Monthly Archives: November 2010

Morning Spiced Rice

I am somewhat incapable of making breakfast at the appropriate time. This weekend, for example, by the time I decided I really wanted olive bagels for breakfast it was already 11am. Then I had to motivate to mix up the dough, let it rise, boil the bagels, and then bake them. I didn’t have breakfast until, like, 2:30 pm, technically brunch,  which is pretty standard for the weekend version of me. The problem is I get really hungry by about 9 so the laziness isn’t really an asset in this case. That is why I love leftovers for breakfast. My favorites are gallo pinto and polenta rancheros.

Sometimes I want something a little sweet and warm for breakfast and in this case leftover brown rice is the perfect thing to have.

I spice brown rice the same way as I make oatmeal, with cinnamon and sugar. First I put the cooked rice in a little pot with some hemp or almond milk. Then, once the rice starts to plump up I add brown sugar, a little cinnamon and sometimes even chai tea spices like cloves and cardamom. Sometimes I top it with maple syrup, if I have maple syrup which is pretty rare, but you could also add apples or bananas or really about anything you can think of. The best part is that it takes about 5 minutes to do and uses something I almost always have on hand, cooked rice.

Remember how I said my plan was to go camping over the weekend? It totally didn’t happen, it was way too cold for sleeping outside and there was a lot of stuff I wanted to do in town anyway, like the EAST austin studio tour, the Thanksgiving sampler party at Wheatsville, and brunch at Counter Culture. Would you believe I did none of it! If you know me at all, actually, it probably isn’t very surprising. Anyway, the laziness was kind of helpful because I ended up being somewhat productive. In a Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life, there are project instructions for a cross stitch project and I was totally inspired to try it. I ended up spending the weekend making a couple of cross stitch projects and watching  Twin Peaks….and then making cherry pie.

This is the one from the book except I changed the text, it was supposed to say “Flesh is for Zombies Go Vegan” but I remembered something I saw at the Renegade Craft Fair that said “I love you more than zombie brains” and made that instead.

It was so much fun, I haven’t made once since I was a tiny kid and now I have so many ideas now I want to make them for everyone I know.

and the winner is…..

Lucky umber 24 Kayci, who loves spicy chili with cornbread. Send me your address and Tasty Bite will send you a vegan pack of goodies.

Since my MoFo theme is rice and beans I am going to repost my favorite recipe of all time, gallo pinto! 

I became obsessed with gallo pinto when I went to Costa Rica a few years ago. It is one of my favorite dishes to make at home on the weekend because no matter how broke you are or how many people you have coming over you can always whip up black beans and rice, especially if you have a bunch of Lizano in the fridge (in austin you can get it at Tears of Joy) and fried plantains on the side. Make the rice and beans the night before you plan to have the gallo pinto because it will only work with day old rice. You can keep the rice and beans in the fridge for a week so that you can easily have gallo pinto whenever you want.

Gallo Pinto

Ingredients:
1 cup rice, (any will work, I used basmati)
1 tsp Vegeta or half of a vegetable broth cube
1 cup black beans
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 dried ancho chilie peppers, seeds removed (any other pepper can be subbed, some will be more spicy, anchos aren’t spicy, you can also use jalapeños or bell peppers just add them when you add the garlic instead)
1 Tbsp oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves or garlic, chopped
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped and packed
1 lime

The Beans:
Soak the beans for at least 8 hours. If you live somewhere that is really hot (e.g. Texas in the summer) you should do this in the fridge.
When the beans are done soaking change the water (add about 7 cups), add a couple bay leaves, and bring to a simmer for around 90 minutes. You will need to check the doneness of the beans at around 1 hour because the timing will vary depending on how dry your beans are. You can also do this step in the crock pot. Whatever you do, make sure that you save some of the cooking water with the beans because you will need it later.

The Rice:
Dissolve the broth cube or 1 teaspoon of Vegeta in 2 cups of water. Add 1 cup of rice, bring to a simmer, and then reduce heat to almost off for 35-60 minutes depending on what kind of rice you are using. It works best to refrigerate the rice overnight because then it drys better.

Gallo Pinto:
Toast the cumin, coriander, and dried peppers until fragrant and then grind in either a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. (Conversely, if you are short on time or don’t have the seeds you could also toast the powders and when you put in the garlic). Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the skillet and place it over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion. Sauté for 5 minutes, until the onions start to turn translucent. Add the garlic and the spice mixture and sauté another minute. Add a little more oil if you can’t see any and turn the heat up. Add the rice and stir fry for about a minute breaking up any chunks but don’t smoosh the rice. Once all the rice has changed color add the beans starting with just one cup until you have a pleasing ratio of rice to beans. Also add some of the bean cooking water with the beans. Gently mix and once everything is heated through adjust the spices, add the cilantro, and turn off the heat. To make the mold, press the Gallo Pinto into a small bowl, invert a plate on it, and then flip both over and lift up the bowl. Serve with the lime, salsa (preferably lizano), tofu scramble, and fried plantains.

Have a Happy Weekend, if I can get this guy out of bed we are supposed to go camping, but if you watch the video you will see that Dinger is sometime hard to rouse.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

I don’t know if it is because it is VeganMoFo or if it is finally starting to turn into winter but I can not get cookies and brownies out of my brain….figuratively.  Last week we tried these beautiful brownies from Not a Rabbit but ours did not turn out nearly as beautiful because someone refused to wait the prescribed cooling time. Of course that someone is always me, I think cooling times are for losers, that is why my tongue is burnt nearly every time I eat soup. They tasted really good though!

Then this week I saw a post on “Musings From The Fishbowl” for Peanut Butter Cup Cookies and I immediately emailed it home with very specific instructions to have the cookies cooling by the time I got home.

They were still baking when I got in and somehow I waited until they were actually ready this time. These cookies are so rich and fun looking! They kind of look like a nipple or a cell or something, what do you think?

Either way they were so rich and tasty. The chocolate ganache center stayed creamy and delicious. I wanted to eat 10 of them but could only eat just one. If you have someone in your life who will make you cookies I recommend sending this recipe stat! Thank you ShellyFish!

The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life

When I was a kid I sometimes wished I had a little sister. We would have watched Star Trek and the Smurfs together and she would have been really nice to me. If I had a kid sister I would buy her “The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life” for Christmas because it is the perfect book for someone newly interested in veganism and my kid sister would be so into it because she would also be vegan.

The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life was written by Melisser Eliott, the blogger behind “The Urban Housewife” and world traveler.  It honestly answers every question that a person has about veganism in an informative and relatively upbeat way. Most books about animal rights are really depressing, as they can’t help but be, but Melisser keeps a positive attitude by showing you what you can do to make things better. She touches on everything from animal cruelty to why you should avoid wool, how you can find vegan make up, where to get vegan shoes, and what vegans eat for regular meals. She even talks about very common things that you might think are vegan at first (because they are called non-dairy creamer or soy cheese) that turn out not to be. The book is really well researched and since it just came out it is amazingly up to date. She has sections about how to answer questions that you will constantly get asked (whether you want to talk about it or not) like “where do you get your protein” and how to answer these questions with grace.

My favorite part about the book is that Melisser highlights different vegan women from all over the world and has recipes from many of them including some of her own. She also has a section on vegan gardening and different crafts. Basics, really,  that every vegan girl must know like how to ice a cupcake and beginner instructions on knitting.

There aren’t a ton of recipes but it seems that the ones included with the book were all chosen for a reason because they each sound amazing. I think keeping the number of recipes low is a great idea because new vegans can often get overwhelmed by a ton of recipes. That doesn’t mean that they are boring or standard. Most of the recipes have a delightful twist. When I saw “Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Tempeh over creamy Polenta” I knew we would be trying that first because it features our most favorite fall ingredients.

It was so good. There were a lot of little extras in the recipe, like adding almond butter to the polenta and maple syrup to the tempeh that really elevated the whole dish into something special. It would even be a good easy thanksgiving meal if you are keeping things simple but she has Thanksgiving covered too.

Also the book is all in color and has the most fabulous illustrations by Michelle Cavigliano. Truly it is a great guide and I am so happy to have it. I already found some new shoes!

Mushroom Beans, Garlic Rice, and Experimental Broccoli

When I went to school in Olympia I learned to hate the word experimental. To me it became synonymous with really bad performance art usually involving movement, multiple projectors, and sometimes primal screaming. So when Mr. Smurf asked me last night “what’s for dinner” and I started to tell him about how it was experimental broccoli a loud klaxon should have sounded in my brain instantaneously.  

It all started with best of intentions. I have this book called New American Table that I love to look through and one recipe that I  was really interested in was tea poached bok choy. Over at What Does a Vegan Eat Anyway they are always smoking something with tea and it just looks fantastic and fun so I thought I could do it too.

First, I started the Garlic Rice, by sautéing six cloves of garlic in a little olive oil, then adding a cup of rice after a few minutes, sautéing until a little brown then adding a cup of water and some salt covered and let steam.

Then, once that got steaming, I started the Mushroom Beans. I tossed a carton of precut mushrooms in my skillet seared them, added a little water, a can of white beans and about a teaspoon of mushroom soy sauce (healthy boy is my favorite) and let that sauté for a few minutes while the mushrooms cooked.

So far this is the world’s easiest beans and rice meal besides completely plain beans and rice and  I should have just gone simple with the broccoli like braising it with a little ginger or garlic like usual. But damnit, it is veganMoFo so I need to step out of my comfort zone. Especially when there are people like Vegan in Brighton making things they don’t even think they like! And making them look beautiful!

Instead I made a sauté of 3 cloves of garlic, a teaspoon of sliced ginger, two sliced shallots and cooked them for about three minutes. Then I added two crowns of broccoli, cooked that for a minute, then added 2 cups of water, 2 orange spice tea bags, some salt and some agave.

It wasn’t as bad as the play I saw where people were crawling around on their bellies yelling “monster” until they all “died”. Really, it wasn’t bad at all. My main problem was that I cooked it for a little two long so the tea tasted bitter and the broccoli was overcooked. I think the technique would work a lot better with quicker cooking bok choy ….like…um.. in the original recipe.

The rice and beans though were an easy easy easy winner. I will eat it again next time I am tired/poor/alone/busy/hungry.

Lonestar Chili Cook-Off and GIVEAWAY

This weekend is the Lone Star Vegetarian Chili Cook-Off. If I can find a way to get from South Austin all the way to Round Rock I am totally going.  Last year my friend Molly from Scratch and Sniff won second place and I can’t wait to see how she does this year.

At my house we eat chili more than just about anything else. And that’s right Texans, we eat it with beans.We used to have chili mac or frito pie but as time passed we learned we could mix them together into one fantastic carb lovers dish and now we typically have chili mac frito pie. Especially good when it is topped with avocado, cilantro and onions.

I love the chili at Dog Almighty, I know they won the cook-off one year but I can’t imagine having their chili without the side of their glorious tots that I love so much.

I also love the frito pie at wheatsville, tempeh chili covered in nooch

and the Vegan Yacht really takes the whole frito pie concept to the next level by putting it in a grilled burrito with avocado. My god it is good.

I read in the Tex-Mex cookbook that chili was invented in the San Antonio missions and that the very unusual ingredient for the time was cumin. He also said that Mexicans were at first turned off by Tex Mex food that contained cumin because they knew something tasted inauthentic. The spice traveled with slaves from the Canary islands and became so popular in Tex Mex cooking, and later Mexican, that it is hard to imagine that at first it was scorned.

THE GIVEAWAY

Tasty Bite wants to giveaway a pack of vegan food to one lucky person. They have fantastic, healthy vegan heat and eat food packets that are perfect to bring to the office for lunch or eat on those lazy days. They have all kinds of new flavors too, like Malaysian Lodeh and Mushroom Takatak.

To enter, just comment on Lazy Smurf’s Guide and tell me where you got your recipe for chili that you use the most and/or in what form you enjoy chili. I wonder if anyone else out there eats frito mac chili pie? The winner will be drawn at random next Friday November 12th and Tasty Bite will ship you an assortment of vegan items but you must have a US address.  And make sure when you fill out the comment form you put in your email so that I can contact you if you win!

The Steeping Room at the Domain

Update 5/31/2018 The Domain location is closed, there is a newer location at 4400 North Lamar

For the longest time I had been avoiding “The Domain”. It’s not like it’s very hard to avoid since I don’t ever go shopping and live in South Austin and it is really far north. But, there have been a few times it has come up (like when my mom comes to visit) that I had to actively avoid it. When they built the large outdoor shopping mall it was touted as being a high end shopping mall for a certain kind of luxury shopper. Having an inherent hatred of shopping, things that are expensive, driving across town, and perfume it just isn’t my scene. But I kept hearing about this little tea shop called “The Steeping Room” that was very vegan friendly that I had to try it.

I’m so glad I did. As shopping malls go, I actually liked the domain. It had all the normal stores but since you can walk around outside it doesn’t suck your soul out as much and I am not coughing, sneezing, and crying from the department store’s perfume.

The Steeping Room itself was a nice little cafe with a little bit of outdoor seating and a kind of fancy chain feel if you know what I mean, pleasant. It was very bright inside with lots of white and little tables. The place was packed when we went and they immediately brought us their extensive tea menu that had a thousand different kinds of tea with lots of information about tea. My friend and I chose the Earl Grey because we are fans and it was described as “the best earl grey tea you will ever have. I think it was! Then we ordered dinner. I got the Buddha bowl which was rice, lentils, baked tofu, sweet potatoes, greens, and for the sauce I chose the cashew cream sauce. It was pretty good, very healthy and filling but a little lacking for me. The tofu was really dry and the bowl reminded me of one I had at Blossoming Lotus which was especially  good. Maybe I should tell the steeping room about soy curls because I liked them much better in a bowl like this!

They also have lots of different vegan options for dessert, or I guess they usually do but when we went  it was just a vegan cupcake which was fine by me!

The cupcake was perfect! The frosting was luscious and creamy and the cake was moist and delicious. I definitely recommend the Steeping Room. Especially if your mom is town or you like shopping. Or live north. And as a word of warning, if you stare at this picture of the cupcake long enough you might go into a trance that only a cupcake can revive your from so LOOK AWAY!

Drunken Beans and Seitan Chorizo

I think Mr. Smurf started working on dinner around noon yesterday. Actually, no, it was the night before when I reminded him to soak the beans. The only drawback, really, to working with beans is the soaking. You always have to be prepared. Once he and I traveled across the country selling burritos along the way and we had beans soaking in the back of the station wagon at all times. It was just so cost-effective to make the burritos from dried beans that we had to do it and we didn’t have time to cook them all day without soaking over night. That often led us to some backwoods campground filling up our giant stockpot to start soaking beans at 2am. It was, honestly, the best time ever. We traveled from Illinois to California up through Washington, across the middle, all the way down to Charleston South Carolina, then up through Maine and came back through Canada where we had a big pot of beans with us as we crossed the border. Sometimes Mr. Smurf would take a nap the next day while the beans were cooking. 

Now we have things like running water and built-in stoves so making beans is considerably easier but it still takes awhile. Sometimes, I start them before work in the crockpot without soaking first but in some ways that is even harder for me because I have to get up two, or even three minutes earlier. In the winter (which it finally is here in Texas as of yesterday) I prefer to soak them the night before and then just cook them on the stove in a big pot over low heat.

After he started the beans at noon he made the seitan chorizo sausages so when I got home after work the house smelled amazing, like the best restaurant in the world. Sadly, it wasn’t until hours later that dinner was finally ready but it was so worth the wait. The recipe yielded a giant pot of beans that will last us the rest of the week. And the beans were delicious. They would have been just perfect with some pico de gallo on top but I didn’t have any. As it was, they were only fantastic. I loved the chorizo especially. The texture of it cooked in the beans was exactly what you would expect from the spicy Mexican sausage.

If you haven’t checked out Viva Vegan yet, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Even if you aren’t even close to vegan you will find so many recipes that are just so well thought out and explained from all over Latin America that you will discover all sort of new techniques and ideas. And if you like vegan meat the recipes in Viva Vegan are the best I ever tried. If you have the book and haven’t made arepas yet do yourself a favor and learn to make them, I have made breakfast arepas, barbecued arepas, and Venezuelan arepas because they are so easy to do. And if you are curious about what all is in the book check out Kitteh’s blog because she has made so many of the recipes and she does it all without gluten and soy! 

Riso Rosso and Roman Beans

Last night I made the best beans from a can…ever. Maybe not ever but certainly in the last few weeks. The funny part is  (and by funny I mean disappointing but not that sad) that I was more excited to make the Riso Rosso, from Olive Trees and Honey, than the beans which were quickly thrown together. The Italian “red rice” was basically made by boiling beets and then making rice and adding some of the beet cooing water in to turn the rice red and adding the beets at the very end. What would have been better, I think, would have been to caramelize the beets and onions and then make the rice in that pot because it was pretty but boring. Next time!

The beans on the other hand were fabulous. I decided to use Roman beans to keep up the Italian theme. Since the rice recipe wasn’t using any garlic it seemed like a good idea to use a whole lot in the beans and then I added some spices and cooked them in a little brothy sauce They were fantastic, the garlic wasn’t totally overwhelming even though there was a lot of it because I cooked it for a while and the spices were perfect. I have to remember to make them again because they were so simple.

Roman Beans

1 can roman beans (or white beans) drained and rinsed
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup of vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon of tarragon

saute the onion until it changes color in olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over very low heat for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook at a slow simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Enjoy with the garlic sauce on top.