I’m in New York this week and it’s been just beautiful. I’ve always been a bit unlucky with the weather here, too hot, too muggy or blizzard like conditions but this week has been as close to perfect as I could have hoped for. It’s been pleasant to just wander the city without any real plans or obligations. I like to just park myself on a bench for awhile and watch the world go by. The hustle and bustle and energy of New York is infectious but I think it would get exhausting pretty quickly to live here. We are spending the day exploring the Highline in the Chelsea neighborhood, it’s one of my favorite spaces. The city took an abandoned elevated train track and turned it into a public park space. Taking something that was a public eyesore and turning it into such a useful and beautiful experience is an amazing feat. The concrete jungle can get to be a bit much and the thing that sets New York apart is it’s appreciation and understanding of how important it is for it’s citizens to find a bit of nature in the city. It’s the reason why I always find my way back here at any opportunity.
There are some foods that are just hard to make Vegan versions of. I’m still trying to find a good substitute for pizza but I think I finally solved the dilemma of one of our family favorites, the quesadilla.
Trying to find a filling that will hold the tortillas together and replace the cheese was a bit of a challenge but I turned to one of my favorite vegan macaroni and cheese sauces. Sweet potatoes or squash make a great substitute for cheese in your favorite dishes. I combined it with some chopped chipotle peppers, lime juice, garlic and tahini and then add some sautéed peppers and onions for body. If you don’t need a vegan version a few ounces of pepper jack would make a great addition. I also make a version for my son with pulled pork and he loves it.
How do you modify some of your favorite dishes to accommodate food allergies or restrictions? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
- 2 medium sweet potatoes
- 1 teaspoon chopped chipotle chili, canned in adobo sauce
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoon tahini
- kosher sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium onion
- 2 poblano peppers
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 4 large flour tortillas
- For the sweet potato puree:
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Pierce the sweet potato several times with a fork; place on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork. Alternatively you can microwave the sweet potato for 6 minutes on high if you are pressed for time.
- Let the sweet potato cool slightly and then peel and add to the bowl of a food processor. Add the chipotle, garlic, lime juice, honey, olive oil and tahini and process until smooth. Thin with up to 2 tablespoons of water if necessary to make the mixture smooth and spreadable.
- While the potatoes are roasting roast the poblanos over an open flame on high heat, turning frequently until charred all over. Place the peppers in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes and allow the steam to loosen the skins. Peel the skins off the poblanos, remove the seeds and thinly slice into strips.
- Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Peel and cut the onion in half. Thinly slice the onions and add to the skillet along with the poblanos. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions start to brown and soften. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- To assemble the quesadillas.
- Using the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Heat a large griddle or skillet over medium heat. Spread about ½ cup of the sweet potato mixture over one tortilla and add a layer of the onion, pepper mixture. Top the quesadilla with another tortilla and add to the griddle. Cook over medium heat until heated through and the tortilla is golden and crispy. Flip over and repeat on the other side and make sure the filling is heated through. Repeat with the remaining 2 tortillas. To cut the tortillas use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut the quesadilla into 8 slices.