Tequila Sunrise Fajitas

I like fajitas and I like tequila sunrises, so this recipe was inevitable.  They were my last call drink during college (my logic being that it is almost morning so why not have some OJ). My mom brought me back from sliver tequila from her trip to Mexico last month, and I have been wanting to make this delicious drink very badly. But, I began to think, why stop there? I heard of margartia-style tacos and such before, so why not try tequila-sunrise-style?

This post contains two side recipes in order to assemble the fajitas. This will make enough for 8 fajitas.


Tequila Sunrise Fajitas
Fajita Vegetables
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 small yellow onion, cut into strips
1 cup white mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp olive oil
1 oz sliver tequila
1/4 cup orange juice
Salt and pepper
Corn Salsa
2 ears of white corn
1 jalepeno, chopped finely
2 tsp fresh cilantro
1 tbs orange juice
1/2 tsp chili powder
Salt and pepper
Other Ingredients 
Guacamole (try one of my recipes)
Small tortillas (I used Trader Joe’s Corn and Wheat Tortillas)
Salsa of your choice

To make the fajita vegetables….

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix together well. Make sure to coat the veggies thoroughly.

Let this marinate for at least an hour.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the veggies.

Stir often and cook until the veggies soften and most of the liquid has been absorbed.

To make the corn salsa…

Remove the kernels from the cob. I do this by standing the ear up in a large bowl, and cutting the kernels off downward in to bow.

In a large bowl (like the one you just conveniently cut all the kernels in) add the remaining ingredients and mix together well.

Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

Now to assemble to fajitas…

Warm your tortillas (I usually place mine on a plate, cover with a damp paper towel and microwave for 30-60 seconds).

There is no “right way” to assemble them really, I did mine in this order but do them however you like.

Lay the warmed tortilla flat.

Add a small scoop of fajita veggies.

Add a small scoop of corn salsa.

A dollop of guacamole.

Top with some salsa.

Eat!

A tangy from the orange juice, with a little flavor kick from the tequila. I loved the contrast from the fresh and crisp corn salsa.  I must confess,  I did make Michael steak strips for this. I used the same marinade for the vegetables. He loved it. And, I did have a tequila sunrise with my dinner too.

Zombie Apocalypse Wheat Beer: Part 3

FRIDAY, JANUARY 25, 2013

Zombie Apocalypse Wheat Beer: Part 3

Finally! Last Saturday we tried our first batch of homebrew. If you haven’t yet, check out Part 1and Part 2 to read about the process of making it.

We cranked open a bottle to have with dinner. It is best to pour homebrews into a glass rather than drink out of the bottle. The yeast sediment settles to the bottom and can upset your stomach. Plus, you can enjoy the beer more out of glass. See the color and smell the aroma awhile you leisurely sip your tasty brew.
It smelled very banana-y like a hefeweizen should, so I was very happy. And, I was even happier when it tasted like a hefeweizen too! A little bit of spice, a little malty, and of course very banana-y. I was very pleased with the outcome. The only minor addition I would make a orange slice on top.
We have a batch of California IPA in the fermenter now, I hope it comes out as well as this one did. Once we start developing our own recipes or try a cool kit, I will post another homebrew story. Thanks Michael for my awesome Christmas present!

Zombie Apocalypse Wheat Beer: Part 1

Before I launch into the first part of my home brewing experience, you are probably wondering about the name we chose for our beer. Well over a year ago I was invited to attend the factious Zombie Apocalypse on Facebook, you know since the world is ending tomorrow. Then when Michael and I started dating, I noticed he was attending too! Since this could be our only sustenance while we fend off the zombies, it seemed fitting.
Home tiki bar one day? source
Awhile ago Michael and I discussed what we wanted to do with our back bonus room and the idea of putting a bar or a kegerator came up. That got me to thinking about brewing our own beer. So I asked Michael for a home brew kit for Christmas. He loved the idea and instantly started researching it.
It takes about a month to make beer, so  we got my present early. Michael found a wine and beer making store in Campbell called Fermentation Solution. We went last Monday and asked a bunch of questions. The guy who helped us (I don’t think we ever caught his name) was very friendly and super informative. He recommended the Starter Beer Making Kit and one of their Recipe Ingredient Kits.  We discussed it some more then I came back on Friday and bought it.
I was so excited! Then I read the instructions that came with the recipe kit and realized our first issue. The beer takes 7-12 days to ferment. We were leaving in a week to spend Christmas with my family. That meant we either started it right then and hoped it would be ready before we left, or wait until we got back to make it. When Michael got home I told him the issue and he said let’s just go for it. He is coming back few days before me so if it wasn’t ready in a week, he would bottle when he got back at the 12 day mark. So I followed the recipe instructions as best I could.
First,  I essentially made tea from grain. I put wheat malt and row malt  in a bag and steeped it in very warm water.
Grain bag, steeping in 164 degree water.
Then I realize our second issue. We had a 3 gallon pot of water to steep the grain, but we need another pot to serve as our brew kettle—and it needed to be at least 5 gallons. So we quickly ran to Target and bought another pot.
In our new pot, we brought 2.75 gallons of water to boil…which took FOREVER!
Bringing 2.75 gallons of water to boil while the grain steeps.
Then I added the “tea” to the pot and realized our third issue. The pot was completely full now and we still need to add 3 lbs of liquid wheat malt. Rather than pour off some of the liquid to make room and risk loosing the flavor, we decided to boil off about 1 inch of it instead. This once again took FOREVER.
Too full to add the liquid malt…hmm…

I finally added the liquid malt and brought the kettle back up to boil. Then I added the bag of hops and then let it boil away for an hour.

Our house was very humid and sugary smelling after all the boiling.
That is when Michael realized the fourth issue. We needed to add more cold water before it ferments. He bought 5 gallons of purified water, but we boiled off a gallon or more of it already. Luckily the kit comes with dechlorination tablets so we dechlorinated water from our fridge.
Then we removed the hops bag and siphoned the beer into the fermenter while trying not to get the trub (the layer of stuff on the bottom).
Never thought learning how to siphon water troughs back
in 4H would come in handy one day
Next we added enough the dechlorinated water to bring it up to 5.25 gallons. Then I rehydrated the yeast packet in warm water and added it to the fermenter.
5.25 gallon of sugary yeast water.
Then Michael put the lid on and stuck in the airlock.
Ready to ferment!
It should be kept in a cool (between 62 and 72 dergees) and dark place during fermentation, so Michael decided on the garage.
The instructions said it should start fermenting within 12-24 hours. I check it in the morning before I left for work and there were no bubbles in the airlock. But it had only been 12 hours at the point so I was not concerned. That night after dinner I check it again….still nothing. But there was a residue visible on the side of the fermenter as if something was happening so I still was not too concerned. The temperature in the garage was 60 degrees so I figured it was just taking longer because it was chilly.
On Tuesday, there was still nothing in the airlock and the temperate was 56 degrees in the garage. I was worried fermentation never started or stalled, so I had Michael bring it inside.
It warmed up to just barely 62 degrees in the living room by the next day, but I was still concerned. After some research online, I decided that it was probably okay since it smelled like yeast. But I wanted to open it just to be sure. There was a lovely yeast cake right on the top, just like all the photos I saw online. I just chalked it up to being slow because it was too cold in the garage. On the plus side, there is no way it will be ready soon so we do not have to frantically bottle it before we leave. It can probably wait until I come home now.
The next step will be bottling and waiting for it to carbonate. So Part 2 will follow soon.

Beer Floats

Michael and I have been dating for one month now, and for a girl whose been single for awhile I was very excited about it. So, I thought we should celebrate a little. He took me out to sushi (because he was one of the people involved in my sushi post story and we still laugh about it) and I made him a desert that is sure to please any man: beer floats. It’s just like a root beer float, but with beer! Get your favorite ice cream and pour in your favorite dark beer, it’s that simple. We kept them simple, but you can top with anything you like—whip cream, chocolate sauce, nuts, cherries & etc.

Michael had real dairy chocolate ice cream and Rogue’s Morimoto Hazelnut Signature Ale. I had So Delicious Coconut Milk ice cream and Rogue’s Chocolate Stout. I didn’t try Michael’s obviously, but mine was sooooooo good. I am so making these again soon.

I could post an exact recipe for this, but I am pretty sure you can figure it out 🙂

Bloody Sangria

My friend had a Halloween party last night and I wanted something fun to drink. I was searching for Halloween cocktails while watching Semi-Homeade Cooking with Sandra Lee. She made Sassy Sangria and decided to make a blood-red sangria. I didn’t originally plan posting this, but it was so delicious I felt the need to share.

Sangria is a wine-based punch that originated in Spain and Portugal. It consists of mixture of wine, brandy, seltzer/ginger ale, and fruit pieces. Brandy is not something I normally drink so I added a bit of tequila instead. Also, Walmart did not have ginger ale for some reason, so I used Sprite instead. I normally don’t drink soda at all, but once in a while it’s okay to have a bit extra sugar.


Bloody Sangria
1 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon
4 oz tequila
1 orange, sliced
2 limes, sliced
1/2 liter of Sprite

Pour the wine into a large pitcher.

Add the tequila.

Drop in to the orange and lime slices.

Chill in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight if you have the time.

Before serving, add the Spite.

If you want it “bloodier,” you can add some grenadine and some fake spider.

I hope you all have a happy and safe Halloween! Keep an eye on your keiki (Hawaiian for kid) and please don’t drink and drive. Also, please keep your pets indoors if possible. There are sick people who torment cats for fun or witchcraft.

I was one happy bunny. 

Beer Crust Hawaiian Pizza

After about a month of conflicting schedules, my friends Rick and Kyla finally made it over from Kona to come visit me. It was nice to seem them and nice to have someone to cook for for once.

Awhile ago I saw a recipe for a pizza beer pizza crust. I can’t remember where I found it, but it was called something like “lazy single guy pizza crust” and that is essentially what it is. Just dump a some beer into flour and there you go. I was curious and decided to give it a try. The recipe claimed it would rise a little bit after 10 minutes, but it lied. It was still good though. It tasted just like a normal dough recipe, yeasty favor and all. It was a a little denser and chewier, but no big deal if you like thick crust.  Overall I liked it and it was definitely easy to make. I used Long Board from Kona Brewing Company because it’s awesome and thought it would be nice to use something local.

I made one Hawaiian pizza, topped with fresh pineapple that Rick brought and vegan ham from Yves (the store was out of vegan Canadian bacon but it’s same thing really), and one veggie with my usual toppings so refer to my Veggie Pizza post for those.

Both were cheese-less but topped with hummus instead. And, I am finally including my hummus recipe in this post. And yeah, I know traditional hummus has tahini and other fancy stuff, but this basic recipe is still good and easy to make (how many people really keep tahini in the house on a regular basis, let alone a single college girl?) And, I used a store-bought sauce this time because I had some on hand.

Easy Hummus (makes enough for 2 pizzas plus extra):
2 cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs Ener-g Egg Replacer
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Pinch of salt and pepper
1/2-1 cup water, ass needed


Beer Pizza Crust (makes 2 pizzas):
4 cups all purpose flour
22 fl. oz. of bottle of beer
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs salt

Hawaiian Pizza:
1 beer crust, unbaked
3/4 cup hummus
1/2 cup tomato sauce
Vegan Canadian bacon (Try Yves), chopped
1/2 cup pineapple, chopped

For the hummus, throw everything into the blender and blend until smooth. I suggest adding the water in slowly as needed to help it come together so it doesn’t get too runny.

It may not be traditional, but tastes just as good to me.

The crust is just as easy. Pre-heat the oven to 500 degree Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, add the flour. Next add the oil and salt. Then pour in the beer slowly. Add a little bit at a time and mix well before adding more. Depending on climate, you may need more or less. I actually needed a little less then the whole bottle. It is ready when it’s slightly tacky but moist.

Since it doesn’t need to rise, it’s time to knead. Sprinkle some flour on a clean surface and knead gently. Don’t over work it, just till it’s smooth and workable. Roll the dough into the shape of pizza pan. Transfer to your pan and shape to fit. If it tears, just mold it back together.

Time to top. Spread the hummus on in an even thick layer.

Spread the tomato sauce on top.

Then finally top it with the Canadian bacon and pineapple.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the crust is all golden and crunchy.

It was so nice to share lovely vegan food with lovely friends! Thanks for coming guys!

Feliz Cinco de Mayo: Tostadas and Margaritas!

 

On May 5, 1862 the Mexican Army had a surprise victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla during their occupation after the Mexican-American War. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day like most Americans think. The holiday has minor significance in Mexico, mainly celebrated in the state of Puebla. It was first celebrated in the United States by Mexican immigrants in southern California as a way to celebrate their heritage.

The holiday is mostly celebrated by Americans because it’s an excuse to party during the week. I can hear the phrase “Cinco de Drinko” echoing all over college campuses now. The victory actually had great significance for America as well. France had been giving supplies to the Confederacy at the start of the Civil War. The loss stopped France from continuing aide to the South, who already was being crippled by lack of goods and supplies.  So, might as well toast to Mexico for helping end slavery if you going to get totally wasted on Thursday.

Sadly, this college kid has very tough finals all next week and will be shutting herself up in the library studying for the week, so I will not be partaking in the festivities tomorrow. But today was the last day of class, so I thought I’d throw my self a little fiesta to celebrate surviving my first year in Hawaii.

As a West Coast girl, I grew up eating killer Mexican Food. I loved going to my Mexican friends’ houses, nothing like a homemade tortilla. And there is no shortage of awesome Mexican restaurants. Two of my favorites in the Portland area are Maztalan and Lupe’s Escape. And if you are in Eugene, you have to try Daniel’s or The Mission, spent some good May 5th’s in those places as an undergrad at University of Oregon. As for Hilo, there is only one Mexican place, Ruben’s. It’s good, but nothing special to be honest.

Mexican is my second favorite cuisine after Thai, so I had a hard time deciding what dish I wanted to make. After probably more thought than necessary, I decided on tostadas because I had not had one in awhile. This also works out well because they are gluten free and May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month. But, I knew there would be margaritas. I love tequila, and there is nothing like a sweet and tangy margarita to refresh you after a long day. I will forever think of my friend Joely every time I have one. During my senior year at U of O, she and I would often go share a pitcher (or two) at The Mission and gossip for hours. I miss you terribly girl, please come visit me soon!

This recipe should feed 4 people, 2 tostadas each.

Pinto Bean Tostadas
2 cans pinto beans, drained
4 cloves garlic
1 cup water
1 tbs chili powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
Salt to taste
1 large red bell pepper
1 large green bell pepper
1/2 medium white onion
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 Anaheim pepper
8 Corn tortillas
Salsa
Vegan sour cream

Margaritas
Sweet and Sour Mix
Gold Tequila
Salt
Fresh lime
Ice

The smoked paprika makes all the difference.

Drain and rinse the pinto beans. I picked pinto because it is very common in Mexican cooking and I like the mild flavor. Mince the garlic cloves, and add along with the pinto beans to a sauce pan. Add the water, chili powder, smoked paprika and salt. I really suggest you used smoked paprika, it can be found in most stores and really gives the beans a great flavor.

Similar to refried, but way less fat and sodium.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Coook until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

All organic, of course.

While the beans cook, cut the bell peppers and onions into thin strips. I picked red and green for the colors of the Mexican flag.

 

Love the smell of cooked bell peppers.

Spray a skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the veggies to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the onions are slightly golden and the peppers start to blacken a bit.

 

All organic corn tortilla.

Remove the peppers from the skillet and cover to keep warm. Spray the skillet again with cooking spray and keep it on medium heat. Depending on the size of the skillet, put 1 to 2 tortillas in at a time and heat until they crisp up and start to blacken slightly. Watch carefully, they tend to burn quickly.

 

I leave a few seeds because I like it hot.

Lastly, chop up the Anaheim peppers. You can use any hot pepper you like. I strongly suggest doing this last so you don’t contaminate everything and make your food insanely hot. Cut the pepper down the middle. If you want less heat, clean out the membrane and seeds with a spoon. Chop into small pieces. WASH YOUR HANDS afterward, the juice will soak into your fingers and can get into your eyes.

 

Green, white, and red like the Mexican flag.

Now time to assemble. Plate one crisped tortilla and evenly spread about 1 to 2 tbs of beans on top. Next put on about 1/4 cup of veggies.

Tofutti sour cream is so good.

Then top with as much fresh salsa and sour cream as you like. Then sprinkle on some of the Anaheim peppers and squirt some lime juice for kick. A little cilantro is wonderful too.

 

Both on sale, score.

Now, for the margaritas.  I like mine on the rocks instead of blended. I am not the best bartender so I used sweet and sour mix. I don’t like triple sec  and I don’t notice a different without it, so I don’t use it.

 

The salt is red because it’s Hawaiian sea salt, tainted from algae

I used a regular drinking glass since I used my margarita glasses for my Chocolate Chili Mousse yesterday. Wet the rim of your glass with lime juice. Pour some salt on a plate and roll the rim in the salt.

 

Here’s to the end of my first year as a geology undergrad!

Add a handful of ice cubes to the glass. The best ratio is 3 parts mix to 1 part tequila. Pour the liquids over the ice and stir gently. Squirt in a little lime juice and garnish with a wedge.

Yeah for Mexico’s victory over France that prevented aide to the Confederacy! Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

I am one happy gringa.

Here Comes Summer: Brats, Fries and Coleslaw

The semester is almost over, which means soon it will be summer. I am staying for summer classes so I will miss the lovely summer back home in Oregon.  So I decided to bring a little of an Oregon summer to me with a Tofurkey brat, sweet potato fries and an light coleslaw.

Tofurkey is made by the Hood River, Oregon-based company Turtle Island Foods Inc, —and one of the best vegan brands out there. Not only is their name-sake product, Tofurkey amazing (even my carnivorous dad and brother look forward to some every Thanksgiving), they also make delicious brats and sausages too. Their Beer Brats are my favorite. They make me think of home because they are made with Full Sail Ale (another fine Oregon product). The texture and taste are perfect, and they are even juicy and sizzle on the grill. I put mine in a whole wheat bun, and topped it with ketchup and mustard. Doesn’t get much more summer-y than a big juicy brat. And you will live to enjoy more summers since this brat has zero cholesterol.

Sweet potatoes are not only sweet, but super as well. They are a superfood, which means they have a lot of vital vitamins and minerals. Sweet potatoes are packed with fiber, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties. I love them in curries and stews, but they make great fries. I have always liked them better than regular fries, especially when seasoned with herbs. They are easy to make, but I had a few Alexia Sweet Potato Julienne Fries in the freezer that needed to be eaten.

I had some cabbage and apple that needed to be eaten as well, so I made a simple light coleslaw. I hated coleslaw as a kid because they were the traditional “more-mayo-than-anything-else” style. I like mayonnaise, just in moderation. Veganaise is hands down the best mayonnaise ever, vegan or otherwise. Please try it, it’s soooooo creamy. I sadly don’t have any Veganaise so I used Annie’s Goddess Dressing. I also suggest adding raisins, nuts, and carrots to the coleslaw for some sweetness and crunch.

Not only is this meal delicious and healthy, it is also easy. The only hard part is waiting for the coleslaw to chill. This is proof that healthy food can be fast food.

Here Comes Summer Dinner:
Light Coleslaw:
2 cups cabbage, shredded (any kind is fine, I used Chinese)
1 large red apple, chopped (I used golden delicious)
1/2 to 1 cup, depending on taste, Annie’s Goddess Dressing
1 tbs sesame seeds
1/2 tbs mirin
salt and pepper to taste

Brats and Fries:
Frozen Sweet Potato Fries
Garlic salt
Tofurkey Beer Brats
Whole wheat hoagie rolls (the brats are too big for a simple hot dog bun)
Plenty of ketchup, mustard or other condiments

Sweet, crispy, and a little tangy.

To make the coleslaw, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix until the cabbage is thoroughly coated. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. I made mine the night before. Makes about 4 servings.

 Actual serving size. Don’t let your eyes fool you, it was plenty.

Cook your fries according to the directions on the package. Or, you can always make your own. To cut down on fat, use cooking spray instead of oil to grease your cooking tray. Sprinkle with garlic salt for a nice contrasting flavor to the sweetness.

I fed one of these to an ex once and he had no idea it was tofu.

I microwaved my brat for one minute, but they do come out better on the grill. See the package for proper cooking instructions.

Pop the brat into the bun and top with as much ketchup, mustard or any other condiments you like.

Plate up your brat, a serving of fries, and generous scoop of slaw and enjoy a little taste of summer (and Oregon!)

Glass of Reed’s Cherry Ginger Brew and Animal House
to re-live my UO days, can’t believe it’s almost been a
year since I graduated!

After I left the store, I realized this would have been a perfect Oregon summer dinner if I made a marion berry pie for dessert, but I didn’t feel like going back to the store. I will make it for another post soon.