Monthly Archives: April 2009

Portobello Sandwich with an Olive Chimichurri

I got some lovely “ancient grain” bread at the farmer’s market on Saturday and I had some portobellos so I knew I would have to make a sandwich. I have always had a strange relationship with sandwiches. When I was a kid I hated mustard, mayo, lettuce, pickles, relish, raw onion, sauerkraut, and horseradish so if I ever went to a restaurant my sandwiches were really plain. When I used to go to subway I would get a cold cut, tomato, and as many olives they could fit. One day, in the year 2001 I got into a fight with a sandwich “artist” who would only give me 6 slices of olives. She said the corporate policy was that extra olives cost 35 cents for each additional serving of 3 slices of olive. I explained that I wasn’t getting any of the other condiments so it seemed unfair. She refused to give in; maybe she didn’t have a soul or perhaps she was threatened by the company. Regardless, I left the restaurant in disgust and vowed never to return and to this day I refuse to purchase anything from Subway. Sometimes I can really identify with Grandpa Simpson.

I still don’t like most traditional American condiments but I love all sorts of other things including the great food love of my life: the olive. This sandwich was a roasted portobello marinated in wine, olive oil, soy sauce, balsamic, and garlic and then topped with arugula and roasted red peppers. I also made a cross between and chimichurri and a tapenade for the spread that was delicious! In a mortar and pestle I pounded out some garlic and then added parsley, basil, green olives, and tomato. Heavenly! The key with a sandwich like this is to toast the bread so it doesn’t get to soggy. I served the sandwiches with Potato Squashers. This picture also shows off my new salt and pepper shakers that I got at room service. So smurfy!


Southern Taco

This taco was a winner!

First I sauteed an onion and then added chopped garlic and chipotle powder. After everything was glistening I added some sliced mushrooms and cooked until they gave off their water and then added a can of black-eyed peas. In the meantime I baked some tater tots, toasted some pumpkin seeds, warmed up some tortillas, and chopped a tomato, cilantro, and some green onions. A nice quick taco that had everything I needed to be a happy smurf.

A Wonderful Spring Weekend

My mom came to visit this weekend and we had a lot of fun going all over town instead of hiding out in South Austin. I finally got to go to the Daily Juice cafe but I didn’t have my camera! It was so good, even though I have read a lot about the wonder that is the Juice I was shocked, I thought it was better than any raw restaurant I have been too. I was nervous about taking my mom since she doesn’t know about the “living food” movement or anything to do with raw veganism but she was starving and agreed to go and she loved it! She had a BBQ coconut sandwich and I had and avocado ceviche and for dessert we had these peanut butter chocolates. Oh my God, if you live in Austin or come to visit please put it on your list of things to try. We also went to the Eastside Cafe, the South Congress Cafe, Taco Deli, and had drinks at Vivo. She loved everywhere we went so that was fun and I was excited when everyone ordered vegetarian at the Eastside without even thinking about it. I was surprised by the lack of vegan options there. I thought with their emphasis on fresh vegetables it would be a no-brainer but alas dairy was everywhere. I tried the Acorn Squash with soy ginger dressing there and it was delectable I also had the mushroom pot stickers but they were just so-so. The cocktails at Vivo were really good and fresh and they have a nice patio. I had an amazing drink that was Hornitos tequila, Cointreau, muddled fresh strawberries & basil, fresh lime juice. I think it will be my official drink of summer!

We also went to the farmer’s market and they were having an art fair too so lots of people were out and even more vendors than usual. The music was a lot of fun too! I saw the biggest cabbages I think I have ever seen.This one was kind of like Audrey II.

I also saw some really pretty orchids.

My mom bought me some plants because she is awesome! I got some really cool succulents that I am excited about but of course already forgot the names of. I should really take a notebook with me to the farmer’s market. There is this flowering one with neat bark.

and this psychedlic baby.

I also got a Thai Lime plant to replace the giant one that I had for two years but died in a cold snap last December. Soon I will be able to cook Thai Food again!I also got a big cherry tomato plant that already has tomatoes growing! I am so excited that tomatoes are happening! I got a bunch of big ones at the market.And the Pièce de Résistance I was so excited to find these tiny asparagus. It hurt to cut them up but I finally had all the ingredients to make the quiche from the Veganomicon and so I did. The funny thing is that I was just talking about how I had never had a good vegan quiche. Now I know the reason is that I hadn’t tried the Veganomicon version. Instead of tofu you are supposed to use walnuts and navy beans. I didn’t have any so I used half pine nuts and half pecans and it turned out so wonderful and creamy. We couldn’t stop eating it. It was really late by the time it finally came out of the oven so the picture doesn’t really do justice to the amazingness that was this quiche.

Tropical Tempeh Tacos

I made these tacos and they were pretty good and really fast but I will have to work on the recipe before I post it. All I did was boil the tempeh with soy sauce while meanwhile sauteing the onion, garlic, and red cabbage. After the tempeh cooked for 10 minutes I added it to the saute and then finally the pineapple. I topped with with green onions, lime juice, cilantro, and a little bit of the parsley pesto I had left over. I think when I try again I will grill everything instead of sauteing. They were really good, fast, and easy. I ate too much.

Do you like Tempeh? Mr Smurf adores it, he can eat it plain and still cold and wonders why it isn’t more popular at restaurants. I thought about it and I couldn’t remember ever coming across it at any Austin restaurants, even the Indonesian place.  I like to buy it because of the health benefits and  because it has a really unique taste but I would love to try a restaurant version. How do you like your tempeh?

Pascha Palachinke

Growing up Serbian Orthodox you always celebrate holidays a few weeks after the rest of the country which always made me feel a little important somehow; like my holidays were more authentic then these silly neighbors of mine who would celebrate their holidays on any old day the man told them to. Yes, I was self important even as a child, but you know, Orthodox Lent is really 40 days of veganism and vegans are known as self-important so maybe it was a natural fit. The 40 days is usually finished off with killing a lamb. I didn’t kill any lambs this year for Pascha (Easter) but I did make some vegan crepes (or Palachinke in Serbian) with the finest Spring ingredients. I found green garlic, ramps, baby Swiss chard, and oyster mushrooms at the farmer’s market so I wanted to use them. I was disappointed that another Spring was about to pass by again without me getting to try Fiddlehead Ferns but then I found them at central market! I was so excited. I baked all the vegetables in a 400 oven with earth balance and salt and pepper for about 10 minutes. And they turned out delicious, what a brilliant combination. The ramps were like leeks but different enough to have a flavor all their own. The fiddlheads tasted like asparagus, a curly, snappy version of asparagus.

I used the recipe for the crepes from the voluptuous vegan and it once again proved to be a winner. I also made the baked tofu recipe from the voluptuous vegan and it was really good, creamy and flavorful but fast and easy and so it was a perfect match for these easy crepes.

I had earlier gone to the Texas Food and Wine festival and at a cooking demo I realized that I don’t eat enough parsley. It is the perfect complement to a Spring dish, the flavor is really fresh and just kind of zippy. I did a little epicurious search and found a parsley pesto with toasted pepitas and decided it would be perfect, without the parmesan of course and adding a little citrus. It was delicious! Parsley is one of those foods that I didn’t used to like but now I am finally coming around to it. If you want to move into a new phase with you relationship with parsley I recommend this recipe. The creamy pepitas really added a nice element to the strong parsley and toned it down. I could eat this pesto buy itself or just on bread because it was so good. Maybe I will make it with pasta tonight. The perfect pepita parsley pesto pasta. The whole crepe came together really nicely. Mr. Smurf used at least 4 reallys when he was complementing the final dish. If you find these fiddlehead ferns and the farmer’s market definitely try some.Here is the recipe for the pepita parsley pesto

  • 1/3 cup raw green (hulled) pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 cups packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 TBSP of Lime

Process the garlic first, then add the pepitas and process a little more. Add the rest of ingredients, process until pesto consistency and add salt and pepper.

This post was brought to you by the letter P and the following sponsers:

Kombucha – Mushroom Tea

When you think of mushrooms maybe you think of this

or this

but probably not I don’t know what you think about really, I sometimes think of my friend Sandra. She had two neighbors in Olympia named Bryan and Ryan. They were best friends and they had names that rhymed and those boys loved their mushrooms.

Like a lot of people that went to the Evergreen State College these young men studied the many endless variety of mushrooms that can be found in the rainy state of Washington. In retrospect, I wish that I too had gotten into mushroom hunting, but I was too busy doing important stuff like making movies and watching Twin Peaks to be bothered with survivalist life skills. These classes, also, always seemed to involve drum circles so I passed and am trying to get caught up now.

A long tangent to get to the matter at hand: Kombucha tea which is probably not even a mushroom as Sleepy Smurf and I have been debating this morning as we drank our Buddhas Brew here in Austin Texas. I recently went to a talk  with a mushroom expert and I was sure that he said Kombucha was a mushroom. Sleepy is sure that it is not since it is a yeast but I think that the mushroom expert said yeasts and mushrooms are the same. Bryan and Ryan would know for sure but it really doesn’t matter (Evergreen says it is not a mushroom). People in both Russia and China call it Mushroom tea and have been drinking it since ancient times for its healing properties.

It is a relatively new phenomenon in the US. I first tried it a few years ago when I was trying to do an all raw diet but I really didn’t like the flavor. It had a strong vinegary taste. Since then I have tried it off and on. I learned that Kombucha can be really good for your digestive tract, this is something that I have always struggled with and when I learned that Kombucha could grow good bacteria in my system I became intrigued. I later learned that people think it has all sorts of healing properties, from fighting cancer to warding off infections people think it is great for everything but I couldn’t get over my taste issues. Lucky for me, I gave it another shot the other day at the Live Oak Market and discovered what I friend I have in Blueberry Buddha’s Brew. It made my stomach feel immediately better and I am pretty sure that I grew a couple of inches. Really, I felt like my whole system was fortified with goodness. The effects were immediate and totally unexpected. Buddha’s Brew touts the tea as a “Daily Elixir of Health” so I have been trying to drink one every day. I recently discovered that I can buy a whole case of the blueberry and the grape (my favorite flavors) at the Farmer’s Market at a great price so hooray! And it is brewed right here in South Austin. I read on Addie’s blog that she had recently learned to brew her own and following these instructions I think I might try it soon. Until then I am stoked that I can get Buddha’s Brew at the Live Oak Market, the People’s Pharmacy, the Whip In, and Thom’s Market. I love when convenience stores are actually convenient!

Republican Tea baggers

I guess we should feel sorry for the tea baggers because it really shows a lack of a good education more than anything else. Don’t you people realize that you eventually have to pay for all the lack of regulation and multiple wars? Where did you think this money was going to come from? That is one of the reasons that we were all so mad but you were to busy being patriotic, buying things cheaply at Walmart, and supporting the president in a time of war that you didn’t pay attention.Hey dude with the hat, maybe you should re- read that constituion. Hey 11 Trillion guy: That is because of BUSH!

This is just sad! Now is the first time you are afraid of the governemt? Not when they started torturing people, rolling back civil liberties or killing all those people? Now?

These two I have no words for.

But so far this is the most disgusting example. Hitler? Killing 4 million people? Don’t you think that comparison is a little over the top?

Psst! What this man doesn’t realize is that he can’t have an abortion.

Like protesting dog licencing fees?

Ah, another vegan in the crowd! With a mullet no less!

Can you believe Obama made an economic depression in just 3 months? Oh I miss the good old days of Bush with his fiscal responsibility, he never would deregulated big business and then bailed out big banks.

racist and proud!

Goodseed Organic

I have passed by this trailer many times and wanted to stop for their breakfast tacos but it has always eluded me. Every time I go over there with the trailer as my destination it is all closed up but when I am in a hurry going somewhere else it is wide open. Today, I was headed over to the Fair Bean for one of their delicious empanadas when I noticed it was open AND I was hungry so I did a U-turn and stopped by for a quick taco on my way to work.

Their menu was very vegan friendly and very raw food oriented although I wouldn’t call it a full on raw food place. The first thing that I noticed was that they carry Buddha’s Brew Kombucha which I am totally obsessed with and bought a case of at the farmer’s market last weekend. So that is great to know that there is another place I can get it since they don’t carry it at whole foods or Wheatsville.  The breakfast menu included a manna bread peanut butter and jelly sandwich, oatmeal with homemade hemp milk, and steamed greens.

The tacos had the usual vegetarian suspects and for vegans they had a bean (black or refried pinto), seasoned potato, and avocado taco which is what I opted for. They also had the largest choice of tortillas that I think I have ever seen, including a gluten free brown rice tortilla, sprouted corn, wheat, flour and sprouted wheat. My taco was cooked on the spot and came out in just a couple of minutesIt was delicious! Both the potatoes and the beans seemed to be seasoned quite nicely and the avocado had a vinaigrette dressing. The filling could have easily filled two tacos and I was nervous that they only gave me one corn tortilla but it held up. The tortilla was kind of strange and I think next time I would go for a different one. The salsa and the pico were both spot on and added a nice flavor to the taco. I think it is a nice addition to the south austin vegan taco scene.

For lunch they have several different options including a couple different green salads and a pasta salad. I think this is a great spot for quick healthy eating, especially if you stay away from gluetan or are . And the coffee was good too!

Chickpea Soup for the Vegan Soul

I caught this stupid virus that my sister brought from the freezing cold Windy City. Yuk! I haven’t been able to enjoy the spring weather at all, instead, I have been laying around watching Star Trek and unfortunately an entire season of America’s Next Top Model, I could actually feel my brain deteriorating as this was happening. Top Model is like a train wreck that you can’t look away from, you just feel so sorry for the people involved and the world that we live in where a tragedy like this can happen over and over.

Today I am almost fully recovered! Yay! The only real difference is my sultry voice from non stop coughing. I owe my quick recovery to a combination of Kombucha, Grape Seed Extract, and soup… oh the power of soup. Whenever cold season strikes it seems like magazines and newspapers bust out their “Chicken Soup actually does have healing powers article” but if you look at the research it is the onions that are mostly doing the trick, the chicken can(should) be replaced quite easily. In the Veganomicon the recipe uses chickpeas for the protein and adds miso both for the added flavor and for its amazing healing powers. Its a combination that can’t be beat!I changed the recipe a bit, omitting the mushrooms (they don’t belong in chickpea soup!), adding leeks because they are great and I had some, and adding Better Than Bouillon, No Chicken Base, vegeta, and I used less miso. It was terrific. Exactly what you would expect for this kind of soup!