Vegan chocolate tacos and more

December 18, 2008 5:02:24 PM PST
Pena Pachamama means mother earth, but it's also an amazing restaurant in San Francisco's North Beach with great music owned by Quentin Novia and her husband Eddy. Nick Smith paid a visit to learn about their history of authentic Bolivian food and snagged a recipe for vegan chocolate tacos.

The Chocolate Taco
Raw-living organic vegan

2 to 2 1/2 cups of fresh coconut meat, scraped from young Thai coconuts
1 cup raw cacao
1 cup of raw agave
1 teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla
1 cup of raw cashew butter
1/4 cup of finely chopped raw pecans or 1/4 cup of finely chopped raw macadamia nuts

Blend the agave, coconut meat, cacao and vanilla extract in a food processor until it is buttery (if you use a blender add a small quantity of apple or other fresh squeezed fruit juice to allow blender to turn). Add the cashew butter and process until smooth.

Spoon the mixture onto the dehydrator sheets and form into tortilla rounds. Dehydrate at 110 degrees for 20 hours.

Press the nuts into each tortilla and add avocado slices and shredded romaine lettuce

FALSO CONEJO, Traditional Bolivian Beef Dish

1 1/2 pound of organic beef thinly sliced
(for a vegetarian version use eggplant thinly sliced) 1 cup bread crumbs (approximately)
2 yellow onions, peeled and cut in little cubes
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons red chili pepper powder or paprika
1 teaspoon of sea salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
2 cups of water
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 1/2 cup boiled water
Olive or canola oil for frying meat
1 tablespoon of organic wheat flour, toasted
Parsley, finely minced to garnish

Cut edges of the organic meat and discard all extra fat, divide each meat slice in 2 or 3 pieces and season with sea salt and pepper. Pour the bread crumbs on shallow dish and roll in the meat pieces one by one until well covered, then transfer meat one by one into the plastic bag and pound meat over a chopping board until thoroughly breaded (add more bread crumbs if needed). Heat the olive oil in pan over medium-high heat and fry pieces of meat until slightly brown on both sides, place them on a plate lined with paper towels and set them aside in order to prepare sauce.

In a large pot heat the rest of the oil over medium-high heat and saute the onion, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes or until light brown. Lower heat to medium and add chili pepper, salt pepper cumin, parsley, oregano and 1/2 cup of water. Stir well and let cook stirring occasionally until all water is gone. Repeat until you finish the 2 cups of water. Put meat in pot, add frozen peas, toasted flour and and 1 1/2 cup of water, stir well and let it boil for 5 minutes at low heat, so meat acquires taste of sauce. Serve hot; garnishing with the finely minced parsley.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS: With white, brown rice or fried rice and potatoes or chuno (freeze-dried potato) mixed with egg.

ALFAJORES, Latin Shortbread Cookies

2 cup corn starch
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 egg yolks
8 ounces unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 egg white if necessary

For the filling:

1 pound grated coconut
2 can cooked condensed milk or equivalent (manjar blanco)

In a large bowl beat egg yolks with butter, powdered sugar and salt, until creamy, for 5 minutes approximately. Add grated lemon peel and lemon juice, then the flour previously sifted with baking powder and corn starch; mix with your hands, but do not knead, if mix is too dry, add 1 egg white, should be very soft; set aside for 5 minutes. Divide the dough in 2 or 3 pieces, move one by one to a slightly floured board, flatten with rolling pin until you obtain a 3/8 inch thickness, and cut with 1 inch diameter round cookie cutters. Put together dough left after cutting, flatten and cut again, until you finish all the dough; put rounds in ungreased baking sheets. Preheat oven to 350 F. and bake for about 15 minutes, do not brown. Cool a little before removing from baking sheet. Fill with cooked condensed milk or manjar blanco when rounds are completely cool. Do not forget to spread a little filling on round edges so grated coconut can stick firmly to pastry.

Advice: Keep the alfajores in a hermetically closed recipient; they can remain fresh for about a week. You can make alfajores the size of your choice.

About Pena Pachamama
Located in North Beach, San Francisco. Dinner is served from 5:30pm to 10:30pm Wednesday through Sunday. Music and dancing will usually continue after the dinner hours. The cover price on week-ends is $13.50. The Pena Pachamama Special is "A Complete Bolivian Experience" for $39.95. It includes 1 glass of Sangria or Beer, a choice of any large plate, and the musical performance. Right now there is also a Saturday Pena Pachamama Kid Special running right now that includes early show performance and food for $25.95.
Website: http://penapachamama.com


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