 2011 in Recipes


Over the last few days we’ve had several wonderful meals. As we’ve mentioned before in the blog both Lindsay and I love to cook. And in this cramped little trailer teamwork is sometimes a blessing and a burden. It takes some coordination and communication, but we have it down pretty well now.

The other day we made lasagna. This dish is not overly difficult. It’s a pretty self explanatory dish, but it does take some additional time to assemble and bake so it had been a while since we made one. I don’t know when oven ready lasagna noodles were invented, but they are a god send. It takes several steps out of the already involved lasagna assembling process. So with these we layered spinach, Roma tomatoes, carrot, red pepper, a little onion, crumbled and seasoned tofu (in place of ricotta), romano cheese and mozzarella into our tiny 8 x 8 pan stacking it all the way up to the brim. Then we sat and listened to our little toaster oven cycle on and off for the next hour our mouths salivating in eager anticipation.

The following day after the leftover lasagna had been finished off we went right back to the little pan and made tamale pie. This was a recipe we had noticed on the side of our bag of corn meal. Back at home once every few months I’d get ambitious on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and make a huge batch of tamales. Anyone who has ever tried making these from scratch knows it can be an arduous task. So when I made them I made a lot and we froze the extras. But this tamale pie was thankfully simpler and almost equally delicious. Here’s the recipe if you’d like to give it a try:

Quick Tamale Pie
Recipe has been modified. Original recipe courtesy of Safeway Brand Cornmeal

1 c. of corn meal
1 c. cold water
1 c. boiling water
1 tsp. salt
1/2 lb. of soy-rizo
2 cloves garlic minced
1 small onion, chopped
1 c. of spinach, chopped
1 c. of salsa
1 c. of grated cheese (save 1/4 c. for the top)
1 avocado sliced thin
hot sauce (optional)

Mix corn meal with the cold water in a small bowl. Meanwhile boil water with salt. Add corn meal mixture to the boiling water. Stir constantly over a low heat until mixture is thickened (about 10 minutes).

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat and saute onion until translucent, then add the soy-rizo, garlic and spinach.

Using a greased 8×8 or 9×9 pan, evenly line the pan with 2/3 of the corn meal mixture. Layer the meat mixture, salsa and cheese. Cover with the remaining corn meal mixture. Add avocado slices and sprinkle remaining cheese on the top. Bake in oven at 350°F for 20-30 minutes. Drizzle hot sauce on the top once it has come out of the oven.

Feel free to add or substitute any mexican style ingredients. Try Jalapenos, Poblanos or Serranos to add some nice heat to the dish.

And lastly we repeated a black bean burger recipe we’d made once before back in the Canyon. For any vegetarians, especially those new to the diet, veggie burgers usually become an early staple as you explore your meatless possibilities. But they often remain in the diets of veterans evolving from Boca brand burgers to a brand of higher quality and often higher price. We lucked out in Madison where a local bakery made veggie burgers. Out here though we either had to go back to Boca or learn how to make our own. Thankfully my good friend Nick had given us a recipe book Hot Damn and Hell Yeah Recipes for Hungry Banditos by Ryan Splint a few years back that has become a bible of sorts since our departure and in it was both a black bean and lentil burger recipe. We haven’t tried the lentil burger recipe yet, but we plan to. The black bean burger recipe on the other hand we have tried and it is phenomenal. Like most good things it takes a little time to put together, but the results are well worth it. You’ll also feel better ingesting something composed of pure, basic ingredients and not all that shit you’ll see listed on the back of most veggie burger boxes. Also all you non-vegetarians don’t be deterred they taste great whether you eat meat or not.
Black Bean Burgers
Yields 6 burgers
Recipe courtesy of Hot Damn and Hell Yeah Recipes for Hungry Banditos by Ryan Splint

1/2 c. rice, uncooked
3 c. black beans, cooked and drained
1 T. oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 c. corn kernels
1 carrot, shredded
1 c. fresh tomato, seeded and chopped
1/4 c. cilantro, chopped (optional)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. chile powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 c. breadcrumbs

Begin cookin’ the rice while ya get down ta chopping’ and sauteing the vegetables.

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat and saute onion until translucent. Add bell pepper, tomato, cilantro, and spices, sauteing five minutes ’til tender.

In a large bowl, combine sauteed vegetables with carrot, corn, beans and cooked rice. Mix and mash it well. Add 1/2 c. of breadcrumbs to the bowl and mix well with your hands. Add more breadcrumbs a bit at a time until it holds together well.

Form the mix into patties and cook in a slightly oiled skillet over medium heat until patties are cooked and browned. Serve on toasted buns with toppings.

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8 December 2011 Recipes

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