Monthly Archives: March 2009

The Mighty Cone- Not Vegan Friendly

Every year Austin host the ACL music festival which is like a typical festival in the park with multiple stages of large touring acts. One aspect that makes ACL a little bit different and a little better is that instead of the typical festival food (elephant ears, corn dogs, and cheese fries) ACL has local Austin restaurants set up stands and come up with items just for the festival. This usually means a lot more veg options than the corporate fair and better food. One breakout is “the chicken cone” and though it sounds like something you would get at any state fair, according to my friends it is worth going to the festival for the deep fried chicken surrounded in coleslaw with a spicy dressing all surrounded by a tortilla like cone. After years of huge lines at the festival the restaurant decided to open a trailer on South Congress and I checked the online menu and it seemed to have some possible veg options so we were on our way.For vegetarians they have a deep fried avocado cone, and I say vegetarians because the coleslaw is not vegan. I got mine without and found the fried avocado pretty lacking without any accompaniments. That’s not to say it wasn’t good; the batter was crisp and tasty and the avocado was in really big chunks, it was just lacking a flavor contrast. Some spinach and tomatoes would have made it worth returning. Sadly, I won’t be. One reason I thought the whole trip might be worth it is because the menu also mentioned chili-dusted fries. In reality, they were just somewhat soggy regular fries, served in a cone, and lightly sprinkled with chili which I could hardly taste.

The real slap in the face from the mighty cone was their descpription of their “Veggie Sliders”. Online it only mentions that they exist but at the store they sounded great, I don’t remember the details because I was shocked and appalled by the note that the sliders were “Almost vegan, just a little butter”. You F****** bastards. You could easily make these vegan, you know how to do it (a little oil or margarine instead) and instead you choose to say “Screw you” to any vegans who might fall in love with your trailer, write blog posts about it, and send recommendations to everyone in the vegan blogosphere. Instead, you have to get uppity and laugh at us with your stupid sign proclaiming your love of butter. Really, if the sign had said “Not Vegan” I would have respected them for being clear, but the taunting “Almost Vegan” sent me into a rage.


Austin- Haircuts for Cats (well, the cuts are for people, the money will go to the cats)

I wanted to let you all know about a fund raiser my co-worker and stylist friend is participating in, it is perfect timing because I need a haircut, she is great, its 20 bucks, and it benefits animals.

Cut-A-Thon for Cat Rescue

Russ & Company Hair Salon

Neighborhood: Downtown
1805 West Ave
Austin, TX 78701

(512) 472-6961

Sunday April 5th, 10am-6pm

Come get your hair cut and rescue cats! The foundation has been taking care of (medical wise) and feeding stray cats for a while now.  They
feed some 300 odd cats and there has recently been an upsurge is sick cats lately, so we are
trying to raise money for their medical bills.

$20 wet cut
$25 with blow dry

All proceeds go to help sick and stray cats!

Salone Di Essenza will be there from 10-2, but the Cut-A-Thon goes all day.

Come out and see us, get a haircut, and save a cat!

Asparagus with Peanut Sauce

I was not really able to stick to my menu plan starting almost immediately after I got home from the store. I was scheduled to make a tofu dish but I was really feeling noodles and I also didn’t feel like following a recipe so this is what I came up with. It was so delicious! I used the peanut sauce from Get it Ripe which was delicious, maybe the best creamy peanut sauce recipe that I have tried. Unfortunately, it used coconut milk and a lot of peanut butter so it was probably very fattening.

All I did was stir fry some onions, garlic, and asparagus while I cooked the udon noodles. When the noodles were done I mixed them with the peanut sauce, topped with the asparagus stir fry, cilantro, lime, and spring onions. It was a great fast meal.

Grocery Shopping

Today I have to go grocery shopping. I am not looking forward to it because I have to work on Saturday so I can’t go to the Farmer’s Market and am instead going to get stuck in nightmarish Austin traffic going to the co-op. Wah wah my life is so hard.

I did a lot of planning for this most recent trip in an effort to curb going out to eat and the ever present, “What is for dinner tonight” conundrum. I actually planned all my recipes (from Fat Free Vegan, 101 Cookbooks, and A Domestic Affair), plotted them out on my google calendar, and made a list of everything that I need so I will not be buying everything at the store that looks good. I will let you know how it goes! It won’t be as fun without experimenting but maybe it will free up more time for life.

For a while now I have been using Pocket Mod for my grocery listI really like it because it is tiny and I can make little sections like, “Bulk” and “Produce” on different pages which makes actually shopping a lot quicker and easier. I hate being in the bulk section and suddenly seeing “oranges” and going to the other side of the store.

I also found a master list of grocery items that helped figure things out. Normally, I just keep a list on the fridge and update things as I run out of them but then I never remember things I am almost out of. Here it is in case you need one too.


Lazy Smurf goes to SXSW

For the past 5 years I have been a volunteer at the South By Southwest Music, Film, and Interactive Festival. This year my volunteer crew was dissolved (since no one shoots on film anymore) and I almost let the laziness take over. See, I am lucky enough to have a job where we get Spring Break off and it falls during the festival and with the beautiful weather it was hard, very hard, to not go with my true nature and spend the week, blissfully, in my hammock, doing yoga, and taking the dogs on epic hikes. But another part of my nature is taking advantage of things that are free, and watching movies, learning about technology, and enjoying music. In the end I decided to participate and it was so much fun. The first part of the week I spent seeing movies.

Some of my favorites were Moon, a low-budget but wonderfully acted  science fiction. I was really excited to see this because I love sci-fi but I am not into big-budget independence day-type movies that saturate the market. Indie Sci-fi is lot more interesting but a lot more difficult to make well without a budget. This one was great, the effects and set design were very believable and the premise was really interesting and original. The direction and the acting made it a really enjoyable and thought-provoking flick.I also enjoyed Sebastian Gutierrez’s Women in Trouble. It was one of those movies that makes you really happy independent film exists, or rather independent video in this case. You seldom see women characters in a mainstream movie and this one had at least 10 main characters that were women. Off the top of my head the only interesting female movie characters I can think of…. I can’t think of any, really. They mostly exist in TV (hello Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Battlestar Galactica) but they exist in real life as well (hello every lady I know) so it is disappointing that in movies women are only ever sex objects or family members. This was a movie where the women were either professional sex objects or mothers, daughters, and sisters and yet they managed to be dynamic multi-dimensional, entertaining characters as well.  And it was really funny! Women are never funny without being over the top emasculating bitches in movies so this was a real switch.It was sometimes confusing for me because it was shot on video with a lot of porn actress characters so I kept expecting the sex to start any second but it never did. Well, there was one very disturbing scene involving a story about sex but you will have to see the movie to learn about that. Instead, there was scene after scene of women in L.A. living their lives.

Speaking of women, if you are as terrified as I am by the idea of birth you might enjoy the movie Grace and the short animation Birth. Two very different but equally chilling takes on procreation.

I always enjoy the animated shorts but I especially liked the stop motion animation “Sweet Dreams“. It was original and fun and,  I think, even had a message although it starred a cupcake. I wonder if the filmmaker, Kirsten Lepore, is vegan?

Another film that I missed but really wanted to see and thought I should inform you all about is the movie Mine. It won the best documentary category but I was working my volunteer shift when it was on and missed it. It follows the story of dogs that got left behind in hurricane Katrina and then got adopted by new people. The hurricane survivors eventually found their dogs and a legal challenge ensued. What a nightmare. I hope it gets released and if it does I am going to see it. I love dogs.

One political doc that I did see and really enjoyed wasthe Yes Men Fix the World. If you haven’t heard about these guys, check out their first documentary, “The Yes Men” they are a couple of corporate pranksters who got their start making fake websites for places like Halliburton and then waiting to get invited to conferences and giving hillarious presentations. They are really funny and the movie even ends on a hopeful note.

I had one moment when I was a little bit star struck during the Q&A for Observe and Report. I really like Seth Rogen and everyone from Freaks and Geeks because it is the greatest tv comedy in the world but I probably would have passed if it he hadn’t been there along with one of my heroes, the funniest woman I know of, Anna Farris. I first fell in love with her in the creepy movie May but she completely won me over in the only girl stoner movie, Smiley Face. If you have ever enjoyed a stoner movie please check this one out, it is so hilarious and she plays a stoner better than anyone. I really enjoyed getting to see her!Finally, I learned a lot about mushrooms and mushroom culture in Know Your Mushrooms. First, I want to mention that I didn’t even know there was a such thing as mushroom culture, and for a while I lived in the heart of it in Olympia Washington. I wish I would have learned about foraging for wild mushrooms then! It looks like so much fun and tasty. It ended with a beautiful sequence of time lapse mushrooms growing and then we got a Q&A where I learned that it is supposedly really easy to grow your own mushrooms.

I didn’t attend the screening that had free mushroom pizza but I did try some new things in Austin, until I ran out of money.  Alin over at Pulling it Together raves about Lulu B’s little trailer and I have been wanting to go there since it opened, the hours just don’t mesh with my schedule but with a week off I finally got to go and I tried the tofu vermicelli bowl.It was really fresh testing with the cumber, greens, vegetables, and basil. The tofu was seasoned nicely and was the perfect texture, and perhaps best of all is that it was really a lot of food for a very low price so I will be coming back for sure! I want to try the avocado sandwich mmmm sandwich.

Halfway through the week my sister came to town which has been great. Dan has spent the week as her intern and is hoping to land a spot in the organization.

She is tough to keep up with! I don’t usually hang with people that consider going home at two am an early night. Her first day in town we saw some bands at Habana where they were offering free pancakes.

Did you know they have pancake batter in a spray bottle now? I don’t know if it is vegan but regardless I wasn’t about to try it. Instead, Sistah Smurf bought me lunch and I got the vegetarian platter. They have the best salsa in town and I am going to try and recreate the yucca fo’ sho’.While we were there I got to here the band Brothers and Sisters and they were really good.

I also got to see Erykah Badu at Auditorium shores which was followed by the always fantastic Explosions in the Sky which were followed by explosions in the sky.It was a good week.

Marinated Olives

Marinated Olives, originally uploaded by fikustrees.

Here is another great idea for St. Patrick’s Day. I got this recipe from Bon Appetite Magazine. They have to marinate for several days, the longer they stay in the marinade the better. I think a mix of different sized green olives would be perfect for the holiday, but you could probably marinate a log in this mix and it would be really good and pretty!


* 4 cups assorted brine-cured olives (such as Kalamata, picholine, Lucques, and Niçoise), rinsed, drained
* 1 1/2 cups olive oil
* 6 fresh thyme sprigs
* 6 whole star anise
* 4 large garlic cloves, peeled, flattened
* 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
* 2 bay leaves
* 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
* 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, coarsely cracked
* 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice


Place olives a bowl. Combine the remaining ingredients in heavy medium saucepan; bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Pour oil mixture over olives. Cover and chill at least 3 days and up to 1 week.

Bring olives to room temperature. Using slotted spoon, transfer olives, herbs, and spices to serving bowl. Pour over enough oil from bowl to coat.

Spinashed Potatoes

Did you know that you can add spinach to your mashed potatoes and then eat them with smug superiority knowing that they are more nutritious than their plain white brethren? They are really yummy, colorful, and easy. Imagine how excited people will be if you serve these for St. Patricks Day! Just add a few handfulls of chopped spinach or baby spinach to your cooking water when your potatoes have another minute to go, drain and mash as usual making sure that spinach gets incorporated.

Reason 337 that I have the best boyfriend

He came up with that title after I took a picture of this meal he made for me last night.

I have had a tough week, all of my staff has suffered major tragedies, baker smurf got hit by a truck on his bike on his way to work and broke his clavicle, sleepy smurf had a hit and run, acupuncturist smurf has been really sick for about a month with symptoms of pneumonia but no access to Western Medicine, and chatterbox smurf”s house burned down. I spent the entire rush hour driving and running errands, when I got home I was so stressed out that Mr. Smurf made me dinner while I drank delicious beer and cuddled with puppies.

I have wanted to make this meal since I got the book. It is chipotle spiced black-eyed peas that are cooked with some other aromatics and spices, served on top of maple mashed sweet potatoes, and steamed collard greens. This is one of the greatest super healthy meals I have ever had! It tasted decadent and flavorful and comforting. I love sweet mixed with spicy which is kind of the theme of a lot of recipes in Get It Ripe. Collard greens, black-eyed peas, and sweet potatoes are some of my favorite foods as well and they are all very nutritious. I also liked that everything was a whole food and lots of greens were involved. Another thing that I appreciate about this book is that the serving sizes are very accurate for us. In the Veganomicon and other books usually things that say four servings aren’t true since Mr. Smurf will easily eat 2+ servings. Get it Ripe is accurate for us, though, which is great because that way the recipes yield leftovers for lunch the next day, which I love. So thank you Jae for writing the cookbook and Dan for making the meal! If you have the book you should try it, or better yet, get someone who loves you to make it for you.

Sesame Tacos with Blood Orange Salsa

I am sure I have blogged at length about my love of blood oranges and now it is the season! Get some before they are all gone and you can make this delicious and beautiful salsa. To make enough for 4 tacos I used

2 blood oranges, chopped (chop them carefully and pour the extra juice in the bowl)

1/4 of an onion, chopped finely

1 serrano, chopped

2 Tablespoons of cilantro leaves and stems, chopped finely ( pour the extra juice in the bowl)

mix together and enjoy!

For the tacos I took the “Pork” cutlets I made for the Al Pastor tacos, chopped them, surrounded them in a mixture of black sesame seeds, cayenne,  salt and pepper and pressed them between pieces of parchment paper. I sauteed some onions and garlic and then added the seitan. It was great!

A South Austin kind of weekend

I have had the greatest weekend ever. One thing that made it great was the fact that it really got started on Wednesday night so it seemed extra long. I went to an event at the Alamo Drafthouse where the band The Octopus Project played music to quite a few experimental films. I love artists that attempt visual music in general but this was really well done. The band sounded great and some of the movies were really interesting.  I noticed that if the movie had a plot I didn’t notice the music as much but if the movie just interesting visuals then the music seemed amazing. I wonder if everyone’s brain works that way. I guess the band is going to release the music they did as an album and I can’t wait to here it again.

The next day my good friend came in to town so it was back to the Alamo for the opposite event, the No Shame Sing-a-long. The program said ” These are the songs we turn up the loudest when we’re driving with the windows rolled up.” and I thought it sounded great. They played my top three favorite songs- if you had asked me back when I was 8, Look away by Chicago, Right Here Waiting For You by Richard Marx, and Bryan William’s Everything I do I do for you. Do you have any songs you are ashamed of to sing along with?

We spent the next day shopping and I found this lovely store called happiness that sells plants and other stuff and I bought some cactuses.

If you live in Austin check it out. The owner was really nice and told me on the first Saturday of the month they have a big potluck and live music. There were lots of little spots to chill and enjoy nature. This store inspired me to spend the rest of the weekend being crafty and decorating my house which was so much fun. I didn’t have time for cooking and Dan was nice enough to make food.

Did you ever eat chili mac when you were a kid? I always thought it was the most disgusting thing. That was the one school lunch where I was positive to bring something. Later, when I was a teenager I worked at Steak’n’Shake for many years and sold thousand of Chili Mac and Chili 5-ways and I never once ate one. They smelled and looked nasty. On Saturday morning I had an epiphany that chili mac would be great if you just used a fantastic chili. Dan made Isa’s Tempeh Chili from the ppk and we ate it all weekend on macaroni noodles with shallots, avocado, hot sauce, and cilantro.It was so yummy. A traditional south Austin end to a great weekend.

This week begins my volunteer work for SXSW which starts March 14th so I will probably be blogging a lot less and when I do it is more likely going to be about bands, movies, and computers instead of yummy food.