Monday, March 30, 2015

Wondering What to Do with All of That Kale You Had to Harvest?

If, like us, your kale plants are starting to flower and you need more room for your incoming tomato plants, don't despair over the high amount of kale you have to deal with. This is your opportunity to makes a ridiculously large amount of Green Vegetarian Restaurant's famous and incredibly delicious kale salad:

Green Vegetarian Cuisine’s Kale Salad

Makes 16 cups
2 bunches kale
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce (see Note)
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes, or to taste

Instructions: Wash the kale in cold water, pat dry, and with a sharp knife, trim off the tough portions of the stems and discard them. Chop the kale into bite-size pieces and place in a large salad bowl; set aside.

For Dressing: Combine vinegar, oil, brown sugar, garlic, Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce and red pepper flakes in a sauté pan. (I used a bit less red pepper flakes than called for, but add it according to your taste.) Simmer the mixture over moderate heat for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove pan from heat and immediately pour the hot mixture over the kale; mix well to thoroughly coat all of the leaves with Dressing. Allow kale to sit for 10 minutes or more before serving.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Homemade Monte Cristo to Tide You Over

If you are denied your chance to try the legendary Monte Cristo sandwich from Unity Vegan Kitchen, your next best option is to make one yourself, a poor substitute, I'm sure. But, it was definitely tasty. It included slices of tofu battered in corn meal and bay seasoning and fried, a freshly made cashew sauce, and a whole wheat bread dipped in Fronch toast mix and cooked in the frying pan. We added sliced strawberries and fig jam and powdered sugar. Of course, I still want (NEED) the Monte Cristo from Unity Vegan, but until then, I got a tiny taste of what it might be like.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Should Austin Vegans Shut Their Mouths?

Being a vegan often means walking a delicate balance between supporting all causes vegan and having an opinion about them. Of course, every vegan wants the best for their fellow vegan, and supporting vegan businesses and vegan-owned business is a form of activism that could potential turn many over to the vegan side. To qualify that statement, however, nonvegans who have positive vegan experiences are more likely to be moved by their experiences. Having a negative experience could reinforce preconceived notions about veganism. Does all of this mean that vegans should not express their views when they try a dish at a restaurant, positive or negative? Recent aggressive stances by Austin vegan business owners try to equate any negative comment as almost evil. They say that people should say only negative things directly to them and never publicly on social media platforms or via other means. I presume they are in favor of only positive views being expressed publicly. I think this is the wrong attitude to have and can potentially affect veganism negatively, too. We live in a world of active social media. That social media needs to be embraced and engaged. Owners need to learn to interact with people in nonthreatening ways on these platforms. For better worse, this is how people often communicate. Making people feel threatened by the fear they will be outcast from their community by expressing a negative viewpoint is almost as bad as someone making an unfounded malicious comment on a social media platform.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Your Favorite Taco Shops Not Open Today? Make Your Own

I had to work in Kyle yesterday, despite the "ice storm" that shut down numerous places of employment yesterday, including the local school districts. It was gloriously sunny and 46 degrees (with a nasty northerly wind) when I drove south. I thought that it would be a great time to pick up one on of those amazing SXSW barbecue tacos from Vegan Nom. They were closed because of the weather. Darn. Well, I have not yet had the opportunity to try Cool Beans. I tried there, too. I'm guessing that it was the cold weather. Seriously, when am I going to be able to try their tacos? So, what does a frustrated vegan do when he can't get what he wants? I went to Whole Foods for supplies after work in order to attempt to replicate the barbecue taco. I bought Earth Balance mac and no cheese, a couple jalapeños, some vegan barbecue sauce (Austin's Own, Border Region: good stuff), and cabbage. I made the jalapeño mac and no cheese, shredded the cabbage, and added some barbecue sauce to the seitan I had already made. It was not Vegan Nom great, but it was definitely a very good taco with strong jalapeño flavor. Chris Rios of Vegan Nom may be a genius when it comes to his taco creations, but that does not mean he can't be copied (if necessary).

So Ringling Bros. Deserves Credit for Stopping Elephant Act? Not So Fast

I presume most of you have heard that Ringling Bros. announced that they would discontinue its elephant acts in 2018. So, Ringling Bros. feel they deserve credit for this, and animal rights groups feel they deserve credit, too. But the fact remains that the animals will still be "performing" for another three years, if Ringling Bros. actually goes through with its promise. They may change their minds if the elephant acts become popular during the "farewell" tour. I am skeptically optimistic they will allow stop this nonsense with the elephants; however, I must say that this announcement is a lot like a president promising to balance the budget in another president's term. You should only take credit for doing something when it actually happens. I'll believe this elephant stuff when Ringling Bros. actually does what it says it will do. I'm not going to glorify them for at least three more years of torture to elephants.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Get Vegan Nom's SXSW Barbecue Taco While You Can

I just had Vegan Nom's South-By barbecue taco special. It includes smoked housemade seitan brisket, jalapeño macaroni and no cheese, topped off with fresh cabbage, housemade barbecue sauce, and champagne vinaigrette. That thing is insane, so, so good. It's pure genius. The only thing I regret is not ordering more. My wife said she ate hers slowly, so she could savor each bite. Get it while you can. They are only have it during the month of March.

It's You, Not the Food, That Makes Things Taste So Good

This is a pretty wild story about changes at the molecular level explaining why Indian food tastes so good. I believe this to be only partly true. From my experiences, especially after I became a vegan, I have found that you like what you eat. Your tastebuds eventually adapt to what the body is consuming. Take nutritional yeast. I hated nooch for almost ten years, but I eventually came around. Now, I can't imagine it not being in my spice cabinet. That is a bit of an extreme example. Another would be meat. You hear so many stories about young children rejecting meat and of their parents sneaking it into their food. Eventually, they will like it despite their initial instinct. The same goes for Indian food, which I hated at first. Now, I crave it. New foods to the body are often revolting.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Do Slaughterhouses Make People More Sensitive to Cruelty?

I have to share a crazy thought that crossed my mind earlier today. While I do agree with Paul McCartney that "If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian," I think slaughterhouses may have had an inadvertent and ironic effect against meateating. I think it is possible that some of the population may have been made to be more sensitive to the plight of animals because they are not exposed to the desensitizing nature of animal butchery. What they buy in the grocery store does not resemble animals. You hear people getting grossed out about consuming any part of an animal that resembles a body part, such as the tongue of a cow or the eye of a fish. Yet, to that indistinguishable part of the animal, its flesh, they happily eat it. Slaughterhouses have changed people's experiences. When I was a child, we had a school trip to a butcher shop, and we were exposed to all of the cruelties of killing animals. In order to keep eating meat, you have to become desensitized to what is happening to animals in the cleaning and butchering process. Are slaughterhouses producing blocked vegetarians who are ethically sensitive to cruelty?