Tag Archives: breakfast

Breakfast Arepa

Latin American style brunch is probably my most favorite meal to eat. It all started, I think, with migas and then branched out to chilaquiles, polenta rancheros,  gallo pinto, and of course the breakfast taco. I wanted something really simple for brunch this week and I had some sausage on hand so I thought of making Sausages & Greens. This is a recipe that I first discovered in Vegan Brunch but has now entered my regular rotation to the point where I improvise regularly. I had sausages and Kale and I wanted to make it but I had already had the same meal with grits earlier in the week and I was really craving a breakfast sandwich. That is when I realized arepas were, again, the only possible choice. The meal is like the bastard lovechild or Vegan Brunch and Viva Vegan my two favorite cookbooks. Arepas make so much sense as a breakfast sandwich, they are about the same size as English muffins and even made in a simiar way. I wonder if people in Venezuela eat them in the am. I think I am going to have to go on a fact finding mission to get to the bottom of it. I could even make a movie about “The Quest for the Breakfast Arepa” Just imagine me, cruising around Caracas, asking lots of strange questions about animal products, getting arrested as a spy, and then hopefully being extradited back to the US. It would probably be worth it.

I came up with a new scheme for cooking arepas this time too. Before they took forever (aka 20 minutes) grilling in my cast iron skillet but it dawned on me that I could use the George Forman grill which does both sides at the same time so it takes half as much time. All you have to do to make the arepas is mix 2 cups of masarepa with 2 cups of hot water, add a little salt, mix together and then grill for 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile in cast iron skillet sauté an onion and a few cloves of garlic. Add sausage pieces when softened. When the sausage is browned add the greens, folding them in slowly so you can fit them all in the skillet. When the greens have cooked down a little add a half a cup of broth, some red pepper flakes, a little soy sauce, and a teaspoon of liquid smoke. Cover and steam for about 10 minutes. The steaming makes the greens nice and plump. I love it!

Overall the meal was a little dry so next time I am thinking I will add a spread onto the arepas as well or vegan cream cheese which would make it a little more breakfasty. Or maybe the salsa golf from Viva Vegan. It was still super tasty and involved greens so it was healthy in my book as well.

I bet you this won’t be the last time I make breakfast arepas.

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Whole Foods Breakfast Tacos have Daiya Cheese Now!

I think I have probably written about whole foods breakfast tacos more than anything else on this blog. To me, tacos are the perfect food and sometimes the only food! The breakfast taco is the most important taco of the day and when it comes to vegan breakfast taco options whole foods just has more than anybody else, and they are a great deal, and I can stop right on my way to work. Sure, they are kind of evil, but I have friends that work there that love it and they really do promote vegan food more and more. The key factor to their taco brilliance is that they are so freaking good. The spelt tortillas are warm and comforting, on a good day the roasted potatoes are salty and soft and crunchy all at once, the pico de gallo is always fresh and delightful.  So at least one morning a week I go, get my coffee, and stand in an oftentimes epic line behind people in teeny tiny little jogging outfits to wait for my taco.I spend the time thinking if I will get my regular -tofu potato pico on spelt- or branch out and get vegan chorizo, roasted vegetables, cilantro lime rice, black beans, re-fried beans or spring for avocado instead. Over the weekend  (they serve breakfast until 1, it is 11am the other days) I was looking at the new signage and noticed another free topping- Daiya Vegan Cheese. So, if you are a fan of Daiya you are in luck! The new vegan cheese has really taken over the lamar store. They even have premade take and bake vegan pizzas. I had one with seven different kinds of olives for my birthday a few weeks ago.

mmm olives.

ALSO don’t forget that Vegan Drinks is this Wednesday at Snack Bar. You don’t have to be a vegan to come!

The Fair Bean – Breakfast Empanadas and damn fine coffee

So for the last 3 years or so I haven’t had a working left turn signal. I know, I know, I am a horrible person. When the signal got busted I didn’t have the money to fix it and then I just got so used to foregoing electronic signaling and instead using my arm that I never made it a  priority. For years, I haven’t made tough left turns. That is the reason, the only reason, that I don’t go to the Fair Bean on South 1st every morning. It is on the wrong side of the street! But it is so worth the effort to stop in, even if you do have to turn the car around. Now my signal is fixed so I am going to share four reasons why I think you should check it out. Reason 1, they really do have fantastic coffee here. The coffee in Austin, most of the country really, isn’t that good. When I was a kid my Dad loved his coffee. He would stop at McDonald’s or whatever, take a sip, and then toss all the liquid out of the window. I don’t know why or how he kept the faith that he was going to get a good cup at a drive through because he never liked it. Now that I am older I get it, although I drink nasty coffee all the time. I am used to it and don’t complain until I go to Portland or have a delicious cup somewhere and think, oh yes this is what coffee is all about. It can really be a delicious drink. The people at the Fair Bean understand this concept of good coffee in a way that other Austin coffee shops don’t seem to get. They always have several different kinds going, today I had a super dark roast from Honduras that is fabulous! If you don’t want whatever they have already brewed you can get your own french press. They also have amazing specialty drinks like horchata lattes. They cold brew the iced coffee and have soy, rice, and almond milk to make lattes with. You can also get their fair trade coffee in bulk.

Reason 2, the service is always really good. The people who work there are really friendly and so helpful. It breaks my heart that I always see the Fair Bean open on Christmas, Thanksgiving, and other holidays because that staff really should get paid time off just for being so wonderful. I don’t know them or anything and they aren’t quite at the level of pep as the Emerald City Pres, my other favorite coffeehouse, but they are super nice about everything and will always track down vegan items for me or honor whatever other ridiculous request I have.

Reason 3, the food is fantastic. If you are tired of breakfast tacos you can change things up and  go to Fair Bean and get yourself a breakfast empanada. They are the best empanadas in town, I promise. The first time I tried one I was really hesitant to eat it because it really didn’t taste vegan but I promise they are, they used to have a vegan chef. The crust is so buttery, light, and flaky and the empanada is just chock full of vegan sausage and potatoes. It is so flavorful.  They are really a deal too, I only need one for a perfect breakfast on the go. The only problem is that sometimes they are out, but I swear they are worth making multiple trips or calling ahead for, and lately they have had them every time I go.They also have really good chocolate chip cookies and banana bread made my Celeste’s Best. I think they are my favorite cookies in town.

Reason 4, the atmosphere. The Fair Bean is really a lovely clean place to while away the hours. Once they played Dave Matthews while I was sitting there but I won’t hold that against them forever because usually the music is pretty good and at least not too loud. They have humongous windows that let in a lot of natural light and national geographics scattered around. There is a comfy couch and lots of tables to do homework at. If I was a student, it is the definitely the spot I would go to get stuff done.

So check it out next time you are on South 1st. I read Bouldin is going to close for while they move to a different corner but I am trying to have no fear, there are so many place to eat on South 1st.

Carribean Breakfast: Gallo Pinto, Tostones, and Tofu Scramble

It has been so cold here that people have taken to wearing ski masks. The local news shows people frantically buying earmuffs and warning parents that this is the coldest their children have ever seen. If you live somewhere where it snows we Austinites look pretty ridiculous in the winter. The threat of snowfall consumes news coverage for a week ahead of time and the eventual hint of snow flurries sends children running outside to try to make snowmen.

I have a hard time dealing with the cold. My main problem is that my house was not built with winter in mind. Floor to ceiling, poorly constructed windows make all the walls let cold air in and you can feel a breeze in the living room. The beagles can’t stand it either. They get excited to put on their sweaters and they spend a great part of the day under covers cuddled with each other and us. If you sit down in my house you will have a beagle next to you within a minute, cuddled up. The only way I could get out of my warmer bedroom over the weekend was to remember this time last year when we were in Costa Rica. We would have Gallo Pinto for breakfast every morning, usually with a side of plantains. I usually either bake plantains or cut them into long pieces and pan fry them but this morning I decided to try to make tostones. First you cut the plantains into circles and fry them.Then you smash them flat. I used a tortilla press because I could do several at once.

unsmashed

smashed

Then you fry them a second time. They were really good but they didn’t turn out perfect. I am having a lot of trouble with my stove so I am going to blame technical difficulties since I couldn’t get the oil hot enough. They were really yummy.

I was out of coriander so I made the gallo pinto a  little different from my usual recipe. I used a little bit of allspice and some ginger and cayenne. It was delicious! I also tried a baked tofu recipe that my friend Wes came up with. I loved the shake & bake method for tofu scramble, it was ridiculously easy and tasty. I think I will make my spice mix next time because there was a little too much cumin for my taste. Finally I made a yogurt cream sauce to go on top of everything. I blended yogurt, cilantro, and lime together then added a little bit of asafetida. I loved it! If you are feeling beaten down by the weather I completely recommend this spread. Caribbean Breakfast makes everything better.Pura Vida!

Gallo Pinto (Costa Rican Rice and Beans)

This is it folks! The definitive version of Gallo Pinto. It took a long time to get here and I have a lot of people to thank, Dan for eating Gallo Pinto all the time, the Ticos for endlessly varying their national dish so that I could try 1000 different recipes, Dinger and Willow for eating the leftovers when we couldn’t face another day of rice and beans…

Gallo Pinto is a terrific recipe to perfect, it works best with leftover rice and/or beans, you can increase the amount to feed 20 without really doing anything different, it is a very hearty breakfast, it is probably the cheapest thing you could ever make, you can make a version with stuff that you have right now in your pantry, and it tastes like Costa Rica! It does take a little planning if you don’t have beans on hand. What works great is to make a big batch of beans & rice for dinner (maybe bean burgers, black bean soup, or burritos) and then when you get out of bed the next day you are 15 minutes from having breakfast on the table. I will write out the recipe assuming that you are just making the rice and beans so that you have them so you can make Gallo Pinto for breakfast for four people.

Ingredients:
1 cup rice, (any will work, I use 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.

VeganMoFo- McVegan Griddle

A couple weekends ago I made Dreena Burton’s Polenta Pancakes from Eat Drink and Be Vegan. The method is so simple and easy that I bought prepared polenta just to try it. The recipe calls to simply cut the polenta into rounds, rub with cinnamon and sugar, and then grill on each side. We really liked them but I instantly regretted upon tasting them that I didn’t also make vegan sausage patties because I thought they would go together just perfectly and the polenta pancakes were kind of simple on their own.

I had also seen a post on “good eats and faux meats” for an Egg McVegan and although it looks like a brilliant idea it also seemed more in the “project” category so I haven’t made it yet. But I was inspired by it and the polenta pancakes to make the McVegan Griddle and it turned out better than I could have hoped. The polenta pancakes are so smooth and creamy but hold up really well to create the perfect encapsulation for morningstar sausage patty and a little bit of syrup. The whole project took 10 minutes from walking to the kitchen to trying and I am sure that this will become the standard “to go” breakfast in my house.