Cal Orey
For the Tribune

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February 23, 2012
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What's Cookin' at Callie's Cabin: Tasty tacos with a vegan twist

Welcome to the taco - a Mexican food created with a corn or flour tortilla folded around a pile of filling. A taco can be concocted with or without meat, poultry and seafood. But a vegetarian taco is a nice break for your palate and body. Think cheese, lettuce, and homemade salsa.

Dozens of moons ago, I endured a romantic break up and fled to Santa Cruz Mountains and into the life of a man I didn't know. The good part was I was accompanied by my black Lab and cat - two easy-going companions. I shared the house with an uptight man who wanted a servant. I obliged and went through the motions of cooking. One morning I paid a visit to a neighbor, a nurturing teacher. She could feel my frustration and hunger for a fur fix. Read: My keeper wouldn't allow my dog or cat indoors; we were separated by glass doors. She heard my cry for help, "I can't sleep or eat." So, she warmed up a flour tortilla with cheddar cheese and offered it to me. (It was a sign for me to take care of myself. Soon after I left and took my warm-hearted critters with me.) And this week, I'm returning the unforgotten favor to this woman who reached out with a warm taco.

While traditional tacos are often filled with something that once had eyes, there is something special and comforting about creating this dish with natural cheese and veggies. I promise you the taste will woo your taste buds and help you chase away unwanted winter weight before spring - and make you feel good, too.

Vegetarian Tacos

2 whole wheat flour tortillas

1-2 teaspoons European style butter

1/4 - 1/2 cup cheese (a blend of four Mexican types)

1/2 cup organic baby spinach

6 Roma tomatoes, chopped

2 chilies, minced

1/3 cup red onion, chopped

1/2-1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

A dash of Mediterranean sea salt and pepper

In a bowl, place chopped tomatoes, onions, chilies, olive oil, and spices. Put in fridge for about an hour to chill for a better flavor. In a skillet, heat a bit of butter. Place one tortilla in it for about one minute until it bubbles and turn over. Repeat. Sprinkle cheese on it and fold over till cheese is melted. Remove. Repeat. Top with lettuce and salsa. Makes 2 tacos.

These taco shells are not too hard or too soft but crisp to perfection. Not only are these tacos tangy with the salsa made from scratch but the creamy cheese is a taco to love. Not to forget, they have plenty of good vitamins and minerals for you. The warm and fuzzy addition: I made these tacos amongst my dear indoor friends: Simon, Seth, and Zen - my carnivorous critters who make my house a comforting cabin year-round.

Motto: You can't change the past, but you can change the present with good food and a home with the scent and soul of dog(s) and cat(s).


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Feb 23, 2012 06:30PM Published Feb 23, 2012 06:29PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.