The Ardent Epicure

An Ode to the Pleasures of Food

Maitake Mushroom and Fresh 
Garbanzo Bean Tacos with
 Avocado and Wasabi Yogurt Sauce

There is a bit of a story behind the creation of this taco...It starts off with a
trip to the farmers' market. Now the farmers' market was a delight, with
 so many fantastic finds that us food loving beings desire at a fingers
reach. And then there are the other things that draw our attention,
and for many that would be the Food Trucks.

So this veggie foodie tried her hand at a Food Trucks mushroom taco...
I just have to say that somewhere at sometime, someone said that people
who do not eat meat "Hate Flavor" there any other possible reasoning
behind the fact that vegetarian food is generally prepared with the
apparent goal of achieving the approximate taste of dry stale wood?

OK, I am over it now, and I decided to semi re-create what I was hoping
to experience the first time around. And I will assure you, vegetarian
or not this is a taco that you will enjoy...and if you are like me,
more than once or twice :)

Young or Spring Garlic is one of the wonderful players here, and I am in love!
It looks a bit like a cross between a leek and a scallion, and can be used in
much the same way as you would the former. It has a far milder taste
than traditional mature garlic, and is sweeter as well.

We have some fresh garbanzo beans/chickpeas here as well and they
are a delightful spring offering with their bright mild flavor. They are
wonderful raw or equally delightful in a sauté, or in most any way
you can devise...they will happily accommodate.

Then of course we have our star...the maitake mushroom. These beauties are
my favorite mushroom, as many of you long time readers may already know. I
mean, how gorgeous are these babies? They have petal like sections that
have a smooth spongy looking velvet underneath. Along with a nutty flavor
and are meatier than one would suspect, so they are a wonderful substitute
for the portobello. Yet at the same time they offer a more delicate
 flavor, so they work beautifully in more refined recipes as well. 

For our sauce I went with a yogurt and avocado base, adding a bit of heat
with some wasabi. Then some of lime, followed up with a few more
 fresh garbanzo beans...and we have delicious in the making :) 

The primary seasonings are the wasabi powder used in the sauce. But then we
we also have a unique salt in play here. The salt is a "Solar Dried" salt. This salt
 comes from the Baja Coast and is said to retain more of the natural trace
minerals due to the particular drying process. You may also note in the
 image below, that it has almost a fluffy snow like texture. This
 texture makes it ideal for adding minimal salt with a greater
seasoning impact when used as a finishing salt.

What you will need:
For the tacos
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks fresh garlic, roughly chopped
(use bulb and tender portions of the green)
14-16 ounces maitake, torn in large pieces
1 cup fresh garbanzo beans, shelled and halved
1/2 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon cumin, lightly toasted
1/2 teaspoon solar sea salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper, finely ground
8-10 fresh lemon balm leaves, torn
1 small bunch cilantro trimmed, leaves and stems torn
8 corn tortillas

For the yogurt sauce
1/4 cup fresh garbanzo beans, shelled
5-6 ounces Greek nonfat yogurt
1 ripe avocado
1/2 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4-1/2 teaspoon solar sea salt
1/4 teaspoon wasabi powder
2 tablespoons hot water
Blender or small food processor

Let's get cooking:
For the tacos
Begin by heating a small skillet on medium high until hot, add cumin while continually
moving your spice around in the pan. This should only take a few moments to lightly
toast until just fragrant.

Next take a large skillet or sauté pan and heat over a medium high flame, until hot.
Add oil and allow it to begin to sizzle a bit. Add minced garlic while continually
moving it around the pan until fragrant and just translucent.

Add chopped young garlic to the pan and toss a bit, then mushrooms doing the
 same. Continue to toss until mushrooms begin to release their juices. Continue
 cooking, tossing frequently until most of your liquid is absorbed. This should
 only take a minute or two.

Add fresh garbanzo beans and lime juice, toss to incorporate. Now add
seasonings until the garbanzo beans are just tender and mushrooms
begin to brown slightly 3-4 minutes or so.

Add lemon balm and cilantro, continuing to toss until leaves are
wilted and there is no longer any liquid in the pan. Set aside keeping
the mushroom mixture warm.

For the yogurt sauce
Begin by placing your wasabi powder in a small cup or bowl. Add hot
water and allow to stand for about 5 minutes.

Using a blender or small food processor, purée garbanzo beans
until smooth. Add remaining ingredients until smooth.

Note* If using the sauce for these tacos, you can make the wasabi paste
while you are preparing the mushroom mixture. For best results
serve chilled or room temperature.

Serves 4

Alisha~Magic of Spice

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