Meatballs. Swedish meatballs. New Nordic Cuisine. Landscape design. Bed head. Tousled. Meatballs. Vegetarian. Quinoa. Fundamental naturalism. Foraging. Windy. Wavy. Ruffled. Native. Tasty. Satisfying. Elemental. Pickled. Fresh. Healthful. Tumbled. Unordered. Artfully disheveled. Meatballs…
I’m not usually a fan of those free food samples at the supermarket. Seen too many “grazers” with poor manners and questionable hygiene, I suppose. But every once in a while, when there is a conscientious host passing out tastes of a unique offering, I might give it a try, as was the case this past weekend at Whole Foods.
A charming older woman was enthusiastically portioning out little cups of this interesting raw kale salad. It turned out to be an outrageous combination of flavors and textures, so fresh and bright, with an unexpected umami note. I put a bag of her shirataki noodles in my cart, and went home to create a salad inspired by that sample.
Second in a Series of Superiores Tacos Vegetarianos
All GREEN Grilled Zucchini Tacos
Prickly Pear Cactus Tortillas
Butter Lettuce, Avocado, Shredded Green Cabbage, Cilantro, Serrano Chile
Lime Garlic Cilantro Sauce
The inspiration for these tacos came during a trip to the farmers’ market. One booth was featuring something I had never seen before, namely Prickly Pear Cactus Tortillas. Whether it be at the farmers’ market or ethnic local grocery stores, if I see something I haven’t tried before, it usually ends up in my cart. And many of those unique or interesting ingredients find a home here on Taste With The Eyes.
These green tortillas are made with organic nopal mixed with stone ground whole white corn kernels, water, lime, and vegetable plant extract. Two tortillas supply 100 calories, 3 g fiber and no cholesterol. I can’t say that they taste like nopalitos. If I close my eyes I’m not sure I could pinpoint the difference from other good corn tortillas, but I sure do love the color.
So now that I have a package of tortillas de nopal in my shopping bag, what shall I make with them?
The answer was all around me.
farmers’ market + green tortillas = all GREEN tacos
First in a Series of Superiores Tacos Vegetarianos
It was worth a drive down to the Bestway Supermercado to pick up fresh epazote for these extraordinario vegetarian tacos. These tacos are not your traditional tacos sans carne. This flavor profile stands on its own. In fact, the addition of chicken or pork or steak couldn’t improve on their fresh earthy robust sabor.
The unique woodsy aroma of the matsutake (pine mushroom) is what inspired this preparation en papillote. To tear open the parchment at the table and breathe, is to inhale Autumn in the Pine Forest. Just a few rosemary leaves and a restrained pinch of ground cinnamon enhance the earthy spice aromas of the matsutake. Butter gives the meaty mushroom a rich creamy mouthfeel and slight nutty flavor while sake adds a bit of moisture, balanced acidity and complex umami flavors.
Back in August we had a most memorable meal at Wolfgang Puck’s Chinese Restaurant WP24. One of the many noteworthy side dishes was called “Hunan Spicy Eggplant, Roasted Shishito Peppers, Chili, Crisp Garlic.” Wanting to serve something similar at a recent dinner party but having no recipe, I decided to create my own interpretation of Wolfgang’s excellent side dish. It was a hit.
You’ve heard the expression “like a kid in a candy store?” Well that kid was me this past weekend at the Farmers’ Market in Palos Verdes. If it looked tasty, I bought it. No restraint whatsoever. From Japanese eggplant to okra to heirloom tomatoes. And asatsuki, carrots, red serranos, beets, patty pan squash, spinach, garlic, Anaheim chiles, Thai basil, mitsuba…I had no plan, no recipe in mind. I was simply vegetable-crazy.
8-layer farmers’ market fantasy
curried fresh carrot juice sauce with blanched okra & mitsuba
grilled green & yellow patty pan squash
sautéed spinach with sesame, garlic, soy sauce
crispy polenta cake
fire-roasted anaheim chile
fresh goat cheese & asatsuki
cumin dusted grilled beet
spicy smoky heirloom tomato & thai basil
roasted japanese eggplant, maldon smoked sea salt flakes