Sunday, January 29, 2012

Homemade Taco Shells, Walnut Filling, and Shoes

I've always been under the impression that soft tacos are more traditional than the hard shell variety, which I have a feeling came about in this country as some sort of fast-foody invention. I've never been to Mexico though, so I don't really know what I'm talking about. However, I do know there are those of you who won't countenance a hard shell when it comes to tacos, and though I think that shows taste and distinction, personally, I can go either way.

I've never fancied buying those hard shells in the stores though...there's too much packaging so they won't break and they seem stale and unwholesome somehow. So, I came up with a way of making them at home. The title says homemade taco shells, which is a little misleading. I don't make the tortillas; I buy the Food for Life Organic Sprouted Corn Tortillas,  then make the shells by using an upside down muffin tin and baking them in the oven:

For best results, I  warm them up in a pan so they soften before folding them into the tin. I don't use oil or anything, I just throw them in a warm pan for a 30-40 seconds until they become soft and more pliable. Once they're in the tin, I bake them for about 8-10 minutes in a 375 F oven. If you check them periodically, you'll be able to tell when they've stiffened up enough. Sometimes, I brush them with a mixture of Bragg's Aminos and lime juice before hand, which makes them extra tasty. 

Onto the filling, which is the best part. To be honest, I rarely (like never) made tacos before I found the recipe for this filling.  I've posted about it before, but I'm posting about it again because it's just that good. (If you're interested, see this post for a better picture of the filling and a link to the original recipe.)

walnut taco filling; great for nachos too
The filling consists of raw walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes (I use dry ones reconstituted in some warm veggie broth until they're soft), a few black olives, ground cumin, nutritional yeast, a dash of hot sauce, black pepper, and a dash of sea salt. I used those old school kind of black know the ones you used to put on your finger tips at holiday parties...they're very mild tasting and not too salty. Any kind of olive you prefer would work great; if they're more salty, like say a kalamata, you'll want to taste the filling before adding more salt. Jalapeños would be nice addition too. EDIT not in original publication: I also add garlic! And just for mix everything in a food processor and that's it, you're done. :) It's also really good on nachos!!!

As you might imagine, this filling is enormously versatile; you can add spices and other ingredients of your choice in order  to tailor it to the desired flavor profile. I've used it for many different dishes from moussaka to lasagne, but it really makes tacos shine in my opinion.

In addition to the walnut filling, these particular tacos also had a layer of drunken black beans and garlic,  and were topped off with the usual suspects: tomato, spring onion, avocado, black olives, shredded carrots and daikon, etc. I took the pics before piling on the salsa and hot sauce...truly, mouthfuls of deliciousness.

Now for shoes! People often think that being vegan must be difficult, but I know all you vegans out there will agree, that food-wise at least, it's not difficult at all. In fact, it's a true joy that non-vegans are really missing out on. But when it come to shoes...that has always been the hardest part of the vegan lifestyle for me. I can never find any shoes that I like!

Everyone's tastes are different of course, and some might find loads of vegan shoes that suit their tastes, but I rarely see any that catch my fancy. I often peruse the vegan shoe sites, and there's even a vegan shoe shop near my house, but I'm always disappointed in the selection. Buying shoes has become an infrequent activity for me, except in the case of running shoes and sandals, which I think are easier to find then other dress and casual shoes.

So, I was truly excited when recently, I scored a pair that I really like:

They look cute with trousers and skirts, and while they may not be everyone's cup of tea, if you're short like me, you'll probably understand the appeal of wedges; they give you a good few inches of height. The trick is finding ones that are actually comfortable too. If they're well made, a pair of wedges can be very comfortable indeed. These particular ones don't fair too badly on that count; I can be on my feet in them for about 7 hours before my feet start to complain.

I found them on a teeny-bopper site called ModCloth, where you'll find lots of funky teen glamour stuff, but I mainly look at the shoes. In the "More Details" section of the product description, they tell you what all the shoes are made from, and many of them are from all man made materials. Most of their stuff is imported of course (read outsourced), which I don't like, but finding anything made here a chore in itself. Here's hoping that there's enough impetus to make that change in the coming years. 

Molly in a Cupboard
That's all I got for now. I do have several other meals that I feel like posting about, but I'm thinking of switching over to Wordpress, so not sure whether I'll post much more here or just post them on the new blog when I have it set up. It all depends on how lazy I end up being about doing the blog transition. It sounds like a heinous project--precisely the sort of thing that I personally loathe, but I find myself wanting to move away from Google services, so I'm looking into it with fairly serious intent.

Ciao for now! :D
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