Monday, June 24, 2013

San Diego Inspired Mexican Fiesta! And it's Vegan!

I was spoiled with an abundant amount of authentic Mexican food on my California road trip last week.  If you look at this map, you can see just how close San Diego is to Mexico.

My favorite Mexican restaurant that we tried in California is called Pokez.  I didn't even realize it was a vegetarian restaurant before we went inside.  They also had a lot of vegan options. 

On my plate: fresh tortillas, picco de gallo, Mexican rice, guacamole, refried beans, and a Mexican cabbage salad.

This was the last day of our trip, so I was sun burnt and exhausted. But, can you believe the amount of food I was served for $5.25???  It was really enough for 3 people.  The food was so good, I decided we are either moving to California or I better figure out how to make this food at home!

We also found a Mexican supermarket, where we bought apple empanadas for 65 cents each.  They were amazingly delicious!  While we were there, I saw a tortilla press that I really wanted.  It was really heavy, and my husband insisted that we were NOT taking that on the plane. Hmph! That is why you see him in the next picture, pressing tortillas on our counter top by hand with a pot! (hehe)

We had family over for dinner last night and decided to have a Mexican fiesta!  We made everything from scratch, so I thought I'd share some recipes!  (Sorry I didn't think to take anymore pictures of the food, since we had company.)

Fresh Tortillas
Here are step-by-step instructions for making fresh corn tortillas.  I bought the "Maseca" brand masa, and it worked perfectly! And wow, look at the health benefits of fresh tortillas!

Refried Beans
1 pound dry pinto beans
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium jalapeño, diced small, seeds removed.
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
6 cups water (I used a vegan "chicken" bouillon instead.)
2 teaspoons salt

Rinse beans with cool water. Place in a slow cooker. Add onion, jalapeño, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and black pepper. Pour water over the top. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 8 hours. (The longer they cook, the easier they will be to mash.) After the beans are cooked, mash them with a potato masher.  I left mine slightly lumpy.  You could also use an immersion blender if you want them smooth. Add the salt, and mix well (you can add more to taste if you need to). Serve warm.

Your house will smell like a Mexican restaurant!

Picco de Gallo
I don't really have a recipe.  I just chopped up one large tomato, half a white onion, and half a jalapeno and mixed them together in a bowl with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Mexican Rice
Here's a link to the recipe.  We skipped the part about sauteing the rice and it was still perfect!

Mexican Cabbage Salad
I couldn't believe my taste buds when I tried this at Pokez!  This recipes is not quite the same as Pokez, but still delicious! You can serve it as a side dish, but I put it right on my tacos!
  • 10 oz. shredded cabbage
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • A sprinkle of dried cilantro.
  • 1 large jalapeno
  • Half a small red onion, very thinly sliced and chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Sea salt
Mix the first five ingredients together in a bowl, drizzle with some olive oil and lime juice.  Sprinkle with salt, and serve!

And the best part is, all of this is vegan!

Do you have any favorite authentic Mexican restaurants?  Or some authentic recipes you can share? Let me know in the comments below.  I really want to hear from you!

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Time for some leftovers!

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