Monthly Archives: June 2009

Vegan Dad’s Tempeh Ribs

As time goes on I like tempeh more and more, does that mean I am getting a vegan palate? I really had a craving for BBQ for the last few days but I didn’t want to make anything difficult so I made my sauce and just cooked the tempeh in it. I didn’t even grill it as Vegan Dad suggests but I will make it that way the next time I have the grill out. It is such a smart idea to make the sauce in the cast iron on the grill while you make everything else! I also made my own barbecue sauce that was terrific! No recipe though, I had to freestyle. I made cornbread muffins from Vegan Lunch Box but I used blue cornmeal and they turned out way too sweet. I don’t think it was from the blue cornmeal but the 2/3 of a cup of maple syrup I put in. It seemed like too much but I will never learn to trust my instincts when it comes to following baking recipes in a book. I also made macaroni with earth balance and fresh herbs that was good but screamed I can’t wait to get paid.

Cantaloupe Batido a recipe for another scorcher

This is the part of the year where you see if you really have what it takes to live in Texas. It is so hot that you can fry tofu on the sidewalk. You can leave some batter in the car and come back to find muffins. Eating tomatoes off the vine is like a slow cooked marinara sauce. In these times when it is a hundred and five it is too hot to do anything but relax with a cool refreshing drink.

In Central and South America Batidos are very popular. I think Batido means “beaten” because you beat the hell out of your ingredients with a blender. It is a lot more violent than the north American smoothie but it is also a hell of a lot more fun. You can use whatever tropical fruit you like, if your fruit is very sweet you don’t need to use and sweetener and you can omit the milk and use water instead. Here is how I made mine

Cantaloupe Batido

1/2 Cantaloupe, cut into big pieces

1 cup of milk or water (I used Oat milk)

1 Tablespoon of Agave Nectar

1 cup of ice

Then just beat It, beat it, beat it, beat it no one wants to be defeated showin’ how funky strong is your fight just beat it, with a blender.

I had my batido alongside another recipe from Vegan Brunch: Polenta Ranceros. This might be my favorite to boot. We added a little Black Salt to get the egg flavor and I topped it with a puree of yogurt, cilantro, and lime and then some cherry tomatoes & green onions it was fabulous.

Poor Dinger really hates the heat, he has allergies so I have to give him a lot of showers. Luckily, getting toweled off is one of his favorite things in the world. Whenever we get out the towel, even for us, he runs up saying “towel me”! My mom offered to take him for the summer which he would probably like. A beagle that summers in Illinois I can see it now.I plan to spend the weekend submerged in water so if you don’t hear from me know that I drowned happily! Have a fun weekend!

I fell in love again OR a trip to Chicago

I just got back from a whirlwind trip to the Midwest and though my body is back my heart is somewhere still dancing in Chicago, I think I might have forgotten it! Or it probably got lost at O’hare. I went back to be with my literal family and my figurative family and it was an intense trip filled with some mind-blowing times. I didn’t eat very much but I did have two incredible meals in Chicago despite the fact that my sister claims that “we don’t have a lot of vegan food in Chicago”(very frustrating and untrue)!!!! I went with my mom and sister to Le Colonial which is one of the many French Asian Fusion places in the city. It was a beautiful restaurant, not at all like the shacks I like to frequent in Austin. In fact, it made me a little nervous, all the white table cloths and waiters constantly refilling your water. The food was worth it though, I talked the family into getting vegan spring rolls and I had this fantastic tofu curry dish.

It had eggplant, tomatoes, and broccoli all in a very soupy and spicy curry sauce. My sister really liked the tofu, she said it had the exact same texture as French Toast.

My lovely and wonderful friend Becky always takes me to vegan places because she loves me. We even went to the new Whole Foods, don’t worry Austinites, ours is better although they do carry Teese and had this really cool diner stand. I really wanted to try the new dandies vegan marshmallows but sadly they didn’t have any. And they were all out of Mozarella Teese. Damn you Whole Foods!

The Chicago Diner was fantastic as always . Why Austin doesn’t have an all vegan diner is beyond my comprehension. Everything was so good. I had to get a milkshake because somehow they make the best milkshakes in the world, so creamy and good without a hint of off vegan dairy flavor.Then I had a Monte Cristo with melted cheese and bacon and Mac & Cheeze. It was phenomenal. The Frnech Toast was so crispy and good and the savory “bacon” added a special element that you just can’t get at restaurants here in Austin, which is maybe a good thing because I probably would eat there at least once a week and I would end up like the mom in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape“.I also made a lot of new friends and I drove an RV!

And I hung out with old friends and family too.And we finally got the band back together

Taco do Sul

OK, this picture is so awful but the tacos were really good and easy, a great summer taco, so I had to post about them!  First I made a quick marinade of a tablespoon of  Mexican oregano, 10  Kalamata olives, a small sweet orange pepper, and 1/2 cup of red wine. I steamed the tempeh for ten minutes then marinated for about and hour. Meanwhile, I made an orange-onion salsa with red onions, cumin, and oranges. Then, an hour later I sauted the tempeh in oil until it browned, added the marinade to the pan, reducded for a minute or two and then piled the tempeh into corn tortillas with spinach, and the orange-onion salsa. The olives rebounded so well with the peppers and the cumin sang its little cumin song of happiness in the background while the tempeh grounded everything in the way that only tempeh can. If someone makes these tacos and takes a better picture I will replace the picture and send you a gift from Lazy Smurf’s headquarters.  So make them! Eat them! and Enjoy!

Italian Feast, some Broccoli Quiche, and a Swiss Chard Fritatta

I have been cooking up a(heat) storm from Vegan Brunch so I thought I would share the wonder that is this books. First I made the Broccoli Quiche which was surprisingly creamy but somehow the Broccoli flavor wasn’t strong enough for me. I think next time I will saute it for longer with more liquid to bring out the flavor. It could have been a problem with my broccoli too. I love this picture I think it looks like some sort of a broccoli space ship.I also made the Italian Feast Sausages with Spinashed Potatoes and the Jalapeno corn gravy from the Veganomicon. I loved these sausages! It is so nice to have the recipe right there too, so I don’t have to come up with one on my own or look it up on my blog. We used these the next day for some Seitanic Jambalaya and they really elevated the whole dish. And the gravy was kind of magical despite its somewhat off putting yellow color. It uses only corn and cornstarch for thickening so it might be a good choice if you are trying to avoid flour or beans.  Finally the real star of the show, the Swiss Chard Frittata. I don’t know why this was so yummy, I think the only spice was Thyme or Oregano but I just loved it! I also made the lemon pepper roasted potatoes and they were really easy and good. Homemade Iced coffee has become my new staple and I am really excited to have it always on hand, but that is another post!I do wish this book had come out in the winter when I had nothing do all night besides cook, now that it is a hundred degrees outside and about a thousand in my kitchen is getting really hard to cook but I want to make everything from Vegan Brunch. What a conundrum.

The dog days of summer have arrived.

Thai Fried Rice with Garlic Scapes

If you are trying to cook more meals at home but struggling with it one of the best tips I can give you is always be thinking about your next meal. If you have the grill fired up add some summer squash or some bell peppers to use in meals the next day. Or, if you have the oven going for an hour to bake a casserole you may as well put a couple sweet potatoes wrapped in foil or roast some garlic while you are at it (but don’t roast garlic while you are baking cupcakes!). Not only will you have some of the work done but it can give you a starting point when you are trying to decide what to make the next day. If I am making a pot of rice or beans I always make more and often freeze extra beans. Cold rice can easily be reheated but it is best utilized, in my opinion, as Fried Rice, particularly Thai Fried Rice. I never liked Fried Rice at Chinese restaurants. A lot of times it tastes like the Styrofoam tray that they serve it in and the only flavorings are some soy sauce. Thai Fried rice is totally different, even if you don’t have any vegan fish sauce it will still be fabulous because of the addition of green onions, cilantro, and lime. You can even still add peas and carrots if you like them! In this version I also used garlic scapes because they are delicious but you can add just about anything to Thai Fried Rice, pineapple is a popular choice and tomatoes are really good but don’t be afraid to add some kale or broccoli either. Then you can pretend that you are having a really healthy meal.

4 Cups cooked chilled rice
frying oil
1 Tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic
1/2 Cup onion, chopped
5 garlic scapes (or other vegetable or fruit if you like)
1 lbs tofu (you can drain and press it and cut it into cubes or break it up like in tofu scramble)
2 Tablespoons vegan fish sauce (or soy sauce)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 green onions, chopped
handful of cilantro, chopped
lime wedges for serving

First heat up your oil in a large wok or skillet so that a piece of garlic sizzles on contact. You will need to use a little more oil for fried rice than for a regular stir fry, about 3 tablespoons. Next add your garlic and onion and stir fry about 1 minute. Add your scapes or other vegetable next and fry for another minute. Next add your tofu. It is important to press the tofu into the pan so that it will get crispy and release any water that can then evaporate. After you put in the tofu don’t toss it until it crisps up about 2 minutes and then flip and fry the other side. Once the tofu is firm break up the clumps of rice with your hands and add them into the wok or skillet. Use the same method as with the tofu for frying; press the rice against pan and let it fry in the oil before you toss it. Once all the rice has changed color add your sugar and sauce, check your balance and see if you need more sugar or more sauce, all the brands are different and if it too salty you might have to add more. Finally, add the green onions and cilantro remove from the heat and serve with lime wedges. Enjoy!

South Austin Trailers: Mambo Berry & Armadillo Tea and Coffee

Trailers are popping up in Austin like ads on Internet Explorer. Every time I go down a street that I haven’t been on for a week more trailers have emerged. South 1st has had its own little trailer park eatery for a while and now South Congress does as well. It started with the cupcake stand (I think) and the last time I was there was to try the Mighty Cone. By the time I went back there were at least 4 more trailers. I was excited to try Mambo Berry because it was a super cute trailer and the menu promised to be very vegan friendly.They offer 3 different tamales, all of which are vegan and a vegan egg salad like sandwich.  I didn’t try it but the guy who runs that stand was really nice and assured me that it was vegan and very tasty. They also had smoothies on the menu but  I was excited to get the tamales.  One was chipotle and mushroom, another was just called vegetarian, and the third was sweet potato and pecan. You could try all 3 for 7 bucks with a side of chips & salsa included. I, instead, got two for 5, I usually love the sweet potato pecan tamales but I wanted to try his other ones. They were all really good, the chipotle was really spicy but I liked it and two tamales were plenty of food. I was excited that chips and salsa came with the meal but disappointed in the salsa. It didn’t taste freshly made and was overly tomatoey for my taste. It was a good meal and I would go again for sure. It was really nice to have a quick vegan option on South Congress where it can be slim pickins.

I was glad that I bought a beverage, though, at the next trailer over the Armadillo tea and coffee trailer. I had a hibiscus iced tea mixed with lemonade. It was one of the best drinks I ever had. They had a really great menu and it was hard to decide. I am, unfortunately totally obsessed with Bubble tea but I have also spent all of my money for the month and it has hardly started! What a disaster.

I took a snapshot of the menu and I am glad I did because they don’t appear to have a website! Armadillo and Mambo are in cahoots and on Wednesdays they will give you a discount so check it out! The food was great the drink fantastic!The trailer park is only going to be around for a little while, they are going to build a big hotel where it is located in a couple months so get out there while you can and support local vegan friendly businesses!

Vegan Brunch- Sausage & Greens with Smoked Almond Gravy

We have been day dreaming about opening a vegan brunch spot for forever. It is my favorite meal and probably what I make the most: breakfast tacos. Well now my concept of brunch has been greatly expanded since Isa Moskowitz finally put out the much anticipated Vegan Brunch book. I can’t wait to get a waffle maker and make some of the savory waffles! And here I thought I didn’t need any more kitchen appliances. Our first meal was in the top ten meals of all time according to Mr. Smurf who is a huge fan of Ms. Moskowitz’s work. We made Cherry Sage Sausages which were comparable with any vegan or non sausages we have eaten in out lifetime, smoked Almond gravy which was terrific, bagels with Kalamata olives that I raved about yesterday, and paprika spiced roasted potatoes which were (sadly) much better than my paprika roasted potatoes that I make all the time. Since it was breakfast for dinner we also had PBR.

The gravy was really terrific, it wasn’t as creamy as a normal gravy but the smokey taste added a lot to the whole meal. It is the kind of gravy you could eat with a spoon.

We had the cherry sage sausages in  a dish called something like “Collard Greens and Sausages” but I used kale because that is what I had on hand.  This is something that I make quite a bit but I followed the recipe for everything instead of just throwing stuff in and it really paid off. The potatoes, the greens, and the sausage were all great. I can’t wait to try more from the book! Hooray for Everything!

Homeade Bagles

I made this bagel with Kalamata olives. It was a revelation so good with a perfect consistency and taste. It is the first bagel I ever made and maybe the first bread that I have ever felt was perfect. Maybe it was the olives. They can solve anything. Not only did I make the bagels but I also made the garden herb spread with fresh herbs from my garden. The yellow grape tomatoes and cherry tomatoes were also from my backyard. The broccoli sprouts were from the jar next to my kitchen sink. To get more homemade at this point I am going to have to start growing my own wheat and milling it myself. This bagel with so different then the bagel you get at the store with its dying sprouts and tomatoes ripened by chemical sprays.  Both the bagel and the spread are recipes from the new vegan brunch which I am starting to work through, everything has been great so  far!

I also went camping this weekend at Krause Springs in Spicewood. It was the PERFECT weekend for camping; not to hot or too cold. I could sleep in my sleeping bag and still be comfortable in the morning. It was a weekend of readin’, napin’, and swimin’ the epitome of the Lazy Smurf lifestyle that I am constantly striving for.

Here is our lovely shady camping site And the hiking pathAnd some flowersAnd a little streamAnd finally the big smimin’ hole, complete with waterfall and rope swing

This is going to be the best summer ever!