Many moons ago, when I was struggling with veganism (going back and forth to vegetarianism), I bought Vegan with a Vengeance. The book really and truly changed my life. I became enamored with food in a way that no other vegan cookbook ever made me before. While flipping through the pages one day, I read the message from Isa about how to start a cooking show. That was the moment I wanted to do it. Why? Because Food Network still thinks vegetarianism is a niche market. Why else? Because I love to cook and only gained that appreciation years ago.
Here's the email that I sent to Isa at the time and her response. I had forgotten I kept it until I was cleaning my inbox several months ago:
My name is Mo. I was just a kid from Texas with a passion for animal rights... Until Post Punk Kitchen and VWAV changed my life!
I have so much hope that society will eventually evolve to a place where we "see", truly SEE the damage we are doing.
I want to thank you for sparking a revolution in me. Really soon I hope to create the southern version of PPK. It's in the works right now, but I would like to present the world with vegan Tex Mex, BBQ and Dirty Souf Soul Food. Cross your fingers for me.
Thanks again. Your recipes are turning non-believers into believers....at least down here they are.
Have a fantabulorgasmictastic day!
San Antonio, Texas
And from Isa:
Thanks so much, that means a lot to us that we are having an impact on people's lives. All we really meant to do was have a little fun and cook some!
Note the usage of the word "fantabulorgasmictastic." Hey, look, I've always claimed to be a cheesy nerd. That is who I am through and through, but I just don't give a fork! I was giddy as a schoolgirl that I got an email back from an actual author! Shortly after, I joined the PPK and the rest is awesome history. I love veganism to my core, so doing a show was on my list of things to do before 35. Now I only have to join the derby, run a marathon, write a novel, and perform a one woman show. Baby steps.
So Era and I spent way too frickin long with this first episode. We learned a few things (mostly about how we need more lighting). Partly because I'm a never-satisfied perfectionist when it comes to myself, and also because I hadn't edited video since high school. There's plenty of dancing because it's my favorite thing! Oh, and I dance way better than that. It's just unnerving to be videotaped dancing when a birthday party is setting up 20 feet away from you. Bust it!
|Kiki would be proud!|
**Update: 1-16-12 Below is an updated version of my menudo.**
soy free option: Replace TVP with 15 oz can of rinsed and drained pinto beans.
1 cup TVP pieces (not granules) rehydrated in 1 cup of boiling water
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 small white onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
½ Tbsp Mexican oregano, crumbled
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, more or less to taste
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp fine sea salt
6 cups beef-flavored or regular vegetable broth
⅓ cup Ancho Chile Paste (recipe below)
15 oz can hominy , drained and rinsed
minced red, white, or green onion
lime or lemon wedges
Heat the oil in a large saucepan medium high heat. Add the onion and carrot. Cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
While the onion and carrot are cooking, get the spice mix ready. Mince the garlic and set aside. Mix the oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, cumin, and salt together.
When the vegetables are softened, add the garlic and spice mix to the pot. Cook for about a minute before adding the broth, chile paste, hominy, and TVP to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 25 minutes. Garnish with onion, fresh cilantro, and lime or lemon wedges.
Ancho Chile Paste
This can be made with any dried chile you like, though I favor ancho for its deep flavor and mild spice. You can store this in a glass jar in the fridge for up to a week. If storing in the freezer, I suggest doubling the recipe and freezing in 1 Tbsp cubes.
2 oz dried ancho chiles, seeded and stems removed
1 small garlic clove, minced
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp Mexican oregano, crumbled
¼ tsp fine sea salt
¼ tsp sugar
½ cup vegetable broth
Toast the dried chiles in a pan over medium heat until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Watch them carefully so they do not burn. Empty the chiles into a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Let them soak for about 15 minutes.
Drain the chiles and place them in a blender or food processor along with the garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, sugar, and vegetable broth. Blend until completely smooth.
Clarification on pasillas/anchos. Anchos are dried poblanos and are sometimes smoked. Pasillas are dried versions of the chilaca pepper. I couldn't remember what it was called when I did the video. Haha.