Posts Tagged ‘jacksonville’

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.

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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!!

It might not be a mystery that I am a fan of dogs.

My dogs, your dogs, strange people’s dogs.

Pretty much all dogs.

It’s actually a good chance that if I see you on the street with your dog, I’ll greet the dog first.

It’s nothing against you, it’s just that I’ve lived with dogs growing up, and I’ve also had a couple in the past several years.  I’m a giant fan.  They’re just the best in all aspects, even when they get done eating crap in the yard and you don’t know it until they try to lick you with their horrible crap-breath.

So now that you’re thoroughly grossed out, let’s talk about carrot dogs.

These little guys are the tenth wonder of the world with how delicious they are and how easy they are to prepare.  You just boil some peeled carrots for about ten minutes or until fork-tender, drain & fast-cool them with some cold water, and then throw them in a marinade for a day or so.  After that, you can pan fry them, outdoor grill them, even eat them right from the marinade.

The marinade even works if you want to make faux-bacon with thin-sliced carrots, eggplant, tofu, or tempeh.  Just pan fry it after the above process & you have a delicious vegan dish!

The magical marinade you ask?

Mix 1/4C soy sauce(or Bragg’s Aminos), 1/4C water, 1T oil, 1T apple cider vinegar, a dash of liquid smoke, a minced clove of garlic, a pinch of minced ginger, 1/4t pepper, & 1/8t onion powder in a container.  That’s it, just make sure everything is mixed well.

The marinade itself will stay good for a couple of weeks & I’ve reused it for recipes after the initial cooking too.

That will net you this:

There were a couple of modifications like the sauteed peppers & onions, the sauerkraut, some cashew cheese & a homemade roll.

There were a couple of modifications like the sautéed peppers & onions, the sauerkraut, some cashew cheese & a homemade roll.

You can find the recipe for the roll here.  I just did the pizza dough recipe & made it into little bun shapes, which works wonderfully; especially when you top it with a little oil so it will brown a bit.

That’s a fun one to do, enjoy!

This post wouldn’t be a post of mine without a couple of pup pictures and I do suppose that is kind of the theme, so here you go:

 

It's a Baldwinosaurus Rex on the attack.

It’s a Baldwinosaurus Rex on the attack.

Don't ever drop food accidentally or there will be a feeding frenzy.

Don’t ever drop food accidentally or there will be a feeding frenzy.

 

IMG_20160301_002216

Did you ever have that feeling that someone close to you was guilty of chewing up one of your markers?

Pup prison(see above picture).   Not really...he just got under the house while I was gardening in the front yard.

Pup prison(see above picture).
Not really…he just got under the house while I was gardening in the front yard.

The innocent look that you get when you go to work, only to come home to a dual hurricane/typhoon/house on fire.

The innocent look that you get when you go to work, only to come home to a dual hurricane/typhoon/house on fire.

Someone knows how to pose when he's all dressed up.  Two minutes later, he was running around in circles trying to catch the long end of the bandana.

Someone knows how to pose when he’s all dressed up. Two minutes later, he was running around in circles trying to catch the long end of the bandana.

As much Hell as they can raise, you just have to love pups.  Unless you’re a heartless, cold, bitter person that thrives on the pain and suffering in the world.

Totally kidding.  There’s cat people out there too.

🙂

 

I didn’t really care about the Super Bowl.  I usually care because of the commercials, but even then, this year apparently the commercials were pretty tame.  I did see some of the game & that was okay, but we’re not here to talk about the sportsball stuff.

We talk about food here.

And pups.

And various other fun things.

Not sportsball.

The church that I’m doing classes at needed a vegan soup for an option for their Super Bowl party, so I accommodated happily.  It’s cool out here in Florida, so soup is really nice this time of year–specifically chili.  I love making chili because you could throw everything including the kitchen sink into it & that would be just fine.  This one I based around sweet potatoes.

Ready?  Good.

I took a chopped red onion, chopped green pepper, & a diced sweet potato(skin still on) & threw them in a large pot with just a little water in it & cooked that on a medium high heat until the onions were starting to get translucent.

Next, chop two tomatoes & throw that into the pot with the veggies.  Add about four cups of water and let that get up to a simmer over medium heat.  Once it’s simmering, add 1T Chili powder, 1t Cumin, 1/2t Cayenne, 1t Cinnamon, 1/4C tomato paste, & 4 minced cloves of garlic.  Let that simmer until the tomatoes start to break down, about 20 minutes.  Add 3C of your choice in beans(I use pinto for the most part) and let that continue to simmer until everything is nice and hot.  Add some salt & pepper to taste, and your chili is done!

If you like your chili to be more smooth, take an inversion blender & mix it around the soup for just a few pulses.  That should chop up the beans just enough to make it a more “meaty” consistency.

Such an easy recipe & I love that there are almost always leftovers that I can eat on for a week or so.

In other news, we went camping again & I made some garbanzo bean flour fries for some easy foil packets.  They were delicious to the extreme.  I found the recipe here.

FYI, don't use plastic spatulas in the super hot oil. RIP spatula.

FYI, don’t use plastic spatulas in the super hot oil. RIP spatula.

That’s pretty much it here, have a great week & next up is an Ethiopian Cabbage dish!

Here’s some pup pics:

Caught mid-yelling at me.

Caught mid-yelling at me.

 

He sits just like people.

He sits just like people.

Yeah, they seem sweet. Pay no attention to the duck toy on the floor.

Yeah, they seem sweet. Pay no attention to the duck toy on the floor.

 

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!

It’s getting hot out.

It’s almost like summer is here already.  That means get bananas, pineapple, mango & other fruits to keep good sugars in you.  I played around making a fruity hot sauce even, but that one is for another post.

For now, we’re going to play with ginger soda.  After all, I’ve been playing around with fermentation for a while now & it is immensely great for your gut & health.  There’s healthy bacteria that are in it, very similar to homemade sauerkraut.

Insanely good for you.

Plus, it’s kind of cool to have something living on your kitchen counter.

That might have sounded weird.  It doesn’t really walk around or anything, but it does have some cool action going on in the jars you put it in.

This is what you start with.

This is what you start with.

Okay.  To start, throw 1/2C of water in a mason jar, add a tablespoon of sugar & tablespoon of minced ginger to that. Make sure to put a lid on the mix.  Every day, add another tablespoon of sugar & minced ginger.  Do that for five days or so.  The mixture should start getting a little bubbly & have a good pressure whenever you open the jar.

I’ve always liked making sun tea.  I’ll throw four bags of green tea into a quart of water & throw that on a windowsill in the morning.  Like this:

The ginger grows after a while.

The ginger grows after a while.  Kind of like a healthy Freddy Krueger.

Next up:  add about 1/4C of the liquid from the ginger bug(that’s the cool kid name for the mix we made earlier) to 2C of the tea, then add a tablespoon of sugar.

Why all of the sugar you ask?

Because bacteria need to eat too.  The little fizzies aren’t going to happen on their own in an environment where they can’t get some sort of energy.  That energy is sugar, & it gets broken down on a molecular level, so it isn’t like you’re drinking maple syrup.

Unless you put maple syrup in your ginger soda.

I won’t judge.  It might taste great.

Here’s what it should look like:

The three amigos.  You can tell which one has more sugar being broken down by the foam at the top.

The three amigos. You can tell which one has more sugar being broken down by the foam at the top.

Give it a couple of days & test it by tapping the top of the jar.  If there’s pressure, you did things right.  Open it up, hear the hiss & pour yourself some of your homemade soda.

There’s so many flavors you can incorporate into it too–I threw a pineapple chunk into one of the jars to just have fun & the next day I got a fruity ginger soda.  Hibiscus tea instead of green tea?  That works really well too & it’s almost caffeine free!

So.  Easy.

You just have to have some patience & ferment.

While you’re doing that, you should check out this awesome vegan joint in Jacksonville called the Garden Truck.  It’s been around for nearly a year & they have some fantastic food there.  They do sausage & gravy and blueberry(from an organic farm not too far away) pancakes for brunch, among other meals.  There’s a great selection for lunch & dinner too, ranging from their white bean sausage & peppers on cibatta bread to a delicious gumbo that’s like hanging out in Creole country.  The decor is modern, where there’s a strong influence of city life mixed with some wonderful relaxing living herb centerpieces on the tables.  I love the place & the crew there is so much fun.  I definitely need to get out there more often.  Here’s a couple of pictures:

The brunch.  It is soooo good.

The brunch. It is soooo good. 

It even has an open kitchen.  It has a great ambiance.

It even has an open kitchen. It has a great ambiance.  I love the plants too!

I love peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, so I played around & created this quick recipe too.  I put 2C of sunflower seeds, 1/8C sunflower seed oil, 1C pureed strawberries, a banana & 1/8C agave into a blender and made a sort of butter & jelly mix.  Just something fun to play with & you can even eat it on its own.  I chose to have it on some sourdough bread as an open sandwich & that worked out really well.

It's almost like a pate spread.

It’s almost like a pate spread.

That’s all for now, here’s some awesome pictures of the pups:

Everyone is happy after a walk/run in the park.

Everyone is happy after a walk/run in the park.

When I'm on a ladder grabbing kumquats from the tree, this is what I look down to.

When I’m on a ladder grabbing kumquats from the tree, this is what I look down to.

Vegan pigs in blankets & broccoli mac kimchi-eeze.  Kind of tough working around these guys in the kitchen sometimes.

Vegan pigs in blankets & broccoli mac kimchi-eeze. Kind of tough working around these guys in the kitchen sometimes.

Sometimes, I have no caption.  Feel free to add one.

Sometimes, I have no caption. Feel free to add one.

Have a great week!