I decided to cook up some of my heirloom Christmas lima beans and make a casserole. With a lot of work to do in preparation for the National Heirloom Expo, I need my energy. I had the food processor out with the shred blade on, as I was already making my pipinola (chayote) kraut. I was also sitting on several pounds of zucchini from a farm trade that I made with our local CSA. I decided to just keep shredding and make a taco seasoned dish that I could use throughout the week. Here is what I did: I had cooked the Christmas lima beans on low overnight in the crockpot with water enough to cover, and 1/2 of a Sweet Onion. I was already planning on using the beans, so I thought that all I needed was some more vegetables.I shredded one half of a large Hawaiian Sweet Onion, One large Zucchini, one pipinola(chayote squash) 2 orange habanero peppers, and 5 pickled hot peppers. I then poured the shredded veg into a bowl, and pulsed 2-3 cups of the now room temperature cooked lima beans. I added them to the bowl, and added two packages of taco seasoning, a sprinkle of sea salt, and a cup of breadcrumbs. I mixed it all together and pressed it into a 9×9 square pan, baking it at 350 degrees for an hour.
I’ve been making homemade kraut for several weeks now, as a means of capturing the harvests that come and go at both the farm and garden. The salty zing of the sea salt brine is welcomed after a hot day in the field. I thought, why not? Add it to the taco. I am happy to learn that this one taco casserole makes two completely different dining experiences. Fresh out of the oven, it is warm and comforting, with melted cheese and steamed rice for an evening meal, but the next day, it is bright and light as a chilled lunchtime taco with the ice cold kraut.
Since I am doing a lot of physical labor, I need a lot of food energy to get me through the day, so this homegrown, healthy taco had enough staying power to keep me going. Granted, my farmer portion was probably a bit larger than many would make. Overall, it was a simple feast made out of farm and garden goods. I will certainly make it again soon.
Try experimenting, I am sure carrots or pumpkin would be equally nice additions to the taco. Just think in terms of a meat loaf minus the meat. You can add two beaten eggs to the mix as well, or add chopped boiled eggs if you are a hungry one like me. As for the kraut, I have made a wide variety of them in my initial experimentation. It is all based around what is in arms reach. I have a few chili peppers producing now, and I always keep fennel fronds near. Though I am not a seaweed (limu) collector, I support those few that do here in Hawaii. I have been using seaweed as the majority of the salt in the recipe, topping off jars with just a bit more salt for fermentation. If you haven’t read it, you may enjoy my earlier post on my summer fermentation trials with pipinola (chayote)
Aloha from Squash and Awe