Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Family Album : Herbivore's Michelle Schwegmann makes 'Eating Taco Salad Like You Give A Damn' cooler than ever... SPOILER : There are Fairies involved.

Pin It
This is what it is all about. Amen.
Many of you already know Michelle Schwegmann as the poster grrl for The Herbivore Clothing Company but did you know that she's more than just a pretty face? She's a pretty bad ass vegan chef who recently launched one of my favorite blogs Eat Like You Give A Damn, is working on a cookbook, raising an adorable vegan kid, has a sweet dog, runs one of the coolest vegan clothing clothing companies and is a pretty face. Yeah - She's pretty much a super hero - saving animals, making vegans cool not crusty and feeding faces with a single bound! Or maybe a few all combined into a one or something... Michelle Rocks is the point and one of those folks that makes Portland, Oregon the Vegan Utopia we all dreamed of when we were little vegans! We are so excited that she's our Guest Blogger today and to add her to our Shannon Family Album... You folks are going to love this Michelle's take our Taco Salad and not just because of all the pretty pictures.

Without further ado -- Here's Michelle!

"You sweet talker, Betty Crocker!" Remember that jingle?

When I first heard about The Betty Crocker Project, I had that immediate feeling "Why didn't I think of that first!" I was jealous and relieved at the same time. Somebody would do this important work, and it wasn't me -- but dang if it isn't a great idea!

So obviously I jumped at the challenge to do a guest post for the blog. Confession: I was slightly disappointed that we were to do the Taco Salad recipe! It's true, though I did not tell Annie. I thought Taco Salad was too easy! I mean, I wasn't going to have to drive across town to sixteen ethnic markets to find the exact ingredients....I wasn't going to need to make 5 items from scratch before I could even begin the taco salad recipe....but wait... what is that? DEEP FRYING? Now I was scared. Talk about foreign and exotic! I'm in over my head and I am deeply afraid. There is nothing like deep burning hot oil to put the fear into me. I am not a deep-fried vegan - I'm more of a saute or steam vegan. Turns out taco salad was going to be exciting after all. I was going to consume something, fried deeply, that was made in my own home. Pigs flew, I tell you.

I enlisted the help of my doting husband and some other deeply traditional friends on Christmas Eve to complete the mission.

The centerpiece really makes the table, don't you agree?

 Here is what you need to get your party started.  I recommend getting all of your ingredients prepped first, because once you have your shells deep-fried, everything comes together quickly.
  • 4 Cups of Vegetable Oil for deep-frying the tortillas
  • 10 inch Flour Tortillas
  • 1 Package of Yves Meatless Ground
  •  1/2 Large Red Onion (diced)
  • 1 Can Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed. Wash the can, remove paper label & set aside to assist with the salad bowl making
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Dashes of Liquid Smoke
  • 1 Tablespoon Texas Pete Hot Sauce  we used Tapatio Hot Sauce instead!
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Braggs
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (ground)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Vegan Poultry Seasoning or Seasoning Salt (most are vegan but you need to read the label to make sure)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cumin 
  • 1 Head of Romaine Lettuce (chopped into bite size pieces)
  • 1 Cup of Daiya Cheddar Cheese (shredded)
  • 2/3 Cup Black Olives (sliced)
  • 1 Avocado (pitted and pealed. . . we made ours into guacamole but it would have been just as good in slices)
  • Vegan Sour Cream
  • Salsa
  • Green Onions (chopped) 
  • Cilantro (chopped)
Christmas eve in Portland was a rainy, cold affair, and we don't have an exhaust fan in our kitchen. These facts, coupled with my irrational fear of deep frying, means that I made my doting husband create our salad bowls outside on the deck. I am a very loved woman. Our buddy E was his accomplice while his partner T and I did the rest of the prep in the kitchen, dodging little girls playing dress up and pushing baby strollers, while we chopped onions, grated cheese and chortled at the idea of the salad soon to be consumed. All vegans eat is salad, right? Ha!

Here you see how the bean can gets the work done.
FYI - A deep fried tortilla is a delicious treat.
 Primero, you make the Salad Bowl / aka the deep fried tortilla. Use a deep fryer if you've got it, or else a deep enough pan to hold 4 cups of oil. Heat that oil up until it's popping. Take one of your tortillas and place it over the hot oil, then place your kidney bean can in the center of the tortilla. Using long handled tongs, very gently push down on the can, forcing the tortilla into the hot oil. Hold it there for 5 or 10 seconds, and then remove the can. It should stay down and be that familiar taco salad bowl shape. Leave it to cook for a minute or two until it's brown and golden. Using the tongs again, remove the tortilla and drain on paper bags or lots of paper towels. Repeat as many times as you need to feed your taco salad party people.

Deep fried glory.
All this & no cholesterol!

Take a moment to celebrate the fact that you are going to consume a deep fried tortilla, filled with tasty, cruelty-free taco meat and various fixin's, which means that you rule! And celebrate that you won't come even close to consuming the calories and unhealthy crap the original Taco Salad called for!

It's rough, cooking with fairies around....

 Secondly, you need to make your taco meat. In a big pan (I used a big cast iron skillet) heat the olive oil, and stir in the dashes of liquid smoke and the hot sauce. Add the ground crumbles, onion and beans and then mix in the Braggs, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, poultry seasoning and cumin. Mix thoroughly. It should take around 10 minutes for it to cook. Remove from heat once the crumbles are browned and the onions are caramelized. Be sure and let the mix cool before serving. Pause to smell the deliciousness and maybe steal a bite while it's piping hot. We did.

We made a double batch, can you believe it!?

Third thing is to build your taco salad empire. Go for it. Start with the chopped romaine and indulge in vegan taco meat heaven, plus cheese, sour cream, sliced black olives, green onions, cilantro, avocado and salsa. Want more salsa? Well, some people like to say salsa.

Digging in to the edible bowl. We all wished for seconds.

It's true, vegans love salad. Including taco salad.
The verdict on the Shannons Taco Salad recipe? Well, not only did we all totally love the meal, but recreating a classic American "Mexican" dish (that we all probably thought was 'real' Mexican food back in the day) was a walk down memory lane. It took me back, if you know what I mean, and made me proud to give Taco Salad some respect with this more compassionate ingredient list. I can't imagine how overly-filling this meal would be when made with animals! Ugh. Last thing? I don't often cook with meat analogs like crumbles, but this was a great reminder to me that they can be downright delicious and one heckuva quick dinner. And the homemade deep fried tortilla was an adventure I liked a little bit too much.

Thank you, Annie and Dan, for giving us the Taco Salad love!

1 comment:

  1. Ah, thank you so much for your kind words! I just might fire up the Grand Pappy fryers tonight.....