Monthly Archives: October 2008

Larry David on the election

This is exactly how I feel. Let the torture end!

Waiting for Nov. 4th

I can’t take much more of this. Two weeks to go, and I’m at the end of my rope. I can’t work. I can eat, but mostly standing up. I’m anxious all the time and taking it out on my ex-wife, which, ironically, I’m finding enjoyable. This is like waiting for the results of a biopsy. Actually, it’s worse. Biopsies only take a few days, maybe a week at the most, and if the biopsy comes back positive, there’s still a potential cure. With this, there’s no cure. The result is final. Like death.

Five times a day I’ll still say to someone, “I don’t know what I’m going to do if McCain wins.” Of course, the reality is I’m probably not going to do anything. What can I do? I’m not going to kill myself. If I didn’t kill myself when I became impotent for two months in 1979, I’m certainly not going to do it if McCain and Palin are elected, even if it’s by nefarious means. If Obama loses, it would be easier to live with it if it’s due to racism rather than if it’s stolen. If it’s racism, I can say, “Okay, we lost, but at least it’s a democracy. Sure, it’s a democracy inhabited by a majority of disgusting, reprehensible turds, but at least it’s a democracy.” If he loses because it’s stolen, that will be much worse. Call me crazy, but I’d rather live in a democratic racist country than a non-democratic non-racist one. (It’s not exactly a Hobson’s choice, but it’s close, and I think Hobson would compliment me on how close I’ve actually come to giving him no choice. He’d love that!)

The one concession I’ve made to maintain some form of sanity is that I’ve taken to censoring my news, just like the old Soviet Union. The citizenry (me) only gets to read and listen to what I deem appropriate for its health and well-being. Sure, there are times when the system breaks down. Michele Bachmann got through my radar this week, right before bedtime. That’s not supposed to happen. That was a lapse in security, and I’ve had to make some adjustments. The debates were particularly challenging for me to monitor. First I tried running in and out of the room so I would only hear my guy. This worked until I knocked over a tray of hors d’oeuvres. “Sit down or get out!” my host demanded. “Okay,” I said, and took a seat, but I was more fidgety than a ten-year-old at temple. I just couldn’t watch without saying anything, and my running commentary, which mostly consisted of “Shut up, you prick!” or “You’re a fucking liar!!!” or “Go to hell, you cocksucker!” was way too distracting for the attendees, and finally I was asked to leave.

Assuming November 4th ever comes, my big decision won’t be where I’ll be watching the returns, but if I’ll be watching. I believe I have big jinx potential and may have actually cost the Dems the last two elections. I know I’ve jinxed sporting events. When my teams are losing and I want them to make a comeback, all I have to do is leave the room. Works every time. So if I do watch, I’ll do it alone. I can’t subject other people to me in my current condition. I just don’t like what I’ve turned into — and frankly I wasn’t that crazy about me even before the turn. This election is having the same effect on me as marijuana. All of my worst qualities have been exacerbated. I’m paranoid, obsessive, nervous, and totally mental. It’s one long, intense, bad trip. I need to come down. Soon.

VeganMoFo- How to break down a Hard Squash

Recently I have been eating a  lot of squash since it is in season, cheap, and really yummy. I love it roasted and in soup but it can really be a pain to deal with when it is rock hard. I have tried several different methods but I finally broke down and got a cleaver about a year ago and it makes all the difference in the world. Plus it is really fun to use.

All you have to do is give your squash a serious whack and the weight of the cleaver will make it cut right in two. I also use this method for coconuts and anything (or anyone) else giving me a hard time

After cutting the squash in half I usually roast the squash in the oven and scoop out the insides. Sometimes, I just want the squash for soup, as was the case last night, and I don’t want to spend a whole hour roasting it. When this happens, I use the microwave method. All you do it take the two halves of the squash and put them cut side down in a large bowl, you don’t want them to be lying flat, you want them tilted so the microwaves can penetrate both sides at once. For the acorn squash I microwaved for 10 minutes rotating halfway through and was easily able to slice of the skin and add it to my soup.

mmm soup.

VeganMoFo- A Vegan Day at the Office

Today I taught another workshop at my office on how to make healthy lunches to bring to work. It warms my heart to help people that are struggling with obesity, diabeties, and heart diesease by teaching them how to incorporate vegetables, grains, beans, and fruit into their diet. I have a whole presentation that compares a meat & cheese burger lunch with a bean taco lunch. The calories for the former is upwards of 1800 whereas the tacos clock in at around 400 calories. I also talk about how to cook different beans, grains, and vegetables and quickly make them into salads, sandwiches, soup, and casseroles. I also make some samples, the Black Bean, Mango & Quinoa Salad on endive leafs was a big winner

But the show stopper was a white bean hummus that is modified from Dreena Burton’s recipe. In the last workshop I gave one girl cleaned the bowl out with her finger and everyone asked for the recipe both times. The key, I think, is to use fresh herbs. It doesn’t even taste like hummus, it is more like ranch dressing.

Here is what I blended in the food processor

1 can of white beans

juice from 1/2 of a lemon

2 tbsp tahini

1 medium clove garlic, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp sea salt

ground pepper

1 tbsp water

1 tbsp of fresh thyme

1.5 tbsp fresh sage

it was great on pita chips but I think would be even better on a sandwich or a wrap.

VeganMoFo- V for Vegan Victory

My not-in-laws came to visit us over the weekend for the first time in several years. We went to San Antonio and saw the Alamo

and had dinner on the Riverwalk

and saw interesting Texas memorabilia

and I ate a lot of portabello sandwiches and drank a lot of beer for several days

I really wanted to cook them dinner and for weeks I have been discussing with D what we should make for them. When I got home from work on Friday I sat and talked with them about what we could do that night and I said well we could go out or I could cook some super food at home. They looked really nervous and said “well I don’t know if we would like that” I was truly shocked! Everyone loves my cooking, I even give workshops on it! The Dad is a meat-and-potatoes-no-spices guy but I still felt pretty confident that I could make something that they would love. I decided on the Eggplant Rollatini from the Veganomicon because it says in the intro, “This is a meal that impresses non-vegans every time and is for when you want to be on top of your vegan game” and I thought, perfect! Plus who doesn’t love Italian food, that is fried, and I could put spagetti on the side that could easily become a meal.

Well Sunday  night  I cooked and I cooked and everyone got very excited as the smells were wafting into the room. I knew I had won over the mom because she kept coming in every few minutes saying “what are you doing now” but I was still nervous about that dad.

The meal came out beatifully

the plate was gorgeous

and the Rollatinis were super cute

Everyone was blown away. The mom said that she was going to chain me to the kitchen and force me to cook every meal and that it was better than any restaurant. The dad stayed quiet most of the meal, but I was happy to see that he was eating and he said softly, this is really good. Then, at the end of the meal he said, “You know, this is something I would never have ordered at a restaurant and I would have missed out because it is really good” then the mom said, “and I think this is the first meal I have ever had that was all vegetables” and the dad said, not just vegetarian, no animal products at all. Its amazing”

So it was a victory for vegans and animals everywhere! They even made the connection that no animals were harmed in the entire dinner and they seemed to be excited about it!

VeganMoFo- I already miss summer cooking

In Texas it is hot in the summer. Maybe some of you haven’t ever even really experienced what “hot” can be. The warmest day in Portland is maybe 90 degrees when here in Austin 90 degrees means you wear long sleeves at night! This summer we finally got a grill off Craig’s List and could cook without heating up the whole house although it was still impossible to cook without sweating. Unfortunately, since I was in charge of cooking that meant I was not in charge of the fire which led to this.

I had lot of fun making Susan’s Ribz several different times

The smoked Tempeh from the Veganomicon & Creole Style Black Eyed Peas was really good. Using fresh black-eyed peas is so great. They are just so creamy and delectable.

In Texas there is no type of food more important than BBQ and I feel like as a vegan you can appreciate BBQ sauce more when their isn’t a bunch of fat and gristle in the way

Baked BBQ Tofu with sweet corn and collards

BBQ Black-Eyed Peas wrapped in Collard Greens

and a BBQ Seitan Sandwich from Whole Foods because sometimes it is really nice to go into a freezing cold grocery store and have some vegans cook for you!

We also eat a lot of Mexican inspired Dishes here in Austin. I made these tacos one night when I wanted something quick and easy

And I made Phish Tacos using the fish stick recipe from Vegan Lunch Box (a great recipe) and a Beet & Jicama slaw

And the delicious Pasta De La California with an heirloom tomato Serbain salad. Who would have thought that Avocado could literally be added to any dish and make it better.

Also another Southern style dish. I don’t know how they do it but the tofu at our co-op is so good that you would be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t like it.

Southern Fried Tofu from Wheatsville Co-op with Black Eyed Peas

From this photo essay I have really learned that I need to get some different plates if I am going to be a food blogger! I can’t believe all the things I didn’t cook when I had the chance; I never once made Watermelon Gazpacho or Tomato Pie. I guess I will have to wait for next year. But now we get to move onto the most fun cooking of all HOLIDAY COOKIN!

VeganMoFo- Sweet Potato Quesadillas

I saw a bumper sticker this morning that said “Rock out with your Guac out!” and I laughed because it reminded me of the wonderful dinner that I had last night.

I was starving when I got home and wanted to make dinner as quickly as possible. Luckily I had a sweet potato that was already baked in the fridge and some avocados that were sitting in the window and finally perfectly ripe.

I sauteed some sweet peppers, a jalapeno, and a lot of garlic on the stove while I made some guacamole to tide me over. Then I added black soy beans, chopped swiss chard and frozen corn and cooked for another 3 minutes. Then I added the mashed sweet potato, salt, pepper, and lime and I would have added cilantro and olives but I didn’t have any! That really shows how desperate my need is to go shopping.

Then I wiped out the pan, rubbed a tortialla with oil and put in a quarter of the mixture, shaped into a half moon and then fried while I formed the next one. They both fit into the pan and took just a couple minutes to get crispy on each side while I cleaned up the area. I can’t even explain how tasty these were. I liked them much better than the cheese ones that I used to make back in my college days. The whole process took about 15 minutes, used one pan, and was relatively healthy (Swiss Chard!) and super tasty. The leftovers were formed into a burrito and eaten cold by yours truly seconds ago for a very delectable lunch.

I assumed that “Quesadillas” meant something cheesy so I looked it up in Wikipedia. I found that

The word comes from Spanish, and literally means “little cheesy thing” (from queso, or “cheese”, + ada, an adjectival suffix, + illa, a diminutive suffix).

I looked up sweet potato thinking I could make a cool new Spanish vegan word and found it translates like this

sweet potato~ potato sustantivo
boniato m, batata f, camote m (Andes, Méx);

So I am at a loss for what to call it. Batatadilla? Pequeño Potato Sustantivo? If any of you speak any Spanish and have any ideas please post them!

VeganMoFo- NadaMoo!

I never thought I could live in a world without ice cream. In fact, I never even considered giving up ice cream for any reason. Sure the cows are tortured, it has a ton of sugar, more saturated fat than almost anything, and is totally lacking in nutrition but it was also one of my favorite parts about life. When I went vegan I didn’t even realize that I wouldn’t be able to eat ice cream anymore! I thought about how I wouldn’t be able to eat Chicago style pizza, Crepes, or Queso & Chips at the Alamo anymore and I was willing to let that go but I didn’t think about how I wouldn’t be able to eat ice cream until I got the craving.

I went to the store and got some sort of Cherry Garcia knockoff thinking that would be an easy one to replicate vegan style. I opened it up in my backyard sitting on my hammock on a 100 degree day expecting the worst. It was more disgusting than I could have imagined. Totally inedible. I tried a few other kinds and though they were better it was still always a disappointment and not at all like what I was used to.

Then one day at Central Market I noticed a “Shop Local” sign in the vegan frozen treats case and my interest was piqued. It was a brand I hadn’t seen before.  I checked the ingredient list expecting the worst. Instead I found

coconut milk, organic agave nectar, organic brown rice, organic chicory root, grain-sweetened chocolate chips (whole grain barley, and corn, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, pure natural vanilla), organic mint extract, carrageenan, organic guar gum, sea salt.

I couldn’t believe it! Agave Nectar! Brown Rice! Coconut milk! Of course it makes so much sense to use coconut milk the creamiest and fattiest of all the milks.

I brought it home and opened the top of the mint chocolate chip (my favorite since childhood) and that day my life changed for the better. It smelled like coconut. It tasted divine. I would never want for ice cream again! Thank you NadaMoo for being so great! Folks, if you get a chance try some you won’t be disappointed. Hopefully, as time goes on, they will have as many flavors as Ben & Jerry and you will be able to buy NadaChubbyHubby at any store.

* Note I do not know the people at NadaMoo nor am I affliated with them in any way. I am just very thankful and hopeful that if I spread the word the company will stick around.

VeganMoFo- Mexican Pizza & Olive Chips

Last week I made an Italian Taco and it got me thinking about what other cultural mash-ups I could do. Although the Mexican Pizza is somewhat common most places just throw taco ingredients on a typical pizza crust. In Olympia Washington I used to love a place called El Sarape; they made the Mexican pizza the way I like it, with crispy tortillas instead of a pizza crust and lots of olives. Of course, it was covered in meat and cheese as well and now I live in Austin Texas, so I thought I could try my own version. I have had some Teese kickin’ around the back of the fridge for a while now along with some cheddar Follow Your Heart so I knew I could keep up the cheesy element and I also had some olives. Two cups of black beans in the freezer would make a great base re-fried and some salsa, which is just Spanish for sauce, right? It ended up being, by far, the best Mexican Pizza I have ever had. If it sounds appealing you should try it out, I think kids would love this recipe and it came together really quickly and was very filling for two people. You could bake the tortillas instead of frying them and not add the cheese and it it would be a fairly healthy meal as well. I didn’t measure anything out and the quantities will depend on how big your tortillas are so I will approximate.

2 Large Tortillas
2 Cups of Black Beans
1/2 Cup of Onions, chopped
2 cloves of Garlic, chopped
1/4 Cup of Mozzarella and/or Cheddar style vegan cheese
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Chili Powder
1/2 cup Vegetable Broth
1/3 cup Salsa
1/4 cup Olives

you can also add green onions, chives, mushrooms, spinach, corn, whatever you like

Saute a half a cup of chopped onions and a couple cloves of chopped garlic for 5 minutes

Add a teaspoon of cumin and a teaspoon of chili powder

Add black or pinto beans and saute another 5 minutes

Add about a half cup or so of vegetable broth and cook another minute

Mash the whole mixture with a potato masher and set burner to low

Meanwhile heat canola oil, one inch deep, in a pan that is the same size or a little bigger than your tortillas

Test to see if the oil is ready by dropping in a tiny bit of the tortilla. If it sizzles on contact you are ready to go.

Fry the tortillas on each side until golden, about two minutes and then set on paper towels to drain

Preheat the broiler

Spread three quarters of the bean mixture on the tortilla and top with the second tortilla and lightly press together

Mix the remaining beans with the salsa and top the tortilla

Cover with shredded teese or other vegan cheese, olives, and any other toppings

Place pizza under broiler until cheese is melted

Slice and enjoy!

I also discovered the greatest chips at the store. The brand is “Food Should Taste Good”. I saw that on the bag as I was marching through the aisle, it stopped me in my tracks. Food shouldtaste good I thought to myself and then laughed and saw that they were olive chips, had natural ingrediants and appeared vegan. They were terrific! Olive Chips Link

VeganMoFo- Cookies and the Flaming Lips

Over the weekend I got to see the new Flaming Lips movie “Christmas on Mars” I loved it but it certainly isn’t for everyone. I had to wonder if Wayne is a veg because he transposed an egg yolk with a human fetus and had a delightful scene where someone was cutting into a sausage with a fork and knife and then hallucinated that it was a human fetus. There were fetuses and vulvas all around and it really put me in the Christmas spirit. After the movie there was a Q&A with Wayne where I learned their new album will come out next summer and that he would rather be deaf than blind.

On Sunday I was feeling very sickly and made the Chickpea Noodle soup from the Veganomicon. My wonderful partner made me Chocolate Chip Cookies to cheer me up and so that I would continue to think that he is the best guy in the world. Here is a picture of them right out of the oven before I was allowed to eat them. They were the best cookies ever.