Monthly Archives: November 2010

This is the end…. or is it? (it’s not)

The end of veganmofo is here. In it’s honor I have posted Boyz II Men’s Spanish Version of End of the Road. If you think this is because I am out of my mind you are dead wrong, this is exactly what my mind is like.

Since it is the last day and I’m not going to blog for a while I thought someone out there (me) might want a wrap up of all the rice and beans recipes I did this month.

My favorite was, without a doubt, Frijoles Refritos (vegan refried beans)


other great recipes I tried or made up that I liked were

Arroz Verde

Gallo Pinto

Mushroom Beans and Garlic Rice

Riso Rosso and Roman Beans

Drunken Beans and Seitan Chorizo

Morning Spiced Rice

My favorite post was the video I made from the Austin Chili Cook-off, it was a ton of fun

 

and if you are in the mood for one more video check out so so vegan beans and rice

 

I’m Dreaming of a Chocolate Pretzel Tart

I think the first sign of the Christmas season for me was when, the day after Thanksgiving, all the ice cream trucks stopped playing their usual tunes and switched over to Christmas music.

I also have a sudden and  overwhelming desire to bake cookies and make other fabulous desserts which usually I couldn’t care less about. I saw this Chocolate Pretzel Tart on pictures and pancakes and I have been kind of obsessed with veganizing it for the holidays. The picture is so beautiful.

Or maybe I will make buckeyes with a chocolaty pretzel shell.

I haven’t decided yet.

The one thing I do know is that is is really good timing for Isa’s new book “Appetite for Reduction” to come out. I can’t wait to get my hands it! Luckily she already posted some of the recipes. Last night we tried the Caribbean Curry Black-Eyed Peas with Plantains. I never would have thought steamed plantains would be so great; I have always had them baked, stewed or fried, but they worked really well in this dish.

Thanksgiving- the meal that, thank god, lives on as leftovers

Our Thanksgiving this year was pretty awesome. I decided to have it much later than usual which was a disaster because I was so hungry that I felt like I was going to pass out and it was dark so the pictures turned out terrible. But the eating….oh the eating…was amazing.

I made the vegan turkey roast from Everyday Dish first, I added some smoked paprika and basted it with soy sauce, liquid smoke, and oil which made a really nice coating. It was super easy and will be great for Thanksgiving sandwiches.

The Brussel Sprouts with chorizo were really tasty, but not as good as the sprouts we usually have. Next year it is back to tradition!

My favorite part was the Oaxacan Dressing but I didn’t take a picture! It looked just like the one from the recipe on Saveur so I am posting that, it had chiles, fennel, prunes, and cumin and was so delicious. The only thing I did was replace the eggs with ground flax seeds blended with water and it worked perfect.The Roasted Cranberry Sauce with cinnamon, cardamom and jalapeño was also a winner. It had port in it so it was sweet and delicious with a little bit of spicy. We all really enjoyed it.

And here is the shot of my full plate with the mushroom gravy, the mac daddy, and everything. As you can imagine I did not have seconds and we spent the rest of the night on the couch or the floor. It was perfect.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Menu

We braved the crowds and got everything we need (except fennel) for Thanksgiving tomorrow. One more trip and I can start cooking. Here is the final decisions on what we are having. Eveything changed again when I was reminded of last year’s Diana Kennedy’s Saveur spread. Then I remembered that we had homeade chorizo so I decided to use that for the Brussels Sprouts instead of my usual go to Thanksgiving recipe.

 

Vegan Turkey Roast + spices from Viva Vegan and basted with a basting liquid that is 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon tamari, and 1 teaspoon liquid smoke and maybe wrapped in filo

Mom’s stuffing, onions, leeks, celery, garlic, bread, eb, sage, thyme

Oaxacan Dressing with poblanos, apples, and fennel

Slow-Cooked Mushroom Gravy– perfect because it can just sit in the crock pot and not tie up any burners. Plus if after a month of gravy Tofu & Sproutz says this is the best I have to try it.

Roasted Cranberry Sauce with cinnamon, cardamom and jalapeño

Mashed Potatoes

Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo

Mac Daddy from the Veganomicon

Mom’s Apple Strudel

 

Pumpkin Dumplins

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. Sure New Years is a blast and we all love Casimir Pulaski Day day but Thanksgiving is the best. You don’t have to buy people presents or get dressed up or go “out”, you just stay in, feast, drink wine, and maybe watch a movie. I have spent so much time in the last week deciding what to make and really it is just silly. I can make those dishes any time if I want to, but I guess  it is different; Thanksgiving should be crammed in with as much good food as you can figure out how to fit on your table.

I saw this beautiful page of vegetarian recipes on the New York Times the other day and I knew I had to make the pumpkin dumplings. I am kind of a dumpling fanatic and I had never thought or heard of a pumpkin dumplin, but it makes so much sense! And if you drop the ‘g’ they even rhyme.  We did a couple of substitutions to the original recipe, regular flour instead of gluten-free, and ground flax instead of eggs and they worked beautifully and were very quick to make. The dumplings were very doughy and reminded me of Thanksgiving stuffing; they were very similar in texture. We had the dumplings on top of Thanksgiving spiced rice (sage, celery, thyme, and onions) and it was a great little quick  precursor to the feast.

Tunisian Chickpeas

I tried this recipe for Tunisian chickpeas last night from Olive Trees and Honey but overall it was only OK. It used way too much cumin for my taste and a lot of garlic. I am going to share the basic idea because I thought it was interesting and with some work could be a great weeknight meal

First, you sauté a lot of garlic in olive oil and then add pieces of bread. The idea is to brown the bread and infuse it with the fried garlic and then throw it in the food processor and later add it to thicken the sauce. I think this is a brilliant idea and that was the most amazing part of the dish, everything was infused with garlic bread flavor! I need to start doing this in soups.

Actually first you are supposed to cook 2 cups of chickpeas but instead I used two cans and maybe that was my problem–not enough chickpeas– because then it called for 2 TBS of cumin, some sweet paprika, 2 small dried red chiles, and 20 peppercorns after autéing 2 onions in the same pan you used for the garlic. Then after cooking that a few minutes you add the chickpeas, a cup of water, and a bunch of kale (or chard or spinach).

When I make this again I am going to back off the cumin and add black olives and mushrooms. Mmm olives.

Everybody’s Working for the Weekend

I have so much to do this weekend! Tonight is Vegan Drinks at Cheer Up Charlies. I am excited to eat at Iggi’s Texitarian while I am there because somehow I still haven’t tried it.

It is supposed to be a great vegan food trailer and they have fried zucchini and buffalo wings on special!

Then I have to figure out what to make for Thanksgiving which will be a lot of fun because I love going through recipes. I will definitely be making the Miso Glazed Brussels Sprouts, because that is now a Thanksgiving tradition, along with mashed potatoes, cranberries, apple strudel, and stuffing. I also want to try one of Tofu & Sprouz’s Gravies but I might just go with my standard roux based gravy depending on the main dish. And that is the part I am having a hard time with. Last year I made seitan dumpling that we all loved.

but the year before that we had this fabulous seitan roulade that was beautiful and amazing.

I asked Mr. Smurf what he would prefer and he said “ooo those dumpings….or the roulade that was so good…or you could make something else” so that wasn’t very much help at all! Do you guys have any favorites?

I bet after all the Thanksgiving planning I am going to have to go back to Counter Culture Saturday (and maybe Sunday) for the Thanksgiving sandwich, it only happens once a year!

I am so excited because this is one of the best weeks of the year, plus it is getting cold enough that the dogs are demanding to wear their sweaters and next week is a three day work week! Do you all have exciting weekend plans?

The Daily Juice and The Soup Peddler together at last

Did you ever have a dream that two of your favorite places would combine forces into one super place? Like when the “After Dark” opened up into the same building as the “Peach Pit”. Or what if a place you already love and go to all the time started selling something else you loved, like if the Double R Diner started selling vegan donuts. Essentially that is what is happening with the Soup Peddler and the Daily Juice.

The Daily Juice is a place you don’t want to miss in Austin, and it is pretty easy to find since now they have multiple locations.

Barton Springs

The have about a million kinds of delicious organic super healthy juices. Everything from simple juices like The Sugar Magnolia (peaches and watermelon) to the more complicated offerings like the Thai Curious (carrot, coconut, ginger, beet, cilantro, cayenne, lime, and Himalayan sea salt)

and they also offer really great house made raw foods and kale chips, and bars.

The problem with all that raw food is that sometimes you want something hot and comforting. That is why I am so excited that the Juice is teaming up with the number one soup expert in the state of Texas.

The Soup Peddler is a guy in Austin who, after being disillusioned with his boring job, decided to start making big pots of vegetarian soup, taking orders to see how many people in the neighborhood wanted the soup, and then delivering them by bike. We used to get the soup every week. On Wednesdays we would set out our cooler and reusable soup bucket and when I got home from work I would have a beautiful soup waiting for me. The business constantly evolves and now he has teamed up with the creator of the Daily Juice and together they are going to open a soup/juice restaurant a stone’s throw from my old house! I can’t believe how many new places are opening in my old neighborhood but the Juicebox is the most heartbreaking. Well heartbreaking is a pretty a pretty strong word since I can still go there all the time. If you want to read about how all this happened check out David’s blog because he chronicles the whole process, a really interesting 5 parts story if you have ever thought about opening a restaurant or food service.

Anyway the Daily Juice, along with some other places like the Whip in, are now carrying the Soup so you can pick it up any time instead of ordering ahead! And that’s right folks, all the soups are VEGAN! I went to the location on the west side the other day.

location on Lake Austin Blvd.

and I was so excited to see they were carrying my most favorite soup in the whole rotation, the Mulligatawny! 

It was delicious and served in a coffee cup which was perfect for my on the go soup eating needs. Of course I got juice too.

and I felt like I was having the healthiest and tastiest food in Austin! The only way they could make it more convenient is if they started running after me carrying those cups of wonderfulness. But that would probably scare the hell out of so an actual establishment really makes more sense in this case. 

 

 

Vegan Arroz Verde

My general approach to working with non vegan recipes is this:

Step 1: Substitute animal products with vegan alternatives or omit

Step 2: Add kale or another leafy green.

The way I see it, you can never have too many leafy green vegetables in your life. In fact, when people ask me any sort of nutritional question my go to answer is, “I think Kale has a lot of _____”. In my mind vegetables make anything healthy and although it isn’t entirely true or even close to whole story it works for me. I love them.  I think this is the first time I added Kale to rice, though, and it worked amazingly!

This recipe is based on one I saw on Chow that was adapted from Diana Kennedy’s arroz verde from her book The Essential Cuisines of Mexico. Diana Kennedy is definitely one of my heros, if you are interested in cooking Mexican food or just knowing more about it I recommend all of her books. They have so much information and description of all of these techniques that most non-Mexicans know little about.

Vegan Arroz Verde

3 roasted hatch peppers, stems, seeds, and membranes removed, coarsely chopped (any other pepper, like poblanos or serranos will work some will be spicy and some won’t so choose accordingly)
2 green onions, coarsely chopped
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves (about 1/2 bunch)
1 cup of coarsely chopped Kale (about 1/2 bunch)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons earth balance
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
2 cups vegetable broth
1 lime

INSTRUCTIONS

In a blender, pulse the peppers, scallions, kale, cilantro, and salt with the water

Heat oil and earth balance in your rice pot (ie one with a lid). When the earth balance starts to liquefy , add the rice. Sauté, stirring occasionally for ~ 3 minutes.

Add blended ingredients to the pan and mix well. Simmer for 1 minute, then stir in vegetable broth.

Return mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook until liquid is completely absorbed and rice is tender, about 14 minutes.

Remove from heat and let rice sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover and squeeze lime juice over rice. Fluff up and Enjoy!

We had the rice with the fabulous refried beans, avocado, and verde salsa. They were the best rice and beans tacos I can remember having! They would be perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!

Gracias Madre inspired Frijoles Refritos (vegan refried beans)

Over the summer I went to San Fransisco and had the best refried beans of my life at an all vegan Mexican restaurant called Gracias Madre. It was confusing to my sense of Texas pride to be bettered by California (of all places). It was even more confusing to discover I had developed Texas pride but I guess if you live here long enough it seeps in.

The whole meal there was fantastic but the beans were magical, they were so creamy and nuanced. I couldn’t figure out how they made them. I tried several different recipes but they always ended up either a little pasty or not as nearly flavorful. I researched a little further and found these instructions from a Mexican restaurant that suggested roasting the garlic, not using olive oil, and a really long simmering time and those all seemed like great tips. For some reason, a lot of recipes, including this one, just have you simmer the beans and then mash them but my experience is that better flavor is created through frying them after the beans are done. I also decided to add some nut milk because I thought that might be the difference with the Gracias Madre beans. I don’t know if this is what they do at all, but we were swooning over these beans in the same way we were at Gracias Madre so I am naming them after that! I think you could easily do the first step in the crock pot, I’ll have to try it and let ya’ll know

Gracias Madre inspired Frijoles Refritos

2 cups of dried pinto (or black) beans
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil (not olive oil)
1 whole roasted garlic bulb
1 bay leaf
2 tsp salt
1 Tsp Epazote
1 can of RoTel
1 onion, chopped
almond or hemp milk

 

Sort the beans and pick out any rocks and give them a rinse with cold water. Put them in a pot with 8 cups of water, the bay leaf, and the epazote and bring to a simmer. Simmer for the next two hours stirring and adding more hot water as needed so that the water level stays above the beans. Make sure the beans don’t get stuck on the bottom by keeping the temp really low and stirring.
Meanwhile roast the garlic
Once the beans are soft add the oil, salt, rotel, and garlic. Simmer as before for another hour at least. The longer they cook the better they will taste and you can’t over cook them because they are just going to get mashed up anyway.
Here we left the beans in the fridge over night because something came up but you could proceed with cooking them now or wait until the next day to finish for a quick dinner.
Strain out any excess water from the beans. Some water is fine but if you still have a couple inches over the beans you might want to pour it out or else it will take longer to cook off. Brown an onion in a large cast iron skillet and then add the bean mixture. After some of the water has evaporated mash the beans with a potato masher. Add some almond milk and stir adding more until you reach your desired consistency. Cook over low heat, stirring, for at least 5 minutes adding more milk if necessary and then enjoy with every Mexican dish you make!