Category Archives: recipe

Chez Rolez Gumbo & a day at the farm

In the past, I have participated with several different C.S.A.s by paying for my box of food every month. With a sick dog money has been tighter than ever so I decided to volunteer with my friend Andrea at a local farm in exchange for a box of food. Now this is a pretty extreme action for a lazy smurf such as myself to undertake. I had to wake up at 7 am on a Saturday to do 5 hours of manual labor! Usually I spend Saturday morning cuddled up with beagles and eventually mustering up the energy to make some brunch around 1 pm. With the sun just peeking its little head out of the night sky and a large coffee in my hand I drove to Johnson’s Backyard Garden to start of day of picking vegetables. We started with eggplant.Even though it is the middle of October the plants are still producing like crazy and some of them were too small to pick. After filling our baskets with eggplant it was off to the pepper fields to pick a wide variety of peppers. This was my favorite part because they smelled so good and were really fun to pick, especially since each one is unique and came in a different shape.After picking peppers we moved into the string bean field and this is when the serious work began. I found out that green beans are so labor intensive to pick that farmer Brenton said even if he charged ten dollars a pound it wouldn’t be cost effective. But since people like them so much (and he does too) they decided to start a small crop a couple years ago.

if you look closely you can see Andrea down there

if you look closely you can see Andrea down there

It takes forever to pick the beans, they grow like crazy all over the plant and you have to pull everything apart to get to them while being very careful to not compact the ground or step on the plant. After a couple of hours of work I still didn’t have a quite a full basket and had done maybe a third of my row.

So now I have even more respect for farmers, and I already had a lot! I spent the whole day thinking about my grandparents in their old village, migrant workers, slaves on cotton plantations, the true cost of food, and, of course, what I was going to make for dinner. When we got back to the farmhouse we each stood by a type of vegetable and filled them all into boxes assembly line style. It was really fun! I started to get so hungry because by then it was after noon and all I had to eat was a couple string beans! Note, if you ever volunteer on a farm bring a freaking granola bar or something because it is really hard work. So finally we got our boxes and headed home. I got so many organic vegetables I couldn’t believe it. Eggplant, peppers, hot peppers, amaranth greens, bok choy, arugula, basil, green beans, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, butternut squash, and lots and lots of okra! Here in the south okra is like zucchini in the north. It grows like crazy in the summer and people are always giving you some.

I became obsessed with the idea of making gumbo. I had recently seen an episode of Good Eats where Alton Brown made a dark roux using his oven instead of the stove top. I had been waiting for some okra to appear in my life to try the method and finally the time had come. I also made some Andouille sausage testing a spice combination from the ppk but it didn’t work out at all, the sausages were good enough to put in the gumbo but I will have to work on the Andouille recipe. You could use any other vegan sausage or other legumes in the gumbo, it will still be good. In fact, it will be so good that you might be inspired to sing about it. The Gumbo recipe is mostly from the Veganomicon, but it is really enhanced with the roux and the fresh stock.

Chez Rolez Gumbo

For the Roux, Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Whisk together
4 oz of flour (by weight)
4 oz of vegetable oil
bake for an hour and a half, whisking four or five times throughout the process. You want it to be a dark brick red without any black flecks.

For the Stock

add to stock pot on medium heat
8 cups of water
1 onion
1 leek (with green parts)
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1 bay leaf
2 smashed cloves of garlic
handful Parsley
dash of Thyme
Simmer for 40 minutes or so. If you are making sausages you can steam them over the stock pot!

For the Gumbo
Put the Brown Roux on the stove top over medium heat
Saute for 10 minutes with
1 onion, chopped
3 shallots, chopped
2 bell peppers or equivalent (I used a whole mess of sweet and spicy peppers), chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 lbs okra, sliced
Cook for another few minutes and then add
5 roasted red peppers, sliced
1 recipe sausage or 1 can beans
the strained stock (about 6 cups)
1 cup of Ale
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
2 bay leaves

Cook for about 40 minutes and then add

juice of a lemon
Cayenne to taste
salt & pepper to taste
fresh thyme, oregano, and parsley

Serve with a pile of rice in the middle and some garlic bread on the side and Enjoy!

Hatch Green Chile Pot Pie

So the thing is, I might have gone a little overboard lately with the Hatch Chiles. First I blogged about Chowder and then I made hummus but what you probably don’t know is that nearly every single thing I have made in the last 3 weeks has had Hatch peppers in it. The whole thing has gotten totally out of control and I realize now, here at the end of Hatch season, that I might have gone a little overboard and that’s OK. I present you with one final recipe in case you still have some Chiles from Hatch season or want to roast some regular peppers and add them instead. It is not at all difficult or complicated but it does take a really long time to come together. This is a perfect Sunday dinner kind of meal, especially of you crave Tex Mex style southern comfort food on Sundays. The way I recommend making it, if you try the recipe, is to get the gravy sauting, cut up your vegetables for the pie, and then watch an episode (or 2) of “It’s Always Sunny in Philidelphia” while you wait for your beans to finish and then bake the pie, that is the lazy smurf way to do it. This is my favorite method for making vegan gravy, if you have never tried it with beans you are in for a treat.I made individual pot pies but you can also make one big one in a casserole dish or pie plate.

For the

Chile Gravy

Chop and Saute

2 cloves garlic
1 stalk celery
3 shallots


2 cups broth
3 cups black eyed peas (I used fresh but you could use canned or dried but only 2 cups if you do dried)
1.5 cups corn
4 roasted chile peppers
Cook until beans are cooked through


1/2 cup Almond Milk
1/4 cup of white wine
1 tsp smoked salt
1 tsp lemon


and season with salt and pepper to taste

To Assemble

Just add the vegetables to the pie reseptacle and then mix in the gravy. The gravy recipe makes a lot so you might have some left over which you can serve on the side, the vegetables will cook down so really pack them in and top with pie crust. Bake for about 40 minutes at 400 degrees and enjoy!

Did you know that pigs are supposed to have the same mental capacity of a three year old human? I know that has nothing to do with pot pies but I wanted an excuse to post this picture.

Corn & Kale Hatch Pepper Chowder

People in Thailand eat more chile peppers than anyone else in the world. I read that our region of North America is starting to gain on them. The town of Hatch in New Mexico makes probably the best chile peppers in the world and we get them here in Austin. For a brief period of the year, right as school is starting again, you can smell it in the air; roasting chile peppers. I made a corn chowder over the weekend with the hatch peppers and then yesterday I made an even better one. Not only was it tastier, but it is healthier since I added kale to what is normally not an extremely nutritious meal. I love chowder. It kills me that I can’t get it in restaurants. At whole foods I often check all of their 33 soups and the two vegan ones are never chowder and there is just no reason for that. Chowder is really easy to veganize, just substitute rice milk for the dairy and add some mashed potatoes.  This soup is great, if you want to make it with another kind of roasted pepper that would work but it might not be as magical.

Corn & Kale Hatch Pepper Chowder

4 yukon gold potatoes, chopped
2 cups of vegetable broth

5 shallots, chopped
1 rib of celery
1 poblano
2 cloves of garlic
5 leaves of kale
4 roasted Hatch peppers (maybe less if your peppers are really hot or you don’t like spicy things)
2 cups of corn
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried sage
1 cup of rice milk
juice from 1/2 of a lemon

Cook the potatoes in the vegetable broth until they are starting to fall apart, about 20 minutes in the microwave or on the stove top. When they are done mash about half of them with a potato masher. In the meantime start sautéing the shallots, chop the rest of the ingredients in order and add them to the pot as you finish chopping. First add the celery, then the poblano and the garlic. Once the shallots have started to brown add the kale, the hatch peppers, and the corn. Once the kale is wilted add the potato mixture, the rice milk,  the sage and the salt. Let the whole mixture cook covered for about 20 minutes. Add the lemon and additional milk or broth if you want it a little thinner and check for seasoning. Now you have awesome soup that you can eat with some crusty bread if that’s how you roll. Enjoy!

Vegan Klingon Gagh

The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip . ..

Tom Robbins Jitterbug Perfume

Does that mean that Beets are inherently Klingon? Especially when you consider that the Kingons were based on the USSR….

Obama doesn’t like beets but I think they are a perfect food, they are even the name of a fake pop band. Eastern European countries are especially known for their love of the beet, most notably used in Borscht. Most Westerners usually roast them in the oven or cut them up into salads or they roast them and then add them to salads.  Beets are also used to sweeten some dishes.

Healthy types enjoy beets not just because of their taste but also because they have many desirable nutritional qualities. says they are both detoxifying and full of antioxidants

Beets are another high-antoxidant veggie, with an ORAC score of 1840, and a total antioxidant concentration of 1.98. They contain many healthful substances: betaine (aka: trimethylglycine, TMG), betalains, betacyanin, betanin, folate, iron, and fiber. Betaine helps convert homocysteine into methionine, preventing heart disease.

Beet fiber seems to be particularly health-promoting. Pectin, a soluble fiber in beets, binds toxins, heavy metals, and excess hormones that have been dumped into the gut from the liver. The toxins are passed out instead of being reabsorbed.

Some people say that beets can even extend your life.

I like to buy them at the farmer’s market with the greens attached because then it is two meals for the price of one. The beet greens have a similar nutritional profile to Swiss chard and mixed with the beet root they are pretty much an unstoppable force of goodness.

Cruising the net the other day I came across a very strange recipe that utilized both the root and the leafy part in a pasta dish. Beets and Greens pasta moved to the top of my list of recipes to try since I just got some at the farmer’s market on Saturday. The meal was quick, easy, and fantastic. Mr. Smurf gobbled it down like he had been standing in a line all day waiting for beets.The noodles turned intensely fuchsia from the beet juice which might even make it kid friendly. Beets are very earthy tasting though so maybe not.

I changed the recipe just a little bit and later realized how much it resembled a certain Klingon dish so I give you:



1 bunch beets, with greens, divided and chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1  small onion, diced
.5 tsp dried red pepper flakes
5  garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1  cup vegetable broth
3  Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
2  Tbsp. each of  basil and chives
Salt & pepper
½ lbs linguine

First, get a pot of water going for the pasta and then prep all the other ingredients. When the water is boiling add cook the pasta according to directions. Meanwhile, saute the onion and red pepper flakes until the onions are soft. Then add the garlic and the beet roots. After another minute or two when the beets are soft add the broth, the zest, and the beet greens. Cover and cook until the greens are wilted. Add the herbs, the lemon juice, salt and pepper and cook for another minute before you toss with the pasta.

Enjoy with (vegan) Bloodwine!