A Taco Party Vegetarian-Style

When meat’s not your thing, you can pull together a rather tasty display of vegetarian fare without relying on soy nuggets or other aberrations of nature. You won’t even miss the carne. Okay, you might, but a shot of tequila might help you forget.

Here’s the lineup:
The Fillings:
Roasted anaheim chilies, cleaned and cut into workable pieces
Potatoes with sauteed onion, roasted anaheim and tomato
Sauteed shitake and field mushrooms with garlic and chipotle en adobo
Velvety black beans with epazote
The Condiments
Salsa fresca with tomatoes, onions, jalapenos and cilantro
Shredded cabbage
Pickled onions
Grated cheese
The Conditions
Any excuse
Some friends
Pickled onions are so dead easy. Slice them thin and cover loosely with fresh lime juice, salt and a bit of Mexican oregano. Stir occasionally and let sit a couple of hours. Do this one first.
Roast the chilies on a comal or cast iron flat top until evenly blistered. Let them sit in a bowl until cool – it’s not necessary to let them sweat in a plastic bag.
Peel and slit the chilies, removing the inner membrane and seeds. Slice into workable pieces.

Saute garlic in olive oil, add mushrooms, salt and 1/2 of a large chipotle en adobo, seeds removed and chopped.
Cook a couple of local potatoes, slice and saute with onion, one of the sliced roasted poblano peppers, 1/2 of a chopped tomato, and salt to taste. By golly, here you have the colours of the Mexican flag. Major points.
Whether you cook your black beans from scratch or use the canned variety, simmer them with some fresh epazote. It’s easy to grow, and es muy autentico. Once cooked, or heated and simmered, and cooled a bit, whip the beans up in a blender until velvety smooth.
As you might know, I’ve spent a lot of time in Oaxaca, Mexico and have grown accustomed to some of the flavours there. One of them is black bean paste. This delicious paste, made from heirloom organic beans, is often smoothed on a toasted tortilla (tostada) topped with anything from sliced avocado, tomato and string cheese, to more carnivorous designs.
Use the paste at home on tortillas that have been overcooked or on freshly made, or toast them with or without a bit of oil. You can use this paste as a spread like one would use butter or mayonnaise, and it makes a welcome addition to the taco party table.

Let’s get this party started. Salsa fresca is basic and easy to make, chopped onions, jalapenos or serranos (seeds removed if you can’t take the heat), cilantro leaves only chopped, salt to taste and chopped fine white onion ( optional).

Set up your fillings and condiments in small bowls, and start heating up tortillas.

Have friends gather round and make their own tacos, mixing and matching ingredients as they see fit.

Buen provecho!

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