Monthly Archives: October 2011

Sunny Days in Texas: Recipe Roundup

I didn’t get to every recipe I wanted to try in the Sunny Days zine this month because my leg is in a cast and I still can’t walk so I have to scoot around on a walkin scooter. I am still looking forward to trying Vegan Hope‘s Stuffed Peppers and Peach Cobbler, Counter Culture‘s Fried Green Tomatoes with roasted red pepper aioli and her Daikon salad, Sugar-Skull‘s, Chickpea Tuna salad and Cowboy cookies, The Spiral Diner‘s Ranch and Wheatsville‘s Cashew Tamari Dressing, Wes‘ Boudin sausage, hummingbird cupcakes, and pralines, the Blissful Chef’s Magical Raw Tacos (I even bought all the stuff!) and nectarine cobbler smoothie, Ariane‘s Chicken Fried Tofu, any of the drinks, or Two Vegan Boys‘ Yummeos (homeade oreos)

It sure sounds like I missed a lot! Everything I did try was fantastic though! It was an intense month of Texas Eating for sure. Notice that I hardly went for any of the healthy recipes or desserts, it was almost all crazy queso filled delicious main dishes at my house this veganmofo.

Jalapeño Popper DipOatmeal Cream Pies

Nice Ass Greens

Blackened Tempeh Caesar WrapBreakfast Tacos

King Ranch CasseroleJackfruit Brisket Taco

Popcorn Tofu Po’Boy Texas Chili in Frito Pie Mexican Hot DogZucchini MigasI don’t think I could even pick a favorite. We did make the chili twice but that might be because KellyCVegan merely mentioned frito pie on twitter. I do love how easy that recipe is. I kind of want to make the Mexican Hot Dog again just so I can take a better picture, oh and because I loved it and still have some chipotle mayo.

All this deliciousness can be yours too! If you already bought a copy of the zine, thank you so much! I hope you love it and if you blog about it let me know! I would love to hear what other people think. I am still working on getting it for sale in DFW and book people but it is taking a little while. If you want to get it, the black and white versions are going to sell out very soon and after this month I’m not going to make any more. The color versions and the PDF version are welcome to you.

I would love for you to Donate to Team Sunny Day! You could win a copy of the zine, Blissful Bites, everything you need to make some Texas Chili, homemade oatmeal cream pies and pralines, and some Food For Lover’s queso. It’s the best prize package ever and not a lot of people have entered so chances are really good that you could win it all.It has been a good month! I feel so lucky to have such a fantastic vegan community here in Austin and all over the world united by a love of vegan food and 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.

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Cinnamon Rolls and sadness

Today instead of working on my mofo plan I ended up making cinnamon rolls because I am super depressed even though I am wearing my “I ❤ life” shirt and am surrounded by adorable beagles. It was time to drown my sadness in frosting. I have been trying to keep a positive attitude like everyone on the internet always tell you to do but in all honesty I’m probably more like Eeyoure than a Smurf.You know what would cheer me up? If you donated to Team Sunny Day to win the prize package! I think it is the coolest prize package ever, but then I love queso and when people from the internet make me stuff and new awesome cookbooks. How’s that for the guilt sale! But imagine if you were having a bad day and you found your mailbox full of homemade pralines and cream pies and all you had to do to get it was help some animals. You would forget all about this time I guilted you into donating to Sunny Day and you would be like, that Lazy Smurf is all right.

South Austin Vegan Brunch Guide- a rebuttal

The other day The Lonestar Plate wrote a guide about the best brunches in Austin. I started to comment about this and that because I felt like Molly’s criteria for best brunch isn’t the same as mine and we have such different opinions about something so important. Luckily, I have my own blog where I can ramble on about my favorite brunch spots with my favorite pictures.

My criteria is this: I don’t want to wait to sit forever and brunch can’t end at some absurdly early hour. I love that Wheatsville runs their hot bar with biscuits and gravy and tofu scramble all the live long day on Sunday. I actually end up there quite a bit because sometimes I don’t truly get my act together until around 3. It’s a tough life! Whole Foods is kind of the opposite of mellow wonderful Wheatsville. Breakfast taco service ends at 1pm on the weekends and the store is always buzzing in a beehive-like panic. But I adore their breakfast taco, even though it is totally inconsistent and sometimes doused with turmeric, when it’s on it is my favorite taco in town so I will occasionally brave the crowd…or more likely send someone to get tacos for me!They have other stuff too, they recently reformulated the donuts but I am still not impressed and they have a bagel bar with all sorts of vegan toppings but it seems to always close before I get there. They used to serve all kinds of good specials at the vegan bar but now that they are on the health kick it isn’t as appealing to me. So tacos it is and I don’t mind one bit.

One place I do love for healthy food is the recently opened Juicebox. For months I have been enjoying the Green Monster Smoothie (broccoli, peanut butter, coconut water, banana and spinach how are you so good?) but recently they expanded the smoothie menu and it is a lot harder to choose. So far I love the “Buisness Time” (cold pressed coffee, coconut water, cacao, and banana) even more than the Tropicalia (mango, banana, pineapple, lemon, kale, and spirulina) probably because tropical smoothies in Hawaii are still fresh in my memory. They also have vegan soup options from the Soup Peddler but so far I have been disappointed. I don’t know people refuse to make creamy vegan soups like corn chowder or potato leek, it really isn’t a sacrifice to use non dairy milk! I promise.

Another place I frequent is La Flor, and not just ’cause I live so close by. This place has the best tortillas I have ever had. Both the flour and especially the corn are just another level of amazingness. They are almost like a crepe and so fresh and delicious that no other taco can compare. The Spanish speaking proprietors of the trailer have assured me several times of an absence of lard in the refried beans and they are just delicious and similar to the fabulous recipe that I make at home. I finish off my taco with their steamy potatoes, nopales, and spicy green sauce and I am in cielo.

I was so excited when I found out Summermoon was selling Red Rabbit Donuts. I am desperately in love these deep fried morsels of wonder even though they don’t have any cream filled varieties. I am so glad to have a spot close to my house where I can pick them up. They probably have a location close to you too. I wish I could eat them every day.

Another coffee shop on South First has probably the greatest vegan breakfast empanadas in the world. The Fair Bean works magic with their flakey buttery crust surrounding perfectly seasoned breakfast sausage and soft potatoes. I don’t know why it isn’t one of the most popular vegan spots in town but I wish you all would check it out. Believe me on this! Maybe it is because they run out of vegan empanadas sometimes or maybe they are just too close to Bouldin Creek that not enough folks seem to give them a shot? They also have fantastic lattes, the best in town and red roobis lattes, a Roto de vegan, fantastic and giant chocolate chip cookies and banana bread. And eveyone that works there is really nice. And the owner is Brazilian. So go. I don’t work for them I just want them to always be there.Of course there is a reason that everyone goes to Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse. It probably has my favorite brunch in town. I love their unique baked tofu scramble in both the omlettes or the tacos. The Rennedict was truly a step above it for me. All that delicious tofu scramble covered in hollindaise and the best tofu bacon I have ever had make me want to cry because I go there all the time and this picture you see is the only time I have ever gotten to try it. They stop serving it at 11 or whenever they run out. And they always run out. So if you are one of those people that gets up and goes for a nice run and then needs a hearty breakfast by 8am check it out. I’ll be in bed drinking coffee and thinking about how much I hate you.

Although it isn’t paticularly vegan friendly I do end up at Polvo’s quite a bit and eat about a million chips with their delicious trio of salsa’s and escabeche while sucking down their giant Michelda. By the the time I get my food I’m not even hungry (stupid awesome chips and salsa) but their breakfast tacos are pretty good and they have lots of options. The trick is to go to the very  back middle bottom page of the menu to see your options. The staff is notoriously unhelpful but if they aren’t busy and you can get across veganism to them they sometime will make you really good food off the menu. If you don’t want a battle just be prepared to order a breakfast taco and say “really no egg” about seven times to get the point across. Curra’s over on Oltorf has better vegan options but they always seem to have a long wait so I never go.

Mr. Natural is another place with inconvenient brunch hours but worth checking out on a Saturday for sure. Mexican Breakfast is probably my favorite thing about life in Austin and this cafeteria does it right, if you weren’t impressed by lunch or dinner give their breakfast a shot. And then try lunch again on a different day. The menu has tons of stuff that can be easily veganized like this Mexican pancake. It is just a pile of potatoes, a fresh tortilla, and vegan chorizo covered in Ranchero sauce but they make every aspect of it in house so every ingredient is done to perfection. I love the Tofu Migas and the breakfast tacos (with no lettuce) as well but they also have vegan Belgin Waffles, acai bowls, cinnamon toast and ice cream sundaes! And vegan tres leches but that’s another story.

Just down the street from Mr. Natural, and at 4 other locations in town, is the very popular Kerbey Lane Cafe which is one of those places that is great for vegetarians and really not worth the hour wait on Sundays for vegans. The pancakes are much better than they used to be now that they don’t try to do vegan and gluten free and I love that they bring you margarine without asking. But, the rest of the vegan platter is kind of a disaster. The tofu scramble is either way over-spiced or not spiced at all and it really doesn’t go with pancake and maple syrup at all. Then there is the utter disaster that they call soysage. Thier soysage is the reason people throw rocks at vegan kids at school. It is exactly what the people who refuse to try your cooking think of when they hear “fake meat”. Maybe that sounds harsh but I really think nasty vegan food does more of a disservice to veganism than having no food at all. The really sad part is that vegan sausage is so easy to make or buy! It is probably the truest meat analogue there is after chick patties. I wish they would just get rid of the scramble and the sausage and serve the pancake with fakin’ bacon and homefries.Another disappointment, but for the opposite reason is Snack Bar on South Congress. They used to have these fantastic vegan migas, pictured above but then they got a new chef and took them on the menu. Before that, they had tempeh bacon and vegan waffles but they got a new chef and took them off the menu. They contacted me the other day to say they reformulated the vegan arepas and they are really good now but I think I’m afraid that I will go and love them and then they will take them off the menu. At least their cocktails are delicious and the patio remains one of the cutest in town.

For me, only two north spots make the cut because I am a southie for sure but I have to mention Counter Culture because pretty much whenever they have brunch (they only do it some Sunday’s so follow them on F*c*book) I have to go. French toast is usually the main attraction but I love the tempeh bacon, biscuits and gravy, and almost everything I have had there. I dream of Sue opening a restaurant in South Austin that has brunch every day. Finally, Sunflower Vietnamese restaurant should not be missed. I regret all the years I was too lazy to drive all the way up to research or 183 or whatever the hell crazy road this little Vietnamese restaurant is on because I missed out. The Vietnamese crêpe (or Bánh Xèo) is stuffed with mushrooms and and sprouts and all the traditional Vietnamese elements. The crepe is made out of rice flour and coconut milk and is probably even gluten free. It is by far the best vegan crepe I have ever had. I highly recommended you check it out.

So that is my brunch guide. If you disagree fee free to comment or, better yet, make one yourself! I love reading about vegan food in Austin.

 

Sunny Days in Texas: Zucchini Migas

Migas are a regional Mexican dish created to use up leftovers from the night before. Traditionally, cooks fry up some onions, peppers, and spices, add the leftover meat, and then scramble with eggs and cheese and then mix in last night’s tortillas. Restaurants in Austin have about a zillion spins on this, sometimes using chorizo or queso instead of cheese, or using tortilla chips instead of dried out tortillas and, of course, the migas breakfast taco. So… maybe not quite a zillion but more like 10 different ways. Mr. Natural has the best tofu version I’ve tried.

I think the first vegan food blog in Austin that I was aware of was Two Vegan Boys.  Krys is always cooking up amazing vegan comfort food for her family and has lots of tips on being frugal and gardening. I was really excited that she donated her recipe for Zucchini Migas to the Sunny Days zine because I love migas and everyone always need more recipes for zucchini!

It took me quite a while to get the technique for making migas right. I think the trick is to keep a low heat once you add the tofu and to turn over the tofu instead of stirring it. The recipe called for firm tofu but for some weird reason I only had soft tofu on hand and I was pleased that it worked so well. I also ended up baking some tortillas to make chips because I didn’t have any on hand. Next time I’ll use queso instead of cheese and serve with some roasted potatoes. Or migas con hongos is always good too.  It is a great flexible recipe, now I’m even more excited to try her homeade oreos, also in the zine!

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.

Vegan Slacker Report

I thought it might be helpful to put together a post for those of you in Austin that aren’t glued to the internet so you know what is going on.First, this weekend, in Dallas, is the Texas State Veggie Fair. There is going to be a vegan fried food cookoff with craziness like last year’s winner the fried Reuben sandwiches, and all sorts of other delicious treats. They will also have a ton of food, cooking demos, fire dancing, music, and games with prizes and it is free to enter!

On the home front back in Austin this Sunday there will be two vegan brunches, Sue will be cookin’ up some pumpkin french toast and banana split oatmeal at Counter Culture and there will be live music. Be sure to RSVP so they don’t run out by the time you get there. She also has my most favorite specials this week, the holiday sandwich and chocolate covered Twinkies!The Brixton is going to have their first every vegan brunch buffet with a serve yourself bar of biscuits and gravy, build your own tacos with tofu scramble and tempeh bacon, and vegan friendly cocktails!There are a couple new trailers on the scene as well, a vegan ice cream truck called Kats ice cream on South First and the return of the beloved World Beat Cafe, but now in trailer form Wasota African Cuisine which is right next door! Hooray for South Austin!

Team Sunny Day is still training for their marathon in a couple weeks, if you donate to the team you could win fabulous prizes and increase your good karma by at least 87 percent!Dogtober Fest is this weekend at the domain. It is going to be a great event with a silent auction, canine costume competition, and of course you can bring your dog. Especially if your dog is better trained then mine and doesn’t just steal food out of people’s bags. All the money raised goes to wonderful organizations including Hound Rescue who rescued one of my beagles!

I saw this pic when I searched "beagle Halloween" hilarious!

The Gypsy Picnic trailer food festival is also this weekend on auditorium shores, two of my favorite vegan friendly carts Conscious Cravings and Bananarchy will be out there representing along with 40 other trailers. Many of them look like they will have vegan options and of course there will be music there too.

This weekend the Austin Film Festival is also going on, if you always wanted to stalk James Franco, Johnny Depp, Jason Dohring, or David Boreanaz this is the weekend to do it! If you are wondering what that could possibly have to do with veganism, all I can say is that many of the vegans I know seem to crush on at least one (or all) of those guys.

If you would prefer to stalk people from the food network Alton Brown is going to be at the Texas Book Festival this weekend. Someone please make him go vegan, it would be a total game changer! Imagine the shit he would come up with. There will really be something for everyone there, Tom Perrotta is going to be talking and their will be workshops about books on Texas Heirloom gardening, fighting off zombies, boozing it up and kayaking the Texas coast.If you are stuck at home like me perhaps now is the time to learn to knit. Grist mentioned a Call To Action for penguins that were affected by the oil spill. They need people to make sweaters, the patterns and info are here.

And finally, last but not least, VeganMoFo continues for another week. Check out the Vegan Iron Chef competition if you want to have some fun in the kitchen or enter the Rescue Chocolate giveaway if you want to eat chocolate!

Team Sunny Day Giveaway!

My friend, and zine contributer, Wes is running a marathon along with some other vegan folks to raise money for Sunny Day Farms Animal Sanctuary. In support of this his training I have decided to go on complete bedrest until he makes it to his fundraising goal! We came up with an awesome idea to raise some funds thanks to inspiration from Katie over at Don’t Eat off the Sidewalk.

The awesome idea is FABULOUS PRIZES from your all of your favorite Texans! 

For ever 10 dollars that you donate to the Crowdrise page you will gain an entry into the prize package giveaway. So if you donate 1,000 dollars you will get 100 entries and probably destroy the competition.

The Grand Prize Package will be a copy of the brand new Blissful Bites (read JL goes Vegan’s review and check out some sample recipes!) a copy of the Sunny Days in Texas zine, some homemade pralines made by Wes himself, some Oatmeal Cream Pies made by Sugar-Skull vegan baker extraordinaire Kristen, a Chili-Making Kit from Chili Queen MollyJade and the world’s best Vegan Queso from Food For Lovers. The Grand Prize will only be available to the US and Canada because I’ll need to ship those delicious baked goods quickly!

The Second Place Winner will get a copy of the zine, a jar of queso, and a chili spice mix and will be open to anyone worldwide.

TO ENTER: Donate at least 10 dollars to Team Sunny Day at Crowdrise. Remember, the more you donate the more chances you have to win. When they send you a receipt, forward that to me veganlazysmurf at gmail dot com and I will save them all until I do the drawing on November 13. Remember to use an email that you check often so I can tell you if you win!

Thanks to everyone for the donations and prizes! We love Sunny Day Farms and want to help those animals live out the rest of their lives in such a wonderful place.

Sunny Days in Texas: Mexican Hot Dog

Q. When is a taco not a taco?
A. When it’s a Mexican hot dog!This monstrosity of awesomeness was inspired by the one and only Mo’ Betta Vegan and her recipe for a Mexican Hot Dog. In general I’m not a hot dog fan, I think I have too many memories of being icked out by the knowledge of what was in them as an omni that I have trouble with the vegan version. Or it might be that I am not a fan of traditional American condiments like mustard, relish, sauerkraut, or pickles. Thank goodness Mo changed my hot dog eating ways by introducing me to the Mexican Hot Dog.

We made the chipotle mayo first and liked it so much that we are going to put it on everything else the rest of the week. Then the smart dog was topped with Food For Lover’s queso, soyrizo, avocados, salsa, and grilled onion and mustard for Dan. We ate these incredibly messy but so tasty creations while watching community in honor of Mo. Or really just because we hadn’t seen last week’s episode yet. The Buffy background in the hot dog shot is totally in her honor.

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.