Monthly Archives: October 2011

Sunny Days in Texas: Popcorn Tofu Po’Boy

Have you ever seen such and amazing looking sandwich in your life?

If you’ve got a better one… let’s hang out because I want to try it! The popcorn tofu po’boy from Wheatsville co-op here in Austin Texas is kind of legendary. You can ask just about any deep fried vegan in town what they recommend on a trip to Austin and probably every single one of them will tell you that the nooch-battered tofu on a fresh roll with the veggies of your choice and surrounded by the homemade creamy cashew tamari dressing is about as good as it gets.

With the Sunny Days in Texas zine you don’t have to travel all the way to Austin to try one (though you still should).  All you have to do is find a roll and then make the recipes for both the popcorn tofu and the cashew tamari dressing, which are both in the zine and cover with whatever will make you feel good about yourself. The recipes are the actual coveted Wheatsville originals so they are both to make a restaurant quantity of the ingredients. I haven’t perfected either one on my own yet (I have been busy!) but I can tell you that going with your gut works better than trying to do a straight math conversion.

Eat tofu! Help Animals!

Every post this month for Veganmofo will be celebrating the recipes in the zine Sunny Days in Texas, a fundraiser cookzine to help Sunny Day Farms Animal Sanctuary.

Sunny Days in Texas: Brisket Taco

Barbecued brisket is probably the national meat of Texas and if tacos aren’t the official dish, they certainly should be. I am thrilled to now have an amazing recipe for both. My friend Molly, who wrote this recipe to help Sunny Day Farms, is a native Texan and chili contest star. She is my favorite kind of Texan, one of those people that isn’t afraid to speak up about her beliefs but in such a logical and polite way that everyone feels good about it. She also does a lot to help our vegan community here in Texas. It isn’t always as easy as we sometimes make it sound in the lonestar state. On the one hand, we have a vegan firehouse right here in Austin. On the other hand, the Texas cattle industry (you might remember them from when they tried to sue Oprah for saying she didn’t want to eat another burger) once, allegedly, sent these same vegan firefighters a frozen chopped up cow..

Maybe the reason that they are so threatened is because of amazing recipes like this. Using jackfruit and a little vegan magic Molly’s recipe would make a believer out of anybody. The recipe was simple weeknight fare, even after I realized I was out of barbecue sauce and that I would have to make some. I think I might make a ridiculously large batch for our next work potluck and put it right next to whatever big ole tray of barbecue the bosses contribute. Or maybe I won’t because then I will have to spend the whole party telling everyone what jackfruit is and why barbecuing a fruit they probably never heard of isn’t nearly as scary as what happens to most cows in Texas.

The recipe for the brisket has a lot of different uses which is another reason I’m excited to have it in the zine. You could make a side of barbecue, have the traditional Texas white bread sandwich, the taco like I made here, or it could even go into the realm of extreme tex-mex. I’m thinking stuffed into truck-stop style enchiladas and covered in queso.

NOTE- there is a typo in early versions of the zine, it should be a 20oz can of jackfruit, not 10oz. Write it down right now! Or better yet, buy a new copy ;)

Every post this month for Veganmofo will be celebrating the recipes in the zine Sunny Days in Texas, a fundraiser cookzine to help Sunny Day Farms Animal Sanctuary.

Sunny Days in Texas: King Ranch Casserole

This might be the recipe from the zine that I was most excited to try. Who wouldn’t be interested in peppers, mushrooms and seitan drenched in Food For Lover‘s queso sandwiched between layers of fresh corn tortillas and then baked to a tender perfection?

I think another reason that I have been thinking so much about Chris & Crystal’s lovely recipe is because it is in the exact middle of the Sunny Days in Texas zine so every time I print another one-off or staple another pile it is right on top. I see it over and over again, begging to be made. Dan, especially, was really excited to try the recipe because the omni versions of King Ranch casserole he has tried have been pretty lackluster and he was sure a vegan version would be far tastier.

Believe me when I say, that, with the food for lover’s queso, this dish was the most tex-mex vegan creation I can remember trying. Although I am a huge fan of the queso, using two cups of it for the recipe overwhelmed even me with it’s cheesiness and reminded me of my pregan days eating cheese enchiladas with queso on top. The recipe said to use vegan cheese or the queso and next time I think I will use cheese and then just drizzle  some queso on top. I also topped it with green onions and used Upton’s plain seitan which worked really well. I hadn’t tried their plain seitan yet and I am glad that I did because it was really tasty, the best store-bought version I have tried. I think if I was making the casserole again for the two of us I would probably go totally inauthentic and add some greens and maybe even some potatoes as well, because I love them baked into casseroles and eating them makes me feel a little healthier. But, if you are looking for the real deal in tex-mex authenticity give this recipe a try. It will amaze you.

Every post this month for Veganmofo will be celebrating the recipes in the zine Sunny Days in Texas, a fundraiser cookzine to help Sunny Day Farms Animal Sanctuary.

Sunny Days in Texas: Breakfast Taco Guide

This morning I had a breakfast taco with veggie chorizo and roasted potatoes on a spelt tortilla because I am a lucky mofo. If you live outside of Texas acquiring breakfast tacos may be a little more difficult than stopping at your local whole foods where you can choose from a panoply of vegan ingredients. That is why I have written a guide to making your own tacos at home, and included a revised version in the Sunny Days in Texas zine. People in the rest of the world seem to have some strange notions about what is and isn’t breakfast and why everything should be in a taco. So I am hoping to finally set the record straight. Once an Austinite friend of mine went on a roadtrip to California and got into a fight with his waiter about whether something was a burrito or a taco. You don’t want this to happen to you so read the guide and eat a taco.

If you are reading this blog from outside of Texas, I’m curious, can you get breakfast tacos where you are? Let me know so I can plan my next trip. I know they have them on Maui and in Chicago and then there are the Dutch tacos (that aren’t really tacos) in Portland.

Every post this month for Veganmofo will be celebrating the recipes in the zine Sunny Days in Texas, a fundraiser cookzine to help Sunny Day Farms Animal Sanctuary.

Sunny Days in Texas: Blackened Caesar Wrap

This weekend I am really excited to buy my copy of Blissful Bites from Christy Morgan herself! She is going to be in town this weekend doing a autumn themed cooking demo at the Natural Epicurean and there is going to be a book release shindig (or is it a hootenanny?) at Counter Culture on Saturday night. I am especially excited to get the book at the party because Christy is donating 20% of the profits to Sunny Day Farms Animal Sanctuary so it is a win win situation. Also Counter Culture has been running specials from recipes in Blissful Bites all week long and will continue to do so through the weekend. I think it is such a cool idea because you can sample the food from the book without expending any effort whatsoever. I heard from one of my sources that that the specials are really good too.

I’m not surprised at the awesomeness because I got to try a Blissful Bites recipe myself last night. Christy donated three recipes  to the Sunny Days in Texas cook zine, which I happen to have a copy of. Last night I decided to try the Blackened Tempeh Caesar Wrap. After finishing up I immediately put the leftovers away so that Dan wouldn’t come in and finish of my delicious lunch for the next day. Lucky for me, he only looks at the pictures on my blog so he will never know, Ha! The wrap was pretty easy for me, you marinate the tempeh for an hour and then bake it for almost an hour and finish off with avocado, carrot, and lettuce. I loved the wrap and I will make it again for sure. I especially enjoyed the tempeh which came out crispy and well flavored. I think it would even be good to someone that hadn’t found a recipe yet that they liked for tempeh. Next time I will add more toppings and put it in a bigger wrap like you are supposed to, I usually only have taco sized tortillas normally and that’s what I used last night.  I’m excited to try the magical raw tacos next, hopefully they will make me magically like to eat healthier food!

Every post this month for Veganmofo will be celebrating the recipes in the zine Sunny Days in Texas, a fundraiser cookzine to help Sunny Day Farms Animal Sanctuary.

Sunny Days in Texas: Nice Ass Greens

This is probably the most used recipe in my arsenal because it is simple, versatile, and dare I say, healthy. The Sunny Days zine isn’t just things like jalapeno popper dip and Oatmeal Cream Pies, you know. I like to have dark leafy greens whenever I can get my act together and this method is great because it works with any edible green you end up with. Since I first made it in 2008 I have probably used the basic method about a hundred times, changing the types of greens and vinegar and usually omitting raisins because I don’t always have them on hand. 

I love serving the greens with grits because the garlic and oil gets all saucy and mixes in and flavors the whole dish. It works especially well with southern style meals or Italian. And, when you cook down greens like this you can eat a lot more of them and maybe absorb all those vital nutrients. I love adding in vegan sausage to make the greens a full meal. Usually it ends up on the sweet end of the spectrum because we use Texas Sweet Onions and white balsamic vinegar but it can go the other direction too with yellow onions and red wine vinegar. You can even add olives instead of the raisins if you want a more savory salty dish, especially if you really like olives added to every single thing you make.

Since putting the recipe in the zine though I do want to clarify something. The recipe is “nice ass greens” as in “my word, these leafy green vegetables taste delightful” not that you will develop a nice ass just by eating them. That you can only get from your mamma or maybe doing lots of squats and lunges.
Every post this month for Veganmofo will be celebrating the recipes in the zine Sunny Days in Texas, a fundraiser cookzine to help Sunny Day Farms Animal Sanctuary.

Sunny Days in Texas: Oatmeal Cream Pies

I recently learned that at our church’s bakesales my grandmother’s nut roll was infamous. People loved it so much that it would sell out before the sale even started! I wish I would have learned the recipe so that I could have a signature dish to always bring. Here in Austin we have bakesales all the time to raise money for animals, humanitarian disaster relief, and other causes as well. I always panic until the last minute going through all my bookmarked recipes over and over again trying to find that perfect something.

Lucky for me, and every bakesale we have ever had, my friend Kristen, who blogs and Sugar-Skull never panics and always donates something amazing. For Austin Bakes for Japan she made the most adorable cupcakes ever that were such a big seller. At last weekend’s Austin Bakes for Bastrop her  Pumpkin with Cinnamon Buttercream cupcakes were my favorite item there…. and what I had for breakfast!

If you are looking for the perfect bakesale recipe, Kristen has a couple in the Sunny Days in Texas benefit zine including her Oatmeal Cream Pies. These pies are similar to the little Debbie ones, except they are way better, vegan, and not even that hard to put together. You could even make them for breakfast. If you are the kind of person that “makes things” for breakfast rather than running out the door in the last couple of seconds and demanding your coworkers pick up breakfast tacos like some people. They would also be perfect in a lunch box or of course, at your next bakesale!

Every post this month for Veganmofo will be celebrating the recipes in the zine Sunny Days in Texas, the fundraiser zine to help Sunny Day Farms Animal Sanctuary.

Sunny Days in Texas: Jalapeño Popper Dip

For Veganmofo this year my theme was to cook every recipe in the Sunny Days in Texas benefit zine but it turns out that I am going to have to slightly alter my plan. Instead of cooking every recipe I am going to try and eat every recipe. And this time it isn’t just because I am hungry AND lazy but because I have a stupid injury that makes both standing and walking very painful. Who knew standing and walking were so important anyway? Not me! I would have thought laying around all summer watching Star Trek on Netflix missing a ton of work sounded like paradise…. until I tried it. First of all, Voyager kind of sucks and not being able to cook for yourself or shop without riding one of those electronic scooters makes life super depressing. Things are getting better though now, Deep Space Nine and the Wonder Years were both added to streaming this week and I can get around a little bit better so I do plan to do some cooking.

The first recipe I want to tell you about that I tried in the zine comes from Kristen Blackmore who blogs over at the noochy noodle and has a lovely shop with her knitted vegan clothing line (I really really want this hat). When I first read about the Jalapeño Popper Dip I was so excited because it sounded like the laziest way ever to get your jalapeño popper cravings satisfied since, as far as I know, there isn’t a vegan frozen version on the market. It turned out my friend Hannah was maybe even more excited to try the recipe (or at least less of a slacker) because she was the very first person to buy the zine. She immediately wanted to try the dip for a party. By the time I got there, what you see on the plate in the picture was all that remained and only because Hannah had stashed it away for me, I had to take the picture fast! People gobbled it up and then started asking me for more and I pulled the zines to show them how they could make it themselves like I had planned it that way.

If you have enjoyed poppers in the past I promise you would love this recipe. The creamy cashew based filling is just delectable with the hot jalapeños and then the bread crumbs on the top created the satisfying crunchy contrast that I desire in all food. Plus, the recipe was inspired by a trip to Sonic and the Veganomicon which is pretty much a description of my approach to food.

Sunny Days in Texas, the vegan cookzine for charity, is now available!

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"Please buy this zine, it's for the animals"

This past summer in Texas has been brutal. We had the most 100 degree days in a row ever, the worst drought ever, and a few weeks ago much of our beautiful central Texas Hill Country was engulfed in flames. The community here in Austin has done truly amazing work. Following  Austin Pets Alive’s attempts to save all pets from Bastrop filled my heart with love for people again and on Saturday October 1st, we held a mega city wide bakesale that raised almost 13,000 dollars for relief efforts. The people, for the most part, will survive and hopefully rebuild but for the animals the fires and the drought have been completely devastating. The strangest part for me as a city dweller is that all the bugs are dead and critters have eaten my remaing cacti and succulents which are certainly not their typical food. I learned that in Texas you have to water your trees…. and your house or the foundation will crack.

At Sunny Day Farms Animal Sanctuary in La Coste the cost of taking care of all the animals, without access to grazing grass and water, has risen dramatically. Poor Brooke, who runs the farm, told me that her days are spent at the river collecting water with 5 gallon water totes. As you can imagine, watering three hundred animals everyday has definitely proved to be a challenge. The vegan community in Austin has been doing what we can to help and I have been working on putting together an awesome recipe zine to raise money. Many of Texas’ best writers and restaurants have donated Texas themed recipes to the effort and I have put together three different versions online for sale, though if you live in Austin you can pick a copy up at MonkeyWrench books and in Portland at Herbivore and Food Fight!

The zine has been a labor of love for sure, it is packed with fabulous recipes for everything from Ranch Dressing to Mexican Hot Dogs to Cowboy Cookies to Raw Tacos to Jackfruit Brisket. There are healthy recipes like Tex Mex stuffed peppers and Blackened Ceaser Tempeh wraps and then there are recipes for 40 pounds of battered and deep fried popcorn tofu, Oatmeal cream pies and homeade Oreos. It is also illustrated with pictures of Sunny Day Farm’s most adorable residents and available in several different ways.

My favorite is the full color print on demand version that also comes with a free digital download. For real, check out the preview on Mag Cloud.The sections are all color coded by type which makes it really fun to flip through and easy to find stuff and the animals are so cute you will be smooching the pages. Through the preview you can also see every recipe.

you know you want to kiss that pig

A black and white version is available on Etsy, these might take a little bit longer to ship but they are pretty much the exact same thing but in black and white on regular paper and with a different cover and I have to put each one together so really buy the color one!

Finally, if you don’t want to waste any trees feel free to email me at veganlazysmurf at gmail.com and for a 10 dollar paypal donation I will email you just the color PDF of the Mag Cloud version so you can look at it on your zune or whatever. Actually, please don’t ask me if it will work on your crazy device, it is a standard PDF file and I have an iphone so everything works like magic for me.

100 percent of the profits are going directly to the farm. If you would like to just help out without purchasing the zine please make a donation to Sunny Day on paypal to the email info@sunnydayfarms.com or sponsor an animal for a few dollars each month. Also check out the indomitable Molly’s Lonestar Plate post that includes other ways to help as well. And thanks Molly for all of your help (and the garlic stuffed olives).

For veganmofoI am planning to cook recipes from the zine all month long so stay tuned to see what all is cookin’ !