Saturday, January 29, 2011

What do vegans eat?

Not much - as in Smokey Tempeh with a Wasabi Chickpea Salad and Potato Salad. The Smokey Tempeh is from my favorite cookbook author, Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Veganomicon, the Wasabi Chickpea Salad is from the blog VeganYumYum, and my new vice, the potato salad is from a Peta handout.

Wasabi Chickpea Salad with Avocado Wasabi dressing

A plateful of love~

Oh, and if you didn't see on the Taos Veg facebook page, the two beautiful souls at The Turquoise Teapot were impressed enough by my vegan brownie and cherry almond cookie samples to put some vegan sweet treats into their shop. I left my copy of Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar to inspire them. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

The First Barking at the Moon Original Recipe

It was bound to happen. I couldn't get an original knitting design up and going, but I finally have something original to eat.

Unchicken Eggless Rolls

Eggless Roll Wrapper
2 c unbleached white flour
1 cup warm water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

2 ribs of celery, chopped
2" piece of ginger, finely grated
1 shallot bulb, chopped (about 1/3- 1/2 c. OK to substitute onion)
1 baby bok choy, chopped
1 cup of shitake mushrooms, sliced, stems removed
1/4 head, small green cabbed, chopped
1 carrot, matchstick cut
1 cup of sliced unchicken of your choice (this time I used Trader Joe's Chickenless strips)
2 tbs peanut oil (or other high heat oil)
1-2 tbs. soy sauce
toasted sesame oil
2 tsp rice vinegar
mirin (optional)
Hoisin sauce

Wrappers: First make the wrappers. Sift the flour, salt and baking soda into a bowl. Add the water and knead in the bowl for about 5 minutes. It will get exceedingly sticky. Place a damp towel over the bowl and wait for 10 minutes. This is a good time to prep your veggies if you haven't already.

After 10 minutes or so, cut your dough in half with a knife. Put one half back in the bowel with the towel. Take a large tablespoon size of dough and using a rolling pin, roll out on a very well floured board. Keep extra flour on hand to sprinkle on dough as it is very ornery and likes to stick to the pin. Roll out, not too thin, or the mixture will soak through and break the dough. The thickness is art, not science; I'm still experimenting with the correct size. You can roll out to a 5" square or circle. I'm pretty miserable at this part - but manage to make it work, regardless. Sprinkle some flour and stack them on a piece of waxed paper.

Filling: In a wok or large cast iron pan, heat the peanut oil until a drop of water makes it pop. Add the shallots, celery and carrots and ginger. Stir over high heat for approximately 5-7 minutes. Then add mushrooms, cabbage, and bok choy and continue stirring. At this time, you can add the soy sauce, rice vinegar and a splash of mirin if you like.

Continue cooking until the mixture reduces a bit, approximately 5 minutes. Feel free to add more soy sauce if desired. Add the unchicken a couple of minutes before you finish, just to heat through. Right before you turn off the heat, toss some toasted sesame oil in the mix (about 2 tsp. or so) for flavoring. Sesame oil does not like heat so add towards the end.

Assembly:  Grab one of your geometrically perfect squares or circles (ha!) and 

Frying: I do not own a deep fryer, as that would be the end of life as I know it. So I opt for frying in probably an unhealthy amount of healthy oil in a cast iron pan. For this, use safflower, sunflower or refined canola oil - anything that stands up to heat well. Again, on high heat, once the oil pops, put your lovelies in to brown. This dough at this writing does not make the little bubbles that traditional eggroll wrappers do, but I'm working on it. Once browned on all side, drain on some paper towels. You'll be pleased to note that they do not take up that much oil.

Serve with hoisin sauce or sweet & sour sauce (my personal favorite is Soy Vay Hoisin Sauce, vegan and kosher! Created by a Jewish boy and his Chinese girlfriend - how could I not love that!).

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Baking Mojo Has Returned!

I really need to change the title of this blog to "Fat Vegan." This is the result of swearing off sugar this week. I mean, in all honesty, I was a crappy baker before giving up dairy. I think I started baking for the same reason I started listening to classical music: there were no bad memories attached, I didn't know the territory and, it was all so new.

So fast forward and here I am with a new plateful of sugar. I had to. I thought I lost my baking mojo. I've made these cherry almond cookies before to perfection. Well, note to self: do not cook without my glasses or contacts. Last week, I must have grabbed a 1/2 cup measure, rather than a 1/3 cup. Baking is such a delicate chemical reaction. Whoda thunk that a mere 1/6 c. could put one into baking hell.

And hell it was. I watched as the cookie splooged all over the sheet in the oven, rather than holding their majestic shapes. They were like little shapeshifters all going to liquid. There was nothing I could do to help them. I left them in a few more minutes than called for - hoping to over-bake them into submission. So what? They would be flat rather than high.

It got worse.

They each left a little oil slick on the parchment paper and my hands. I was crushed. I was about to throw them all out and they got a last minute reprieve: my husband ate them all. Not at one sitting, but I think he felt sorry for them and managed to polish them over over the course of a few days.

So today, after coming home from getting materials for our soon-to-be-built 3-bin composting station (there will be much, much more on that), I thought I'd bribe reward my husband for his future efforts with a new batch. While I was at it, I made some brownies, too.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Comfort food is an interesting concept. First off, it ranges from entrĂ©es to desserts. And what is being comforted is also wide ranging. Are they traditional comfort foods like mac & cheese, pizza, ice cream, chocolate? Or maybe food items our mothers cooked for us? In that case, mine would be eggplant parmigiana, curries, and my mothers famous cheesecake.

One food that I have not eaten in years that I loved as a kid was her oven roasted sausage, peppers & onions dish. Potatoes also have made an appearance often in this. So it was long overdue to be veganized.

Of course, this would not be possible without my favorite faux sausage from Field Roast Grain Meat Company. There are 3 flavors of 'sausage': Apple - which is great for breakfast or just about anything; chorizo, which is wonderful in a breakfast burrito, and their Italian style. After first tasting the Italian style, it really drive home for me that many of our beloved, cherished gastronomical delights have less to do with a particular foodstuff (i.e. meat),and more to do with all the embellishments and seasonings.

The fennel seed in this imitates an Italian sausage so closely, it would only need a lot of grease to be identical. I cut up some baby red potatoes, tossed them in oil& rosemary and salt, cut up onions and peppers, put them in my favorite La Crueset  enameled cast iron au gratin pan and topped them off with the 'sausages.' Cover with foil, into a pre-heated oven @ 425 degrees and baked for about 1 hour. I take the foil off for about 15 minutes at the end.

Bon Appetite~

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Introducing Taos Veg!

This is so exciting! I don't know if Taos need another group, but get one it will. Taos Veg has its own Facebook page (see column left), and will be hosting the Great American Meat-Out in March.

This is a opportunity to get a greater understanding of the diversity and benefits of a plant based diet. Whether one is a vegan, vegetarian or merely veg-curious, a community of supportive people eating a compassionate diet will be available to educate and share great food!

I am currently looking for volunteers to assist with the meat-out. Let me know if you're interested!

UPDATE: Taos Veg just got it's first corporate sponsor!!! Follow Your Heart will be donating Vegenaise for the 2011 Meat Out.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday used to be for decompressing... I make sure I cook enough to have leftovers for work the next three days. As Monday - Wednesday is basically wake up, work, come home, sleep, repeat, I don't have the time or energy to cook much.

So I freed 2 birds with one stone, so to speak.

Below is our way of having a picnic/bar-b-que at our house. Pictured starting from top going clockwise faux bbq 'pork' (homemade seitan, made from scratch by moi), creamy potato salad, and cole slaw. It was a gastronomical delight. The faux bbq came out better than I expected. The bbq seitan recipe and cole slaw are from Veganomicon and the potato salad is from a PETA handout "Go Vegetarian" which has a few great starter recipes. 

By the way - for anyone who loves mayonnaise, I have to give a pitch for Vegenaise:

 Not only can it replace traditional Mayo without anyone being the wiser, it has absolutely no cholesterol - no eggs. Now this is wonderful on many levels. At picnics - no worry about getting food poisoning from the macaroni or potato salad! I tasted it right out of the jar and it has a much better flavor than traditional Mayo. Just try one jar - it will make your taste buds smile.

Okay - below, because having one dinner would be too easy, is Red quinoa with black beans, broccoli, and raspberry chipotle sauce. This one is from the Post Punk Kitchen again and can be found on the website.

And just because it wouldn't be a day on Hondo Mesa without some animal adventure - these two horses decided to bolt and take a walk on the wild side when they were being led out of their trailer. The went back to their home moments later.

Cookies and Philosophy

I managed to crank out a batch of some Cherry Almond Cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. Once again, thanks to Isa Chandra Moskowitz from Post Punk Kitchen.

These are a simple drop cookie made with flour, sugar, brown & white, a pinch of baking soda, some canola oil and 3/4 c of slivered almonds and dried unsweetened cherries, each. I prefer the unsweetened cherries, as the sweetened ones can be a bit much. They are, so far, the best of all. 

Today in the mail, I received a copy of Farm Sanctuary by Gene Baur, the founder. My copy has a pig on the cover, so after my own happy squeals of delight, I'm diving head first into it . I feel I have so much to make up for, karmically, that farm animal rescue is what is resonating most for me. The story of the founding of this organization is informative as it is touching. It is not a 'shock' piece, but rather approaches the issues with factory farming from a historical and legislative angle. It is interspersed with stories of rescued animals. 

I've done so much reading since this summer, I'm putting together a list to share - mostly on Buddhism (Vipassana for the most part), and veganism and compassionate eating. I don't think anything has moved me more than this new awakening. I didn't think that going from vegetarian to vegan would be so life changing. The practices of Buddhism are all tools to cultivate compassion. I was told that when the door to your heart opens, it can be very painful. That's what has happened since going vegan. I can find myself in tears thinking about the treatment of these precious beings. I didn't realize what I was in for. I found myself silently praying when I walked past the meat cases in Whole Foods.

I'm trying to not be too self-conscious about all this. I'm feeling a little 'fringe' lately. But what happens when what was fringe becomes one's norm? 

Anyway, I haven't found any situation that can't be remedied with a nice batch of cookies.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

New and Improved

After a long hiatus, I thought it was important to start communicating again - especially since undergoing one of the most profound choices/changes in my life. It's hard coming up with a concise name for this blog, especially since the predominant passions in my life: cooking, knitting, spinning, dogs, meditating, yoga, and tattoos are kind of all over the board.

However, it is interesting to note that there are a ton of vegan tattooed knitters with dogs, who occasionally spin. So as much as I am committed to many other activities, I choose Vegans Barking at the Moon to introduce my own esoteric brand of lunacy.

I expect to share a lot of what's cooking, some knitting projects here and there - a sprinkle of whining about my next tattoo, with honorable mentions to other facets of life in Taos.

To kick things off, may I present Roasted Yellow Beets with Tempeh Croutons and Greens in a Warm Maple Mustard Dressing. This is courtesy of my new BFF - Isa Chandra Moskowitz, without whom, I'd probably starve. The recipe can be found on her website - The Post Punk Kitchen - which I will be linking to quite frequently.

I'm trying out this Amazon widget which is supposed to exhibit contextually relevant books. So far I'm not impressed, but I'll wait until there's a bit more content to go on.