Thursday, February 16, 2012

Burrito Night

It seems like I'm busier than ever these days. Aren't we all? I used to have more time to invent and experiment in the kitchen every day, but now... well not so much. But rather than beat myself up over coming up with something new for dinner every night, I've let it be okay to have a few favorites that we go back to often. The Big Three, I call them, and we always have the makings for one or more of them in the house. I can change them up with different vegetables, spices, or sauces, and they're all quick to make.

My Big Three? Vegetable Fried Rice, Miso Happy Soup, and Burritos. The veggie fried rice is great "plain," and can be zipped up with a nice peanut or teriyaki sauce. The miso soup is such a wonderful comfort food. It's the perfect thing for someone who has a cold, and makes a quick, easy lunch or dinner any day of the week. It can be brothy and soothing, or heartier with the addition of extra veggies and rice or quinoa. And burritos... well, I think they're a near perfect food.

The first time Rick made dinner for me, he made burritos, so I have kind of a romantic, sentimental view of this simple beans-and-tortillas feast. He is the Burrito Master around here, but now he lets me make them too. I think burritos are a great thing to eat when you're wishing for something gooey and cheesy. Refried beans and avocados are my favorite cheese substitutes, and then of course you can add your favorite vegan cheese if you want, like Daiya, which I think is the absolute best of the bunch.

Tonight I wanted something extra though, so I came up with a terrific Cheesy Chile Sauce to add to our basic burritos. This is by far the easiest cheese sauce I've made yet, and I love the spicy red chile kick. I think it would also be great on macaroni, and on any number of vegetable dishes. I'll be doing more with this zippy little sauce soon.

Cheesy Chile Sauce
1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 20 minutes
2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp sea salt
1 T olive oil
1-2 T red chile powder, to taste

Drain and rinse the soaked cashews, and place in a blender with the broth, nutritional yeast, and salt. Buzz it all up until smooth.

Heat olive oil to medium heat in a saucepan. Stir in chile powder and cook for 1-2 minutes. Pour in the blended cashew mixture, turn down the heat, stir well, and cook for 5 minutes or so.

flour tortillas (I like rice or Ezekiel)
canned refried beans - warmed and seasoned with cumin, chile powder, garlic powder, and onion powder.
chopped tomato
sliced avocado
salad mix of lettuce, carrots, and corn

To assemble:
Warm both sides of a tortilla in a large skillet over medium heat. Spoon some refried beans down the center of the tortilla. Top with salad mix, tomatoes, and avocado slices.

Fold the sides over each other and flip the burrito over. "Smother" the burrito in sauce, and serve extra salad along the sides.

These burritos are fast and easy, and so good you'll wish you had room for more than one.