Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}

If there were ever a time for comfort food, it’s today.

StellaOur family dog, Stella Rose, died Monday evening, just one day after her thirteenth birthday. My sisters and I were informed of her passing last night, and while I had already written half a post about these enchiladas, suddenly another rant about the lack of quality Mexican food in New York City seems so…trivial.

StellaBut! This is a food blog, so I am going to talk about enchiladas anyway.

StellaBefore I do though, let me say that I loved this happy little dog with all my heart and that I am so glad she was part of our family. Dinners at home in Fort Worth won’t be the same without the jingle of her collar as she wanders under the table looking for scraps and scratches between the ears. She was a mess—but a sweet mess—and she will be missed by many.

Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}So today, let’s eat comfort food. For me, that’s usually something Tex-Mex or Mexican-inspired. On this terribly difficult day, these Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde} totally fit the bill.

Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}This recipe is my at-home take on my favorite dish from Alma, a wonderful Mexican restaurant on the western edge of Brooklyn. In fact, it may be the only Mexican restaurant in New York City that I would actually call wonderful. Alma’s menu doesn’t really cross over into Tex-Mex territory, but that doesn’t matter when there are blow-your-mind-fantastic vegan enchiladas to be had.

Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}While I’m not usually interested in enchiladas that don’t involve copious amounts of melted cheese, I make an exception for these. With all the meaty (and meatless!) goodness from the 2+ pounds of mushrooms, the tender corn tortillas, and the earthy, spicy pumpkin seed mole,* there certainly isn’t any lack of flavor. And since I am currently trying to improve my eating habits, these are a great way to get a few extra nutrients into my diet.

*Note: Mole (pronounce moh-leh) is a name for a variety of Mexican sauces made from chili peppers, fruits, nuts, and/or seeds. Mole made from pumpkin seeds (pepitas) is called pipián.

Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}As with most from-scratch enchilada recipes, Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde} are an undertaking. Start-to-finish, it takes me just over two hours to make a batch. This process can be shortened by preparing the mushrooms a day ahead, but I don’t recommend making the pumpkin seed mole in advance. Don’t let that deter you—it really doesn’t take much time to make the sauce.

Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}Just roast a bunch of jalapeños, a poblano, half an onion, some garlic, and some pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)…

Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}then blitz it all with some cilantro, spices, and vegetable stock…

Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}pour it all over the mushroom enchiladas and bake for twenty minutes or so.

Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}If you really can’t imagine enchiladas without cheese, you may sprinkle some queso fresco over the top. I, however, prefer to garnish these with more toasted pepitas. I like the extra crunch. And I think they’re pretty.

Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}I have made these enchiladas twice in the last two weeks and I’m still thinking about them. This is comfort food that nourishes my body and soothes my soul—on a day like today, I can’t ask for anything more.

Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}Rest in peace, sweet little old lady dog.Stella

Mushroom Enchiladas with Pumpkin Seed Mole {Pipián Verde}
makes about 12 enchiladas, 4-6 servings

Mushroom Filling:
36 ounces mushrooms (I used white button, cremini, and shiitake)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder (or any other chile or chili powder)
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 Kosher or sea salt

Pumpkin Seed Sauce/Pipián Verde:
4 jalapeño or serrano peppers, stems removed
1 poblano pepper, stem and seeds removed
1/2 large white onion, peeled and sliced in half
5 large cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/3 cups raw pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 cups low sodium vegetable stock, divided

For Assembly:
vegetable or canola oil
12-14 corn tortillas
2-3 tablespoons pepitas, toasted

Clean and thinly slice mushrooms. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and swirl to coat. Working in batches, brown the mushrooms. Season with cumin, chile powder, cayenne, and salt before removing from heat. Set aside.

Make the sauce. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.

Make the sauce. Slice jalapeños and poblano in half lengthwise. Slice 1/2 white onion into two pieces. Place peppers and onion, along with unpeeled garlic cloves, on prepared pan. Drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil. Roast 20-25 minutes.

Place pepitas on an ungreased rimmed baking sheet. Roast 5 minutes, until fragrant. They may make a faint popping/squeaking sound as they cook.

Transfer pepitas and vegetables to a high-powered blender. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, cilantro, dried oregano, cumin, optional cayenne, salt, and 1 cup of vegetable stock. Blend until thick and velvety. Add remaining stock and blend until smooth. Set aside.

Assemble the enchiladas. Pour 1/2-inch of vegetable or canola oil into a heavy-bottomed skillet. Heat over medium-high heat. Use tongs to briefly fry each tortilla for five seconds per side before setting aside on a plate.

Grease a 9×13-inch casserole or baking dish. Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce over the bottom of the pan. Working with one tortilla at a time, top with 2-3 tablespoons of mushrooms, roll tightly, and place seam-side-down in prepared pan. Repeat process until all mushrooms have been used. Top with sauce and cover the pan with foil. Bake 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until golden at the edges. Scatter more toasted pepitas over the top. Let cool ten minutes before serving.

Enchiladas are best the day they are made. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan}

Before I get to the recipe, I just want to say thank you for the overwhelming response to On Self-Care & Food Blogging. I’m so fortunate to have such thoughtful and supportive readers.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan}While reorganizing my Recipe Index last week, I was astonished at the lack of vegan pumpkin recipes in my repertoire. Besides being a delicious vehicle for warm autumnal spices, pumpkin is an excellent egg replacer—something about the water content and fibrous innards, I suppose. All I know is that if you use 1/4 cup of the stuff in place of each large egg in a cookie recipe (and add a little pumpkin pie spice), you’ll likely escape the cakey cookie problem that plagues so many home bakers this time of year. And if you substitute melted coconut oil for the usual butter…well, you might suddenly have a lot of vegan friends asking about Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies. Not that I’d know anything about that 😊

Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan}Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan} come together easily—no need for a mixer. Just whisk together some melted coconut oil, light brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla, before folding in a mixture of flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan}At this point, you could add anything you like to the dough—dried fruit, nuts, candy, you name it. I’m usually all for that sort of thing, but sometimes simple is best. Pumpkin and chocolate are wonderful together; I made that pairing into some killer blondies a couple of weeks ago and I’m bringing back again today. I mean, why mess with perfection? Vegans like pumpkin and chocolate too.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan}Chill the dough for a couple of hours before rolling it into balls and baking at 350F for about ten minutes. They won’t spread much, remaining tall and puffy after they come out of the oven. Let them cool on a rack for a few minutes before enjoying.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan}Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan}I am crazy about these cookies, y’all. They have chewy edges and soft centers, and the chocolate somehow stays a little melty long after it has reached room temperature. For those of you concerned about these cookies having a coconut flavor from the coconut oil, know that it’s very mild, especially if you use the refined stuff. As with most pumpkin baked goods, the autumnal flavor of these cookies intensifies the day after they’re made, easily masking any tropical undertones and making this a quality make-ahead recipe.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan}A pumpkin recipe that’s packed with chocolate, vegan, and is best if made ahead?! I’d be running to the kitchen right now if I were you.Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan}

Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan}
makes about 22 medium cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup coconut oil, melted (use refined for a milder flavor)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar 
1/2 cup pure pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 oz dark chocolate, chopped

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together coconut oil, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Mix in pumpkin purée and vanilla. Use a silicone spatula (or wooden spoon) to fold dry ingredients into wet. Fold in chopped dark chocolate. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two hours or up to three days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Scoop dough in two tablespoon increments. Roll into balls and place them at least 2.5 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake 5 minutes before rotating the pans top to bottom and baking an additional 4-5 minutes. Let cookies cool on pans for five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat baking process with any remaining dough.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. Pumpkin flavor will intensify as the days go on.

Cornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry Compote

Cornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry CompoteIt took me seven tries to get these pancakes right.

About a month before we left for Maine, I declared to my travel buddies, VJ and Adam, that I was going to make a a pancake recipe that we could all enjoy. They sort of smiled and nodded because I had clearly lost my mind—VJ is a gluten-free vegan and Adam is a bit of a picky eater, so this basically seemed impossible.

Cornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry CompoteNever one to let logic stop me, I set to work. I looked at my pancake recipes and a couple more from around the internet, and then I had six consecutive fails. Every problem pancakes could have, these had: too dry, too bland, too thin, too many ingredients, too stuck to the pan—you name it. I had one batch that was somewhere in the realm of “okay” and as vacation drew near I figured it could work in a pinch, but I was less than enthused about it. I’d crack the code one day, but it wasn’t going to be in time for this trip.

Cornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry CompoteBut then, there was cornbread. On the second night of vacation, we decided to grill out. Grilling is not my forte, so Adam took the lead there and I worked on side dishes. I threw out a few ideas to VJ; sautéed spinach was a definite winner, but she sort of lost her mind when I mentioned veganizing my already-gluten-free Southern-Style Cornbread. I had never attempted a vegan version of that recipe, but I figured it would be easy enough. I could swap almond milk soured with vinegar for buttermilk, use a few tablespoons of vegan margarine in place of butter, and I could crack open a can of chickpeas and use the aquafaba in place of the egg. It’s that last change that made that cornbread so good, and when VJ asked for my overhyped Cornmeal Pancakes last Wednesday morning, it’s that change that made a solidly “okay” recipe into one I’ll make again and again.

Cornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry CompoteCornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry CompoteCornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry CompoteCornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry CompoteHave you heard of aquafaba? It’s having a bit of a moment right now—it made The New York Times. If you’re in the dark about this miracle of modern baking, I’m sure you’re not alone. Literally translated, aquafaba means “bean water.” And that’s exactly what it is—the liquid from cooking (and canning) chickpeas. If you have a can of chickpeas (or any bean, actually) in your pantry, you have aquafaba in your house right now. Who knew?!

Cornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry CompoteCornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry CompoteCornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry CompoteBefore you go clicking away from this blog forever, hear me out. I know using the cooking liquid from chickpeas in baking sounds absolutely bizarre, but it actually makes a lot of sense, scientifically speaking. Like eggs, aquafaba is super high in protein and very viscous; when whipped, it can even hold stiff peaks! You don’t need to break out your mixer for this recipe though—just three tablespoons of liquid aquafaba help these Cornmeal Pancakes to stay fluffy and keep them from being too crumbly. And since aquafaba doesn’t have a distinctive flavor like other vegan egg replacers (I’m looking at you, flaxseed), it doesn’t distract from the slightly sweet corn flavor 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻

These Cornmeal Pancakes, y’all. They’re light and fluffy with crispy edges and a rich corn flavor. Oh, and they’re beautiful too.

Cornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry CompoteYou could certainly serve them with butter (or vegan margarine) and maple syrup…

Cornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry Compote…but I am all about this Blackberry Compote.
Cornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry CompoteCornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry CompoteCornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry CompoteIt only has four ingredients and takes less than ten minutes to prepare, and it’s basically like topping your pancakes with pie filling (but with much less sugar).

However you choose to serve these Cornmeal Pancakes, I hope they make your friends and family as happy as they made mine.

Cornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry Compote
Photo courtesy of Valancy Jane.
Cornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free} with Blackberry Compote

Cornmeal Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}
makes about 12 pancakes

1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk 
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup cornstarch 
1/4 cup granulated sugar 
1 tablespoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons aquafaba (chickpea canning liquid)
1/3 cup neutral-flavored oil (I like canola), plus more for cooking
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For Serving:
butter (vegan or regular)
pure maple syrup 
Blackberry Compote (recipe below)

In a liquid measuring cup, combine unsweetened almond milk and apple cider vinegar. Let sit 5 minutes or until curdled.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cornmeal, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add almond milk mixture, aquafaba, oil, and vanilla, and whisk until combined.

Heat about 1 tablespoon of oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add batter to the pan in 1/4 cup increments, leaving space between pancakes. Let cook until the edges no longer look raw, about 2-3 minutes. Flip pancakes and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove to a plate. Repeat process with all remaining batter, adding oil to the pan as necessary.

Divide pancakes among serving plates. Top with butter, maple syrup, and/or Blackberry Compote. Serve immediately.

Blackberry Compote
makes about 2 cups

12 ounces fresh blackberries 
3 tablespoons granulated sugar 
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
juice of 1/2 lime

In a small saucepan, combine blackberries, sugar, and cinnamon. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until a sauce forms (about 5 minutes). Use a potato masher to mash blackberries until the desired texture is reached. Bring to a boil for 1 minute before removing from heat. Stir in lime juice. Let cool completely.

Compote will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Granola

Salted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaThe countdown to vacation is officially on! I am T-4 days away from driving up to Maine with my friends, VJ and Adam, and I. can’t. wait.

A lot of the appeal of this trip is that we can all be together while also doing our own things. VJ will be perfectly happy putting together puzzles all day long. I have big plans to spend at least a couple of days foraging and baking. This will be Adam’s first time to Swans Island, but I know he’ll settle in quickly. The great thing about this trip is that everyone can do exactly what they want to do—there are no definite plans or must-do activities. It’s positively blissful.

Salted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaThe only thing that’s difficult about being on Swans Island is figuring out the menu. There are no large grocery stores on-island, so all groceries have to be carted over from a market on the mainland. This means that we spent last Saturday night gathered around Adam’s kitchen table planning out every single meal and snack so that we can shop efficiently and thoroughly. Easy enough, right?

WRONG. While Adam and I basically eat everything, VJ is a gluten-free vegan. Granted, she is the least difficult gluten-free vegan ever (ever ever ever), but it’s still a challenge to plan meals that we can all enjoy together. Honestly, it’s simpler to just make two grocery lists and hope for some ingredient overlap. Regardless, I’ve taken it upon myself to make one thing we can all share and enjoy equally. This Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Granola is the result, and it’s freaking fabulous.

Salted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaLike most granola, Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Granola is super easy to make and infinitely more delicious than anything you’ll find in stores. It’s basically like crispy, crunchy Nutella-flavored magic…but gluten-free, vegan, and perfect for sharing with all my favorite people.

Salted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaSalted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaSalted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaSalted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaOats and chopped raw hazelnuts are coated in a mixture of oil, maple syrup, dark brown sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla, before being baked until crisp. Once the granola isn’t searing hot anymore, four ounces of dark chocolate are mixed in. This creates some seriously amazing clusters 😍 You could certainly enjoy your granola like that, but I like to wait until it reaches room temperature and stir in a bit more chocolate—textural diversity for the win. Also, all that chocolate 😊😳🍫🍫🍫

Salted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaI’ve already made two quarts of this granola for our trip. That may seem like a lot for three people, but between breakfasts and snacks, I know it’ll disappear quickly. And how couldn’t it? With crispy oats, toasty hazelnuts, a double dose of chocolate, and a big hit of salt to balance it all out, it’s guaranteed to keep all of us coming back for more.Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Granola

Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Granola
makes about 5-6 cups

2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (I used certified gluten-free oats)
1 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) raw hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1/3 cup neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt
6 ounces chopped dark chocolate, divided

Preheat oven to 300F. Line a rimmed quarter sheet pan with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine oats and chopped hazelnuts. Set aside.

In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, combine oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and brown sugar. Use a fork to whisk in cocoa powder and salt until mixture is smooth. Pour liquid ingredients over oats and hazelnuts. Fold everything together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon.

Transfer mixture to prepared pan and spread into one even layer. Bake 40 minutes, stirring at the 15 and 30 minute marks. Let cool in the pan on a rack for at least 20 minutes, until it’s warm but can be handled. Scatter 4 ounces of chopped chocolate over the top and stir in. Let cool completely. Stir in remaining 2 ounces of chopped chocolate.

Granola may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.

Whole Wheat Pancakes for One

Whole Wheat Pancakes for OneMost nights, I make myself a snack before bed. It ranges from eggs, to leftover cake and ice cream, to a salad bigger than my head. There are no rules except that it has to be delicious. My midnight snack is easily the best thing I’ll eat all day. That rings especially true for this past week–I’ve been all about these Whole Wheat Pancakes!

Whole Wheat Pancakes for OneWhere most pancake recipes make enough for an army…er, family of four…the now-two pancake recipes on this blog make just enough for one person. That’s right! This recipe makes just three pancakes: enough to kick my craving without a ton of leftovers to crowd my already-packed freezer.

Whole Wheat Pancakes for OneBut enough about quantity and my single lady eating habits! These Whole Wheat Pancakes for One are absolutely delicious. They are lightly sweet with plenty of nutty whole wheat flavor. Where many of the whole wheat pancakes I have had taste too, for lack of a better word, “healthy,” these are balanced with a touch of sugar and a hint of vanilla. They are the perfect compromise between whole grain and decadence.

Whole Wheat Pancakes for OneWhole Wheat Pancakes for OneOh, and the texture! A combination of buttermilk, baking powder, and oil keep these whole wheat pancakes just as fluffy and tender as your favorite buttermilk pancakes. This recipe doesn’t contain eggs, so these pancakes can easily be made vegan–just swap the buttermilk for a plant-based milk spiked with vinegar.

Whole Wheat Pancakes for OneWhole Wheat Pancakes for OneWhole Wheat Pancakes for OneWhole Wheat Pancakes for One are great with butter and maple syrup, but with all the beautiful fruit in stores right now, I recommend piling them high with strawberries, cherries, or anything else you like. This is a recipe for one, after all–serve it exactly the way you like it.Whole Wheat Pancakes for One

Whole Wheat Pancakes for One
makes 3 small pancakes

1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or white whole wheat flour)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
7 tablespoons buttermilk**
5 teaspoons neutral-flavored oil, plus more for cooking
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
butter, for serving, if desired
fresh fruit, for serving, if desired
pure maple syrup, for serving

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

In a liquid measuring cup, stir together buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into dry, and stir until everything is moistened. Some lumps may remain.

Heat 2-3 teaspoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Pour batter in 1/4 cup increments for three small pancakes. Let cook 1-2 minutes, until some bubbles form on the surface. Flip pancakes and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove pancakes to a plate, top with butter and/or fruit and syrup, and enjoy.

Notes:

  1. If you do not have buttermilk, you may combine 1 teaspoon of white or apple cider vinegar with 6 tablespoons of milk. Let sit five minutes before proceeding as written.
  2. If you want vegan pancakes, use 1 teaspoon of white or apple cider vinegar and 6 tablespoons of soy or almond milk in place of the buttermilk.