Hi everyone! I have the most exciting news – I have finished my book!!! This blog has gone so long neglected because the past year of my life I have been working on Baconish, the past 6 months or so very intensely. Juggling 2 small kids, a part time job, and writing my first cookbook was no easy task. That’s a huge understatement, actually. 2015 was the most brutally exhausting year of my life. In addition to the kids, the part time job, and the cookbook, we also moved twice last year. Twice. I was so busy and so exhausted all year long, especially at the end of the year, I just didn’t know if I could finish. I was in the home stretch and I nearly wanted to give up. I turned 40 in November and I was so busy I didn’t even have a chance to acknowledge my milestone. I guess I’ll have to celebrate my 41st in a really big way.
But now I am settling into a new apartment and finished with my book, and I am so excited and proud that I did it, and anxious and nervous, all at the same time. I learned so many things (mostly what not to do) writing my first book, I should probably do a post at some point to share with any of you considering a similar endeavor. But after so many months of such intense recipe development, photography, and writing, I am looking forward to getting back to my blog and connecting with people again. And the timing is perfect to ease back into blogging with my favorite posts, the annual Oscar Noms!
Firstly, I’m starting with Mad Max: Fury Road because of all the nominated movies, this is the only one I have seen so far. We just watched it the other night and the the cinematography is really incredible. And I always love a badass Charlize Theron. But let’s be honest, the story line is really just people chasing each other across the desert, back and forth, and the aesthetic is 100% Burning Man. It was a fun watch, and it calls for some fun eats.
This Mexican Fiesta Casserole is basically a Mexican-style lasagna: layers of tortillas, salsa, vegan cheddar, and vegan “beef” crumbles sauteed with onion, garlic, seasonings, zucchini, corn, and black beans. It’s a very easy recipe to toss together and to eat with some sliced avocado and a cold cerveza. It’s homey, comforting, and spicy, all in one. Don’t forget to top each serving with a dollop of cooling vegan sour cream and a sprinkle of sliced scallions.
Mexican Fiesta Casserole
adapted from this recipe, serves 8
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 (11-oz) package vegan “beef” crumbles (Beyond Meat or Gardein brand recommended)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small zucchini, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. chile powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
several grinds fresh black pepper
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 1/2 cups jarred salsa
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 1/4 cups vegan Cheddar shreds (Daiya brand recommended)
1/4 cup sliced scallions (white and light green parts only), for serving
1/2 cup vegan sour cream, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and zucchini and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Add the vegan “beef” crumbles and cook until browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the chile powder, cumin, salt, pepper, water, and the corn. Simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes, then stir in the black beans.
3. Spread 1/2 cup of the salsa in the bottom of the baking dish. Lay 4 tortillas over the salsa, and spoon half of the “meat” and bean mixture on top. Cover with 1 cup of the salsa and 1/2 cup of the vegan cheddar shreds. Top with 4 more tortillas, then the remaining 1/2 of the “meat” and bean mixture, and then 1/2 cup salsa. Top with the remaining 4 tortillas, 1/2 cup salsa, and then sprinkle the remaining 3/4 cup vegan cheddar over the top.
4. Bake the casserole until the cheese is melted on top, about 25 minutes. Slice and serve, topped with scallions and sour cream.