Spring Break came last week and not a moment to soon. As my husband said in his typically understated manner, “It was a well-timed vacation.” It began at the end of Week 5 of our 14 year old Auzzie Shepherd’s recuperation from a broken toe (thanks to a bite from our over-zealous miniature Great Dane) during which time I have been sleeping on an inflatable bed in our family room (!) and carrying her out to go potty and back in, not to mention worrying about her increasingly weak hips and legs, the result of age and neurological decline. However, a total hip replacement on one side and a hip reconstruction on the other at age 2 have served her well until now!
But that ‘s a story for a different day. My vacation week began with a solo trip to visit my family in MS. The weather was beautiful, so we spent a lot of time outside. I especially enjoyed planting a variety of annuals with my parents. My last night there, Tuesday, we drove 90 minutes to an airport hotel in Jackson since my plane left so early the next morning,. There we enjoyed an indoor picnic supper–vegan, of course (my omnivorous family is so solicitous)–in the hotel’s lobby area. Since my sister’s birthday is in March and my parents’ and mine are in May, we decided to celebrate while I was home. So, our picnic concluded with my Chocolate Carrot Cake, found in The Blooming Platter Cookbook, baked as cupcakes. I frosted them with a dense, delicious, and dark mousse “frosting” made from tofu and melted dark chocolate, topping them with candles. They traveled well in our cooler and were a huge hit.
On Wednesday morning, I flew to Dallas to meet my husband, Joe, from where we flew to San Miguel Allende, Mexico, to attend the formal opening of our friends Don Bell and Federico Correa’s brand new gallery “Arte Correa.” What a joyful occasion and an honor to be included in the festivities. Don, the gallery manager, and his partner, Federico, a humble but gifted and powerful painter, were the consummate hosts, doing way too much for everyone else–beginning with a huge flower arrangement delivered to our hotel room–despite the fact that we were there to celebrate their achievement.
And Carmen, of Casa Luna, a villa which we were fortunate to call home for three nights, was the consummate hostess, tending to our every need. For the record, San Miguel Allende–a UNESCO World Heritage Site–is a VERY safe place to travel. It is a lovely and entirely cobblestoned town high in the hills of central Mexico, dating from the 16th century, Mexico’s Colonial era. (Don calls San Miguel “the Williamsburg of Mexico”–ha!)
But, as Carmen says, “Don’t check your brain at the border,” by which she means people should not do foolish things including those that they wouldn’t even do in their own towns, say, a couple of women visiting a city park on their own at night. American tourism is down by 80% and San Miguel’s economy is suffering. It’s not inexpensive to get there, but you will be handsomely rewarded by the charms of one of the most beautiful towns in North America. And we were doubly rewarded: American Airlines inexplicably upgraded us to First Class for our 3 hour flight home from Dallas to Norfolk! What a perfect ending to a charmed vacation.
I’m fairly sure it would be impossible to find a bad meal in San Miguel, and that includes from the street vendors. (I wish the corn ice cream sold from a truck at the “Jardin” was vegan!) In particular, be sure to visit Cafe Rama, the subject of an upcoming post. However, it was the green chile sauce at El Pegaso, one of Don and Federico’s favorite restaurants, on my “custom” refried bean enchiladas that reminded me of the tofu Migas with Green Tomato-Chile Sauce in my cookbook.
I hope you’ll enjoy…and book the next flight to San Miguel!
Migas with Green Tomato-Chile Sauce
Yield: 4 servings
Migas is traditionally a Tex-Mex scramble of eggs, tortillas, cheese, spices, and fresh vegetables topped with a zesty sauce. My version is an addicting combination of tofu, sautéed tortillas, and a host of bright flavors. I love this dish so much, I could eat it morning, noon, or night! Topped with my Tomato-Chili Sauce, this recipe is a great way to use fresh green tomatoes, although you can top the migas with your favorite salsa if you don’t have time to make the green tomato-chile sauce.
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1/2 orange bell pepper, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic minced
4 corn tortillas, torn into bite size pieces
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle powder
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, divided
14 ounces extra-firm tofu, pressed and drained
4 tablespoons minced cilantro
4 tablespoons vegan sour cream
2 Roma tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
Green tomato-chili sauce (recipe follows)
4 lime wedges and 4 cilantro sprigs for garnish
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and a pinch of salt, and sauté until softened, 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until it turns golden and the onion becomes translucent. Move the vegetables over to the side of the skillet with your spoon and add the remaining 1 tablespoon canola oil. Add the tortillas to the oil and stir to coat, then stir to combine with the vegetables and sauté 1 to 2 minutes or until the tortillas soften and turn golden.
2. In a medium bowl, break up the tofu into irregular bite-size pieces. Add the cumin, coriander, chipotle powder, and 1 tablespoon of the nutritional yeast, and mix well to combine. Add the tofu mixture to the skillet and gently scramble for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to scrape up browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Reduce the heat and add a small amount of water if the migas begin to stick. Add the remaining tablespoon of nutritional yeast and continue cooking for 5 more minutes. Check the seasoning. Remove the skillet from the heat.
3. To serve: Transfer to a serving platter or individual plates. Spoon the green tomato chili sauce over the migas and pass any extra. Sprinkle the minced cilantro over the sauce, add dollops of sour cream, and sprinkle with diced tomatoes and pumpkin seeds. Garnish with lime wedges and cilantro sprigs.
Green Tomato-Chile Sauce
Yield: about 1 1/2 cups
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder
Pinch natural sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons water
2 large green tomatoes, quartered
2 (2-inch) jalapeños, seeds removed
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/3 cup chopped yellow or orange bell pepper
1/3 cup chopped red onion
2 large gloves garlic, minced
1. In a food processor, combine the tomatoes, jalapeños, and vegetable stock. Process until smooth and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper, and cook for 2 minutes to soften. Add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring, until the garlic softens and the onion becomes translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the coriander, cumin, chipotle powder, sugar and salt to taste. Stir well.
3. Sprinkle with flour, followed by 3 tablespoons of water. Stir well again. Add the tomato-chili puree, stir again, and simmer for about 20 minutes to allow all flavors to marry. Stir frequently and reduce heat if necessary to prevent sauce from sticking. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside until ready to serve.