Monthly Archives: June 2007

Vegan Sugar Cookies

To welcome our new temporary roomate, my other roomate decided to make vegan sugar cookies. She had just bought a bunch of letter-shaped cookie cutters from Goodwill’s Blue Hanger Store (the best store ever…if you’re into digging) and was excited to try them out.

When our new roomate arrived, we all got to decorate them together. I really love decorating cookies.

She used the following recipe from VegFamily’s Recipe Database:

Vegan Cookie Dough:

  • 3/4 cup vegan margarine
  • 1 cup sugar or granulated sweetener
  • 2 egg replacer eggs, prepared
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Vegan Frosting:

  • 3 tablespoons vegan margarine
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • soy or rice milk

Directions:
Cream margarine and sugar together, then blend in egg replacer and vanilla, then add sifted flour, salt, baking powder. Combine to form a dough.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill about 1-2 hours.

Roll dough to desired thickness, approximately 1/4 inch thick, and use cookie cutters to form shapes.

Place cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until just starting to brown. Cool on racks.

Garden Update

My garden has turned into quite a monster–especially now that we’ve been having so much rain.

When I got home from vacation, I counted 22 ripe jalapenos on this one plant!

The oregano is spreading all over the ground.

The tomato plants are going crazy and crowding out all the other plants. I’ve had to attach them to lots of different stakes and poles. I also had to relocate 2 of the basil plants so they can get some more sun.

And there are enough tomatoes for me can make salsa, tomato sauce, eat, and give away. There are several different kinds, although I don’t know what each type is called.

My favorites are the tiny orange ones. They seem to be the sweetest and the most abundant. The yellow, pear-shaped ones are also pretty sweet.

A Thai woman I know gave me some seeds from the Thai long green beans she grows in her garden. She told me that they would grow to be a foot long. I thought she must be exaggerating, but she wasn’t kidding! wow. I took these photos about a week ago, so they’re even longer now. They’re way over a foot long and some are draping on the floor. They aren’t quite ripe yet either, so they’ll probably only get longer!

You can see how long they are in comparison to my face.

And I found a good edible necklace alternative. Instead of candy necklaces, now I can have green bean necklaces! yay!

Wow. I can’t believe it. My green beans started like this:

and now they look like this:

Unfortunately, most of the tricolor bush beans that I loved so much got eaten by snails and pill bugs. I was gone for a week, so I wasn’t able to catch this in time. But I harvested them a couple times already, so maybe they were on their way out anyway.

I think this little guy was munching on them too.

My black eyed peas are finally ripe enough to eat. I had no idea they grew in pods like this until I started growing them in my garden. It makes me realize how little I know about vegetables and how they are grown. Everyone should start a garden. There’s a lot to learn.

Here are some new additions to my garden family:

cilantro. I figured I use this herb the most, so it’s stupid not to be growing it myself.

dill.

Pineapple mint. I bought this plant in Florida. It smells delicious. Once it gets a little bigger, I’m going to use it for mojitos and fruit salads. I planted it near my other mint plant and I think it is much happier now that it’s in a bigger pot (and not stuffed in my bag on the airplane anymore).

I also did some decorating and I made a little walkway leading to the garden.

These guys hang out in the garden.

And my grandma gave me this fairy lady. She watches over the herbs and helps them grow.

Third Catering Gig: Vegan Empanadas with Coleslaw

Our third catering gig seemed to be a big hit. Apparently there were some vegetarians in the crowd and they were especially pleased with their meal. Several omnivores also requested the recipe. For those of you who are interested, I don’t have the exact recipe details (because it’s a little different every time), but the general idea is posted below.

Empanada making went a little quicker this time around. This is probably because we didn’t feel rushed by a roomful of hungry people. It’s still a somewhat laborious process, but we’re getting the hang of it. When making lots of empanadas, it’s definitely a good idea to have 2 people if possible (one person as the dough maker, roller and cutter; the other person as the stuffing maker, stuffer, folder, and margarine dribbler). I was in charge of the stuffing and folding (the funnest job in my opinion). This is what my station looked like:

After making the dough, we made two large pans of stuffing while the dough rested.

Here is how we made the vegan empanada dough:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 Tb sugar
  • 1/2 Tb salt
  • 1/3 cup earth balance margarine
  • 1/3 cup cold water

*Combine all dry ingredients, then mix in margarine so there are little clumps, then add cold water and kneed. It is important to use cold water to get the flakiness.

Empanadas can be stuffed with absolutely anything, but the filling we made went something like this:

empanada filling #1 – pinto beans, shredded carrots, veggies, and spices

empanada filling #2 – large tvp chunks, potatoes, garlic, onions, jalapenos, peppers, nutritional yeast, Bragg’s, paprika

After rolling out the dough and cutting it with a circular object (we used a large plastic lid), it’s time to stuff the little dudes. Use a spoon to scoop a small amount of stuffing in the center of the circle. Then fold in half. Be conservative with your stuffing or it will ooze out the sides and look ugly.

Next use a fork to press the sides together.

Place them on a greased pan and dribble margarine and salt water. This gives them a slightly browned look once they are baked. If you’re making sweet empanadas, you can substitute the salt water for sugar water and sprinkle some cinnamon. yum.

Bake them for about 30 minutes, but check often so they are crispy and brown but not burned. I’m assuming the time is relative to the size of the empanadas. When finished, they look like this:

Empanadas are best with a vegan dipping sauce. We made two different dipping sauces for this event.

They went something like this:

dipping sauce #1 – tomatoes, peppers, jalapenos, onions, garlic, cilantro, oregano (partially blended, partially in chunks), nutritional yeast, bragg’s, flour, earth balance, water, salt, pepper, paprika

dipping sauce #2 – agave nectar, jalapenos, garlic, onions, cilantro

We also made some coleslaw. This was my first time making vegan coleslaw and it turned out yummy. I was sad I only got to try it. I’ll have to make enough for myself next time. Anyway, it went something like this:

vegan coleslaw – green cabbage, red cabbage, green onions, celery, shredded carrots, silken tofu, mustard powder, apple cider vinegar, lemon, salt, sugar, pepper, agave nectar, dill, canola oil, dribble of sesame oil *I would have added raisins if I was making it for myself, but I didn’t for this event

Being Vegan in Miami

Florida was tons of fun. Our schedule pretty much went like this: wake up early, jump in the water, make coffee and breakfast, jump in the water, drink beers and make lunch, take a nap in the sun, make a sand castle, walk around downtown, or jump in the water, drink beers and make dinner, watch a movie, go for a midnight swim, go to sleep, repeat x5.

Before leaving Austin, I did some research and I consulted with a friendly vegan miami resident about good food places we should visit. Sadly, we didn’t make it to any of them. But if you ever end up near Miami and wonder where you should eat, here are some links:

Anyway, we were lucky to have a decently stocked kitchen and lots of Latin American grocery stores near our condo. The only thing we brought with us was a jar of nutritional yeast (I can’t live without that stuff.) So…we just bought the basic necessities and cooked the whole time. Here are some things we made:

Breakfast toast with spicy black bean spread, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and nutritional yeast.

Corn flour arepas with a cheesy tomatoey veggie sauce, vegetables, green onions, and cucumber slices.

Tofu stirfry with broccoli, bell peppers, green beans, onions, bean sprouts, and brown rice.

Pasta with Tofurkey sausage, grilled peppers and onions, artichoke hearts, olives, mushrooms, cilantro, and cucumber slices.

Tofurkey sausage with grilled veggies.

Tacos with pinto beans, crispy potatoes, homemade salsa, and cilantro tofu.

Plantains fried in a spinach crepe batter and served with black bean dip.

Veggie chalupas served on corn flour arepas.

Sometimes we made a full vegan buffet for the family and some of the more picky eaters had to try something new. They liked it!

But when we didn’t want cooking to cut into our beach time, we just made creations like this:

Tofurkey dog.

Smart dog with fritos.

Tofurkey dog.

Sandwich, pickle, and chips.

Even the squirrels and birds our food.

In addition to Tofurkey dogs and cilantro flavored tofu, here are some other goodies we found at the grocery store:

When we left the beach area and headed downtown, here are some things we found:

$5 avocado!

$10 strawberries!…only

Icebery lettuce salad!

The pictures on the bottom left (you can’t really see them) are a pig with drops of blood, a chicken with its head cut off, and a goat with x’s over its eyes. wow.

Vegan Empanada Dinner for Father’s Day

Every Sunday Miguel and I make a large feast to feed our friends. It’s a good way to show them just how delicious vegan food can be. We’re never exactly sure who will show up or when, so we just start cooking lots of food around 7 and wait to see what happens.

This past Sunday we had a particularly large turnout and weren’t able to serve the food as quickly as we would have liked. It also didn’t help that, among other things, we decided to make empanadas (which can be a bit time consuming if made in large quantities). We started cooking around 7 and didn’t finish until 11. Everyone said the wait was worth it, but I still felt bad for those who had to leave early. It would probably be a good idea to start encouraging people to rsvp, but I think I like the unpredictability of our dinners. It keeps things interesting and is good preparation for when we open our restaurant (although we certainly won’t make our customers wait 4 hrs to be fed). Anyway, as a 2 person team feeding over 20 people, I think we did pretty good. While everyone ate, we watched Father’s day themed movies such as Mr. Mom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

I don’t have photos of everything we made, but here is a list:

  • fresh garden salad with creamy dijon herb dressing
  • spinach battered plantains with jalapeno agave sauce
  • Spanish rice
  • pinto beans with vegetables
  • empanadas with guisado style filling (potatoes, tvp, tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, etc.)
  • cheesy tomatoey oregano sauce

*For those of you who requested recipes, I didn’t take careful note of all the ingredients and portions we used. I’m bad at keeping track of things like that. Miguel and I are going to make a similar meal for a catering gig on Thursday and I promise to take better notes and post recipes soon.

Cruelty Free Online Shopping

I just made a new page of cruelty free online shopping resources. Most of these sites were already posted on the right of my blog, but I decided they needed a more prominent place and better organization.

Also, I’ll be in Florida for the next week, so I won’t be posting for a little while. If you’re a regular viewer of my blog, take the time to view the sites on this page while I’m gone. It’ll make me happy.

(I took this picture in Round Top, Texas.)

Second Catering Gig

This week, we had our second catering gig. My stepmom works for Hopice Austin and she is typically in charge of providing the food for the hospital meetings she coordinates. The staff at these events typically requests healthy food (and sometimes even specifically vegetarian food). They’re used to having sandwiches from Jason’s Deli or someplace similar, but many said they were getting bored of the same old thing all the time. We’ve only catered twice, but both times we have received positive feedback. The first catering event was a little more elaborate. We made curried sweet potato soup, spring rolls (with peanut sauce and sweet chili sauce), and a large salad with lots of veggies and cucumber dressing. Everybody loved it, but we got a little carried away by spending too much money and time on the meal. This catering event was supposed to be pretty simple. We made lunch wraps for 30 people. We made two different kinds and cut them in half so each person could try one of each. And we provided 2 different salsas (one hot, one mild), and a jalapeno, agave nectar sauce. The organizer of the event sent out an email mentioning the “great sandwich wraps” and another person emailed my stepmom asking for our brochures and cards.

We’re still in the process of figuring out our logo and catering menu. Here is the makeshift menu we’re using while we work out all the details. The final product will be much more interesting, but this is a start.