I had a low-key meal planned for tonight, but my day got out of hand. You’d think that when everything started going a bit haywire, my easy meal plan would be even more perfect to me. “Go with the plan!” should’ve been ringing in my ears. “Keep your eye on the ball!” “Focus!”
I don’t play that way.
So, when my car’s transmission decided to act up at one of my least favorite places on I-5 today, locking me in the middle of a five lane highway on which, apparently, no one was in the lane they wanted to be in and, oh, pretty much everyone needed to go 75 while my car locked me in at 50 with the rpms dangerously close to the area I was told meant, “Self destruct sequence commencing,” I stopped singing along with the music and started fretting.
As much as I love my car, I wasn’t thrilled about pulling off in some weird place in a skirt and heels to check my transmission fluid. Plus, I had no idea what I was doing after checking the fluids. I knew it was the transmission, and I also knew that if I couldn’t see the answer by myself right then, I probably didn’t want to know the answer anyway.
I didn’t see anything.
Filled with trepidation, I started her up and… she drove like a pro the rest of the day, reminding me of the time when I brought my son to the pediatrician because he’d been limping. When the doctor told my son to walk down the hall so he could evaluate this terrible limp I’d described, my son obliged by skipping gleefully down the hall, turning around, and running back with a big grin on his face.
Well, that was a little embarrassing.
The limping thing never happened again. I never did find out what was going on with my son before the miracle stroll down the doctor’s office corridor, but I was thankful. I’m really hoping for a similar experience with my car.
The rest of my day was fueled by the flood of adrenaline created by the woosh-wooshing of cars roaring past me. So did I stick with an easy dinner? Naw. I decided I wanted a bit of fiesta time!
I also decided I didn’t want to make the tacos I normally make, so I made the Vegan Chorizo and Potato Tacos from http://www.peta.org/living/food/definitive-list-vegan-taco-recipes/
I followed the recipe pretty exactly for a change, but it really didn’t seem to require any tinkering. We used taco shells instead of tortillas and topped them with sour cream and avocado. They were pretty amazing. But tacos do not a fiesta make. We still needed a side dish! More veggies!
- 1 medium onion , chopped
- 1 clove of garlic , minced
- 4 medium zucchini squash, sliced
- 1 medium red pepper, diced
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 tablespoon pickled jalapeño , chopped
- 1 tablespoon cilantro paste
- juice from one lime
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Saute garlic and onion in olive oil until fragrant. Add zucchini and red pepper and sauté for about 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove from heat and add tomato, jalapeño, cilantro, salt and pepper. Mix all ingredients together and serve warm.
But that’s not all! I did say a fiesta, right? And who came to the party? None other than:
- 5 corn on the cob, husks removed
- 3 tablespoons Earth Balance
- ½ cup Vegenaise
- juice from one lime
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Vegan Monterey Jack cheese, cut into thin slices and chopped
- salt and pepper
I boiled salted water in a very large pot and add the husked corn. After they’d boiled for about ten minutes, I removed the corn and preheated my grill. This part made me a little nervous, but I wanted the corn to have some charring, so I placed it directly on the grill and grilled it for 5-10 minutes, turning frequently so it wouldn’t stick to the grill. The objective was to brown some of the kernels without truly burning them. When I was happy with the amount of browning, I took them off the grill.
Inside again, I whisked together Vegenaise, lime juice, Sriracha, and smoked paprika and brushed it on the corn, turning the corn to cover all sides thoroughly. Then I brushed on the melted Earth Balance and continued to alternate the Vegenaise mixture and the butter mixture until the corn was thoroughly coated. Finally, I sprinkled them with salt and fresh ground pepper and put a few slices of vegan Monterey Jack cheese on each piece. I served it all with some fresh sliced watermelon and ta-da!
The good news is that dinner was fabulous. The tacos were a nice change in texture and taste from our old standby. I don’t use Soyrizo very often, but it made the tacos crazy easy. I think I’ll have to see what else I can find for quick and easy spicy foods.
The veggies were good, but the corn is what really made the party. It was worth the effort of the barbeque and I’m even going to forgive it for making me boil water in my kitchen while it was 90 degrees outside. Now that I’m thinking about the corn again, I’m remembering how we were short one person at dinner. I may go steal their ear of corn and it eat before they ever know it was here. That’s how good it was!
But, then again, I may be all fiesta-d out. Halfway through dinner, my adrenaline springs ran dry. Fiesta time is going to soon be turning into siesta time, and that’s a good thing. I’m planning to dream happy dreams, and my husband promised to give my car a check up and check her vitals tomorrow. I’m hoping she takes a page out of my son’s book and runs like a champ while I shrug and say, “Well, no, really, that’s not how it was yesterday” and my husband chuckles.
Then I’ll put her top down and go cruising through the parched California hills, blaring music and singing, and come home and cook that sedate dinner that I’d planned on making tonight.