Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Isa's Sunflower Mac Is a Hit

I just made Isa Chandra Mokowitz's sunflower mac recipe from Isa Does It. It was fantastic, and it is nut-free (important for school). I didn't quite follow the directions because I had only roasted sunflower seeds. I just combined all of the sauce ingredients into my VitaMix and then cooked it in a sauce pan for a while. I finished it off by baking it with broccoli and topped with bread crumbs. It worked out. Next time, I might follow the directions to the letter. http://www.theppk.com/2012/02/sunflower-mac/

Review: Kebobalicious Full of Promise but a Bit Disappointing

I was on my way to Unity Vegan when I got distracted by a place called Kebobalicious off of Barton Springs Road. My wife and I got a sudden craving for a falafel wrap. I was excited about the fiery sauce they had listed on the menu, but I ended having to forego that because the sauce had dairy in it. I was able to get a sriracha sauce, though, to give it heat. I had to substitute the tzatziki sauce with tahini. It was a decent falafel wrap with lots of lettuce, onions, and tomatoes, but the falafel itself was a bit mushy and not full of flavor. It was nice to try something new, but I was a bit disappointed we didn't make it to Unity instead.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Pinch Cooking with the Ghost Chili (Yum) and Missing Real Jalapeños

I finally got around to trying the ghost chili pepper. A few months ago, my wife had bought me a bottle of the pepper, which came dried and smoked. The first time I smelt it, the aroma reminded me of jalapeños. Even though I had this information, I was reluctant to try the pepper, probably because my association with it as being something Indian, so my first experiment, according to my subconscious, probably should have been with an Indian dish. Also, admittedly, I was a bit afraid of the pepper. For the past few years, though, I have been really missing real jalapeños. I haven't found a real jalapeño since I lived in the Rio Grande Valley at the southern tip of Texas. Those peppers are full of flavor and heat. The variety mostly available most everywhere else in the United States was developed by Texas A&M to have less heat, but it also has less flavor. The real jalapeño flavor is something special, which you would understand if you have ever experienced it. In the Rio Grande Valley, we could get the real jalapeño from the pulga in Brownsville directly from people connected to small growers in Mexico. I actually remember the first time I had one of those Mexican jalapeños. When I moved to Brownsville from the Austin area, I thought I really had an affinity for spicy food. I used to put a lot of store-bought jalapeños in my food, the more the better. I thought I was immune to the capsaicin effect. I tried to cook the same way with a bag of jalapeños from the pulga. The first dish I made was inedible because the heat was too intense. After a while, though, I learned to cook with these jalapeños, and I grew really addicted to their taste. I noticed that the delicious papas a la Mexicana tacos from our local taqueria were insanely hot (but bearable) and had the jalapeño flavor even more pronounced than I had been familiar with before. I realized that the jalapeño flavor was delicate and could easily be overwhelmed by other flavors. The trick was to avoid using too many other flavors. The taco I created had a simple sautéed tofu with nutritional yeast and salt and potatoes with ground Mexican chili powder (a type of paprika that isn't hot), roughly chopped jalapeños, and onions. Avocado slices are excellent in this taco. It is a really simple but extremely flavorful taco, if you happen to be able to get a hold of the real Mexican jalapeño (the kind of chili powder is important, too). A&M jalapeños are worthless and flavorless for this dish, hence my longstanding jalapeño deprivation depression. I made this taco with the ghost pepper this time, and it was quite delicious. I was a bit cautious with the pepper to avoid making an inedible taco. It had a nice smokiness and was a bit reminiscent of the real jalapeño, but it was different. It was nice and had a sustained heat to the taco. I would definitely make these again. I am still depressed about not being able to get my hands on the Mexican jalapeño, but the ghost pepper works really well in a pinch for this taco.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Found at the Giant Asian Store: Vegan Beef Jerky

I should totally start a game of interesting vegan things found at MT Supermarket. Here's hot vegan (beef-style) jerky. I'm not going to buy it, but it is fascinating. It's hard to not look at.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Those Liberal School Officials Shoving Vegetarianism Down Americans' Throats

Scale back on meat? Hell no, that's un-American. Oh, Todd Staples. To the elected crazies in Texas government, there is only one thing worse than atheists and pro-choice advocates: vegans. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/10/todd-staples-meatless-monday_n_5800568.html

Bring Back the Waffles: A Plea to Unity Vegan Kitchen

I can't stop thinking about those amazing waffles from Unity Vegan. They were so good during its first birthday celebration the other day. I picture it as the perfect brunch item topped with fruit and vegan whipped cream. With those large trees and its proximity to Zilker Park, a Saturday or Sunday brunch at Unity would make it the weekend place to be for Austin vegans. (Crossing fingers and toes)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Who Needs a Drive-Through? Austin Has Drive-Up Service

We may not have every vegan convenience there is to have, but Austin is about as close at it gets. San Antonio has their Earth Burger with its drive-through. Austin has the Vegan Nom and the Vegan Yacht with drive-up service. http://instagram.com/p/syO7j7sTnH/

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

New Addiction: Maoz Fries With Tahini Sauce

If you haven't eaten Maoz fries with their tahini sauce instead of ketchup, you are missing out. This was my wife's moment of genius yesterday. I also finally tried their barbecue pita for the first time. I really like it, but it was, indeed, sweet. Had I had the patience to load it with a lot of raw onion, it would have been even more fantastic.