Monday, July 27, 2015

Sweet Potato Greens Is the Summer Crop You Need to Grow

One of the challenges to growing your own food in Texas is the dearth of options for greens in the summer. Don't tell me malabar spinach is a good option. It is slimy and yucky. Most of our best greens, spinach, Swiss chard, kale, collards, lettuce, cabbage, etc., are winter crops here. I recently heard about growing sweet potato tops for greens, a common practice in Asia. I have yet to put this in serious action, although I do have a leftover sweet potato bulb pushing up greens. The greens are amazing, much like spinach, except with far less oxalic acid (a good thing!). They are so easy to grow. Here is a link to a PDF discussing the nutritional qualities of sweet potato greens:

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Vegan Pizza and Cupcake Party!

We had some fantastic food for our son's birthday party, and we got to support some amazing vegans and their businesses. Thank you, Craig Vanis of Bistro Vonish for the wonderful pizza and Celeste Caswell of Celeste's Best fame for the yummy, gourmet cupcakes (unfortunately, I did not get a picture of them). If you need food for a party, I highly recommend both of these businesses.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

My Vegan Noodle Soup Craving

There is only one bowl of vegan noodle soup that I ever have a craving for; unfortunately, it is from a place called Hop Tung in McAllen and not Austin. It is called Sha Cha Tofu Rice Noodle Soup (spicy soup, onion, tomato, peanuts, and cucumber). It is so amazing, especially the broth and the cooked tomato slices. It is absolutely brilliant. I wish an Austin pho place would have a vegan broth like this. Luckily, I was in McAllen this evening.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Fourth of July Vegan Barbecue!

Homemade Fourth of July barbecue seitan brisket was amazing. It is so ridiculously easy to do. Now that I know how to do this, it's time to invite some vegan friends over for a barbecue. We also had homemade potato salad and coleslaw. For the seitan, I mostly followed the New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook recipe the night before. Here it is:

4 cups of wheat gluten (one package of Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp soy sauce (recipe calls for 3, but I find that too much)
1/4 cup tahini (or peanut butter)
4 cups water
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder           
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Combine all ingredients, dry first. I put them in two bread pans. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or so. Take off the aluminum foil for the last fifteen minutes.

I made a rub out of mostly paprika with lots of black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and a decent amount of salt. I put oil around the seitan so the rub would stick. I cooked it low and slow with oak charcoal for about two hours on one side and another hour on the other. It had a nice crust, and the middle was the perfect texture. I did not make my own barbecue sauce today, however. I used Austin's Own, which is vegan and can be bought at HEB. The mild version is good for young children. The next time I do this, I will have more soaked wood chips. There was a nice smokey flavor in the brisket but not as much as I would have liked.