Thursday, January 13, 2011

Friday Night = Mexican Food Night

Friday Night has traditionally been "Mexican Food Night" at our house since my kids were old enough to gobble up mashed pinto beans.
This is what I have planned for tomorrow: 7-Layer Bean Dip and Cornbread.
OK, not authentically "Mexican" in the least, but I think everyone will be happy.
I'll even share recipes because I'm generous like that.

First, here's my version of "7-Layer Dip". It always changes a bit according to what I have on hand. It can be "5-Layer" or "9-Layer" or however many layers you want...

Layered Mexican Bean Dip

In a 9 X 11 baking pan or whatever container works, layer the following, as much as is needed of each to make a not-too-thick layer:

  • Refried, or coarsely mashed, black and pinto beans, or a couple cups chili
  • Wayfare Foods Brand "We Can't Say It's Sour Cream"
  • salsa and/or guacamole
  • alfalfa sprouts (optional, but I really like these here, they add some crunch! Some people, like one of my children, decidedly do NOT like them invading the smooth creaminess of the dip though, so it's up to you!)
  • vegan (Daiya Chedder) cheese shreds
  • chopped bell pepper (and maybe some minced jalapeƱos, if you like)
  • sliced olives, chopped green onions, chopped cilantro, fresh lime slices, drained corn kernels... the list is endless...
Layer in order given, chill several hours and serve with chips.
Or, if you want to serve this as a hot bean dip, skip the sour cream, guacamole and sprouts. Heat in oven until cheese is melted and then spread "sour cream" and guacamole over top.

Next up, cornbread.

One of my lovely Aunties, who lives in Iowa, and is NOT vegan in any way, sent me a winning cornbread recipe from their state fair a couple years back. She was so excited (and I think amazed) that it was a vegan recipe... so of course I had to try it.

It was awesome, (those Iowa people sure do know their cornbread!) but being me, I had to tweak just the tiniest bit...

Here's my (only slightly different) version. I LOVE how dense, moist, and slightly sweet this cornbread is. None of that dry, crumbly, grainy stuff for us.

  • 2 Tbsp. ground flax seed
  • 6 Tbsp. water
  • 1 Cup white flour
  • 1 Cup fine ground cornmeal
  • 1/4 Cup white sugar
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. table salt
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 cup vegan sour "cream" or soy yogurt (again, I like the Wayfare Foods "Sour Cream)
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped green pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped red pepper
  • 1 minced jalapeno
  • 1/4 cup canned, drained corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar-style vegan cheese

Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 425 degrees.
Grease 8 X 8 glass baking dish lightly.
Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the ground flax seed, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer the ground flax seed in the water for 3 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt until well-combined.
Add the ground flax seed mixture, soy milk, "sour cream", vinegar and canola oil to the flour mixture. Beat just until smooth (do not overbeat.).

Add peppers, corn and shredded cheese, stir well just to incorporate.
Turn into prepared baking pan.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Cool on wire rack 10 minutes; invert cornbread onto wire rack, then turn right side up and continue to cool until warm, about 10 minutes longer.
Cut into pieces and serve.
(My kids like salsa on the side, so that's what we use - traditionally I think people prefer honey or butter?).