ALMOND MILK

Soak 1 c RAW ALMONDS overnight (or up to two nights for creamier milk). Drain and rinse. Add 2 c WATER. Blend until smooth. Drain and squeeze through a cheesecloth. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.

OATMEAL MILK

Wash and squeeze 1 c OATMEAL 5 times. Blend oatmeal about 1 min in 1 LITER OF WATER with a PINCH OF SALT and 1 T SUGAR. Strain the mixture up to 4 times, returning the leftovers to the blender with more water and rinsing the strainer each time.

CASHEW SOUR CREAM

Soak 1/2 c raw cashews for an hour, rinse and drain. Combine with 1/3 c water, 1/2 t lemon juice, 1/2 t apple cider vinegar, 3/4 t nutritional yeast, 1/4 t salt in blender until smooth.

CHICKPEA (GARBANZO) CHEESE

Soak 1 1/2 c DRIED CHICKPEAS for 8 hours, drain and rinse. Blend until smooth with 1 CLOVE GARLIC, 1 t SALT, 2 T NUTRITIONAL YEAST, 1 T APPLE CIDER VINEGAR, 1 T OLIVE OIL, 1 1/2 – 2 c WATER. Cook over medium heat until thick. Pour into mold immediately and cool. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

SOME THOUGHTS ON GOING PLANT-BASED AND A RECIPE FOR VEGAN BARBECUE SAUCE

After much thought, some serious reading, and a few gross-out videos, I have decided to limit all animal-based products in my food intake. Vegan is not synonymous with tasteless. If you enjoy pizza, barbecue, curry, salsa, or any of the many flavors that distinguish different international dishes, they can be made without animal products and served over potatoes, cauliflower, portobello or other mushrooms, or just about anything you can think of.

Here is a recipe for vegan barbecue sauce. If you are a purist, look for organic ketchup, low sodium soy sauce, and vegan Worcestershire sauce.

Whisk together 1 c KETCHUP, 1 T MOLASSES, 1/8 c BROWN SUGAR, 1/8 c APPLE CIDER VINEGAR, 1 T SOY SAUCE, 1 T WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE, 1 t SRIRACHA OR OTHER HOT SAUCE. Makes about 1 1/2 c. Double or triple as needed. Spoon over baked beans, tofu, portobello mushrooms, mashed potatoes, vegan meat substitutes.


There is overwhelming evidence that human beings are designed to be herbivores. Some experts say we are frugivores–fruit eaters. Our ability to adapt to environments that are less than suitable for our species has given us great advantages over other creatures, but there has been a price in health and longevity for that adaptability.

Some people go vegan fanatically, but I favor gentle transitions and a light touch. A Whataburger Junior once or twice a year will not kill me, but a daily diet of Whataburger ingredients will be a serious obstacle to more years of life and the health and energy to enjoy them.

Many plant foods are delicious with little or no enhancement. Ripe pineapples, bananas, mangos, guavas, peaches, pears, apples, watermelons, cantaloupes, and many other fruits call for minimum preparation and no other ingredients. The same is true for nuts and seeds like pecans, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, cashews. Ripe avocados and tomatoes need a little salt for my taste but nothing more. I like my strawberries with a little extra sweetness, but ripe bananas and strawberries mixed together are delicious with nothing added.

The “balanced meal” of meat, starch such as potatoes, rice, or pasta, green or other brightly-colored vegetable like green beans or carrots, a leafy salad, bread, and a beverage is firmly embedded in my mind because that’s what I learned as a child, but it is not the healthiest way to eat.

CHILES RELLENOS

Chiles rellenos are versatile and delicious. I prefer them with cheese, but you can stuff them with ground beef or just about anything that suits you!

  1. MAKE THE SAUCE AND SET IT ASIDE: In the blender, mix thoroughly 1 kg TOMATOES, 1/2 SMALL ONION, 2 GARLIC CLOVES, 3 c CHICKEN BROTH and 1 t SALT. Cook over medium heat until it thickens, about 10 minutes.
  2. PREPARE: Wash 6 POBLANO CHILES and dry them well, then roast them on both sides for a minute or two. You can place them directly on the flame or use a griddle or non-stick dry skillet. Wrap them in a damp dishtowel or put them in a plastic bag for about half an hour until the skin loosens. When they are cool, peel them, remove the stem and set it aside, and using a small, sharp knife remove the veins and the seeds from the inside.
  3. STUFF: Grate 1 LB OAXACA CHEESE and divide into 6 portions (mozzarella will work if you don’t have Oaxaca cheese). Stuff the cheese into the chiles .You can use more cheese if you want to.
  4. BREAD AND FRY: Beat the whites of 5 EGGS until they are almost stiff, then fold in the slightly beaten yolks. Secure the stuffed chiles well with toothpicks, then dip them first in the egg mixture, then in a small amount of FLOUR and fry them in 1 c OIL, remove and drain on paper towels.
  5. SERVE the chiles with the tomato sauce

COMIDA CASERA

LA MAGIA DEL PAN

Cinco ingredientes sencillos—harina de trigo, levadura, sal, azucar, y agua. Con manos fuertes, un poco de paciencia, y algo de calor, su vida se llena de una aroma mágico y maravilloso. A continuación, unas recetas para hacer cantidades pequeñas de pan para deleitarse, hechos a mano–una barra o panecillos suficientes para una familia chica. Es una manera perfecta para revivir una tradición de los antepasados en una tarde de pereza y lluvia.

Experiment con la técnica y el tiempo de amasar, la cantidad de harina, y la manera de formar la masa hasta obtener el resultado deseado. Si quiere hacer cantidades mayores, puede doblar o triplicar las cantidades.

PAN BÁSICO:

Mezcla 1 cda (O 1 PAQUETE) DE LEVADURA SECA con 1 cdta AGUA TIBIA y 1 cda AZUCAR. Deje reposar de 10-15 minutos hasta que se formen burbujas en el superficie. Agrega 1 cdta DE SAL y aproximadamente 2 T DE HARINA, suficiente para hacer una masa pegajosa. Amasa hasta que esté lisa y flexible. Cubre y deja reposar hasta doblarse, aproximadamente 1 hora. Desinfle con el puno, amasa ligeramente, y haga la forma deseada–barra, bolillos, panccillos. Cubre y deja reposar de nuevo hasta doblarse, aproximadamente 30 minutos. Horneé 30 minutos a 175 grados C, hasta que se dore.

PAN BLANCO TRADICIONAL:

Agregue 1 cda ACEITE or 1 cda MANTEQUILLA SUAVE y 1 cda AZUCAR antes de agregar la harina.

PANECILLOS:

Agregue 2 cda MANTEQUILLA SUAVE y 2 cda AZUCAR a los ingredientes de Pan Basico.

PAN CON HIERBAS ITALIANAS:

Agregue 1 cda ACEITE DE OLIVA y 1/3 cdta cada una de albahaca seca, oregano seco, polvo de ajo y sal de ajo, mas 2 cdas QUESO ROMANO RALLADO

HOME COOKING

THE MAGIC OF BREAD

Five simple ingredients—flour, yeast, salt, sugar, and water. With strong hands, a little patience, and some heat, your life is full of a wonderful, magical aroma for awhile. Here are a few basic recipes for small quantities of yeasty delights made from scratch and by hand–one loaf or enough rolls for a small family. It’s a perfect way to revive an ancient tradition on a lazy, rainy afternoon.

Experiment with kneading time and technique, amount of flour, and shaping until it turns out like you want it. If you want a bigger batch, you can double or triple the amounts.

BASIC BREAD:

Mix 1 T (OR 1 PACKAGE) DRY YEAST with 1 c LUKEWARM WATER and 1 T SUGAR. Let it set for 10-15 minutes until bubbles form all over the surface. Add 1 t salt and approximately 2 c flour, enough to make a sticky dough. Knead until smooth and elastic. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size, about 1 hour. Punch down and shape into loaf, baguette or rolls. Cover and let rise again until double, about 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees F until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

TRADITIONAL WHITE BREAD:

Add 1 T OIL or 1 T SOFTENED BUTTER and 1 T SUGAR before adding the flour.

ROLLS:

Add 2 T SOFTENED BUTTER and 2 T SUGAR to Basic Bread recipe.

ITALIAN HERB BREAD:

Add 1 T OLIVE OIL and 1/3 t each of DRIED BASIL, DRIED OREGANO, GARLIC POWDER, and GARLIC SALT, plus 2 T GRATED ROMANO CHEESE.

COOKOFF CHAMPION CHILI

This chili recipe is adapted from traditional birria, popular in the state of Jalisco and the city of Guadalajara. Birria is usually made with goat meat, but I used ground beef in this one. This chili won first prize in a chili cook-off at Bells High School in Bells, Texas, where I taught Spanish for ten years.

  1. (REMOVE seeds and stems from the chiles and chop them coarsely.)
  2. SAUTÉ 1 GARLIC CLOVE, 1/4 MEDIUM SLICED ONION, 50 g (1.76 oz) PASILLA* CHILE, 25 g (0.88 oz) ANCHO* CHILE in 1 1/2 T OIL
  3. ADD 1 c WATER, 2 cubes MAGGI TOMATO BOUILLION, and 1 1/2 t CUMIN
  4. BRING mixture to a boil, then cool and process in blender
  5. STRAIN and return the strained mixture to heat
  6. ADD 1/4 c WATER and 1 cube MAGGI TOMATO BOUILLION
  7. STIR IN 3 1/2 lbs GROUND BEEF
  8. COOK over medium heat until the meat is done
  9. SERVE with LIME JUICE, OREGANO, and CHOPPED ONION on top.

*Chiles have different names, depending on whether they are fresh or dried. On the left, the fresh version. On the right, what it’s called after it’s dried. If you are cooking outside of Mexico, this guide will help if the names are different. You can see what they look like.

Biscuits and Pancakes

You don’t need to spend money on packaged biscuit and pancake mixes. This homemade mix is easy and works just as well as the store-bought product. If you don’t have powdered milk, you can leave it out of the mix and add milk instead of water when you make the biscuits or pancakes.


The Mix

Whisk together 2 c FLOUR, 1 T BAKING POWDER, 1/2 t SALT, and 1/2 c POWDERED MILK. Store in a closed container in a cool dry place.


Biscuits

Add 1/3 c OIL to 2 c MIX and enough WATER to make a soft dough. Knead gently for about 10 strokes. Use extra flour to avoid sticking. Form into balls and flatten to biscuit shape. Bake at 400º F for 10-12 minutes.


Pancakes

Mix together 2 c MIX, 1/3 c OIL, 1 EGG, and enough WATER to make a runny batter. Heat the skillet or griddle until a drop of water bounces off. Pour enough batter to make the size pancake you want. When it is dry around the edges and has bubbles all over the top, flip it over and finish cooking.

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