With less than 5 weeks to go til The Week, I’ve been planting lettuce and beets (from seed and from starters) to hopefully get a good crop come October. For some reason, I have about a .05% success rate with beets. Either the birds get the seeds before they germinate, or conditions just aren’t right in our soil because the ones that do pop up grow veeeerrrry slowly. I check the grains every day- I’m still not sure how to tell when they’re ready to harvest! But I haven’t seen the birds attacking them yet, which will be a (somewhat belated) sign that they’re ready. I also did a round of fertilizer (a magic blend from Island Seed & Feed) to give the plants a boost in these final weeks.
I finally had time over the weekend to do a massive garden harvest/clean-out, and one of the piles consisted of New Mexican green chiles. I bought seeds when I was in NM last year, and actually have a 2-year-old plant that is still going strong from previous seeds! Traditionally, green chiles are roasted and peeled, before getting tossed in every dish imaginable (or more standard green chile sauce, found in every New Mexican restaurant). I tend to not go through the roasting process, instead chopping and adding a fresh pepper into my stir-fry for a bit of heat. But with a stack of 20 peppers, roasting seemed the best way to go.
The thought of whole roasted peppers of course led my thoughts to chile rellenos, and to see if there was a way to make them without stuffing them full of cheese. I came across this fantastic adaptation of chile relleno casserole (much less work than making individual rellenos), which I decided to bulk up with lots of chopped summer squash. I also had the idea to use grated pumpkin to add a bit of creamy flavor – which worked really well, but is definitely optional (grating pumpkin takes some time).
Vegan Vegetable Relleno Casserole
14 ounce carton medium-firm or firm, water-pack tofu, drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons corn meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Saute onion and bell pepper til soft, add squash for a few minutes til done. Oil a casserole dish (equivalent to 8×8), place vegetables in bottom. Mix in the green chiles, salt and pepper to taste. Heat saute pan with a bit of oil and saute grated squash for a few minutes. Layer on top of vegetables, then add a dusting of nutritional yeast.
Puree tofu, water and olive oil in a food processor or blender. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in flour, corn meal, baking powder, salt, turmeric, pepper, and garlic powder. Spread on top of the vegetable mixture. Bake in 400 oven for 30 minutes or until batter is set.