Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Vegan MOFO Love Me Tender Taco Tuesday: The Story of the Swedish Taco

For the month of September and for Vegan MOFO, Tuesday's theme will be "Love Me Tender Taco Tuesday."

A friend has been holding a Taco Tuesday almost every week and this last spring I was trying to find out if certain foods were giving me issues. This posed a problem on Taco Tuesday since I was often going off of all nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, chili, potatoes and even corn!) Just TRY and eat taco-like stuff without those ingredients!

Now to the story of the Swedish Taco...

Many moons ago, my dad was a middle school teacher in Stockton, California. He taught at Hamilton Middle School in the 1960s and 1970s, possibly into the 80s as well. My own memory fails me!

My dad's last name is of Swedish origin (Pearson), and he was an adventurous cook. I learned to love Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, German and all other sorts of ethic foods growing up when he decided to get creative in the kitchen.

His school had a big population of kids of Mexican descent and they dubbed the tacos my dad would bring to school functions, "Swedish Tacos." I learned about this years later from one of his students. For some reason, dad put little bits of potato in his ground hamburger, he said it helped absorb the oil.

After I became a vegan, I often recreated this taco filling mix with Gimme Lean sausage and, yes, little bits of potato. Since I've been gluten-free, however, I've had to stick to non-seitan/wheat "meat" alternatives. And since I've been trying to eliminate nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant) from my diet, it meant I had to forgo the potato, too!

Let tempeh (soy-only) and sweet potatoes come to the rescue! Sweet potatoes are in a different family from the white potato, and are not a nightshade, and therefore, "safe" for most of us trying to avoid the nightshades.

This is a wonderful filling for corn tortillas, or flour tortilla burritos. Since I'm also trying to avoid corn these days as well as wheat, I have photographed them on some home made GF teeny tiny tostadas. I followed a simple recipe for them I found online. I'll post another one later I'm anxious to try. I have yet to find a really good commercially made GF "flour" tortilla that tastes good, doesn't give me TMJ or folds without cracking!

Mr. Pearson's Daughter's Swedish Taco Filling

1       package (8 oz) soy-only tempeh, crumbled
1       medium sweet potato, cooked and cut into small cubes
1       small onion, chopped finely
2       cloves garlic, minced
1/2    tsp ground cumin
1/2    tsp ground coriander
1/2    tsp chili powder (omit if nightshade-intolerant)

Oil of choice for frying

1. Crumble tempeh by hand or lightly with a food processor. Don't blend too long, you want it to be crumbled, not a big glop. Put in bowl. Add spices and mix well.
2. Fry onion and garlic in a large pan in water or oil until done. (5-10 minutes).
3. Add some oil to the pan and fry the tempeh , stirring often so it doesn't burn, but also letting it brown.
4. Add a little more oil to the pan and add sweet potato, stir to fry and brown it a litttle, mix with tempeh.
5. It's ready to eat all by itself or add to tacos, tostadas or burritos.

Green Sauce
I like to make a dressing of whatever I've got on hand. This is a base of vegan sour cream and vegan cream cheese, mixed with some lemon juice, parsley and spinach, blended in my Vitamix. Add some avocado to it for a nice touch of guacamole taste.


Rian Ashlin Nielsen said...

Tempeh and sweet potatoes are always such a wonderful combination. Try tossing in some fennel to get back some of that sausage flavor you miss the flavor of the sausage you used to use. Only thing I would add to top of these tacos is some carmelized onions and cilantro. Yum!


Margaret Pearson Pinkham said...

That all sounds great! I'll try those next time. Thank you!