Good evening! I'm behind in sharing my recipes so I wanted to give this one to you all tonight, while I'm in the middle of perfecting the manuscript for Summertime Sippers and trying to figure out how to put it on sale.
In March 2010, Chris and I took a trip from Midland (where we lived at the time) to San Antonio. I had never been. We spent a lot of time along the Riverwalk, which is a manmade river that winds itself around the touristy area near the Alamo. Hotels open their in house restaurants to it, and there are many other places to eat and shop on the edge of its greenish waters!
Anyway, we were both just vegetarian back then, eating wherever we wanted so long as they had an option for us. We had dinner at a place called "The Original" Mexican Restaurant and we both ordered dishes called "calabacitas" something-or-others. Our waiter described calbacitas as squash with corn and other veggies. In any case, we ate it as mariachis serenaded us and talked about how we HAD to find out how to make something similar at home.
The recipe we base our usual at-home version on comes from somewhere on the Internet. Chris found it but didn't write down wherefrom and I have tried to seek out a URL to no avail. So, this is how I made it the last time we had some. I apologize for the picture; I was just getting my photo studio set up back then. The lighting leaves something to be desired!
1 small yellow squash, quartered and sliced
2 small zucchini squash, quartered and sliced
1 1/2 cups frozen yellow corn
1 large tomato, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons diced sweet onion
3 tablespoons Earth Balance stick butter
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup Daiya vegan cheddar shreds
6-8 six inch soft tortilla shells (I like whole wheat)
Shredded lettuce, to taste
In a large, nonstick pot, warm water on medium heat. Add butter and let melt. Add remaining ingredients except cheese, lettuce, and tortillas, and let simmer, nicely bubbling, on medium to high heat for about 20 minutes until the water is considerably to totally evaporated. Remove from heat and let stand 2-3 minutes. Mix in cheese and stir until melted.
Spread a couple of spoonfuls of calabacita mix onto one half of a tortilla shell. Add a handful of lettuce and fold closed. Serve with refried beans and tortilla chips. Yum!
Makes 6-8 tacos.
Well, I still have a few posts left to share with you about my mom's visit. It has just been CRAZY difficult devoting time to writing blog entries when I've been working full time and also developing recipes for my first cookbook
. Summertime Sippers
, by the way, is coming along BEAUTIFULLY. I really am ever so pleased with the would-be final result. But, while I work on the book and a write-up of our lunch at the Vegan Yacht, I wanted to share something with you, and this is it:
What is this yellowy mess that looks so delicious?? Why, it's called "tofu scramble" and it is one of Chris and I's favorite things to make.
We love tofu. It's easy to get, affordable, and versatile (not to mention healthy). Tofu has become a very popular ingredient to use for replacing eggs- you can use it to make quiche, frittatas, omelets and imitation scrambled eggs. And it really does have that wholesome, comfort food feel.
Believe me, I was wary at first, too. I hope you'll trust me and try it out yourself. And I have the perfect recipe(s) for you to start with!
About.com has an extensive vegetarian section and that's where I got the recipe I use for tofu scramble.
This version is called "Easy Tofu Scramble" and you can get it right here
The only thing I did differently was press the tofu with my TofuXPress
prior to crumbling it. Pressing tofu, I may have mentioned before, removes a lot of the water and enables it to be cooked more thoroughly (notice how nice and browned it is in my photo). I don't make tofu without one. I even bought my mom one for Mother's Day!
I also added some roasted red pepper to the recipe, which was very nice. I had a Roma tomato I meant to add, too, but I forgot. Oops!
I served it with rosemary sourdough toast and some "Berry Good Iced Tea," which is a recipe from Summertime Sippers
Chris and I will hopefully be finished designing my book this week (right, dear?) and my self-imposed May 1st deadline could actually happen. Yay!!
Until next time, thanks for reading!
Chris and I discovered the Steeping Room in Austin, TX completely by accident in October 2011. I had heard about this thing called Dogtoberfest
that takes place at the Domain, a fancy, upscale shopping mall and development with stores, restaurants, apartments, condos, etc. Dogtoberfest is awesome; it's all for a good cause and hundreds (possibly thousands) of people show up for it. There's weenie dog races, photo booths, vendors, and street food. It's good fun for a good reason.
But in any case, we had grabbed a couple of sandwiches to go, found a bench, and fell in love. This past week will have only been our third time dining there, too. That's how excellent the food (and service) is.
According to the Steeping Room's website, "...for us, tea is about the uplifting experience of the leaves, the conversations that it inspires, the healthy lifestyle it promotes and the cultures to which it awakens us." This philosophy is also reflected in their menu, which features tofu, grains, and vegetables in addition to chicken, pork, and eggs. Their menu also includes gluten-free options and caters to any time of day. They even have vegan and gluten free cupcakes and cookies for dessert.
My beloved often raves about their "Baked Tofu and Tempeh Bacon" sandwich, which I almost ordered this time. When I saw the "Buddha Bowl" and its list of ingredients, however, I knew it needed to be mine. And I wasn't disappointed. It was HEAVEN. It filled me with warm fuzzies, made me hum, and I even swayed back and forth a little bit. How very zen inducing!
The grain of the day was red rice. Haven't heard of it? Me neither! But it was GOOD! And so was the peanut sauce I chose to drizzle all over it. That's something of note for me, by the way. I generally dislike condiments and am wary of dredging my food in sauces that come on the side, but I used almost the whole thing of peanut sauce on my tofu, veggies, beans, and rice. It was creamy and full of nuttiness.
My mom had ordered 100% vegetarian meals since arriving in Austin but was too scared to try the tofu that night. She got the "Buddha Bowl" as well, but with chicken and a tamari sauce. Of course, I let her try my tofu. She ate a bit of it plain first, chewing on it for a few moments before blinking in amazement and voicing some compliments to the chef. Then she dipped another piece in the peanut sauce and couldn't believe her tastebuds. Mom is officially no longer scared of tofu. I'm going to have to send her some recipes!
Of course, we ordered tea with our meals. The Steeping Room serves six different varieties of tea in a myriad of flavors like hibiscus, jasmine, English caramel, cantaloupe lychee, and so much more. Iced tea options may change daily. Chris ordered mint iced while I ordered hibiscus and mom ordered jasmine. She wasn't particularly fond of it (very floral tasting), but that was her only dislike during her whole vacation.
We ended our dining experience with three vegan double chocolate cupcakes. They were superb. Not terribly sweet but also not overly rich. The frosting was light and delectable. A real winner.
The Steeping Room is a great option if you're looking for a vegan-friendly place to hang out for the night. Order a pot of tea, maybe get some appetizers or a couple of cupcakes, and sit outside at the Domain watching people shop, walk their dogs, or socialize with one another. Sounds like a wonderful night to me!
I like bringing people to the small, cozy town which is within two hours of Austin, Texas. There lots of things to do in Fredericksburg, but it isn't as metropolitan when it comes to its vegan menu options.
Mom and I headed out to Fredericksburg on Friday while she was here. We had spent the day before picking up some essentials from the grocery store, including ingredients for Easter dinner. I was also a bit feverish from having gotten another cold the day before and needed to take some time to relax. We introduced mom to Daiya
cheese that night by ordering our favorite "Nature's Choice" from Promise Pizza and bringing it (dog included) to the Arboretum for a nice evening picnic. I believe she called the pizza "amazing" and she had no qualms at all with the vegan cheese. One of our goals for mom's trip was to introduce her to all of the wonderful vegan things we eat and we were already off to a great start!
Our first stop on Friday was the Fredericksburg Herb Farm
. You may remember my fondness for a restaurant in New Hampshire called Pickity Place
. Well, I expected this Herb Farm to be a Texas equivalent and I think they got it pretty close. There are beautiful gardens filled with herbs and flowers, a lovely little gift shop with handmade curiosities and more, and even a restaurant which uses the herbs and veggies they grow on site. The difference was mainly in the style and the size. While Pickity Place had large grounds, two gift shops, and an abundance of raised beds, the Herb Farm had a lot of decor, a spa, and cottages within which to stay for your time there. So, kind of the same but different.
This is my favorite picture from the trip. Mom, checking out some bluebonnets up close. Yay!
The Herb Barn is just down the street from the "main area" on Main Street where all the shops are located. Some of my favorite shops are Dogologie
(a dog boutique), a place I believe is called Itz Market which sells vintage style metal signs, and the Fredericksburg General Store
where you can get all kinds of candy, gifts, and memorabilia.
For vegan dining options, you have to take what you can get. We ordered personal pizzas at the West End Pizza Company
(without cheese). I did find these restaurants online just now, though, so here are a few more options:
I thought I saw an ad for a juice bar that served smoothies in a newspaper while we were there, but I left the copy in the restaurant when we left. D'oh!
Fredericksburg is also one of Texas's "wine countries" so we couldn't leave without stopping at a vineyard. I brought mom to Becker Vineyards
because it was both a vineyard and lavender farm. It was a pretty nice place but they were extremely busy. There was a wedding party having their rehearsal and a TON of people getting RATHER toasty. I could tell because I had three people try to reach THROUGH me while I was examining things I was considering buying, only saying "excuse me" when they realized their wayward limbs were about to collide with my person. It was a real turn off, I have to say, and I almost didn't buy the artichoke pasta that I thought was so very intriguing.
After the long drive home, mom, Chris, and I went to Chuy's
for dinner. We all got their veggie enchiladas with no cheese. Mom liked it a lot, even though her eyes bugged out of her head a little bit after her first bite! :)
More vegan travels to come! Thanks for reading!
Well, it's been a long week and I have to admit that I'm pooped. I learned a lot of things, ate a lot of things, and took a lot of pictures of things- and it's going to take me a few days to finish writing about all of it.
Needless to say, my least favorite part of any vacation is the return trip to the airport. Mom's plane should be boarding as I type this (have a turbulence free trip, mom!). I do take a lot of enjoyment in being happy and exuberant and positive whenever possible, so being ridiculous and waving goodbye and taking pictures weren't something I could avoid at the airport, but it didn't make saying adieu any more enjoyable, really.
So, while I work on writing up entries for the various places we ate at and the wonderful things we did, here's a picture of the two of us while we were hanging out down at Town Lake. Enjoy!