Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

I think we got more rain after Hermine passed than the initial blast.  That made riding the bike around just impossible.

Well, when it rains and is crappy out, you have to find shelter.  Where else better than a kitchen with a gallon of good beer?  Oh yeah, and food.

I was going for Eggplant Parmesan, but I decided to get creative and make it into a chili too.

Start with skinning & dicing two small eggplants.  Throw some salt on it & get it to “sweat” the bitterness out.  You can put it in a colander so that the liquid drains easily.  Let that sit for about twenty minutes and saute it in a pan with a little bit of oil until it’s browned.

In a large pot, take a diced yellow onion, four chopped tomatoes, a minced clove of garlic,1t salt, 2T of oil and set the pot on medium, mixing occasionally.  It will eventually be a base marinara(stop there if you want marinara).

This stuff is going to be marinara soon.  Then chili after.

This stuff is going to be marinara soon. Then chili after.

Mince up a couple of your favorite peppers(I used a Hungarian wax & a datil), grab 2T of Italian spices(oregano, basil, thyme, sage, etc.) and throw those in the pot with the marinara.

Fresh from the garden.  Doesn't get much better.

Fresh from the garden. Doesn’t get much better.

We're getting there.

We’re getting there.

Once everything is incorporated nicely, add 4C water, 3C cooked pinto beans, & 3T chili powder.  Cover it up and let it cook for a long time.

The water will reduce some.

The water will reduce some.

From there, you’ve got a bit of time…probably an hour or so, so just grab a beer and watch the storm roll in on a preferably enclosed porch.  Maybe even look down to see a friend with you in the kitchen.

I looked down.  He looked up.  He also had onion paper on his nose.

I looked down. He looked up. He also had onion paper on his nose.

After you’re finished spending an hour however you’d like, add the sautéed eggplant from before to the mix.  It should be noticeably chunkier now.

This is noticeably chunkier than before.

This is noticeably chunkier than before.

Let that simmer for another ten minutes while you cook some noodles or rice or whatever you like with Eggplant Parmesan Chili, not that you’ve had it before, but get creative….that’s what a kitchen’s all about.

Put the mix on top of whatever you’ve decided on & follow-up with some almond Parmesan or just plain ol’ nutritional yeast to get a little veg cheese action going.  It might look like this:

Now that's some storm comfort food there.

Now that’s some storm comfort food there.

Once the storm is over, hug your fur babies and get some incriminating pictures of them.

Okay, it's not incriminating, but it's pretty cute what Cinder's doing here.

Okay, it’s not incriminating, but it’s pretty cute what Cinder’s doing here.

….aaaaand that’s how you enjoy some time in a tropical depression.  Or in this case, a humid sadness.

Just kidding.  Hope everyone’s okay & has electric back and such.  I’m glad it didn’t hit as bad as what a lot of the meteorologists were freaking out about Hermine, but they’re all out there for the big scoop and the exaggeration.  Now, enjoy some Chili.  Or Eggplant Parmesan.  Or whatever you want to call it.

Wow.  It’s been some time since I’ve written here, mainly because I’ve been acclimating to a better life and celebrating how much I’m liking it(trust me, I’ve been celebrating a lot lately).

Both jobs are great, both pups are still awesome, and I’ve been in the kitchen more than I’ve been in my life.  This gives me a lot of time to imagine new recipes and weird food combinations that make what I do so much more fun to me.

There’s waaaay too many “I”‘s in those paragraphs.  Here’s a picture of pups:

He made a shank, and proud of it.  I think he's trying to tell me something.  I better give him more food.

He made a shank, and proud of it. I think he’s trying to tell me something. I better give him more food.

Okay.  Now that is out of the way for now, let’s talk barbecue.

One of my friends had this great idea about using Portobello mushroom stems for barbecue.  I haven’t had the opportunity to try it, so I figured I would give it a go.  It turns out it’s really easy.

Start out with the stems:

You'll obviously cut & clean them before cooking them.  Unless you like gritty BBQ.

You’ll obviously cut & clean them before cooking them. Unless you like gritty BBQ.

Shred them between your hands.  The easiest way is to roll them in between your hands, but you can also just pull them apart.

Shredded!

Shredded!

Add about 2T of oil to the 4C of shredded stems.  Don’t use too much, because the mushrooms will exude liquid too.  Dump a diced onion in there, mix up real good and heat on medium heat.

Okay, I like chopped onion, but if you like it diced, go for it.

Okay, I like chopped onion, but if you like it diced, go for it.

Once the onions start to get a little translucent, add some spice.  I’ve never been one to settle for a pre-made BBQ sauce if I have some spices on hand, so I used 2T brown sugar, 1T salt, 1T pepper, 1T paprika & then added a minced garlic clove.  It might look like this:

Chef Cinder supervises most things involving food in the kitchen.

Chef Cinder supervises most things involving food in the kitchen.

Stir every so often so it mixes well & doesn’t stick to the pan(it shouldn’t with the oil in there).

Sous Chef Little Baby Alec Baldwin is always around for cleanup.

Sous Chef Little Baby Alec Baldwin is always around for cleanup.

That’s it.  Like most of the recipes here, it’s super simple and ultra-tasty.  Throw it on a bun, eat it on its own, or top some mashed potatoes with it(that’s what we did).

That’s all for now, I’ve got to head to this college course I’m leading and then hunker down for the impending storm that’s about to hit Florida.

By hunkering down, I mean grabbing a bunch of beer.  I think some vegan eggplant parmesan is in the forecast too.

Oh yeah, the college course is through Florida State College at Jacksonville.  It’s a continuing education course devoted to a plant-based lifestyle.  This should be a breeze teaching:)

Have a good one!

 

Well, hello there!

There’s been quite a bit going on in life, so that might be the reasoning for the short pause for my writing in edible adventures here.

First, I resigned from my corporate job & moved on to work at a vegan restaurant in St. Augustine called Present Moment Cafe.  It’s a pretty awesome place, I’ve got to say.  I also started working at one of the coolest gems in Jacksonville, a movie theater named Sun Ray Cinema, which has been ranked #1 in the country for vegan goodies.  It’s also quite the mecca for movies and documentaries that you could only see in a theater of awesome caliber.

That’s not too bad for a move, I’d say.

I’ve been working on the transition phase of all of that & then had my folks in town from Ohio.  It’s not every day they make it down here, so obviously I wanted to devote as much attention to them as possible.

Devotin' that attention.

Devotin’ that attention.

So that all said, life is pretty awesome.  I do have a recipe for you though.  Got a few pictures(photo cred to Katie D again!), but the recipe is pretty easy.  It’s a sweet potato & rosemary gnocchi, if you didn’t guess by the title of the post.  We made this in one of the introduction to veganism classes I was teaching.

Start out with 3 medium sweet potatoes & 1 russet potato, all peeled, chopped & boiled to fork tender.  While all of that is happening, grab a mixing bowl & throw 1 1/2C of flour, a minced clove of garlic, 1/4C warmed coconut oil, & 1T of minced rosemary together.  If you’re really feeling frisky, add 1/4C of some almond parmesan(basically blend 1C almonds, 1/4C nutritional yeast, a little onion powder, a little lemon juice & salt to taste=you have a bunch of parm!!) into the mix.
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Mash the potatoes in another bowl & add the other ingredients.  Mix it really well so you get a good doughy consistency going on(you can add more flour if the potatoes are big & the dough isn’t super solid).  It shouldn’t stick too much when you touch it.
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Make some tablespoon-sized balls of the mix & press down on them with a fork-that should give it a cool ribbed look.

Get a pot of water with some salt boiling & drop the little gnocchi in until it floats(about two or three minutes).  From there, you can pan fry them or bake them, either or.
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Throw some marinara on top and sprinkle some of that parm on top.  Maybe even chiffonade some basil & throw that on if you’re entertaining guests.  Get fancy.  And you can pronounce it nyAWK-ee or NOK-ee, it’s different on each side of that giant pond.
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That’s it!  I hope everyone is doing great out there & their no meat March went great.  I’ll have a recipe for the gumbo made in the last of the classes I taught coming up in the next couple of weeks, but until then, here’s some pups!

About to hop on the bike with my co-pilot.

About to hop on the bike with my co-pilot.

"Please halp.  He's licking me."

“Please halp. He’s licking me.”

Modeling their bandanas a friend dropped off for St. Patty's Day.  The way Baldwin is looking at me, I may have had food.

Modeling their bandanas a friend dropped off for St. Patty’s Day. The way Baldwin is looking at me, I may have had food.

Turning your head to the side will get you everywhere on the cute level.

Turning your head to the side will get you everywhere on the cute level.

"What the heck are you?!"

“What the heck are you?!”

Until next time!!

I have no excuse.

I took some time off.  Working.

Well, mostly working.

Predominantly doing a combination of work, cooking, guerrilla cleanups(I’ll detail that term later), podcasting(I hope that I don’t have to detail that term for you), gardening(It’s an easy term), volunteering, outdoorsing, and hanging out with pups & friends.

See??  Podcasting!  (I totally didn't think that it would be that easy to define the term)

See?? Podcasting! (I totally didn’t think that it would be that easy to define the term)

It's not hanging out with pups until you have one four inches in front of your face staring longingly into the crumb of breakfast that's in your beard.

It’s not hanging out with pups until you have one four inches in front of your face on your lap staring longingly into the crumb of breakfast that’s in your beard.

Outdoorsing(Noun):  doing stuff outdoors.

Outdoorsing(Noun): doing stuff outdoors.

Okay, now that we’ve blown through most of the pictures for this post, let’s get to the Mac & Cheese.

Because plant-based comfort food is AWESOME.

You will need:

1 medium potato, chopped

1/4 red onion, chopped

2 small carrots, chopped

You should put all of that in a pot, adding just enough water to submerge the veggies.  Cover & boil that for about 15 minutes.

While all of that is happening, put this in a blender that you’re close to:

1/2C cashews

1/4C nutritional yeast

2T coconut oil

1 clove of garlic

1/4t mustard seed

1/8t paprika

1/8t pepper

1/8t cayenne(use less if you aren’t the best with heat.  I just like my mac & cheese with a little spice)

By the time you’ve accumulated the ingredients and put the precise amounts into the blender, the veggies should be fork-tender.  Add the veggies & the water it cooked in into the blender.

Then blend.

Blend for a minute or so, that should get the mixture to be pretty smooth.

From there, cook off about half of a box of pasta(around 8oz dry) to an al dente state, drain, & toss in a mixing bowl with the “cheese” mix.

That’s it. Vegan Mac & cheese. Now you can trick all of the kids into eating their veggies. If you want to have extra deliciousness, put the meal in an oven-safe pan, top it with some bread crumbs seasoned with some Italian-style seasoning & bake it until toasty on top.

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This is what it looks like in a bowl.

Now, in keeping up with tradition, here’s some pup pics:

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"That little son-of-a....He's right behind me, isn't he?"

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On their tanning bed.

Oh yeah, I was going to explain guerrilla cleanups.
Basically, it’s a quick one or two bag trash cleanup wherever it needs it(which is more often than not if you live in an urban area). I’ll break out the bike, find a site within a mile from my place(further if in a car), throw some gloves on & pick up debris. It usually takes about a half an hour to clean up an area where it’s taken months for people to trash. It’s become one of my many hobbies & I try to do these at least once a week. It beautifies the area and the trash won’t make it to the waterways, which are also cleanup sites on some days.

Because let’s face it, water is kind of an important thing.

Have a great week & I’ll try to post recipes from the classes I’ve been teaching on here!

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See?? I'm a bona fide teacher!! Also, a flyer designer!

I really need to come up with a better excuse for why I haven’t been writing as much as I used to.

Actually, working on other projects & happenings, not to mention the crazy amount of hours I pull at work, tend to keep me on my toes & off of my laptop a lot.

That, & cooking things on off times.

Also, on some days off, I get the pleasure to help out with one of the coolest events Jacksonville has to offer…the Northeast Florida Veg Fest!

It was held earlier in March this year instead of the typical November time slot, & the weather couldn’t have been better, fueling a record turnout that by all accounts estimated around seven thousand people running around the park eating veggie food, playing with adoptable companion animals, drinking a beer in the beer garden, or listening to some of the awesome bands that came out to play.

I snapped a lot of pictures throughout the day & a video of the pie eating contest.  It was a blast of a time & I can’t wait for the next event!

Early morning set up.  Around 7AM.

Early morning set up. Around 7AM.

Having the first beer of the day around 11.  With Crescendo Amelia Big Band rocking the stage.

Having the first beer of the day around 11. With Crescendo Amelia Big Band rocking the stage.

BUNNIES.

BUNNIES.

Yes, I'm the guy that sneaks up to take pictures of your dog.

Yes, I’m the guy that sneaks up to take pictures of your dog.

People starting to crowd the park...

People starting to crowd the park…

Shannon representing the Girls Gone Green tent.

Shannon representing the Girls Gone Green tent.

Dave from BikeJax striking a pose.

Dave from BikeJax striking a pose.

Adorable pups.

Adorable pups.

Prissy pups.

Prissy pups.

Kids moshing around.

Kids moshing around.  Also, Mayoral candidate Bill Bishop.

Pie eating contest....

Pie eating contest….!

Chieforia bringing the ska to the party with a last-minute save when we had an open slot for music.

Chieforia bringing the ska to the party with a last-minute save when we had an open slot for music.

Stunned spectators that I surprised.  I don't think I surprise them much anymore.

Stunned spectators that I surprised. I don’t think I surprise them much anymore.

Our sausage & peppers and gumbo from Garden Truck, one of the great food vendors.  That didn't last long.

Our sausage & peppers and gumbo from Garden Truck, one of the great food vendors. That didn’t last long.

Cute pups...

Cute pups…

My attempt at a selfie with the Mayor.

My attempt at a selfie with the Mayor.  You see him, right?  He’s like thirty feet back or something.  Behind the guy with the sunglasses.  Not that one, the other one.

Ashley did better, though the mayor's eyes were closed on this one.

Ashley did better, though the mayor’s eyes were closed on this one.

Some noms from Reggae Shack, a cool Jamaican place out of Gainesville.

Some noms from Reggae Shack, a cool Jamaican place out of Gainesville.

Master Radical totally rocked the stage.

Master Radical totally rocked the stage.

Someone found a forever home too:)

Someone found a forever home too:)

I probably should have brought these guys along too, they weren't happy I was gone all day.

I probably should have brought these guys along too, they weren’t happy I was gone all day.

That’s about it, I’ve got a couple of recipes that I’ll feature on the next post, but this seemed like a decent amount of eye candy for this go around.  Have a great couple of weeks & hope to see you at the next Veg Fest!!

I’ve been a busy bee.

I’ve worked on some new recipes & perfecting recipes that I’ve already played with, coming up with cool vegan breakfast sandwiches with black-eyed pea sausage, working on new artisan cashew cheeses, & getting my ginger bug to make soda for me(soon, ginger beer!!).

That’s all stuff for the near future though.

In the nearer future, there’s a couple of events coming up & you should definitely check them out if you’re in the area.  Let’s not kid ourselves, though.  You should check them out even if you’re in another country.  Maybe plan a vacation while it’s not too hot here.  Perhaps peruse the fine city of Jacksonville.

That’s enough of that, you can check out the websites too.

The first event is the fifth annual Northeast Florida Veg Fest.  That occurs on March 7th & is a great time for all involved.  There’s veg vendors, bands, non-profits & veg food EVERYWHERE.  It’s put on by the Girls Gone Green, a local non-profit that explores animal, health & environmental issues.

There is a TON of food there.  It’s so good.

Speaking of food, the other event coming up is No Meat March.  That’s a 31-day challenge to quit meat & you can elect to quit eggs, dairy, & butter as well.  You get supportive emails & recipes for signing up.  It’s not tough at all, take the pledge on the website!  That is also supported by the Girls Gone Green.

Okay, so easy banana oatmeal cookies.

Take two bananas & mash the Hell out of them.

Bananas.  Mashed.

Bananas. Mashed.

Next, add about 1/2t of cinnamon & a cup of rolled oats.  Mix that around & add a half cup of vegan chocolate chips, or if you’re feeling adventurous, raisins.

I chose raisins.

I chose raisins.

Mix all of that thoroughly & then scoop onto an oiled cookie sheet.  I usually get about twelve small cookies out of this.  I usually flatten them a little bit to avoid having cookie mounds, but that too is an adventurous task.

Next throw them in an oven that’s been preheated to 350F for about twenty-three minutes.

Then take them out of the oven.

Extreme close up.

Extreme close up.

I even did chocolate chip & fresh minced mint in a recipe.  None for the pups.

I even did chocolate chip & fresh minced mint in a recipe. None for the pups.

Let them cool for about ten minutes & store them in the refrigerator if you don’t eat them all first.  They are delicious.

Another couple of variations to do instead of raisins or chocolate chips are diced apples or pears.  All are tasty.

Have to cut it short because I’ve got to get going on a rice & beans recipe, but here’s some pictures of pups.

Catching a tan.

Catching a tan.

We can both make funny faces.

We can both make funny faces.

Hey, they wake me up all of the time, I should be able to wake them up from time to time.

Hey, they wake me up all of the time, I should be able to wake them up from time to time.

That’s all, enjoy your weekend!!

 

Wow, life has been a bit crazy.

I went partially insane(more than my normal bit of insane) & wrote two posts in one day and then….well, I got busy, so there’s that.

Just this past weekend though, we took #NachoBar down to the Central Florida Veg Fest & had the pleasure of announcing a bunch of events & speakers, as well as promoting the Hell out of the stuff we do like the podcast.

The best part?

FREE FOOD ALL GODDAMNED DAY LONG.

Followed by a couple of free beers.

No one would complain about that, even my hardcore omnivorous friends.

 

Khasiyat served up some pretty awesome Indian food for their combo platter.

Khasiyat served up some pretty awesome Indian food for their combo platter.

Julie, ignoring yet another potential customer(mainly because I was yelling her name).

Julie, ignoring yet another potential customer(mainly because I was yelling her name).  Yes, the potential customer has a spoon hanging out of her mouth.

Our nachos beat the Hell out of the other vegan nacho place.

Our nachos beat the Hell out of the other vegan nacho place at the festival.

THERE WAS A BABY PIG!!

THERE WAS A BABY PIG!!

Voted best vegan hot dog cart, this didn't disappoint, except for the fact that I ate it in two giant bites.

Voted best vegan hot dog cart, this didn’t disappoint, except for the fact that I ate it in two giant bites.

We vegans like our outdoor acoustic music.  So do most other people.  Except senior citizens & assholes.

We vegans like our outdoor acoustic music. So do most other people. Except senior citizens & assholes.

So much eating.

So much eating.

SO MUCH FOOD.

SO MUCH FOOD.

I had the Draco Malsoy from a food truck called the Squid Box.

I had the Draco Malsoy from a food truck called the Squid Box.

This is the Draco Malsoy.  So much noms.

This is the Draco Malsoy. So much noms.

Fermentation class??  Of course!!

Fermentation class?? Of course!!

So much good food.

So much good food.

....from a place where you can get nails done too apparently.

….from a place where you can get nails done too apparently(& back rubs too??)

I made a friend or two.

I made a friend or two.

Pretty cool puppets.

Pretty cool puppets.

WATCH OUT LITTLE KID THE WAVE IS COMING RIGHT AT YOU!!!

WATCH OUT LITTLE KID THE WAVE IS COMING RIGHT AT YOU!!!

What to eat....maybe a bit of EVERYTHING.

What to eat….maybe a bit of EVERYTHING.

Everything it is.  Cheeseburger in Paradise, an Anzac & a Peanut Butter Brownie....OF DOOM!!!

Everything it is. Cheeseburger in Paradise, an Anzac & a Peanut Butter Brownie….OF DOOM!!!

There were even baby turkeys there!  It was too bad they were bought specifically for the event by an organization that displayed them in this cage the entire time.

There were even baby turkeys there! It was too bad they were bought specifically for the event by an organization that displayed them in this cage the entire time just to get attention for their organization, but that’s what they do at a lot of the events they attend from what I’ve seen, sadly.

The event even had horses!!

The event even had horses!!

The best part of sticking around until the end:  leftover free samples.  This plate was full when the volunteers told me to "Just take the whole thing," & empty when I was done with it.

The best part of sticking around until the end: leftover free samples. This plate was full when the volunteers told me to “Just take the whole thing,” & empty when I was done with it.

There was even a fox named Todd!!  Find his Instagram account @Toddisafox for infinite cuteness.

There was even a fox named Todd!! Find his Instagram account @Toddisafox for infinite cuteness.

That was an entirely too much fun event.  We met a ton of people including the organizers of the first Tallahassee Veg Fest that was coming up, a couple that were looking for a vegan chef in Tampa for their restaurant called Delicious Surprise that was opening soon, and a ton of other interesting people with cool tattoos.

Eating all day long was awesome, especially in the fact that you didn’t have to do the guess-work when it came to whether or not meals were vegan.  I was kind of surprised that I wasn’t more uncomfortably full at the end of it all, but running around having a great time & screaming enthusiastically at everything typically burns a lot of calories.

About the only thing that I’d do differently is bring my own plate next time.  There were a couple of food vendors working with styrofoam & that just pisses me off when there are numerous alternatives out there.

Good job Orlando, you’re doing Vegfest right!

Do you like green hot sauce?  I do, especially some of the green tomatillo sauce that I can get from a place called Burrito Gallery Express here.  It’s just so tasty & so I came up with my own easy recipe when it comes to it.

Get all of these things:

10 Tomatillos, a habanero, half of a medium red onion, a small green pepper, 1/4C of apple cider vinegar, 2T salt, 1/2t cumin, 2t fresh cilantro, 1t lemon juice & 1C of water.  Regarding cilantro, I like to add a little more to the sauce, but a lot of people are sensitive to the flavor, so take that into consideration when making this.

After you have all of the things, throw those things into a blender or food processor.

Turn on said blender or processor.

Pour the contents that were once solid into a saucepan & simmer that for about fifteen minutes.  It should go from a bright color to a darker green.  CAUTION: If you leave the sauce on the burner for too long, it will turn black.  Seriously, don’t burn this stuff.

Chill the product & serve it at your next farm to table dinner or casual soiree.

So easy, right?

Good.  Now for the pictures of pups.

Somebody's tuckered.

Somebody’s tuckered.

IMAG4022[1]

Just about time for bed.

aaaaaand cuddle selfie.

aaaaaand cuddle selfie.

That’s all for this installment, enjoy the holiday coming up & your week!!