Back when I was in my 20s, by friend, SB and I opened a catering company called, “Artichoke”. We only did it on weekends. We specialized in romantic dinners for two, and would do one each night, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. These dinners were very special, and we used a lot of local resources….such as the musicians we both knew. We would either choose a venue, create one (such as in a forest or beside a lake) or we would do these dinners in the client’s homes. They were expensive, but we made them worth every penny.
We would fill the venues with fresh, beautiful flowers, set up a table with fine china, white tablecloths and good silver service ware. There would always be one or more acoustic musicians….cello players, violinists, guitarists, et al…We would use gorgeous candles and wonderful essential oil diffusions….back when they were new and novel. We would cook and cook and cook, making an 8 to 10 course vegetarian meal that was geared toward vegetarians and non-vegetarians, and we did not receive a single complaint about the lack of meat. Everyone loved our Artichoke romantic dinners, and we made a lot of money doing them.
Of course, times have changed, and we’ve all gone our busy ways….but a lot of us still take pride in our cooking and love to do it. However, the busy part of the equation can often keep us from cooking as we’d like. John and I have recently signed up for a new kind of food service that compensates for this.
There are a lot of these new food services springing up…”Blue Apron” comes to mind…”Greens”…and others. The one we decided to try first is “The Purple Carrot.” So far, so good.
Each week on Wednesdays, a large box arrives that contains the ingredients for three meals. We never know what we’re going to get, which satiates my Scorpio need for frequent change and new tastes (wink). Each meal takes from 30 minutes to 45 minutes to prepare. Each ingredient is precisely measured, so there are no trips to the store, a minimum of prep time and a ton of delicious convenience.
Last night, we had Smoky “Chorizo” Tacos with Caramelized Onions and Peppers, and I thought I’d share the recipe with you.
- 8 ounces potatoes
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 lime
- Fresh Cilantro
- 1 onion
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 pkg. Tempeh
- 4 corn tortillas
- 2 TBS. EVOO
- Sea Salt/ Pepper
Step One: Prepare the Vegetables
Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Rinse and dry the potatoes, bell pepper, lime and cilantro. Peel the potatoes and chop them into 1/2 inch cubes. Put them in a small sauce pan and cover with 1″ water. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes; drain into a colander. Trim & slice the bell pepper and onion. Halve the lime and juice into a bowl.
They sent us Yukon Gold potatoes, but you could use any king you’d like.
Step 2: Marinate the Tempeh
Add the soy sauce to the bowl, along with the cumin, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder and oregano and whisk together to combine. Cut the tempeh into 1/2 inch cubes and add tehm to the bowl; toss to coat with the marinade.
Step 3: Warm the Tortillas
Wrap the Tortillas in foil and put them in the oven to warm until you’re ready to eat.
Step 4: Cook the Peppers and Onions
Put 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the peppers and onions, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently until the onions are softened, 6 to 8 minutes; transfer the peppers and onions to a plate and return the pan to the heat.
Step 5 Brown the Tempeh
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Add the tempeh (reserving the marinade) and potatoes. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, and cook until they’re browned in places, about 6 minutes. Add the marinade, stir and remove the pan from the heat.
Step 6: Assemble the Tacos
Trim the toughest stems from teh cilantro and chop the leaves. To serve, divide the onion and pepper mixture along the tortillas, top with some of the potato adnd tempeh mixture, and sprinkle with the cilantro.
The flavors were bright and delicious….a mixture of balanced sweet, savory, tart, salty…everything you want for a full-flavored, well-textured, interesting and delicious meal. They were quite good, and it was a flavor combo that I probably wouldn’t have used before. After all….no cheese? No guac?? However…it was a great meal that we enjoyed out on our patio as the little hummingbirds buzzed by, and the fragrance of roses wafted up from our many bushes.
The things we love most about Purple Carrot are:
- No trips to the grocery store
- Everything is pre-measured
- Little or no waste
- Easy Cleanup
- Super Delicious, Healthful Food!