tortas sin carne

usually, the combining of two great food groups turns out all gross/wonky, prizing concept or "cleverness" over actual taste. baked ziti on a pizza? um...no. apple pie translated into a cocktail? NO. bacon flavored lip balm? vomit! i know lip balm isn't technically a food, but, well, it almost is.

well, the torta - basically taco + sandwich (2 of the holiest food groups in my book) - does not fall prey to this silly fate. i often see very delicious sounding but very meat-ful tortas on mexican menus around the city, and never a vegan, or even vegetarian option crosses my little plate. so psyched i was, when perusing the september issue of food & wine, to see that not only was there an entire article about interesting sandwiches, but a mexican torta was included! no matter how difficult, i was going to veganize that sucker...veganize it straight to hell.

this recipe was from the much loved rick bayless, from his new "street food"-centric restaurant in chicago, xoco, and he says it's meant to show people another side of mexico besides tacos. i accept yr challenge sir rick: BRING IT ON!

the recipe:
Mexican Tortas with Black Beans, Vegan Goat Cheese and Vegan Chorizo
adapted from Food & Wine magazine, Sept 2009 issue
makes 4 tortas

1 tsp vegetable oil for brushing the sammy rolls
1 order/0.5 pound of vegan chorizo (i made the TVP-based recipe from vegan with a vengeance)
1 15 oz. cans of drained, rinsed black beans
4 long hoagie rolls, i used portugese rolls from the supermarket - sooooo good
4 ounces vegan goat cheese (recipe to follow)
1 ripe avocado
shredded lettuce
lil tomatoes
pickled (or fresh if you're feeling wild) jalapenos
sprigs of fresh cilantro

vegan goat cheese (i made this up!):
1/2 cup almond or cashews, soaked in warm water for at least 15 minutes
1/3 block of mori nu firm tofu
6 fat green olives, pitted
olive oil
1 lemon
apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

- first, make the vegan cheese so you can let it chill for as long as possible. basically, throw the first three ingredients into a food processor and pulse until well mixed and thick. add a teaspoon or so of the olive oil, approx. 1/2 the lemon juice and a bit of lemon zest, and pulse some more. add a pinch of salt and pepper, and a tiny splash of apple cider vinegar if it's not sour enough for your taste. it should have a dense, chees-y texture. i didn't add anything else, since the tortas were going to have so much flavor, but if you're using this for another purpose, basil, sun dried tomatoes or black olives mixed in could be good. scrape out of the processor and into a small dish or ramekin. let it "set" in the fridge for as long as possible.

- if your chorizo is from another day, reheat it in a skillet. if you just made the chorizo, keep it warm over a low flame.

- add the black beans to the chorizo, and mash them with a potato masher until creamy. season with s&p, and cover to keep it warm.

- prep the sandwich fixins.

- cut the hoagie rolls in half, and pull out some of the bread from the inside to create a small cavity. brush the cut sides of each roll with vegetable oil and put the rolls, cut side down, on a skillet or griddle over a medium flame, and cook until toasted, about 2 minutes. turn and cook the tops for just a minute.

- spread the top of the hoagie roll with the gauxt cheese, and spread the bottoms with the delicious chorizo and black bean mixture.

- add the avocado, tomatoes, lettuce, cilantro and jalapenos.

served with a some chips and homemade roasted carrot salsa on the side:

party time! excellent!!



Anabell Georgia said...

vegan goat cheese.. you're a saint!!

Monique a.k.a. Mo said...

This is awesome and hilarious...awesomely hilarious!