Monthly Archives: October 2010

Barbecued Soy Curls

I wish Wheatsville would start carrying soy curls. Every time I go on a trip I have to stock up. Sure, I could order them and I could also hire a butler bring me a plate of olives and peeled champagne grapes while I am lounging in the solid gold hammock. In other words, it’s not going happen until I win the lottery and I am not going to win the lottery because I don’t play. I’ll just have to continue to look like a jackass every time I go through airport security to explain to the TSA folks why most of my luggage is weird looking dehydrated  strips because soy curls are awesome and totally worth it. Super healthy, easy to make, wonderfully textured, and cheap they area really a vegan dream come true. I read an article on Oregon Live the other day about Julie Hasson’s technique for barbecued soy curls and we tried them later that day with greens and grits.

They were so good. The key was to first rehydrate them in a broth, we used a mix of parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme, along with “better than boullion” and lemony spice mix. Then after 10 minutes, drain, and then sauté in olive oil for a few minutes until browned and then add the barbecue sauce and cook until it thickens up. Delicious!

Next week starts my 3rd VeganMoFo! I am super nervous excited to blog every weekday. My plan is to focus on the million different ways you can make beans and rice along with some restaurant reviews, news, giveaways, and god knows what else. I was thinking about making some videos of places in Austin, would anyone be interested in that???


Austin- Do you want some free samples?

Sometimes if I am really hungry I go into a complete panic. I start yelling at people and being very dramatic. It really isn’t any fun for anybody involved which is why I like to keep emergency food around all the time. In face, I was thinking about building a little emergency kit with heat and eat food. The problem with a lot of convenience foods is that they are either really expensive or really unhealthy.

I was recently contacted by Tasty Bite, a company that sells “all natural, preservative-free, ready-made ethnic meals ranging from Indian to Thai-inspired” that are super fast to make and compartivly healthy. They are also so vegan friendly that they have a vegan kit!

Tasty Bite has recently been selling healthy conveinace foods in Austin and they wanted me to let you all know that they are giving away samples, all over Austin, for the next week. Since I love free stuff more than anyone (as do most of my broke ass friends)  I thought some of you would be very interested so here is the information.

They will be

Thursday and Friday, 10/28 and 10/29, we’ll be at the following H-E-B locations giving out free samples from 10 – 5: Thursday, 10/28: Ih-35 & Canyon Ridge Dr, Fm 1460 & Hwy 79, Hwy 1325 & Greenlawn, Fm 2338 & Cedar Breaks Rd, S. Congress & Oltorf St. Friday, 10/29: Fm 620 & Anderson Mill Rd, 651 N. Us Hwy 183, Hwy 1325 & Greenlawn, Gattis School Rd & Redbud Ln, Brodie Ln & William Cannon, E. 41st St. & Red River, 5401 & I-h 35

Saturday, 10/23: Austin Interfaith Art and Music Festival, Livestrong Challenge, Fire Dragon Championship, Austin Film Festival

Sunday, 10/24: ‘Gone Fishing’ for Kids

Saturday, 10/30: MexicArte Museum’s Viva La Vida Fest

Sunday, 10/31: Gazelle Foundation Run

Syrian Split Peas with Chard

A couple of years ago I just go so sick of the holidays, not because they are all are inherently shitty holidays, but just the fact that they are the same thing every year. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Serbian Christmas, and Martin Luther King Day all go down exactly how they always have. Well, New Years changes the location quite a bit but you know what I mean; we are still celebrating the same damn holidays every year. Recently Mr. Smurf found out that he is technically Jewish and I thought it would be nice to start celebrating some of the Jewish holidays. And so I got “Olive Trees and Honey“, a book about Jewish cuisine from all over the world, which I have wanted for a while because it gets really positive reviews.

I have quickly fallen in love with this book. Every recipe is a history lesson about a particular tradition, how Jews came to live in a certain place, how cultures mingled, or even how people started to eat a certain type of food. The recipes are all clearly written and, like my other recent favorite, Viva Vegan, the book has many regional adaptations and variations after the recipe. Sometimes the variations are kind of funny, like if you want to make something Hungarian omit the other spices and add paprika. God, those Hungarians must really love their paprika because this seems to be true of every recipe I have ever read in my life. What the hell is going on over there? As someone of Serbian background I also think it is pretty ridiculous that the author always lumps the former Yugoslavia together as “The Balkans”, not really because it isn’t quite accurate but because a certain TV show that I love right now has a bad guy called “The Balkan” so I can’t help but laugh.

The only other issue that I have with the book is that, I would say, 95 percent of the recipes have eggs in them. Sometimes eggs are easy enough to get around, like if one is used as a binder in a dumpling or if they are in a pasta dough. But, other times eggs are impossible or at least very difficult to substitute for. [If you need help veganizing something with eggs check out this post on My Vegetarian Recipes”.] Someone somewhere said if a recipe calls for more than 3 eggs to not even bother veganizing it and many of the recipes call for 6!  Certainly they are not as simple as subbing for meat or cheese or milk.  But I still love the cookbook and I can easily enough make most of the recipes. So far everything has been fantastic.

I recently tried the Syrian Lentils with Chard, it is a fantastic recipe because it is totally lazy cooking but healthy too and very tasty. Also, I finally got to use my Pomegranate Molasses that I bought at least a year ago and immediately forgot what I bought it for so it has been sitting in the pantry ever since. Luckily it keeps forever so if you have been wondering what to do with yours try the recipe! I also switched it from lentils to split peas and cut wayyyy back on the oil.

Syrian Split Peas with Chard

1 TBSP olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped

6 cups water
2 1/3 cups split peas
1 lbs chard, shredded
1 bay leaf
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

3/4 cups cilantro
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses

Heat up the oil and toss in the onion and garlic. Once the onion has become translucent add the water, split peas, chard, salt and pepper. Simmer until the peas are tender and the water has mostly evaporated. Add in the cilantro and pomegranate molasses, mix and enjoy!

Happy Anniversary Sugar Mama’s!

I stopped by Sugar Mama’s 2 year anniversary party on Sunday because it is my favorite cupcake shop in town, it’s so cute and their cupcakes are fabulous. They also raise money for Austin Pets Alive which make it even easier to feel like you are doing something good for the world while you are eating decadent cupcakes. For the party they had free tiny cupcakes, dog cupcakes, Nadamoo ice cream, drinks, and music. I had the cookies and cream and it was so fabulous that I think I swooned. Maybe I was falling over as I took this picture.

They also had a cupcake canon

I hope they were using past their prime cupcakes because if not, they should have fed them all to me!

An Ecomposter, rebates, and why I love the government

That’s right you tea party fucks. I love the government. How you do like them apples? Between funding my job, making it possible for me to buy a house, and all the energy efficient rebates and help I have gotten through the city and Obama I couldn’t be happier with paying taxes right now. No more slum lord for me! I got a rebate yesterday for my new composter. The city of Austin deal is that if you take a class on composting, buy an approved unit, and switch to a smaller trash can you get a 75 dollar rebate on a composter. When I saw the ecomposter for sale on Woot for a hundred bucks I (figuratively) jumped on it… also because it really reminds me of the death star.

The best part about the ecomposter is that you can roll it around in any direction on its base which for some reason is really fun so we do it all the time. Also you can put stuff in from the top or the bottom so if you have a bunch of junk in your hands you it is very accessible. Then you can easily roll it off the base and push it around to where you need it.  I learned in the class that the best thing you can do for your lawn is add a layer of compost to it which is really easy to do when you are just kicking the big ball around.

There was a downside, though, it came in a million little pieces and took about 7 hours to put together. 

Somehow I avoided this chore (have I mentioned I can be kind of lazy?) and Mr. Smurf put the whole thing together by himself while I rested.

I got the rebate yesterday and the whole thing ended up costing 20 bucks. Hooray for composting!

If anyone has any tips for me on composting (its all new to me!) let me know!


Mexican Lime Noodle Soup

This is the perfect soup if you are not feeling well just remember to never feed your mogwai after midnight. Speaking of the rules, I wonder if feeding a mogwai soup is the same as getting them wet? It is all  so complicated!

Gremlins was the first movie that I remember seeing in the theater and I bet I have been eating noodle soup just as long. It was one of the first things I learned to make but it wasn’t until I moved to Texas that I learned about adding cilantro and lime and making it “Mexican” noodle soup. What a difference two humble ingredients thrown it at the very end of the soup making process can bring. The lime adds a lovely full quality to the broth and the cilantro adds lots of flavor while adding to the healing properties on an already curative soup. If you never liked “unchicken” soup try this one because, I promise, you won’t miss the bird.

Mexican Lime Noodle Soup

2 onions

3 stalks celery
3 carrots
5 cloves garlic
8 cups water
teaspoon veggie broth
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 bay leaf
1 package of noodles
1 cup of crumbled soy curls (or TVP)
1/2 cup cilantro
1 TBSP lime




Chop top 4 ingredients, saute until browned about 20 minutes. Add the next 4 ingredients, bring to boil, reduce to simmer and cook a half hour. Add the noodles & soy curls, when they are just about done add the rest along with salt and pepper. Enjoy!




Vegan Options at ACL

I will admit it, I am so excited for ACL this year! In the past I have been kind of a hater, preferring SXSW and Fun Fun Fun fest for my Austin music festival needs but this year my number one and number two most favorite bands of all time are going to be there. And with so many different bands that I want to see I just can not wait for this week to end and to the shows!  Plus it isn’t scheduled to be 120 degrees, it hasn’t been raining for the last 6 weeks, and we aren’t in a serious drought so it will probably be the best weather ACL has ever had. I am going to bring a sweater!

The question, always, is will there be something to eat there and the answer is yes. First,  my bag will be filled with Cliff and granola bars because when you are scheduled to see 5 different bands all at the same time it is nice to have something to eat on your person.  Our top contenders for the vegan food dollar this year are:

  • Free Bird Burrito– this local burrito place has pretty great and filling burritos, everything that appears vegan (rice, beans, guac, etc) is vegan and they have lots of different salsas and peppers to make things interesting.
  • Boomerang’s– the home of the vegan curry hand pie is going to sell a Thai Veggie bowl at the fest that they promise is vegan. I haven’t tried it but I am excited to give it a shot!
  • Olivia– This  newer restaurant on South Lamar is going to have a baked potato with a creole topping that they say is “total vegan-tastic goodness!”

The Steamed Veggie Chipotle Wrap from the Galaxy Cafe is vegan if you take off the cheese and the chipotle mayo, but then it would probably just be steamed vegetables.

As for things that look like they could be vegan but are not: For reasons I can not understand Torcy’s tacos puts cheese in their beans, Kerbey Lane puts some animal fluids in their pancake soysage on a stick, The Mighty Cone puts butter in their avocado cone, Garridos puts mayo on their Avocado Serrano wrap and they told me the hummus wasn’t vegan (?) and P Terry’s puts egg (I think) in their veggie patties. I guess none of them want my dirty vegan money.

If you are coming in from out of town check out my Austin Food Guide and make sure you stop at Wheatsville co-op for supplies and popcorn tofu, Toy Joy for some ice cream, and Counter Culture for some awesome food!

On a very personal note of extreme excitement I want to welcome Miss Biscuit, Dinger’s BFF home (she totally reads my blog)!Over a year ago Biscuit, who was already very skittish from her crazy life before she was rescued by my dear friends Heidi & Nate, heard a loud noise and ran out of the house. Heidi and Nate couldn’t find her even though they searched and searched for weeks. They were crushed and I couldn’t even think about the whole situation without crying. Well, they got a call from the pound…. after a whole year…. that they had picked up Biscuit and connected her to them because of her microchip. It is the best news I have heard this year…maybe in my whole life ever. I am so glad she was chipped and I’m so glad my babies are chipped too. I can’t even imagine how happy everyone was to see each other again. Love you Biscuit!

Hatch Gravy Bowl & A fantastic package!

Since I got back from vacation I have been trying to eat as healthy and simply as possible. To be honest, I have been eating the kinds of things that non-vegans imagine when they even think of the word vegan. Especially if they think vegan = hippie = brown rice and dark leafy greens. That’s right folks, I have had this combination many times in the last few weeks. The key is to keep changing the sauces and occasionally adding a component that is more traditionally associated with protein like beans or soy. The great part about eating this simply is that grocery store trips are super easy and fast and cheap which is super because the multiple vacations led to a very broke smurf. The downside all this simplicity  is I don’t have anything interesting to blog about from my kitchen. The best I’ve got is this bowl that was basmati rice, swiss chard, soy curls, and a hatch chile corn gravy. The picture reminds me of weird turkey gravy and shitty diners across the midwest but it was actually pretty tasty.

Then from the complete other end of the spectrum, I got a package from an internet friend in Australia Cupcake KittehMandee is pretty much the hero of my universe now because the package was AMAZING. Now I want to visit Australia so bad. Everything I have tried has been so good. There was a rice milk chocolate bar that I gluttonously ate in one sitting and vege chips made out of cassava and shallots that are totally addictive or they would be if I could ever buy them again. There was so much stuff in the package that I really can’t believe it. I didn’t want to leave Mr. Smurf alone with its contents!It is just really unbelievable. Thank you so much Mandee.