Saturday, December 31, 2011

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with a Chocolate Cookie Crust

Whenever I am out for lunch or dinner at a veg restaurant, I pretty much always have to order two things:  seitan and cheesecake.  I am always curious about whether or not the restaurant makes either the seitan or the cheesecake in house.  Most vegan places in the city order from Vegan Treats, which is ok, but not very interesting for me because it makes me think the place isn't super creative, and I feel like once you've tried one of Vegan Treats' items, you have tried them all.  They are also super refined and way too sweet for my tastes!  Anyway, I tried a vegan cheesecake at Blossom about a year ago on Hubby and my Anniversary dinner and wasn't super excited about it.  The cheesecake part of it was super dense and didn't have a lot of flavor.  And instead of a traditional crust on the bottom, it had a dry cake base.  Ugh.  The seitan I also ate there was not homemade, I could tell.  Not to say that it wasn't tasty, because it was, but I was a little disappointed to know that they get it out of a giant 5 gallon bucket, just like firm tofu comes in within a restaurant.  Believe me, it is the strangest thing in the world to stick your entire arm into a gigantic bucket of icy cold water, searching for a chunk of tofu.  Creepy and gross feeling! 

Anyway, I have a base recipe for a cheesecake that I like.  It's nice and creamy, not too dense, and doesn't have that sometimes very artificial tofutti cream cheese flavor.  I would still like to make some changes to it, but I also like it as it is, after I have already made several changes to it.  I also just bought the book from Isa and Terry "Vegan Pie in the Sky", and saw a recipe for a vegan cheesecake that does not call for tofutti cream cheese, which is great!  I'll have to try it!  However, I initially made this recipe when I was interviewing for the position at Vegan Divas as Executive Pastry Chef.  I tested several items, including a carrot cake, chocolate icing (tofu based) and this cheesecake.  I brought them in to the owner of Vegan Divas' husband, Francois Payard to sample.  Now, being a classically trained French Chef, I felt it was a little strange for him to be tasting vegan baked goods, especially a "cheesecake", because I know that it does not taste anything like a "real" dairy cheesecake.  He is also so used to the flavor of dairy, eggs and tons of butter and heavy cream.  He did not particularly like the creaminess of the cheesecake, but afterwards, I brought several pieces to several of my veg friends (what was I to do with the remnants of a gigantic cheesecake with just the Hubby and I at home??), and they absolutely loved it.  Just goes to show what I fully expected to happen.  Anyway, we ultimately placed this recipe into the rotation at Vegan Divas and it sold quite well if I do say so myself!  The crust is a little complicated, so you can just make a cookie crumb based crust if you like, but this is what we did at Vegan Divas.

Vegan Vanilla Bean Cheesecake:

I accidentally used baking powder, not soda, but it was tasty!

Yields 12 Slices

Cookie Crust:
1 1/2 cups white spelt flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1/16 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon egg replacer
1/4 cup filtered water
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup turbinado sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Cheesecake Filling:
3/4  lb. tofutti cream cheese
1 1/2 pkg. aseptic silken tofu
1/2 pkg. tofutti sour supreme
1 cup turbinado sugar
½ cup + 2 tablespoons soymilk
4 tablespoons arrowroot powder
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon agar agar powder
1/2 vanilla bean, seeded

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Generously oil a 9" springform pan and set aside until ready to use.
3. In a medium mixing bowl add the spelt flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and sea salt. Whisk together until well combined.
4. In a separate medium mixing bowl, add the egg replacer and filtered water. Whisk until white, frothy and bubbly. Add the remaining ingredients: the canola oil, turbinado sugar, vanilla and almond extracts. Whisk together until sugar dissolves and a thick mixture has formed.
5. Carefully pour the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients and using a spatula, mix until a soft, shiny dough forms. The dough may have to be finished mixing by hand.  Place into the prepared baking pan and press the crust up the sides.
6.  Now prepare the cheesecake filling.  Place the filling ingredients in food processor  and process until completely smooth and silky - this will take several minutes.  Periodically scrape down the sides of the processor to ensure even processing.
8. Pour the cheesecake filling into the pan and twirl to ensure even baking.
9. Bake for about 45-60 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time.
10. Allow to chill for several hours at room temperature, then refrigerate overnight before slicing.

So Creamy and Delicious!



Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gluten Free Wednesday: Korean BBQ Baked Tofu, Beet Salad & Moro

Happy Gluten Free Wednesday!

This was a pretty simple meal - one where I had three pots/pans going at once, and everything was finished at the same time.  I love that.  This just came together based upon the ingredients I had in my fridge and pantry.  It is once again time for a trip to the grocery store, but until then, I was able to make a nice, simple tasty meal.  And Hubby definitely enjoyed it.   He always loves a good beet salad and naturally loves moro.  And the most surprisingly, he actually really enjoys tofu.  Strange I know for a meat-eating, meat-loving Dominican guy that never tasted tofu in his life before he met me, but I love it!

The first time I really ever cooked cooked for him (fancy-style if you get what I mean :), I was doing a practice run for a dinner I was making for 100 people as the guest Chef at one of the Natural Gourmet Institute's Friday Night Dinners.  I invited like 12 people over (I had quite a giant apartment at the time), spent two full days in the kitchen (even tinier than the one I have now, which seems impossible!), cooked and baked my heart out, and served a gourmet three-course vegan meal.  Everyone had a great time and loved everything.  Hubby (just the boyfriend then) loved the tofu the most.  As well as he should have, because that is the most attention I had ever and will ever focus on tofu in my life.  It was pressed, marinated for two days, baked, marinated, grilled then marinated some more.  It was the most delicious thing ever!  It was supposed to be like a salmon-style entree, complete with the pink color and grill marks, and damn if it wasn't absolutely delicious!  And the most beautiful part?  Then entire menu was gluten free and vegan!

This was the menu, but for 100 people:

First Course:
Creamy Green Pea Soup with Spicy Red Pepper Coulis, Frizzled Leeks

Second Course:
Marinated Grilled Tofu with Caper Aioli, Portabella Mushroom Risotto and Herico Verts with Pickled Baby Carrots Garnished with Marinated Radicchio Chiffonnade

Third Course:
Mini Lemon Tart with Brandied Almond Crème and Glazed Strawberries with Vegan Rhubarb Ice Cream

It was seriously ridiculously delicious!

Korean BBQ Baked Tofu, Beet Salad & Moro:

Serves 2-3

Korean BBQ Baked Tofu:
1 lb tofu, gently squeezed to remove excess water
Spray olive oil
Prepared Korean BBQ Sauce
Sriracha or Hot sauce, to taste

1.  Follow the instructions on the links to prepare the beet salad and the moro.
2.  To make the tofu, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Lightly spray a baking tray with the olive oil spray and set aside while the oven heats up.  (I don't like to use parchment paper here because I feel like it makes the tofu mushy.  Baking it directly on the pan makes it crisp up nicely.)
3.  Place the tofu on a cutting board and cut into 4-6 small slabs.  Place on the prepared baking tray.  Spray with additional olive spray oil and place in the oven.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tofu is firm and crispy on the bottom.
4.  Allow the tofu to cool until it can be comfortably handled.  Cut the tofu into small triangles.
5.  Place the tofu in a saute pan and coat with the prepared bbq sauce and hot sauce or sriracha.  Turn the heat on medium, and toss the tofu to coat.  Cook just until the sauce and tofu are heated through.  Season to taste. 
6.  Place a portion of each the beet salad, moro and bbq tofu on a plate and serve!



Thursday, December 22, 2011

Raspberry Crumb Bar

This is seriously the most amazing bar ever!  I have never really been a bar kind of person before.  I'm not huge on brownies because I'm not a fan of chocolate -I know I'm a terrible person for not digging chocolate!  Nothing as a  bar has ever interested me until I made this bar.  This bar was initially created when I worked for Vegan Divas as the Executive Pastry Chef.  At the time we had an office intern that was working for us for the summer, before he went back to school in Chicago.  He was amazing, super help-ful and did such a great job for us.  What a great kid - seriously.  However, one day, the owner told me that instead of me calling up our purveyors and placing the orders myself, I would verbalize everything I needed and the intern, J, would call in and make the orders.  Problem with that is that I know all of the specifications of the products and he didn't, but I followed the owner's wishes.  When I ordered what I intended to be 5 pounds of frozen raspberries, 25 pounds came in.  Yikes!  We barely had the space to put the berries, let alone something to really make with them.  So there they sat.  And sat and sat in the freezer.  The only recipe we were using them for was a Raspberry Lemon Muffin which used 3 cups to make 52 muffins.  You do the math.  How long would it take to use up the 25 pounds???

So I set off to find a recipe that would use the raspberries but that would also look nice.  And that would fit the packaging we already had, etc. etc. etc.  So I came up with this recipe.  Everyone that tried it loved it.  We unfortunately, however, never brought the recipe into rotation and never sold it.  And now the muffins are no longer being made, so those 25 pounds of frozen raspberries are still sitting there and sitting there and sitting there.  So sad.  I wish I could bring them home and make all kinds of amazing things with them.  Imagine what you would do with 25 pounds of frozen berries.  Sigh.

Raspberry Crumb Bars:

Yields 12-16 Squares/Bars

Crumb and Crust:

2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup ground almonds
1 cup organic sugar
1 cup earth balance

2 1/2 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup raspberry fruit spread
1/4 cup organic sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9x13” pan and set aside until ready to use.
2. Grind the almonds in a food processor until fine textured.
3. Mix together the flour, sugar and ground almonds. Add the earth balance and mix together with hands until crumbly.
4. Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the mixture – this will be to top the bars.
5. Press the remaining into the prepared pan. Press firmly.
6. In a small bowl, mix together the berries, fruit spread and sugar. Spread over top of the crust and sprinkle with the remaining topping.
7. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the crumbs on top are golden brown.
8. Let cool for an hour or so before cutting.



Saturday, December 17, 2011

Rice Beet Salad with Sauteed Veggies, Mashed Potatoes & Gravy

Hubby and I were both very hungry tonight and wanted dinner as fast as possible.  I love those dinners where you have some leftovers that you can incorporate into making a tasty, quick dinner.  For this dinner, I had already had the cooked mashed potatoes, gravy and cooked beets.  I had also already chopped, washed and dried the lettuce the night before, so there wasn't a lot to do for this dinner, and I would say it was on the dinner within half an hour.  30 Minute Meals for vegans!  The main thing I had to do for this was cook some rice, which took like 15-20 minutes, so in the meantime, I just started reheating everything and sauteing some veggies.

When Hubby saw the rice beet salad, he was very suspicious.  He is a rice-aholic you must know.  Loves eating it everyday and would if he could .  But, he is also a purist when it comes to rice - he likes the Spanish Yellow rice (colored with annatto), Moro Rice (like a Spanish Rice Pilaf) and Rice con Gandules ( Rice with Pigeon Peas).  Beyond that, especially in salad form, it freaks him out.  I told him I got the idea from my previous coworker M, who made it for us for family meal one day when everyone was so busy and didn't have time to make anything.  She just threw together some rice, beets, garlic and spices.  I wanted to simplify it a little bit, so just added the rice, beets, garlic, oil & vinegar, then salt & pepper.  It was a delicious success and once the Hubby actually tried it, he really liked it and had two servings. 

Rice Beet Salad:

Salad, Beet & Rice Salad, Sauteed Veggies,
Mashed Potatoes & Gravy

Beet & Rice Salad:
1 cup cooked chopped beets
1 1/2 cups cooked white rice, warm
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Splash agave

Veggie Saute:
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced, about 3/4 cup
1 medium orange belle pepper, sliced, about 1 cup
1 small onion, sliced, about 1 cup
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 carrot, sliced on the diagonal, about 1 cup
1/2 zucchini, 1/4'd and sliced on the diagonal
3/4 cup snap peas, tough ends removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Couple pinches sea salt

1.  Prepare the Rice Beet salad first.  In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir well to combine.  You want the rice to turn a gorgeous pink color, so keep stirring until the rice turns that nice color.  Taste - it should have a nice spicy flavor from the raw garlic, but should not be overpowering.  If it is too tart from the vinegar, give another splash of agave.  Set aside to allow the flavors to marinate while preparing the veggies. 
2.  Prepare the sauteed veggies: in a large wok over high heat, add the olive oil and allow it to become hot.  Once it is hot, add all the veggies except the garlic.  Cook the veggies until crisp tender, stirring all the while.  If the veggies begin to stick, deglaze the pan with a few tablespoons of water.  Add the garlic and saute till fragrant.  Add the cajun seasoning, black pepper and sea salt, seasoning to taste.



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gluten Free Wednesday: Gluten Free Sugar Cookies with "Cream Cheese" Frosting

Happy Gluten Free Wednesday!

Since I've been working in a bakery, I've noticed that I really do not have much of a sweet tooth anymore.  I prefer fruit or fruit based cobblers or crisps for desserts, nothing overly sweet.  I am convinced that because I am inhaling all that sugar all day long it is actually making its way into my system anyway and my body is saying "no more!"  Regardless of how crazy that may sound, I really believe it!  Anyway, Hubby is definitely not in the same situation as me and wants dessert almost every day.  Seriously.  Sometimes he is pretty insistent about it, so I actually have to bake a little bit at home, which I don't generally like to do anymore, unless it involves testing for my upcoming Gluten Free Classes I teach at the Natural Gourmet Institute - which I am teaching tonight actually.  Here is the link to the class.  I don't mind savory baking, just not so much sweet baking at home. 

Anyway, I decided something easy to make that he would like and could grab out of the fridge as he liked was sugar cookies.  A little strange timing considering the month and time of year, but hey, it just means that I'll have to make some more in a couple weeks for Santa. :)  I do have to admit that I snagged a couple too, although I was more in it for the frosting than the cookie - it's something we make in our bakery, and is highly addicting!

Sugar Cookies:

Dropped and pressed sugar cookies with Cream Cheese Icing

Makes 2 Dozen

2 1/2 cups super fine white rice flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 cup turbinado sugar
1 cup earth balance
2 tablespoons flax eggs (mix 1/3 cup ground flax seeds with 2/3 cup water in a jar and shake until combined and measure 2 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2.  The easiest way to make this cookie dough is to do everything in the food processor.  Cream together the earth balance and the sugar until smooth - do not over mix.  Add the flax eggs and vanilla extract and quickly mix again.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together using the pulse button, pulse until all ingredients come together - do not overmix or the dough will become overly sticky.
4.  Remove the dough from the processor and place in a medium bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at leasthalf an hour.
5.  When dough has chilled, prepare a place to roll out on your counter top.  Sprinkle with flour, place 1/4-1/2 of the dough in the center of the floured surface, sprinkle with additional flour  and roll out to desired thickness (I like mine inbetween - not too thick and doughy, but not too thin and crispy).  Using desired cookie cutters, cut out pieces of the dough and place onto a parchment lined sheet tray.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden along the edges and slightly firm in the center.
6.  Once cookies have baked, remove entire sheet of parchment paper and place on a cookie cooling rack or onto the counter.  If you leave them on the sheet tray, they will continue to cook and possibly overbake, and no one wants an overbaked sugar cookie.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1/3 cup earth balance
1/3 cup tofutti cream cheese
2-3 tablespoons soymilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 lb. florida crystals powdered sugar

1.  In a medium bowl, place the earth balance, vanilla extract and soymilk.  Using a hand mixer, mix until ingredients are completely emulsified and smooth - it may take a little while and will be a touch messy with the milk, but it will come together.
2.  Add the cream cheese and mix together until just incorporated.  If you overmix tofutti brand cream cheese, it will separate and the frosting will become grainy.  Add the powdered sugar in two batches, mixing until the frosting is smooth.  Add enough powdered sugar until the frosting is the desired texture.  Place in the refrigerator for up to half an hour to set up.  Ice as desired.



Saturday, December 10, 2011

Tostones with Sauteed Veggies

This is another one of my go-to meals to make when I don't have any time at all, because it literally takes like 15 minutes to make and reminds me of when my Hubby and I first got together.  It was one of the first meals he made for me when he was living in the Bronx, a place I was terrified of and convinced I would be killed there.  You know, what with all of the horrible things you are always hearing on the news about it.  My mum certainly didn't help any with my thoughts of the safety of the borough.  It's funny though, because Hubbs only lived half a block away from the train station and I was still afraid to walk to his apartment alone.  Really silly, huh? 

I thought it was a strange combination initially, but it definitely grew on me, and now I love it, because it combines several of the taste elements: crunchy, crispy, salty, tangy.  And of course the most important: tasty!  It's not healthy at all-I'm making no bones about that, but it is delicious and so long as you aren't eating it every day or even once a week, you'll be fine.  And who doesn't love tostones?

Tostones with Sauteed Veggies:

Crispy, Salty Tostones & Nicely Seasoned Veggies

Serves 2

2-3 green plantains, peeled & sliced on the diagonal
olive oil

Sauteed Veggies:
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 green pepper, julienned
1 orange pepper, julienned
1 small onion, julienned
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped fine
1 tomato, seeded & julienned, optional
black pepper to taste
vegetable boullion powder to taste

1.  Place a large saute pan over medium heat and add the olive oil called for in the tostones.  Once the oil heats up, add the slices of plantain, being careful when dropping them into the hot oil.
2.  Cook the plantains for about a minute on each side, removing them with a slotted spoon and placing them on a cutting cool a little while you start the next batch.
3.  While the plantains are cooking, begin sauteing the veggies.  Place the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat and allow it to become hot.  Once it is hot, add the peppers and onion and saute, stirring frequently.  Don't forget to keep an eye on the cooking plantains.
4.  Once all of the plantains have cooked on both sides, use the bottom of a glass jar to flatten the partially cooked plaintains and return them to the hot pan.  Cook briefly this time, about 30 seconds on each side, or until crispy.  Remove them from the pan and place on a paper towel lined plate.  Immediately sprinkle with sea salt.  Keep an eye on the veggies.
5.  Once the veggies have softened to your liking, add the black pepper and boullion powder.  Season to taste.
6.  Serve the tostones with the sauteed veggies on the side.  Eat!



Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gluten Free Wednesday: Gluten Free Bread - Baguette Style

Happy Gluten Free Wednesday!

I love bread.  In fact I sadly consider myself a bit of a bread-a-holic.  But I am sure you know that if you eat a lot of traditional bread, and by that I mean wheat-based, not gluten free bread, it does not always sit well in your digestive tract.  I am not gluten free, nor do I have issues/sensitivities at all with gluten.  I simply think it is a good idea to give your system a rest occasionally.  And since I had the opportunity of working with a girl that was gluten free when I was the Head Baker at Lifethyme Natural Market in the Village, I really learned to appreciate the fact that I can purchase relatively inexpensive healthier breads and not worry that they will taste strange or have a funny texture. 

So I began my gluten free bread quest basically out of curiosity and a desire to make an inexpensive, relatively easy, and tasty gf bread.  Believe me, in the beginning, the results were pretty terrible.  I had no idea what to look for or what recipe looked doable or tasty.  I just googled several gluten free bread recipes that weren't even vegan.  I just substituted the eggs and dairy as I went.  Those first several loaves were absolutely disgusting.  I even tried making a gf crusty bread which seemed like it would work and was very tasty.  The dough even looked similar to "normal" wheat bread, but it never baked completely through in the very center.  Yuck.  The longer I baked it, the harder the outside became, but it just never really baked through on the inside.  I should revisit the recipe later to see if there is anything else I can do to it to make it better.  Once I have some more time, I am going to finally order myself a vitamix (I know, I still can't believe I don't own one at this point!), make my own flours and make some more tasty gf bread!

Gluten Free Vegan Baguette:

The Bread Shaped After Mixing, Not Proofed

Fresh Baked GF Baguette! The warm yeasty aroma!

Yields 2 Loaves

¾ cup millet flour (Arrowhead Mills is the best brand.  Bob's Red Mill doesn't work well here)
½ cup sorghum flour
¼ cup brown rice flour
1 cup potato starch
½ cup tapioca starch
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 tablespoons raw sugar/turbinado sugar
1 tablespoon yeast
1 ½ cups + 2 tablespoons warm filtered water
Pinch raw sugar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  
2.  Place the warm water, yeast and pinch of sugar in a glass, stirring with a fork to combine. Place in a warm place while preparing the flour mixture and assembling ingredients. It is ready when the mixture starts to grow and has a strong yeasty smell.  If it does not grow, chances are that your yeast may be dead.  Try again.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (note that you can make this by hand, just be prepared to use a lot of elbow grease!), place the millet flour, sorghum flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, sea salt and raw sugar. On low speed, mix until all ingredients are well combined.
4. Once the yeast mixture is ready, lower the bowl and pour into the flour mixture. Add the olive oil and raise bowl. On low speed, begin mixing the batter until all ingredients are combined, then continue mixing for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until batter is very thick and sticky. It will look nothing like a wheat dough, but don’t worry, it will be delicious.
5.  Once the dough is mixed, portion it out into two blobs on your parchment paper lined baking trays.  Have a bowl of warm water nearby to help you mold the loaves, as the dough will be sticky. 
6.  Dip your hands into the bowl of water, shaking off the excess and shaping the dough into long, thin loaves.  Try to make them as even looking as possible.  It's difficult to make them look perfect without the aid of a french loaf baking pan, which I do not have and am assuming you do not have as well.  (It's next on my list of cooking items to purchase!)
7.  Using a very sharp paring knife, make diagonal slices across the surface of the bread - this is purely cosmetic - you don't have to do this if you don't want to, but it looks great as it rises and bakes - the slices become larger and prettier.
8.  Lightly spray the loaves with some spray oil and lightly place a piece of plastic wrap over top of the free form bread loaves.  We're using the spray oil so that the plastic wrap doesn't stick to the bread and ruin the design we created.  And we're using the plastic wrap so that the bread will not develop a skin while it is proofing. 
9.  Place the bread in a warm spot and allow it to rise for about 30-45 minutes or until roughly doubled in size. 
10.  Once the bread has risen to your liking, carefully remove the plastic wrap and place in the oven.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until doubled in size and golden on the top.
11.  Allow the bread to cool in its own pan - it will continue to cook a little bit anyway when you remove it because the pan is so hot.  Once the bread is manageable and not too hot, go ahead and slice it, slather it with Earth Balance and enjoy!  Seriously so delicious!  Amazing as garlic bread too!  I want some more now!



Saturday, December 3, 2011

Wrap: Leftover Rice & Beans with Crispy Veggies

I am the self proclaimed queen of leftovers!  We always had leftovers while growing up and it was not a problem for us.  At least, it wasn't a problem for me.  I thoroughly loved leftovers.  Hubby is not of the same opinion, and in fact, he pretty much despises them.  He did not grow up eating them and has a completely different idea of what they represent than I think they actually do.  To me, it is simply using up the food I made the day or so before.  Not wasting money, effort or food.  There is nothing wrong with that.  In fact, there are complete blogs out there dedicated specifically to using up miscellaneous ingredients and leftover foods. 

However, the Hubby, having grown up in the Dominican Republic, has certain ideas and behaviors that I have never really understood before, just kind of attributing them to a little quirk.  :)  Once I visited his home country last fall, everything just seemed to click into place.  I could see why he loved listening to music so loud it made me cringe and picture the downstairs neighbor banging her broom on the ceiling, as well as a lot of strange behaviors regarding food.  He has these ideas about certain foods equating low class or poverty.  The Dominican Republic, like any other country, definitely has its poor areas, as I experienced first hand when I visited his village, but it is an amazingly beautiful place with generous people that will gladly help out their neighbors or fellow members of the community even if they do not know them intimately.  It's the kind of place that if you're struggling, your friends, community and family will help you out.  Happily.

Strangely enough though, he still has these ideas, and they are especially strong regarding leftovers and black beans.  To him, the poorer people are known for eating their leftovers, because they do not have anything else and they cannot spare to have any food go to waste.  The same goes for black beans - he will 100% of the time choose pinto beans over black beans.  That is something I don't quite understand, but he would prefer if I didn't have them in the house at all.  Evidently, black beans are much more inexpensive than other beans, and therefore, they are a "poor person" food.  He refuses to eat seasoned black beans - he will only eat them if I add them in a small amount to something, such as stuffed peppers.  Since we have been married, I have been finding creating ways to use up our leftovers without making them seem like leftovers.  So I made this dish as leftovers for us one day, not saying it was leftovers, just that I had a great idea for a wrap to make with some beans and rice and he ate it gladly.  And so should you - it's very tasty!

Rice, Bean & Veggie Wraps:

Crunchy, Creamy, Spicy - It's Got It All!

Serves - as many as you would like
Leftover Beans & Rice
Red Cabbage, Shredded
Minced Red Onions
Vegan Sour Cream
Black Olives, Sliced

1.  Reheat the beans and rice in a medium pan over medium heat, until nice and hot.  (If you have a microwave, I guess you could use it, although I am pretty freaked out by them!)
2.  Have the rest of your ingredients ready.  Place a medium sized pan over low-medium heat and add your tortilla.  Allow it to heat for 30-45 seconds per side, or until warmed through and flexible.  Place the tortilla on your plate and the hot beans/rice mixture on top.
3.  Add as much of the shredded cabbage, minced onions and olives as you want.  Add the sour cream in a line over top of all of the ingredients.  Add the sriracha on top of the sour cream.  Close tortilla and eat.  Super tasty!