Tacos are sort of an instituion in Los Angeles and it really is no surprise considering there is such a large population of hispanics living in this city. I have always been a fan of their food and their culture but to be completely honest, I do not know too much detail about it except from what I have experienced here in Los Angeles. My mexican vacations have consisted mostly of body shots and bikinis in Cabo on spring break when I was in college. Thank god I am past that phase. phew.
Although I still love a cerveza from time to time, what I love most about mexican food is the use of herbs and spices to flavor the food. Chipotle peppers, chili pepper, cumin, cilantro, garlic, onions, I love it all. One of my all time favorite things here in Los Angeles are the mexican street vendors who sell fruit with spices and lime juice or better known as Ensalada de Frutas con Chile. It is like the best deal in town! You get a massive serving of watermelon, cucumber, mango, pinneapple, jicama with fresh lime and spices for $5-$7. I refer to these vendors as “the fruit man” and I always get so excited when I see their rainbow umbrellas on the street. #delicious
Also delicious are these bomb Vejitas….
My boyfriend and I are house sitting for my best friends while they are in Europe. They have an amazing backyard which is a rare thing for most people in Los Angeles as the majority of the population lives in apartments. We have been making really good use of the space by dining outside on their handmade table created from reclaimed wood, laying in the hammock with a cold cocktail and using fresh herbs from their garden in our dishes.
The collards used in place of tortillas for these Vejitas were harvested right from the garden. I like to remove the stem and lightly steam them so they are easier to work with and they become that bright green color you see in the photos. We also used fresh mint, lemons and limes from the back yard. If anything, having access to their fresh produce has only made it more clear to me how much I want to create that for myself. Currently I live on the top floor of my complex with barely any windows or natural light, let alone a place to plant a plant. I am not complaining but acknowledging what I am working for and committed to! Speaking of committments, delicious food is one of those, so without futher ado, the Vejitas recipe:
2 peppers- sliced
2 cups mushrooms- chopped
1 large garlic clove- minced
1 Tbsp shallots- chopped
1 Tbsp oil
2 persian cucumbers
2 Tbsp red onion- chopped
1 Tbsp cilantro- chopped
3-4 leaves mint- chopped
3/4 cup cashews- soaked
juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4-1/2 cup almond milk- as needed for desired consistency
salt and pepper to taste
Pickeled Red Onions:
Onions in vinegar for 5 days
1. Remove Stem from Chard leaves but do not cut all the way in half. Leave connected at the top about 3 inches. Lightly steam the chard leaves. Set aside.
2. For Vijita filling heat oil in a pan over medium heat, sweat out the garlic and shallots until fragrent. Add the peppers and cook for 1-2 minutes then add the mushrooms and continue to cook and sitr until the moisture that is released cooks out. Season with salt and pepper.
3. For the salsa, prepare the ingredients as stated above, combine in a bowl and set aside.
4. For the sour supreme, place all ingredients in the blender and puree until creamy and emulsified. Adding liquid until desired consistency is reached.
5. Layer Vijita vegetables in the Chard wraps, then salsa, sliced avocados, top with sour supreme and onions if using then dig in! Enjoy!