Sunday, February 13, 2011

meatless with mushrooms

This week was a pretty good week for animals.  We had several vegetarian meals, which were all very yummy.  This meal will be my first official "Meatless Monday" link for the Midnight Maniac blog (whose author I was delighted to discover is a fellow Wisconsinite!).  Our vegetarian attempts have recently become even more appealing, as our trip to Japan helped Matt and I both get over our mushroom "issues" once and for all.  Their earthy, meaty qualities were perfect for these flavorful meatless tacos.

I was able to whip this up fairly quickly since I had roasted and peeled the hot peppers earlier in the week to make our own rendition of this decidedly meat-ful torta (I'll leave description for another post).  I am about ready to start roasting up a huge batch of peppers--poblano, red, yellow, orange, and otherwise hot--on the weekends to have on hand all week for sandwiches, salads, soups, and the like.  I could also use a vat of roasted garlic in the fridge at all times.

Anyway, I digress.  I simplified the taco recipe a bit by switching out fresh epazote for dried oregano and omitting the coxita cheese.  I also used some frozen fresh salsa I stored away last fall instead of making the salsa quemada, though it sounds quite tasty as well.  Next time we thought we'd add a bit of Greek yogurt (our go-to sour cream substitute), but overall this turned out very well.  But look out--for us this made a ton of filling.  I'll be eating this as a salad topping all week!

Mushroom, Rajas, and Corn Tacos with Queso Fresco
adapted (slightly) from Epicurious

2 Anaheim chiles
1 poblano chile
1 c frozen or fresh corn kernels (about 1 ear)
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt
1/2 white onion, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 lg clove garlic, thinly sliced
6 oz cremini or white button mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
1 tsp oregano, preferably Mexican
Fresh-ground black pepper
1/2 c queso fresco, cut into small cubes
6 warm corn tortillas
Salsa quemada or your favorite salsa
Cilantro sprigs

Roast the chiles as for rajas.  If you have a gas stove, it's simple to quickly char the skin on the peppers directly over the gas flame.  If you're like me and are stuck with electric, it's not much more difficult.  I roast the peppers under a hot broiler in a small pan lined with foil for about 5 minutes on each side, staying nearby to check every so often, until all sides are blackened and beginning to blister.  Put the peppers in a plastic zippered bag and seal for about 15 minutes, or until the chiles have cooled and the skin is readily peeled.  Pull the stem from the top and strip the skin from the peppers, then remove the seeds and cut into 1/2-inch dice.

Heat a heavy pan (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat until very hot.  If using frozen corn, place corn in colander and rinse until thawed.  Allow to drain and dry somewhat before the next step.  In a bowl, toss the corn with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Spread the corn in the hot pan and let it blacken slightly, without stirring, for 30 seconds. Have a lid ready in case the kernels begin to pop. Remove the roasted corn from the pan.  In the same pan, heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil. Add the onion and diced chiles and cook, stirring often, until the onion is soft and beginning to brown. Season lightly with salt and remove from the pan.

Reduce the heat and add the remaining olive oil. Add the garlic and mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Return the corn and chiles to the pan and stir to reheat.  Turn off the heat and stir in the oregano, black pepper, and queso fresco.
To assemble the tacos, spoon some vegetables onto a tortilla. Top with a generous tablespoon of salsa. Top with cilantro and sour cream or Greek yogurt, if desired.


  1. I'm afraid the different unknown varieties of chilies make this recipe too complex for me but it does sound yummy!

  2. Glad to see you've taken a liking to mushrooms. They are a wonderful meat substitute.

    I thought I would give you a proper welcome by featuring your post in this week's Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays.

    Oh, and not only am I a Wisconsinite, but I'm a vintage lover too! It's great to have a local on board. Welcome!

    ♥ Rebecca Jean
    Midnight Maniac

  3. Don't be scared of the peppers! Poblanos are pretty easy to find...I get them at our very typical local grocery store. The anaheim chiles could be easily replaced by more poblanos. I just picked up some light green peppers that might have been Anaheim peppers, but looked like this: