Category Archives: Cooking

Cookbook Giveaway: Vegan Mexico

vegan-mexicoVegan Heritage Press let me check out their newest cookbook by Jason Wyrick Vegan Mexico Soul-Satisfying Regional Recipes from Tamales to Tostadas. It’s chock-full of authentic Mexican recipes like Moles, Chilaquiles, Abodingas, Atoles, and even baked goods like Bolillos and Sugar Skulls. He also has some fun fusion recipes like Mushroom Crêpes in Poblano Chile Sauce. The book is divided into chapters starting with staples like rice, beans and salsas and then moving on to Street Food, Tacos, Tortas and other Sandwiches, Enchiladas, Tamales, Salads, Soups, Main Dishes, Grilled Fare, Small Bites, Bread, Drinks, and Sweets. You can see the whole table of contents on the Amazon Preview. I made the Frijoles de Olla and turned them into refried beans and I thought they were pretty delicious. I also made the Pumpkin Seed Tomato Salsa which was super easy, creamy and delicious and put it on top of the Northern Mexico Chimichangas (deep fried burritos) I was surprised my Texas friends had never had these before! veganmexicochimmichanga1

I think this would be a great cookbook for someone who cooks a lot and wants to try out Mexican techniques, or someone that knows how to do Mexican food but doesn’t know how to veganize recipes. The recipes always give options for removing oil or using vegetables instead of tempeh or seitan. It would also be great for anyone with a grill, Jason Wyrick clearly loves his. So if that sounds like you or someone you love I’m giving away a copy for my US readers.

12/9 update: Contest Closed thanks for playing!

All you need to do is tell me if you have ever had a chimichanga and if so, when and where? Make sure you put your email in the comment form so I can contact you.

My bff and I used to binge eat them on the last day of Girl Scout camp and then our parents would pick us up and want to take us out to dinner. So then we would eat Chinese food or whatever on top of the chimichangas and spend the rest of the night moaning about being too full. Then we would repeat the entire experience the next summer. It was the best of times.

Boozy Cherry Limeade Bombs

Whiskey Cherries

I believe Texas actually has five seasons: fall, winter, spring, summer, and TEXAS SUMMER. The latter is always in all caps because it’s so hot that you actually start to feel like you’re living in one of those dystopian future hellscapes where everyone is fighting over water and wearing pointy jewelry. Luckily we aren’t quite at that point yet and water is plentiful and delicious cherries from the Hood River Valley in Oregon are able to be shipped to Wheatsville Food Co-op and bought by me during these, as of this writing, pre-apocolyptic days. In these times of heat and uncertainty it can be hard to cook or even eat which is how I came up with the idea for these refreshing and mildly intoxicating cherries. They are the perfect thing to eat poolside, bring on your next river trip, or just to munch on while sitting in the A/C watching women’s gymnastics. They are also super easy to make and don’t require turning on any heat making appliances, a big no-no during TEXAS SUMMER. And I bet they are healthier than getting a Cherry Limeade from the Sonic drive through because there is no added sugar. Just added alcohol.

Boozy Cherry Limeade Bombs
2 lbs cherries, pitted
1/2 cup whiskey
1 tablespoon mint leaves, torn
1 lime, juiced

First pit the cherries, a reusable stiff straw makes the job super easy. Just pluck out the stem and pop the straw in through the cherry. Put in a glass or other bowl with a locking top and add the whiskey, mint, and lime juice. Chill for an hour or two flipping the bowl so the cherries get saturated. Serve as is, in cocktails, or on ice cubes. Enjoy.

If you would like to win a 30 dollar giftcard to Wheatsville and make your own boozy cherries just leave a comment below telling me what your favorite summer fruit, I will pick a winner in a couple days. Make sure you put in an email that works! 

Giveaway closed, thanks for commenting!

Thanks to Wheatsville for sponsoring this recipe. 

The Taco Cleanse Book is coming soon…still

I’ve been so busy working on the Taco Cleanse lately that I’ve not blogged here as often. Don’t worry, I’m still keeping the Austin Vegan Guide as updated as I can! I’ve been busy testing recipes like this Tempeh Picadillo from the book and creating recipes for the Taco Cleanse blog like the Mexican Smashed potatoes underneath. 

Follow the Taco Cleanse on Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook too!

And don’t forget to pre-order the book, it’s on sale at Amazon!

Pre-order THE TACO CLEANSE cookbook and CHANGE YOUR LIFE

It wasn’t long ago that I was feeling really down. I didn’t know where my life was going or what I was even doing. Some friends and I started experimenting with a new way of life, eating tacos for every meal for a whole month. It was dramatic how much our lives changed for the better. We started selling a zine to document our findings and the word spread all the way to New York City where The Experiment Publishing heard our message and decided to help spread it to the masses. We’ve worked long and hard on expanding the original zine into a full cookbook and now you can pre-order the book and fill your life with eternal joy and never ending splendor. cropped-taco-cleanse-cover

Check out The Taco Cleanse blog for more information, recipes, stories, and other inspiration coming soon.

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter !!!

And Pre-Order the Book! It’s sure to sell out!

Roasted Tofu Udon Noodles with Peanut Sauce

Still reeling from the closure of Veggie Heaven I searched the internet looking for another place where I could find cheap noodles with tofu and vegetables for lunch. I don’t know why this is so hard to find in central Austin, really. I had heard a rumor that a new vegetarian place opened up in Veggie Heaven’s spot but instead it looks like it’s going to become a vintage t-shirt store. Because that’s what we need more of…T-shirts. Then I tried to go to the Eastside King at the Hole in the Wall but there was no way I was going to find parking around there in the middle of a Thursday, although the Arby’s next door had a billion spots open.

I did not consider making it an Arby’s night.

Instead I drove aimlessly until I remembered Zen Japanese, it had been long enough since I’d been there that I had forgotten how boring and overpriced their food is. For over twice as much as Veggie Heaven you get a bowl with tons of noodles, mushy tofu, a minuscule amount of vegetables, and a sauce so bland you have to make your own out of the condiments. I think this time I chose the spicy Szechuan. Maybe it would have been spicy to a five year old and perhaps that is who this plate was intended for. And why don’t people research how to cook tofu before putting it on a menu? You it’s just a google search away to learn that you have to freaking press it. 

After I finished I immediately started craving what I really had wanted from Zen. A multitude of cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli, roasty toasty tofu with some actual flavor, some crunch, and a well balanced, comfortingly spicy peanut sauce and so I looked up some recipes. I was still in search of the perfect peanut sauce, I have tried many over the years and learned that I don’t like coconut in my peanut sauce or an excess of sriracha or sugar. There has to be fresh garlic and ginger or else it’s going to taste like something that you find at the airport and I was pleased to find a recipe that looked good from Oh My Veggies. I also learned that if you store natural peanut butter upside down you won’t end up with an oily mess. I felt a little dumb that that trick had never occurred to me because when I tried it I was thrilled by how easily I was able to stir the peanut butter after opening it. Score.

While perusing recipes I came across another tip, this one from With Food + Love for baking crispy tofu in the oven. The trick is to sprinkle on cornstarch after you marinate it before baking it in the oven and then spraying with a bit of oil. It makes so much sense to use cornstarch in baking because that’s how you get the great coating when you fry it. This is how I will bake my tofu from now on, I want to try the recipe that she posted with it Roasted Broccoli + Crispy Tofu Bowls with a Blood Orange Soy Glaze because I’ve been on the hunt for a good orange tofu recipe for forever.

So, while this isn’t a recipe here is how you can recreate this perfect little Roasted Tofu Udon Noodles with Peanut Sauce for yourself. Make the tofu and then the peanut sauce following the directions. Cook some Udon noodles (or rice noodles or linguine or whatever) in boiling water and in the last few minutes of cooking add a bag of your favorite frozen mixed vegetables and cover with a lid. Cook until the vegetables are just done, don’t let them overcook! You can always steam them over the pasta water if you want to be sure. Then drain, mix in the sauce and tofu until everything is beautiful and then top with chopped peanuts and green onions. A perfect simple meal.

Thanksgiving 2014

Usually I do tons of wrap ups about Thanksgiving but this year was just too busy. And by busy I mean that I accidentally slept until 1:30 pm and had to scramble to get dinner ready on time for maximum relaxing. Instead of making a homemade roast I did the Meet the Shannon’s Apple Sage Molasses Holiday Roast on a gardein roast. I got hooked on gardein in Vegas and this was so good and easy, I think I’ll buy one every year.

Like last year I made the Diner Dressing and Sage Pepper Gravy from Vegan Diner. I tried to make a super fancy gravy that had dried porcini’s and other mushrooms but it didn’t taste at all Thanksgiving-y so I whipped up this reliable one at the last second. I also veganized a Martha Stewart recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Orange-Butter Sauce because I had a ton of oranges and I loved it. Then made three pies over the weekend all from Vegan Pie in the Sky, pumpkin pie, chocolate pudding pie, and banana pudding pie. The latter was my favorite but they were all good. It was a good cheat day but now I’m back to taco cleansing and margaritas.

Secret Ingredients: Miso

I don’t know what I would do without miso. It’s a key element to almost everything I make. I read that in Japan miso is as important as cheese is in France and you can go to specialty stores and seek out whatever miso you like from hundreds of different kinds. There are similarities to the two victuals. Both are craft foods that have been around for hundreds of years and, since they are fermented, vary greatly depending on the ingredients used, the weather, and even the processing. According to Japanese mythology, miso itself is a gift to mankind from the gods to assure lasting health, longevity, and happiness. Basically, it is made by cooking soy beans, mixing them with salt and a culturing agent called koji which is a fermented grain and then it’s aged in wooden vats. I became very interested in making my own after reading Wild Fermentation years back but, with the intense heat in Texas, I’m always a bit leery of trying my luck at fermenting. I’m excited, because later this year in November the author of that book Sandor Ellix Katz is coming to Austin for the fermentation festival so I really want to go and learn more about our unique issues.

As it is now, I buy all kinds of miso and usually have a couple of different ones in the fridge. For a while I was hooked on the Dandelion Leek one from South River pictured above but I always have a white on hand and keep trying different kinds. Anywhere where mustard is called for I sub in miso. I love love love simple creamy tahini miso dressing on roasted vegetables, bowls, or even salads. I think miso gravy is amazing. To make any sort of cheesy vegan recipe miso is a must. Of course, most people think of miso soup when they think of miso and I do enjoy the simple Japanese version in the winter but I’ve also learned you can add miso to just about any soup and it will improve it. It’s basically salty fermented goodness packed with protein and probiotics which makes it a perfect vegan food.

Miso Glazed Brussels Sprouts