Monday, May 17, 2010


Law school has ended and I'm beginning the process of becoming a "real person."  Boyfriend and I recently began moving everything from our old Houston apartment to our new Houston apartment, and after I go back up North for graduation I'll have to move everything from my apartment in Boston to our new place.  On top of that, I've begun studying for the bar exam.  Life is hectic, but wonderful.

An older friend of Boyfriend stopped by our new apartment with his family (including two adorable children), bearing much-welcome gifts.  It was so nice to have someone think of us now that I've moved to a new place without many family or friends nearby to welcome me.  (Boyfriend, on the other hand, grew up here.)  And, luckily for me, Boyfriend's friend and his family are vegetarian, and very good cooks and gardeners.

They brought us this basil plant:

And these cute little soup bowls:

(My apologies for the cell phone pictures- I left the cord that connects my camera to my computer in Boston.)

As much as I love to cook, yesterday was not the day for it.  I nearly cut my finger in half when the cheese I was cutting at lunch slipped, and my knife sliced through the middle of my fingernail.  (The universe's way of chastising me for not eating vegan?)  Thankfully, our friends brought soup, so there was no need for me to cook.  The soup contained rice, daikon, tomatoes, green onions, lime, spinach, tofu, what I think is brown seaweed, lemongrass, and loads of ginger.

I believe these are the first housewarming gifts I've ever received, and I was surprised by how touching I found it.  What a nice way to start a new phase of life! 

Boyfriend and I intend to return the big soup pot our friends left us by filling it with our own soup.  I'm thinking that we should try a recipe from Viva Vegan!, my newest cookbook, which I'm absolutely in love with.  I had planned to blog about a few recipes I tried when I was still in Boston, but since I'm missing that camera cord, no dice.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Taco Salad: My Comfort Food

When I was in college, my roommate and I would cure our Sunday morning hangovers by going to El Maguey's, a nearby Mexican chain restaurant, for their Sunday specials.  I ordered Taco Salad every time "with beans instead of meat, no sour cream, cheese sauce on the side, and a side plate of extra lettuce."  I'm not picky at all, obviously.

Now that I don't have the waistline or the metabolism that I had in college, I like making a healthier version at home.  I asked for, and received, taco salad baking pans, for my birthday, and they look something like these.  I left those pans in Houston, but when I got back to Boston I realized that the pans are unnecessary.  You can turn a bowl upside down, spray it with a little Pam, put the tortilla over it, and then bake it for 8 to 10 minutes at 375°.

While the shell is baking, I prepare my ingredients, which always include iceberg lettuce and black beans (Bush's black beans are my favorite).  Other ingredients I use, in different combinations, are: avocado; cheese; tomatoes; pico de gallo; cilantro; and sautéed mushrooms, onions, or peppers.

Even though the taco salad bowl makes a very pretty presentation, my favorite part is destroying it and mixing everything up.  It always ends up looking like this:

If I run out of tortillas, or I'm just not in the mood for one, I sometimes make the salad with brown rice instead of the tortilla.  Lettuce and brown rice is actually a delicious combination that I fell in love with at a small cafe in Buenos Aires.  There really are not enough salads out there that have rice in them.