this epic tome is all you need for a fresh start of taco vitality in the new year.
This time of year, many people are busy making New Year's Resolutions. So many resolutions are heavy with shame and remorse... what a burden to begin the new year with all of that in your heart!
Instead, may I suggest a few taco-oriented resolutions for you:
~ Embrace the energizing powers that tacos can bring to your life!
~ Commit to eating more tacos in 2016 than you ate in 2015,
and experience dynamic improvement in your life!
~ Challenge yourself to feel the taco crystals sparkling in your life!
The taco holds the answers that you seek
Once you have seen the truth and the light, you are obligated to spread the word far and wide across the land. Friends, I have eaten from the glory of the taco, I have experienced the rush of energy and flavor and healing powers of a taco-rich diet, and I am here to preach!
This life-changing book was written by an advanced team of vegan taco scientists who have each done years (even lifetimes!) of taco research. The Taco Cleanse represents the culmination of all their knowledge - into a book full of taco guidance and recipes that will maximize joy-bringing and life-enhancing taco potential!
In fact! I am very honored to have made a contribution to this esteemed tome! My friends the taco scientists know an awful lot about taco science, but they asked for my input in the realm of taco yoga!! Yes, you read right! There is a whole section of taco yoga poses, taco salutations, and even taco mudras complete with colorful little stick figures by yours truly - so that you may more fully incorporate your mind-body into your taco cleanse, and invite the transformation to occur!
Colors! Textures galore! Aura-cleansing wave emissions! Chakra-balancing flavors!
As you probably know, I am from California, and out here we eat a lot more burritos than tacos. I didn't really experience the magnificence of taco culture until I went to Austin for VidaVeganConIII earlier this year. So, even though I came home from Austin with a new appreciation for the live-giving properties of tacos, I didn't really know where to start. I love that this book has so many recipes -- for tortillas, for protein-y fillings, for sides and toppings, for classic and nouveau fillings, breakfast dinner and dessert tacos, and even for drinks!
The first thing I did was tackle a whole bunch of sides or extra taco toppings so that our tacos could be extra fun and varied. They were all quick and easy to assemble, and added so much extra flavor and zip to our taco feasts.
These Radiant Rajas were so good! This dish is made with fresh poblano peppers that are roasted and charred, then peeled and sauteed with onions and garlic and seasoning. Such a nice contribution to the whole: they definitely packed some heat, but also lots of flavor.
Bright Light Baja Slaw
This recipe comes together in a snap, but is super delicious... with an unexpected use of orange juice in the marinade. I always like to have some slaw on hand when I am engaged in taco activity. I love the fresh, crispy crunch that the cabbage gives to the overall experience. I have already made this at least 4 times, and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon.
my yoga buddy
Top Left: Cilantro-Avocado Tranquility Sauce
Bottom Left: Regenerative Red Onions
Right: Deeply Roasted Chipotle Butternut Squash
Cilantro-Avocado Tranquility Sauce is absolutely amazing. I think I've made at least 3 batches so far. I possibly like it more than guacamole (blasphemy?). It's so quick and easy and tangy and tasty, and a perfect cooling agent when there are some spicy, heat-giving components to your taco! You gotta have balance, after all.
Regenerative Red Onions: Another super quick, super easy mini-dish that adds so much to your taco! These red onions turn a beautiful, bright pink color that will lift your spirits -- and they have a bright, crispy tangy bite that will also lift the spiritual potential of your taco. Win-win!
Deeply Roasted Chipotle Butternut Squash: Oh gee. This dish is really wonderful, and is so nice in a taco with some refries and some of that avocado sauce... in addition to the cubed squash, it has chickpeas and walnuts and chipotles in adobo sauce... and the whole scene is roasted to enhance its flavor and to elevate its healing capacity. This stuff was Mr. VE&T's favorite, and I will have to make it again next time, because it is really top-notch!
Left: Quick Frijoles Charros
Right: Mighty Migas
Quick Frijoles Charros: The first day I cooked from this book, my energy was still depleted from a lifetime of low taco levels. So, I needed to address the situation with some urgency, and selected this quick bean recipe for its quickness alone. Fortunately, it is indeed quick, but the beans are also exceptionally delicious, so they immediately started to restore my taco levels and gave me the energy I needed to make proper refries the following weekend.
Mighty Migas: This was one of my favorite dishes from the book so far! I could just eat this excellent tofu scramble over and over and over and over. It's got lots of nooch, tomatoes, spicy spices, and even has crumbled tortilla chips in it. The recipe calls for optional vegan cheese, and I happened to have some of the Chili Cayenne Chao Cheese (from Field Roast) in my fridge. I chopped up a slice and it was a great addition! I already have a little baggie of chips waiting on my counter for my next batch.
tacos in my heart
tacos on my mind
tacos in my aura
Taco Bonanza Number One!
Look at my homemade tortillas! They are so good and so easy. I don't have a tortilla press, but this book taught me how to use the bottom of a pot instead. I think this is only the second time I had ever made homemade corn tortillas, and now I've already made them 3-4 times since getting this book.
Mr. VeganEats&Treats figured out how to stand on the doggie stairs
(for Snoopy to get up and down from the sofa)
for maximum downward pressure and superior tortilla results!
Everything on all those tacos took me less than 2 hours to prepare, and lasted for at least 3 meals for the two of us. We've had tacos for dinner and for dinner and for dinner. SO worth it. Plus, with all those fillings and all those condiments, it didn't seem like leftovers at all - each and every taco was a new combo and a new experience.
When you order a burrito, it's a serious commitment. One of the things I enjoyed about all the tacos I ate in Austin was that I could order three different tacos and have so many different tastes and experiences in one meal! So it was a really fun to recreate that by cooking such a variety of items, and then eat three (or four!) totally different tacos per sitting.
Top Left: Veracruz Giant Lima Beans
Top Middle: Optimal Coconut-Roasted Delicata Squash
Top Right: Soy Curl Fajitas
Optimal Coconut-Roasted Delicata Squash: this recipe called for an acorn squash, but I haven't seen any acorn squashes at our farmers market yet this year, so I used a delicata squash. These roasty chunks of squash, were so simple and easy, and added a lot to our tacos!
Soy Curl Fajitas: Yes Yes Yes! I had a bag of Soy Curls languishing in my fridge from my last trip to Portland* and I was happy to put them to use. This recipe was 5-star fantastic. Mr. VE&T was totally flippin' for it. Somehow it came together super quickly and was just absolutely great. My new favorite fajitas recipe, in fact I've already made it twice. The first time I made it (pictured), I didn't have the aji amarillo the recipe called for -- so I followed the book's suggestion and used a chopped jalepeno instead. But, then I went on Amazon and ordered myself some of that aji amarillo paste for myself, which I used in the second batch. That biz is super beautiful, and super spuh-icy!
* great news, local readers! You can now buy Soy Curls at Staff of Life in Santa Cruz
Left: Wake and Shake Tofu Scramble
Right: Affirmation Cumin-Onion Rice
Wake and Shake Tofu Scramble: when all us vegans took over Austin for the VidaVeganCon, everyone had to go to the Bouldin Creek Cafe at least once to try their famous tofu scramble. This is really similar, and it is literally covered in nutritional yeast. So Much Nooch. The tofu bits are tossed in a big bag of nooch and spices, and then baked -- which gives them an excellent chew and bite. So good! Next time I will probably cube the tofus. I know this is offensive to some die-hard tofu-crumblers, but I was distraught about the little bits of tofu that I couldn't rescue from the bag of seasoned nooch, and I need to prevent that from happening again. I hope you'll understand.
Affirmation Cumin-Onion Rice: this is a good, solid, lightly-seasoned rice recipe that went well with so many stronger flavors. Easy and definitely a big step up from plain ol' rice, which is my usual.
learning the ways of the taco from the master
Taco Bonanza Number Two!
Every taco has its own unique magical powers!
Top Left (in repurposed Heidi Ho jar): Spirited Salsa Inglesa
Left: Gallo Pinto (Costa Rican Rice and Beans)
Bottom Center: Ion-Charged Refried Beans
Bottom Right: Enlightened Soy Curls Al Pastor
(note: I prefer soft corn tortillas, but Mr. VE&T prefers the crunchies!)
Spirited Salsa Inglesa -- the book says that sauce is a Costa Rican sauce a lot like Worcestershire sauce. I'd never heard of it, but I really like it! It's tart and vinegary, but also a little sweet, and full of seasonings. It's really, really good with the Gallo Pinto too!
Gallo Pinto is a great black beans and rice and onions and yummy spices mix. It's kinda like everything you need in one pot! I've actually made this twice already. Once I cooked the black beans and rice from scratch (very good), and once I short-cutted that biz and used a can of black beans and some leftover rice in the fridge (also very good!). I love a quick and dirty shortcut that works out great. More time and energy for taco yoga!
(not pictured: fried plantains!) - the next morning I made some of the fried plantains and compiled some Tropical Breakfast Tacos to keep my taco levels high! These excellent morning tacos had gallo pinto, plantains, avo sauce, and fresh cilantro. What a great start to the day!
Ion-Charged Refried Beans: I have a confession. Making these refries was the first time I've ever made homemade refried beans. I usually just buy the kind in the can!! So this was an exciting adventure with magical results! I did something kinda wrong and accidentally soaked the beans overnight, but that was okay because it meant I only had to pre-boil them for one hour instead of two. I also reduced the oil by a whole lot, because that's just the way I am. I think I used 1 Tbsp. But OMG! These were so good. In all, I cooked them for about 2 1/2 hours. They were so smooth and flavorful and fantastic. Mr.VE&T pretty much fell in love with these and only wanted these beans on every taco he ate. Luckily it made a huge batch, so we had refries for days! It took time, but almost no effort, especially while I was fiddling in the kitchen with other things. I'll definitely make these again!
Enlightened Soy Curls Al Pastor. All gone in one sitting. Just like that, looks like I need to go buy more Soy Curls after months of not knowing what to do with them. This recipe was fun because it involved flavors and ingredients that I almost never use: dried chilies that were roasted and then ground, diced pineapple (!!), plus my fave chipotles in adobo sauce. So delicious, rich and complex and totally new-to-me flavors! *special note: Both of these soy curl recipes have converted Mr VE&T to a total Soy Curls fan, and I am so grateful!
Taco Bonanza Number 3!
tacos when the sun comes up!
resting with my taco pal.
deep inner peace comes from increased taco exposure
deep inner peace comes from increased taco exposure
Seitan White Bean Guisada
(I followed the suggestion to use white beans in place of seitan,
definitely good for a quick, last-minute addition to the taco table)
White beans and peppers and onions cooked in a delicate gravy.
What do you do when one of your besties proposes a family dinner date two days before Christmas? You make a ton of taco fixin's! In fact, I already had lots of taco components on hand from two nights in a row of taco cleansing, so it was no hardship to whip up just a little extra taco magic: a quick batch of Soy Curl Fajitas, a batch of tortillas (now I am like a pro or something), and this Comforting Seitan Guisada. I loved this dish! It's mild, but still flavorful, and a nice balance to some of the stronger and spicier flavors in play. In the end, we had so much fun together and we all ate so many tacos. I mean, like I said... once you've had a taco awakening, it becomes a moral imperative to share the glory. It would have been wrong for me to prepare anything else for my friends.
~ TACO CLEANSE GIVEAWAY! ~
Are you ready to invite the spirit-awakening powers of tacos into your life?
Do you need to address the taco-deficiencies in your diet?
If so, you are in luck: I have been granted permission to offer a copy of this life-changing book to one lucky (dare I say, blessed?) reader. (US & Canada only. Alas, you other kind souls are left to fend for your taco needs all on your own. You can do it! )
To enter, just leave a comment here with some taco news, or a shame-free new year's resolution, or something you accomplished in 2015, or a favorite taco memory! I'll pick a winner in one week! <3 nbsp="" p="">