Monday, October 31, 2011

VeganMoFo V: Happy Shaun-o-ween!

We have reached the end!  I have to say that I am super ridiculous glad because I have been exhausted this semester.  Next year's MoFo will own.  I am already beyond organized.  This year was fun, but I have tons of blogs to read.  Even if I'm commenting in March, I will read your blog.  Phew.

Today, is a movie Monday of a different persuasion.  I decided to go with a horror marathon, seeing as how it's Halloween!  Today's movies are Lost Boys, The Craft, and Shaun of the Dead.

Halloween Menu
Red Beans and Maggots, Michael
Witches Brew
Girl in the Garden Cake

red beans and maggots, michael
The Lost Boys is this awesome vampire flick that stars the two Coreys.  That's pretty much all you need to know.  It's awesome.  Do not watch the sequel, as the only good part happens in the last 30 seconds.  Anyway...  Creepy ass Keifer Sutherland delivers the infamous line about maggots.  I figured that was easy enough.  Especially, since I was fiending for Kittee's red beans.

witches brew
The Craft is pretty much what Secret Circle ripped off.  It's about these three witches who ask a fourth, more powerful witch into their circle.  Plus, it takes place in high school so it's all angsty and whatnot.  Oh, and Fairuza Balk delivers the single best line in a witch movie (besides the whole Top That segment of Teen Witch).  "I'm flying!  I'm flyiiiiing!"  The drink was easy.  Lime skittles vodka and gingerale.  Yowza!

there's a girl in the garden.  what?  in the garden, there's a girl.
Okay.  I'm not too thrilled about this cake.  Not the flavor, but the decoration.  I keep reminding myself that I made everything from start to finish in only 3 hours between classes.  That takes the pressure off.  So, I know how to better navigate this the next time...and there will be a next time.

Mary, the shed, some tree things
You can't see that there is a hole in her right now.  That black thing is supposed to be the pole she gets skewered on.

you can see Mary's hole now
For those not in the know, Shaun of the Dead is one of the best zombie movies ever.  It's a zombie comedy and the reason I even started watching zombie movies.  I did it backwards...I knew very few of the references when I saw this.  I had to go back and learn about this stuff.  But it was worth it. Simon Pegg.  Swoon.

Well, that is all!  Happy Halloween!  See you next MoFo!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

VeganMoFo V: Salsa Lovin' Had Me a Blast

This is kind of an impromptu post. Last night, Era and I went to a family friendly Halloween party...only I didn't know it was family friendly until we got there.  My costume was Zoe from Fanboys (Picasso's blue period), so I had dyed tampons all over me.  Awkward.

Anyway, it was totally not vegan friendly.  Can a mothatrucka get a veg tray?!  However, the hosts were awesome AND made some damn fine salsas.  Era and I had an in depth talk about it last night.  At the very least, the two states I've resided in know their frickin salsas.  The host was telling us that the secret to their chunky variation was relish.  Whaaat?!  I even hate loathe abhor sweet relish, but that salsa was the jam!

my 30 second salsa.  recipe here.
My favorite salsa is definitely red, but I love all kinds.  Fruit ones, bean ones, corn, pepper based.  It's all good...

Pico de gallo-Fresh salsa.  Everything is diced.  This makes a perfect addition to quesadillas.  Just throw it in with the cheeze.  This recipe looks super.
Salsa Verde-I don't eat this nearly enough, but I used to go to a place that made poblano enchiladas with delicious salsa verde.  Cooking In Mexico has a few recipes.
Mango Salsa-This always reminds me of tropical things.  I really want to try it on some coconut tofu or something.  This recipe looks kinda nice because the huge mango chunks caught my eye.
Black Bean Salsa-I have served this at many a Festivus.  It's so easy and a bit more filling than your regular tomato variety.  Check out this droolworthy one.
Salsa Roja-Maybe the most complicated salsa to me.  It's got such a depth of flavor that I loves it.  However, working with dried chiles is scary to me.  I've not had very good experiences with getting great flavor from the.  User error for sure.  Peep the recipe I found.
Corn Salsa-I love this salsa so hard.  Actually, it always makes me want to go to Chipotle.  Fresh corn is the best, but holy crap I have to try this roasted corn salsa!

Hope everybody had a great weekend.  Expect many comments from me once MoFo is over and I have time to breathe.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

VeganMoFo V: MMMS-Saved

It's here!  My favorite Mandy Moore movie is here!  If you've never seen Saved, stop what you're doing and rent it today!  It's seriously amazing.  Dark comedy.  Religious fanaticism.  Heavenly ordained premarital sex.  I loves it!  Mandy plays a total jerkface named Hillary Faye.  She's this super hypocritical religious person, head of the Christian Jewels.  There's a lot going on in this: teenage pregnancy, Love Won Out type anti-gay camps, and the most effed up underwater Jesus vision ever.

Naturally, I wanted to make food that looks innocent, but is really not.  The only things innocent about this menu are the peas and carrots.

this meal ain't free.  read this pamphlet while you wait.
Collection Plate Special
Berbere Coconut Crusted Tofu
Smashed Potatoes and Beer Gravy
Peas 'n' Carrots
Fish Tank Jello Shot

mmm.  coconut tofu.
There are no recipes here, as I just threw things together.  The tofu had three dipping thingies: cornstarch, berbere, garlic pepper, poultry seasoning, thyme AND milk, whole grain mustard, berbere, hot sauce AND shredded coconut and nooch.  It was pretty damn good.  The potatoes are covered in beer gravy, but I accidentally grabbed a dark beer that I hate.  So...blech.  The peas and carrots are tossed with some dill and parsley.

there's a fish in there!
A character in the movie says that Jesus appeared to her in her fish tank.  You'll be seeing visions, too, if you down this lethal shot.  I really wish the jello shot wasn't so opaque.  Next time, I'm adding the smallest drop of food coloring.  I will definitely tweak this because 1 to 1 ratio of juice to alcohol is way too strong for me.  However, I'll share it because every recipe I saw online used too much damn agar powder.  These came out gel like.

Fish Tank Jello Shot
1 cup pineapple juice
2 Tbsp sugar
¾ tsp agar powder (not flakes)
1 cup flavored vodka or rum (coconut, passion fruit, or mango are great)
blue food coloring
Swedish fish

Combine the pineapple juice, sugar, and agar in a medium saucepan.  Heat over medium until the agar has been activated, no longer than 5 minutes.  You'll know this has happened when the mixture starts boiling and thickens slightly.  Remove from heat, and stir in the alcohol.  Add a couple of drops food coloring.  Fill each cup with a Swedish fish, and pour the mixture over them.  Let cool to room temperature before refrigerating.

Be sure to use right away because the Swedish fish turns to goo after about a day.  Next time, I'm totally just putting the fish on top, maybe with whipped cream!

Friday, October 28, 2011

VeganMoFo V: Capirotada (Mexican Bread Pudding)

Since last year's MoFo, I've been trying to compile recipes that remind me of home.  Bread pudding, at its finest,  makes me feel so cozy that I feel like I'm back in SA.  Capirotada is a traditional bread pudding usually eaten around Lent.  I, however, am not religious so I eats it whenever.  Different ingredients have symbolic meaning, and you can read about it here.  What you mainly need to know: it's versatile and topped with cheese!

Basically, capirotada is layered bread, fruit, nuts, syrup "tea," and cheese.  It's baked off to perfection.  I've even seen some recipes containing tomato and onion, but that's a little too much for me.  The key to this is definitely stale bread.  Staler is better.  Also, go for the cuts through the sweetness and tastes awesome.

fresh out the oven
Capirotada (Mexican Bread Pudding)
(serves 10)
Orange is not traditional in capirotada, but I love the flavor it lends. When making the “tea,” it should be just slightly thicker than actual tea.

4 cups water
2 piloncillos (Mexican brown sugar cones), broken
2 medium oranges, juiced
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp anise seed
½ tsp ground cloves
1 Tbsp vanilla
zest from 1 medium orange
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 cup raisins or cranberries
2 small granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1 lb loaf of French bread, stale or toasted and sliced
1 cup melty vegan cheese, optional

Make the syrup “tea” first. Combine the water, piloncillos, orange juice, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, anise seed, and cloves in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower to a simmer for 20 minutes, until piloncillos have dissolved and the mixture thickens slightly, though it will still be thin. Remove from heat and stir in the zest and vanilla. Discard the cinnamon sticks.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch pan and add half the bread in a single layer. Layer half of the pecans, raisins, and apples on top of the bread. Spoon half of the “tea” over this layer, making sure the bread soaks up the syrup. Repeat with the remaining bread, nuts, fruits, and “tea.” Let sit for 15 minutes so the bread can soak up the syrup.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, add the cheese, and bake for 10 more minutes or until cheese is melted.

the crustier the bread, the better
Feel free to replace the dried fruit and nuts with whatever you like best.  Today I used a cranberry and date combo.  I like pecans, but peanuts and almonds are also used.  I didn't use cheese this time because I didn't have any.  I really love cheddar on this.  So good!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

VeganMoFo V: Best Thing I Never Ate-Tyler Florence Edition

Technically, this isn't from Best Thing I Never Ate.  I just love Tyler Florence and Tyler's Ultimate.  I think his food is some of the most gorgeously shot food on the Food Network.  On the rare occasions that dude makes something veganizable, I'm totally there.

I've been wanting to make his ultimate Swedish meatballs for years.  Well, last night I did.  Totally amazeballs.

lingonberry sauce, mashed taters, meatballs, gravy, pickled cukes
The meal has three elements.  He serves the meatballs with these amazing potatoes and pickled cucumbers.  Tyler also does not skimp on the fat.  I didn't use nearly as much as he said, though adding a wee bit of olive oil to the potatoes made them super amazing.  Best potatoes ever!

For the meatballs, I just tweaked an albondigas recipe I've been working on.  It worked out fine, though I'm thinking about trying to make them soy and gluten free.  Anyway, the recipe I used last night is below.

this totally tastes like thanksgiving
Swedish Meatballs
1½ cups textured vegetable protein granules
1 cup beef flavored or regular vegetable broth
1 tsp marmite or 2 tsp dark miso
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp vegan worcestershire or steak sauce
4 Tbsp oil or margarine
1 small onion, minced
½ cup non-dairy milk
1½ tsp ground allspice
salt and black pepper to taste
2 bread slices, crusts removed, soaked in non-dairy milk
¾ cup vital wheat gluten

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a large cookie sheet with non stick spray.  Bring the broth, marmite, olive oil, soy sauce, and worcestershire to a boil over medium heat.  Pour over the tvp to rehydrate. Meanwhile, heat the oil or margarine in a large skillet.  Cook the onion until translucent.  Mix the onion with the tvp before adding the milk, allspice, salt and pepper.  Squeeze the excess milk from the bread slices and add them to the tvp mixture.  Combine everything thoroughly before mixing in the vital wheat gluten.  Roll into walnut sized balls and place on greased cooking sheet.

Spray the tops with more non-stick spray and bake for 20 minutes.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes while you prepare the gravy.

So...  Am I the only nerd with a thorough outline for next year's MoFo?  I already know and am researching my theme.  I feel way too disorganized this year.  Excited for this to come around again.  Tomorrow I can finally catch up on blogs.  Woo!

VeganMoFo V: End of the Rainbow

Since I didn't do a MoFo entry yesterday, this is the first of 2 entries.  My very last rainbow entry is....

aww yeah, sucka!

These are the ones from VCIYCJ, but I left out the chocolate chips on accident.  It was quite labor intensive to divide it into six different layers.  Next time, I would use the recipe as a base but put more cheesecake topping because it was seriously hard to blend the colors.  So much fun!

does a chocolate rainbow come from chocolate rain?
This was a fun thing to do even though it took a bit more work than the regular ones.  I think I'm going to do rainbow nights all the time now.  It's so purty!

Monday, October 24, 2011

VeganMoFo V: Woof, There It Is

I feel like most vegans have cats.  I, however, have dogs.  Ferocious little chihuahua mixes that are seriously fearless of anything...unless we're talking about boxes.  I present to you: Gizmo and Emma.

Name: Gizmo
Aliases: Many
Age: 7
Status: Adopted stray.  Era's niece had a dog who got a girl pregnant and Era introduced us on my 22nd birthday!
Best Friend: Mr. Frog.  He's gone through 3 in his lifetime, attacking the eye balls of each impostor upon introduction.
Vegan Likes: Carrots, frozen peas, nooch, the occasional bell pepper
Strengths: Super tracking abilities.  No human can hide for long.
True Story: Got hit by a truck and walked away with a one inch cut that healed within days.  The vet was amazed.
Dislikes: Anything cold, celery, and when Emma steals his toys.

Name: Emma
Aliases: Fo' dayz
Age: 7
Status: Adopted stray.  When Era was a substitute teacher, he called me up one day saying he found a girl chihuahua.  He waited a few days until he saw her again, and he brought her home.  We took her to the vet and the rest is history.
Best Friend: Ducky, but she'll totally steal Mr. Frog.
Vegan Likes: Carrots, frozen peas, apples, bell peppers, oranges, everything.
Freegan Likes: Straight dumpster dives like a mothatrucka.  Girl gets into everything.
True Story: Super jumping and opening abilities.  She has unzipped my backpack and my purse before.  And...without opposable thumbs!
Dislikes: Zombie sheep, dogs on television, when humans scratch their fingernails on upholstery.

These two chuckleheads are the loves of my life and best friends forever.  So, hope you liked meeting the two  other members of the Martin-Cisneros clan.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

VeganMoFo V: Show Me Watcha Got

Confession time.  That's totally a reference to a Limp Bizkit song.  Yes, I totally loved them in high school.  No, I don't wanna talk about it. Haha.  My other confession is that I didn't feel like cooking today.  I spent the day doing homework, coming up with my Saved menu, and watching Felicity.  Best day eva!

So, I figured I'd do the kitchen/refrigerator meme that I've seen in MoFo's past.  I haven't seen it yet this year, but I've been mostly looking at blogs that comment here, are in my blogroll, or the ones that pop up at Random Mofo.

Above is a picture of my kitchen.  I took this a while ago, but the only change is that there is so much more stuff on my counter now.  There's a large amount of counter space, but the kitchen isn't too big.  I hate the color, but it's my landlord's choice.  Also, the lighting is wonky.  Great in the summer all day, but it goes super fast in the fall/winter.  I'm talking about tragically dark by noon because of the angle of the sun as it relates to my windows.

fridge after I throw everything in on shopping day
This is how my fridge looks right after grocery shopping.  I live with a pescatarian, but I mostly deal with the occasional cheese or carton of eggs.  I always put paper bags in the crispers to lessen the humidity.  It works super well.  My condiment shelves are usually hella organized (mustards together, jam and nut butters, pickled things), but I gave up on that because Era never puts them back correctly.

The freezer is always stocked with nuts and seeds.  I usually throw dates in there too.  We have frozen fruits and veggies on the ready.  When we occasionally get great finds at Ralph's (as in $1 Yves products), we'll throw those in there.

What's in your kitchen?  That's mostly rhetorical, as I really want to see pictures.  I geek out on that stuff.

Tomorrow is dedicated to my dogs!  I'm moving Saved to the weekend cuz I gots plans!  Hope everybody had a great weekend.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

VeganMoFo V: Ain't Nothin' But a Gangsta Party

Today's entry is a food memory.  As high schooler, one of the major hang out spots was this place called Mad Hatter's Tea House.  At the time, the place was on Ave B in a seedy part of town.  It was behind a museum but several hundred feet from a park frequented by drug dealers and prostitutes at night.  My friends and I loved it because it made us feel grown up.

cuke and tofu salad sandwiches
Mad Hatter's was in an old, converted house.  The floors squeaked when you walked on them.  Everything was a little bit crooked and the rooms were small and cozy.  It's such a fantastic idea that I seriously associate this place with San Antonio.  You walked in, placed your order, and picked out your tea cup from the crooked shelving lined with mismatched dishes.

chocolate chip scones, clotted cream, raspberry preserves
We'd sit there for hours eating four berry cobbler and a huge pot of whatever we felt like at the time.  I wish more cities had places like this.

So, today, I just made a bunch of stuff for tea.  The gang was running late (Smackers is a bit of a diva) so I just took shots of the food.

mixed berry cobbler
I made mixed berry cobbler (waaaay too frickin' sweet for my tastes), clotted cream, chocolate chip scones, fresh veggies, cucumber sandwiches, and egg salad sandwiches.  It's enough for a weekend and even some weekday eats.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm sugar crashing from that cobbler.

Friday, October 21, 2011

VeganMoFo V: Home for the Holidays in Style

Next month begins the non stop holiday season, though I've already been assaulted by the foul scent of decaying cinnamon brooms.  Well, last year I never blogged about how I got prepared to visit family.  Era and I are a road warriors so we drove 18+ hours non-stop to Texas w/ 2 chihuahuas and a trunk filled with gift bags.  This is how we do it without the stress:

1. If you are bringing gifts, pick a theme.  It makes it so much easier.  I like to do baking themes because the assembly is streamlined.  Last year it was holiday cookies and confections.  I've done breakfast themes, game night themes, and so on...

2. Head to the dollar store.  There is no need to spend so much money when you can get something for $1.  Those sweet ass tins and gift tags are from my neighborhood Dollar Tree.  Holler.

cookie power!
3. A nice presentation makes people feel appreciated.  The cookies above are covered in plastic wrap.  See what a difference some curling ribbon and a tag makes?  I ended up filling each bag with some sort of beverage, several different types of cookies, savory snack mix, focaccia, a tin of fudge, and a mini loaf of either banana bread, date cake, or baklava bread.

Nana Marg's Nuts and Bolts from Garden of Vegan
cookies from VCIYCJ and 500 Vegan Recipes
4. Plan and bake ahead.  Keep in mind about the picky eaters and people with allergies (Mom and sis hate coconut.  Era and bro-in-law hate raisins.  Sister hates peanut butter.  Sis-in-law allergic to bananas).  Bake the cookies and freeze until ready to assemble.

seriously delicious date cake (thanks to Kmouse for talking it up!)
5. Most of all, don't forget to pack the leftovers for yourselves!  Muahahaha.  Era and I always back snack mix, meal bars, fresh fruits and veggies, drinks, caffeine, and sammiches on our trips.  Such a fun time!  I love my road trips with my dogs and the boy.

a lil' sumthin' for the road
Woo!  All right.  Tomorrow it's gonna get all tea party up in herre.  Have a great Friday everybody.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

VeganMoFo V: Shepherd's Tot Pie

Crust on bottom.

such a glorious beast
Tots on top.

this'll warm yer bones on a cold winter's night
It's like a carb-heavy mouth orgy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

VeganMoFo V: Taste the Rainbow

Ever since I heard of Skittles vodka a couple of years ago, I've wanted to make it.  Skittles were my favorite candy as a kid, so I was beyond stoked when they took the gelatin out.  Plus, vodka is my favorite alcohol.

This is super easy, and doesn't yield a crazy amount.  Basically, you have enough to make a handful of drinks with each flavor.  I used mason jars because we don't buy bottled water.  It was just as easy to do, though I split them up into batches.

lemon skittles vodka
I can tell you my favorites right away: lime, orange and strawberry.  Lemon reminds me too much of Limoncello, which kinda sends me into full body shivers.  Grape reminds me of cough medicine, giving me flashbacks of being pinned down to take my meds.

These make for vodka on the sweet side, so I think they are best with unsweetened things.  Maybe tea, tonic, club soda.  I'd even like to try it with gingerale.  I think I'm going to save all of the lime for Halloween, though.

vodka party up in herre
Not quite sure what I'm doing tomorrow.  However, I'll be reading a lot of blogs when I get home tonight.  Later y'all!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

VeganMoFo V: Australian Meat Pies

I got super excited when I chose Australia as my next international cuisine.  While in Portland for Vida Vegan Con, I got to see my Aussie friend, Rich.  I hadn't seen him in close to 5 years.  He was a teammate on my first poetry slam team waaaay back in '01.  He was a jaded 28 year old then, and I was the 18 year old newb. he's mellowed out a lot, and I'm the jaded one.  Ha!

Anyway, while in Portland, he told me about how he feels more Texan than Australian now, because he lived in Texas most of the time he's been in the states.  So, this one's for Rich.  Though, he's totally never reading this thing.

before the oven
As for recipes, I used this one as a foundation.  I totally did not follow it, though.  I just wanted to see what type of flavor profile the meat pies have.  Of course, I had to make these mini.  My love of mini things knows no bounds.  I simply put the puff pastry in cupcake tins.  Super easy.

The filling was pretty straightforward.  TVP, onion, garlic, peas, and carrots.  I made a gravy and added a small amount of soy sauce and marmite to make if "beefy".

aww yeah...
The only other thing I know about these pies is that they are served with ketchup.  At first, the idea of putting ketchup on puff pastry wigged me out, but it is seriously fabulous!  Love it.  Meat pies are awesome!

Tomorrow, I've got a drunken rainbow headed your way.  Hell to the yes.