Monthly Archives: December 2009

a merry little christmas

I stayed in Austin for American Christmas this year. Mr. Smurf said he used to be really good at wrapping presents but then somehow lost the ability.

We started the day with a cuddle puddle. I am under there.Dinger inspected the groceries to make sure everything was vegan.I made a ton of Indian food starting with Khandvi so we would have something to snack onI popped more spices and made more mixtures than ever in my life.I cut cauliflower and was reminded of this picture I saw of a human brain

The dogs napped together

I battered and deep-fried bananas and peppers but not banana peppers

and I set them in front of Ganseha who is known as a fan of deep fried goodness and feasting in general

and we ate a ton of food and will end the day with another session of hugs.

Happy Holidays!

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Hungarian Cabbage Soup

I went on a trip to Hungary once. It was only later that I learned they have a marzipan museum in Szabo where you can see, among other things, a life-sized marzipan Michael Jackson. I don’t have very many regrets about my life but missing that museum is definitely one of them. Luckily, on that same trip I was able to see baby Jesus’ diaper so I can’t say the trip was a total bust.

I love Eastern Europe and the food, especially sausage which is often, unfortunately, the only dining option when traveling to those parts of the world. If you would have asked me long ago why I would never go veg I think a love of sausage would be up there. I wish I would have known then about seitan sausages because they are all I need to be a happy sausage lovin girl. Here in Austin you can even get whole wheat flour from the farmer’s market so if you wanted to make local cruelty-free sausages you could do it with much ease.

This soup recipe is everything that Lazy Smurf’s Guide to Life is all about. The recipe was really easy, the dish was very hearty and comforting, the recipe yielded a ton, the ingredients were healthy, seasonal, and local, it has Eastern European roots, was really cheap to make, and it tastes fantastic! That is a lot to ask for of a cabbage soup but I was really happy with how it turned out. Using seitan sausages really made the soup pretty wonderful but if you don’t have any around the soup would still be good. There is a lot of vinegar that we put in at then end which gives it the characteristic sour flavor but if you are not a fan you can leave it out or add a little at a time to taste.

Hungarian Cabbage Soup

2 onions, sliced into half moons
1 small cabbage, chopped
water, broth, or water mixed with broth powder
28 oz can of tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 large potatoes, cut into chunks
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 sausages
1 Tbsp vegeta or seasoning powder
1 tsp liquid smoke

In a large soup pot saute the onions while chop up the rest of the ingredients. Once they are beginning to brown add the cabbage and the garlic followed by enough water to cover all the vegetables. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 30 minutes. In a small skillet saute the sausages with a little bit of olive oil until the turn brown. Add them to the soup pot along with the potatoes. Simmer for another 20 minutes uncovered. Add the vinegar, sugar, liquid smoke, and seasoning powder and taste. Adjust and enjoy with some hearty bread. Mmm soup.

My Dogs have leg warmers now

We got an early Christmas package from my Mom, well I shouldn’t even say “we” because it was addressed to Dinger and Willow. They now have full Christmas outfits.I have “What a Feeling” from Flashdance in my head every time I look at them.Over the weekend I made some black-eyed peas with quinoa and cornbread. I had a bunch of leftovers and fried the black-eyed pea mix into patties, it was really good! If anyone wants the recipe I will be happy to type it up. Basically, I just cooked the peas with onions, garlic, cajun spices, liquid smoke and quinoa. It was pretty good but then while deciding what to make for breakfast the next day I read in Joanna Vaught’s zine Potluck Mania that she does something very similar but fries them into patties by just adding some vital wheat glueten for binding. I added some and mashed it up and it worked great, although getting a good picture was a struggle. I think these patties will be the perfect compliment to biscuits and gravy for a good southern meal.We made the cornbread from “The Dirty South” and it has become my go to recipe for cornbread. I changed the recipe a tiny bit replacing the corn with jalapenos this time and it was great.

Dirty South Cornbread
1 1/4 C flour
3/4 C Cornmeal
1/2 C Sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 C almond milk
1/4 cup veg oil
2 T cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup apple sauce
2 jalapenos chopped

Preheat to 400. Combine the dry ingredients, add the rest until just mixed. Put in a greased pan for ~25 minutes, stick a chopstick in the middle to see if it is done. If it comes out clean remove, cool and enjoy!

Teriyaki Vegetables

We are on an extremely tight budget this month because I am saving for a trip and I had already given up on eating real vegetables this month. Ok, I was still going to eat vegetables but only the cheapest, starchiest kind. I was a little worried I would get scurvy or gout or rickets but now my troubles are over because my partner volunteered at the farm and I cam home to a fridge full of farm fresh organic vegetables. I am so happy!  Mr. Smurf got us beets, kohlrabi, peppers, eggplants, jalapenos, salad greens, rainbow chard, basil, and tomatoes. Yes, TOMATOES in November. Life is great sometimes. Not only did I not have to grocery shop but I have the best veggies money can’t buy, including so many lovely greens!

I have been really busy and came home late and had to get dinner done before Top Chef started so I made one of the world’s quickest laziest dishes, Teriyaki Vegetables. Teriyaki is a sweet Japanese sauce usually made out of soy sauce, mirin, and sugar but I have used apple cider which is a healthier trick I learned in the Voluptuous Vegan.  This dish has a laziness factor of 3, (1 being you are too lazy to eat and 2 being you will only eat something that is already made and just needs heating). It is a meal you can cook in about 10 minutes and use any vegetables you have on hand. We ate it over Chinese noodles.

Teriyaki Vegetables

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin
2 cups apple cider
2 tsp cornstartch
~1.5 cups carrots, cut into half inch pieces
~1 cup kohlrabi, peeled and sliced
~1 cup mushrooms
~ 2 cups of the kohlrabi and carrot greens
1 cup of edamame
2 scallions chopped

First cook your rice or start water for your noodles. Then mix together the soy sauce, mirin and 1.5 cups of apple cider in a large skillet and bring to a boil. Add the carrots, mushrooms, and kohlrabi reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes covered. Mix the cornstartch and remaining half cup of cider in a small container. Add the edamame and the greens to the skillet and cook covered another 2 or3 minutes, until the edamame is cooked through. Add the cornstarch mix and stir. Add in the scallions, remove from heat and enjoy over rice or noodles.

Promise Pizza; vegan pizza in Round Rock

Before I was vegan the lure of free food enticed me at every turn. In my line of work there are always a lot of events with free food and I always helped myself to whatever looked best. Mostly it is really nice to be vegan and have an iron clad excuse to not eat a bunch of junk food but every now and then it is a little sad to pass up on homemade cookies or holiday parties. My inner need for free food is so strong that on a dark and stormy night we drove all the way from South Austin to Round Rock, a northern suburb of Austin, to try a newer restaurant Promise Pizza. Full Disclosure, it was an Austin blogger event so all of my food was free. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try another vegan friendly restaurant that promised organic and locally sourced vegetables and daiya cheese.

We got there a little late and everyone was eating. I was so happy that the tiny place was so bright and warm and it was filled with people. The staff was really friendly.  There was one vegan pizza out there already but they made a special pizza with no peppers (I don’t like them on pizza!) just for me. My main quibble with the pizza was that it didn’t have enough olives but that is my personal obsession and a normal person would be quite happy with the “sane” amount of olives on the pizza, they were good olives too. Red onions, Portabello mushrooms, tomatoes, and basil were all present on the pizza along with the vegan cheese and red sauce. The crust was good and all the toppings seemed right on. The cheese wasn’t all I had hoped but I am pretty used to that now with vegan dairy food. It was really fun to watch all the other food bloggers poke at the cheese but it seemed like for the most part they liked it enough. The owner talked for a while about how hard they are trying to source everything locally. They make the dough at the shop and he promised me that everything was truly vegan and that there is no chance of cross contamination. When they do the vegan and gluten free crusts they use separate cutting boards and even run them through the oven separately. It was really nice to hear someone being so thoughtful of people with special requests, one of my friends had a horrible reaction from a place that also had a “gluetan free” menu. Her food was contaminated and she was sick for the rest of her trip to Austin(jerks).  Everything at the place was organic and they even had soda sans high fructose corn syrup. The rest of the table was raving about the pepperoni pizza and the owner said he was working on finding a vegan sausage that he liked as much as the meat version so that he could start offering that as well and they also had vegan gluten fee cookies.

All in all it was shocking that such a place exists in Round Rock. I think vegans are going to be really happy to have a place that they can go where someone really understands how important it is to know where our food comes from. It gives me hope that places like this are popping up more and more around the country. He said that people in town were nervous to try the pizza because it was organic and they didn’t think that hippie shit would taste as good (my words not his!) so they would go to the Dunkin Donuts next door and ask them what they thought of it! That reminded me of my home town where every local business failed because people preferred to go to chains because they were deemed more trustworthy. What a world. I think these types of people are going to be pleasantly surprised by how much better something local and organic is than Pizza Hut.