Like many American families, we are a multicultural family. He’s from France, born and raised. I am a first generation American of Indian immigrants (often referred to an ABCD – an American born confused Desi with Desi being a term referring to people of the Indian subcontinent). We solidified our relationship in California, which in some respects seems like its own country (much like NYC, where I am from). This has introduced a blend of cultures that has found its way into my food. Just this past week, my husband was sworn in as an American citizen – well a dual American French citizen (yes he is dual AF) and I wanted to celebrate with a feast. I chose to center this feast around the Cali Mex cuisine with a twist. Lettuce taco bout plant based cuisine: lettuce wrap tacos with plant based taco meat. The meat was re-purposed into a collard wrap burrito. And there was was also a cashew based queso because chips and dip please.
I have the chemical symbol for capsaicin, the active ingredient for a chili pepper, tattooed on my arm because I think spice adds to life. Since moving to Cali, I have been noticing hatch peppers – a large spicy chili from New Mexico – at the beginning of fall. I was feeling the need for some spice to shake up my life. Rather than just add the flavor of the hatch to a dish, I decided to stuff them with a plant-based meat made of mushrooms, veggies, nuts and seeds and top it with a plant based “crema” made from cashews, lime, nutritional yeast and cilantro. The filling was robust, light yet rich and satisfying and the “crema” provided the perfect sauce with acid to cut through the richness. The hatch…well the hatch was spicy spicy spicy. Beware the hatch – the spice did not leave my fingertips for days even with multiple washings and milk soakings. If they are too spicy for you, stuff a jalapeno or a bell pepper. We tried them all and they were all equally amazing.
I came home to find chanterelle mushrooms in the fridge. Chanterelles! They are golden looking, golden tasting, and golden priced. Typically priced at about $12-$14 per pound, they are an expensive mushroom. Their taste is delicate, but goes well with eggs and with cream. Since we had them, they had to be used – so I placed them into a cream sauce made from cashews, along with swiss chard and asparagus and served it over or mixed with spaghetti squash. What a heavenly meal.
I’ve been wanting to incorporate more veggies into my breakfast without making yet another hash,omelette or sauteed veg side. I’ve been playing with more squash for breakfast – baking an egg on top and treating it like a baked potato but I really scored a hit with a bowl of spaghetti squash. I make it during the week and for brunch – egg whites with sauteed veg, spices and mixed with avocado and spaghetti squash. I especially like it topped with hot sauce…sriracha to be precise.
Saint Patricks’s day was earlier this week. To tell you the truth, I don’t know much about it other than it is an Irish tradition, you wear green and eat and drink a lot. So I put on a green skirt, cracked open a beer and made a classic Irish dish my way – a gluten-free, dairy-free, meatless, legume-free Shepherd’s pie with veggies, mashed cauliflower and shiitake bacon.