Monthly Archives: October 2008

VeganMoFo- Escondido Tacos

Last night I went for a two hour walk through a nicer neighborhood with the dogs and looked at Halloween decorations. I saw only one McCain sign which made me really very happy, well not the McCain sign, but the overwhelming amount of Obama signs. I have been really afraid about the election and especially Sarah Palin. Anyway, I got home and was totally exhausted and I wanted to make something really fast. I took out Dreena’s Eat Drink and Be Vegan because it usually has some really fast recipes. I saw one for “Garlicky Broccoli Burritos” or something to that effect and decided I would use the basic concepts in a taco. I remembered from the Pasta De La California a few weeks ago that garlicky broccoli is so fantastic with guacamole and I had two avocados sitting on the windowsill that were just perfectly ripe.

I have family in Escondido California and they are lucky enough to have an avocado tree in their backyard so I decided to name these tacos after that part of California. I think an avocado tree would probably be the tree I want most to have in my backyard. Or an olive tree! Or a mango tree….

Here is what I used for the tacos, I am also going to give instructions for prep as you go:

1 can Spicy Refried Beans (you could also smash together beans from a can of black or pinto and a chopped jalapeno)
1 TBSP of oil
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 broccoli crowns, chopped
1 TBSP of Nama Shoyu (or soy sauce)
1 TBSP of Worchestershire
1/2 Cup of frozen corn
4 tortialls

Guacamole con Alga Marina (based on Dreena recipe)
2 ripe medium avocados
Juice of 1 large lime
salt to taste
1 tsp of kelp powder (optional)

First, turn on the oven to 300. Seal your tortiallas in foil and put them in the oven to warm up. Empty the contents of the refried beans can into a pot and put on low. Stir occaionally throughout the process. Put oil in a seperate pan and warm it to medium heat. Meanwhile, chop the garlic and then add it to the pan. While the garlic is cooking chop the broccoli into florets. Add them to the pan along with the nama shoyu and worchestershire and frozen corn. Cover the whole lot and let cook for 3 minutes stirring occasionally. If broccoli is sticking or garlic is burning turn down the heat or add water to the bottom of the pan. Meanwhile, chop the avocados and put them in a bowl. Squeeze in the juice from half the lime. Add in a little bit of sea salt and the kelp powder if you are so inclined. By the time you have whipped the guac up (use either a fork, a potato masher, or an immersion blender) everything else will be done. Get your tortialls out and spread refried beans on the bottom. Top with the broccoli mixture and the Guacamole and ROCK OUT WITH YOUR GUAC OUT and enjoy!

VeganMoFo – Peanut Crusted Seitan and Blood Orange Salsa tacos

I went to the store today and saw that blood oranges were on sale. I scooped some up knowing that I would probably make some blood orange salsa with onions and cilantro. If you haven’t tried orange salsa before I recommend that you make some, the sweet oranges are the perfect counterpoint to spicy tacos.

I knew I didn’t want to have regular old seitan so I chopped up some peanuts and put them in a ziploc bag, lay the seitan which I had cut into strips on top and covered with more peanuts. Then I used a rolling pin to flatten out the seitan and press the peanuts into it. I sauteed the seitan in a pan and pan fried the plantains seperatly. Topped with spinach and the salsa and on a warm spelt tortilla it was a Caribbean-style taste explosion! Now I want to open a vegan taco stand just so that I can sell a million of them!

Blood Orange Salsa
4 blood oranges
.5 sweet onion, chopped finely
1/4 cilantro, chopped finelly

First, cut the tops and bottoms off the blood oranges. Then slice the rest of the peels off. Carefully chop the oranges slowly making sure to not squeeze out the juices and remove any seeds and as much white pith as possible. Gently toss the oranges with the onions and cilantro. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes and then try to NOT eat it all before your tacos are done. Enjoy!

VeganMoFo- Taco Town III

Sometimes I have a waking nightmare that I will be riding up to Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse and find a sign that says, “closed to put up condos”. In Austin this seems to be happening more all the time. Nothing was worse than going to the Cosmic Cafe for my birthday and seeing that it was closed. But thankfully Bouldin continues to go strong. It is one of my favorite coffee shops in Austin.

Bouldin is on South First, just down the street from me so I like to hang out under the oak trees and drink Mexican Mochas and watch the hippies and the scenesters do there thing.

On beautiful Sunday mornings it can get kind of busy but the people and staff are so laid back that you never feel like you are in a rush to get your food and get out. It is the kind of place to while away the morning.

It is also my favorite vegan food in Austin. I somehow didn’t even realize for the first few years that it was an all vegetarian menu. All of their entrees can be made vegan, and really they should be made vegan because Bouldin Creek has the best tofu scramble I have ever had in my life. It could make anyone go vegan. So often at restaurants the tofu has too many spices and is too liquidy, and the tofu has been crumbled into pieces that are just too tiny. At Bouldin Creek the ‘fu always comes out absolutely brilliant. You can sub it in any of the egg dishes, I love the Breakfast Sammich with tomatoes and spinach mixed in the tofu on a poppyseed bagel. My man Dan loves the Slacker’s Banquet which is rice & beans with vegan cornbread. They even have a soul food plate.

The tacos are out of this world. They are all named after people and each is delightful. Especially with a homemade potato hash cake on the side.

Here is what I had, on the left is the Ren, sauteed onions, garlic, jalapeno, and tofu scramble. In the middle is the glorious potato hash cake, which is crispy on the outside creamy in the middle and filled with rosemary goodness. The taco on the right is the Timmy and had homemade vegan chorizo, tomatoes, and red & black beans.

Bouldin’s chorizo is out of this world good. You can even order a side of it and on its own it is quite good which I can’t say for any other chorizo I have ever had.

Now I am so hungry, I hope I’m not driving everyone crazy with this taco tour, I will try to go back to cooking at home now that the weekend is over.

VeganMoFo- Taco Town II

After blogging yesterday about the wonder that is the Whole Food’s Breakfast Taco I became really hungry. I knew that only a breakfast taco could satiate me and so we went to Polvo’s for a glorious breakfast that only cost $4.20. I got one taco that had mushrooms, spinach and potatoes.

And the other was napolitos, beans, and rice. One of the greatest aspects of Polvos is that they have three different salsa’s that are some of the best I have ever had.

After Polvo’s we drove out to the Hill Country to play some Frisbee Golf, it was the most beautiful day.

Vegan MoFo- Taco Town

Austin Texas is famous for a lot of reasons and it is a great city to live in. Not only is it beautiful and filled with lots of fun outdoor activities but it is also a really fun city, has the countries best movie theater, an awesome music scene, multiple great festivals, and a lot of friendly people. All of these are great reasons to enjoy living here but there is one aspect that I could never live without—the breakfast taco.

If you have only had a bad experience with these (maybe a McDonald’s burrito) I implore you to come to Austin and try them out for yourself. Nearly every place in town has the standard variety- the bacon egg and cheese- but you can often find vegan versions as well, like black bean and potato. The key to a great taco is in the tortilla and having a good salsa or fresh pico de gallo.

My favorite vegan versions in Austin are Mr. Natural, Bouldin Creek, and Polvos, they all have multiple options and plentiful combinations. However, when it comes to vegan breakfast tacos nothing beats Whole Foods. Whole Foods actually started as an Austin company so the store at corporate headquarters can blow your mind (an your wallet) they even have guided audio tours through the store! It is massive and their are numerous little islands throughout the store that you can dine at. There is a sushi stand, a raw vegan table, even a chocolate island with a chocolate fountain. But the thing that brings me to whole foods again and again is the breakfast tacos. They are only open from 7 to 11 and the line can get pretty long but the wait is worth it because for just two dollars you get your choice of flour, corn, wheat or spelt tortillas warmed up and filled with any combination of
tofu scamble
fried potatoes
black beans
roasted vegetables
cilantro rice
or vegan sausage
they you can top it all off with salsa, pico, jalapeños, and cilantro if you wish. They are only 2 bucks and always huge. You can make your own at home pretty easy but nothing beats the whole foods taco in my world. I love them and when I go out of town I crave them.

Why Sarah Palin is good for democracy

When I first saw governor Sarah Palin I could not believe what I was seeing. For most of my life I have seen republicans as standing for everything that I would spend my life fighting against. The idea that these people think they should decide if I have a baby sends blood rushing to my fists. The fact that there are women in this party astounds me constantly since the republicans, so far, have shown no inkling of care or respect for children, health, the poor, the suffering, or keeping families together. This disgusts me to no end. The fact that their version of Christianity is the only correct faith and we in the US should all be forced to follow its teachings seems to be the most un-American scenario that I can imagine. The fact that the whole reason Europeans came here was to practice how they pleased or be financially secure are the tenants that this country were founded on. Freedom for different races and women came later and the fact that these Republicans are still fighting against that makes me want to run around screaming. Their goal is to keep minorities down through poverty and keep women down by keeping them pregnant. I have seen girls in the eighth grade boast about how they are having a baby and this is what the republican party seems to want the most.

As time goes on I have begun to realize that the whole Palin pick could subvert that whole notion. Here is a woman who was a beauty queen. Who became mayor of her town because she was cute, had a lot friends, and called herself a Christian. The other guy claimed to be a Christian too but you see he wasn’t the right kind. He kept his practice out of his mayoral duties. Palin claimed that this meant that he was pro-choice (which, by the way, is the law still in Alaska) and somehow she won the title. When the big boys at the top of state’s leadership got into trouble Palin saw her opportunity and she took it. Even though she had left her town having a financial deficit for the first time in its history she ran as a fiscal conservative. Even though her town is now known as the meth capital of Alaska she ran on a record of “family values”. Even though she spent millions on a hockey complex in her town and had the same contractors build her house she claimed to be the ethical choice. She got elected, fired most of the people who worked for the state and hired a bunch of her friends even if they had no qualifications whatsoever. She soon came under an ethics investigation. She gave Alaskans a tax rebate that was sometimes a thousand dollars and those same Alaskans just loved her.

Meanwhile, the Republicans trying to put their old white man into office were wondering what to do about the presidential election. Suddenly, the democrats had a candidate that appeared to be everything the Republicans were not and the people were loving it. Here was a smart guy, a professor of constitutional law, a community organizer, a man claiming both black and white heritage, and a senator. Instead of attacking the social issues that divide us he talked about bringing people together. He talked about a new direction for the country in a way that people actually believed. The cynical American culture suddenly was filled with something many young people had never experienced – Hope. It sounds silly and the republicans try to make fun of this fact all the time but the truth is, for the first time, many people suddenly felt like they had a political figure to believe in. For those in my generation where the only presidents we have known are Reagan, the Bushes, and Clinton this was something entirely new. Though many us didn’t agree with different policy positions of Barrack Obama we finally felt like this was a man who could bring us together and lead the country as opposed to selling out the common American and the constitution. The Republicans didn’t know what to do, they spent the last two elections attacking the people in the democrat party and their beliefs but Obama was unwilling to go that route. They cynically thought that the reason people were behind Obama was because he was young and black and it was becoming a “historical” election. They wanted to be part of history too so they, apparently, did a Wikipedia search on female republican governors. They stumbled across Sarah Palin, pretty, well-liked, Christian Fundamentalist, antiabortion – perfect they thought!

Unfortunately for them they didn’t look into the fact that Palin had only been governor of one of the smallest states for 20 months. She was well liked (who doesn’t like a fat check from the governor) but completely untested. Additionally, she just wasn’t very knowledgeable about national politics (besides divisive social issues) or world affairs and therefore just wasn’t prepared to be on the national stage. Sure, she listened to am radio and knew the distorted neocon view of the world but the problem is that all that stuff is completely made up by the real elites with the soul purpose of keeping the people divided and ignorant of the world’s actual problems. She then went on the national stage and was completely unable to defend, or even intelligently talk about, her republican beliefs. The reason isn’t that she is inherently stupid, it is because those beliefs don’t follow any logic, you can’t be pro-life and pro-death penalty and pro-war. You cannot be a Christian and hate people on welfare. You cannot be pro-jobs when you are against unions. You can’t be for minorities and want to put up all wall and shoot poor people trying to cross our southern border. You can’t be a humanitarian but for torture. You can’t claim to be a patriot and try to take the country apart. You can’t be pro-democracy but then try to stop minorities, city dwellers, and poor people from voting. It just doesn’t add up to any scrutiny whatsoever. Now Sarah Palin might be a major factor in the Republicans losing the election (unless they steal it). She could even tear the party apart. Maybe then the democrats could fall apart too and we could finally have a true democracy where their all multiple parties and people must form coalitions to pass laws rather than just pitting US against THEM.

But that isn’t the reason I think that Sarah Palin will save democracy in the United States. I think there are many little girls out there, Lisa Simpson types, who are watching this campaign and thinking to themselves, wow she isn’t from the political establishment, didn’t go to a top school, didn’t even know elementary facts about the government, isn’t from a rich family, and can’t even speak intelligently. If she can almost become vice president than I definitely have a shot because I am smarter than her. I think many little girls will realize this and see that democracy doesn’t have to be only for rich white men. Anyone can do it.

VeganMoFo- Uncheese

A few weeks ago I found a used copy of the uncheese cookbook at half price books. I was a little unsure about making my own vegan cheese but I had read some positive reviews so I thought I would try it out. The first thing that I made was the farmer’s chedda soup, it was mostly sweet potatoes and carrots as I recall so I thought it would be pretty good and I really enjoyed eating it. The soup was thick and filling while also being quite favorable. I was still not sure about the different cheese recipes but I kept looking them over and gradually got the extra stuff that I would need that I don’t normally have around (quick oats and pimento pieces) one of the main reasons that I thought I might not like these recipes is their reliance on nutritional yeast which I do like but not on everything all the time, mostly in tofu scramble.

So with great trepidation last night I starting putting ingredients into my blender that seemed totally unlikely to go together. It reminded me of “cooking” as a 5 year old, when you just mixed together a bunch of random stuff, added every spice in the rack and blended it all together and tried to get your mom to eat it. The mixture blended up very nicely and I poured it into a saucepan and heated it while it thickened. It looked very cheesy, very creamy and it was bright orange. I had made foccacia that was just coming out of the oven and I tested a corner in the cheeze mix. Oh my! It was so tasty! I ate a whole piece of bread standing over the pot! I spread it out on another piece of bread and put it under the broiler for a few minutes. It was divine. I can’t wait now to try some of the other cheeses!