The cutest, vegan flip flops ever

Sanuk Yoga Sling 2 Flip Flop

Mr. Nake-id gave the Mrs. an early birthday gift. Living in Colorado, we have a bit of a sport sandal disorder. How could you not when the state shoe looks like this? (Trust me, they didn't used to come in silver.)

Birkenstock Arizona Silver Birko-Flor

From the original Tevas and fancy ones (oh, how I loved you!) and my coveted Naots (oh, God, these are cute!) to the Chacos cousin Stephanie inspired (that toe-loop slayed me) and the multiple pairs of Keens, I think I still have every pair.

I am over-the-moon about these newest cuties. Made from recycled yoga mats, the Yoga Sling 2 stays on your foot, offers cush for the push and has gone a long way toward getting me to the nail salon. They come in an array of colors and prints and go for under $40.

For those of you living in more uptight burgs, go ahead and wear your stilettos. Us Colorado gals will be happily wiggling our toes at you.

Happy summer footwear season, everyone!

Tofu Hot Wings

This recipe was inspired by the fabulous Vegan Van's sammie, Planet Rock, an impossibly tastey combination of Toffufallo hot wings and ranch celery-slaw on a roll.

Mine is a pale approximation, but it's become our go-to baked tofu solution. (Getting a successful "fry" on tofu eludes me.)

Eat up!

Ingredients

1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce or Bragg's Liquid Amino Acids

1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot Wings Buffalo sauce

2 pounds tofu, sliced into 1/2-inch cutlets

Dusting of granulated garlic

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450. Line large baking pan (or two smaller pans) with baking parchment. Place tofu in a single layer on top of parchment. Brush with a layer of soy sauce, then a layer of Frank's. Dust with granulated garlic and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and flip the tofu, repeating the brushing of soy sauce and Frank's mentioned above. Bake for another 20-30 minutes, checking so as not to cook tofu into an impenetrable jerky. You want your tofu to have a slightly touch skin and moist center.

Serve warm or at room temperature, alone, in sandwiches, stir fries or whatever your little heart desires.

 

 

Eat like an Ethiopian

Buying cookbooks has become something of a avocational hazard.

When this surfaced on the internets--vegan, gluten-free Ethopian food deconstructed for neophytes...let's just say my Pay Pal is shaming on me, for clicking "submit" yet again.

Papa Tofu is by Kittee Berns, who keeps a lively vegan food blog and spent about 10 years perfecting her Ethiopian cuisine. Designed in the spirit of 'zines of yore (read 1990s), Papa Tofu is a sweet, charming throwback in these days of digital everything. Crafty, fabric illustrations punctuate the witty text, which provides basic terminology, ways to make difficult-to-source ingredients and simple recipes. Once you have the niter kibbeh, teff and berbere, you're good to go.

It's refreshing to hold something that's actually been printed and loved from the spoon to each delightful image.

Time for a trip to the international food Mecca and a little stove-top travel.

Off the Shelf Veg Cookbook Report: The Happy Herbivore

To keep the cookbooks in circulation, I've committed to trying at least one new recipe a week from a new source.

Last night was bitterly cold at the bus stop, so a warming soup seemed just the thing. The Happy Herbivore offered this very doable, good-looking stew, African Kale and Yam Soup. (Lindsay Nixon's schtick is fat-free and low-fat vegan recipes.)

I used hot Chimayo chili and a medium yellow curry and eliminated the red pepper. Oh, yes, and added demon salt to taste. It was sweet and spicey and savory and satisfying and muy caliente--in a good way.

I could see this going into regular winter rotation. Definitely impressed and will be trying more of Ms. Nixon's delicacies.

Enjoy.

Buy local seitan: If you're going to the devil anyway...

Last night Mr. Nake-id and I attended Chomp, the vegan community dinner sponsored by the vegan advocacy organization, Plants and Animals. This month's theme, L'Chaim!--vegan Jewish food.

How could we resist? Curious about Green Spaces Denver, which provides reasonably priced, solar-powered workspaces for triple-bottom-line (people/planet/profit) freelancers and entrepreneurs, we decided to suck up our decades and go, knowing the crowd would skew young.

We sat near three lovely young people, who came because they had never tasted Jewish food. We know from Jewish food. There was cabbage, cholent, pierogi (kreplach), bialys and rugelach. And a beet, carrot patty (raw, we think) topped in a pear sauce, they were passing off as latkes. All delish, especially the rugelach, but hard to equate with the Passover fare and meals at the Carnegie deli enjoyed over the years. 

We let our young friends know that we're new to the veg thing and that we're having to do some reframing; if it doesn't involve dead poultry or cream cheese how can it be Jewish? Come to think of it, Moses probably didn't eat a lot of chicken, either.

We came home with the log pictured above. The Denver Seitan Company is a wheat meat start-up currently offering Chickenesque, Sicilian and SmokySpicey flavors. We're grateful; my own attempt yielded seitan that would have given flubber a run for its money.

We loved the scene. Green Spaces is an open, lived-in venue, which provides a home for Plants and Animals' events. Music blared and people of all ages flopped unselfconsciously on sofas and gathered at tables for easy conversation.If you're of a mind, take a bite out of Chomp, it's so much more than vegetables on a plate.

10 cool gifts for vegans under $20

10 gifts for vegans under $20

  1.  Two bottles of Frey Vineyards’ Organic Natural Red. Great price point for organic. Award-winning. With great organic, vegan cred.
  2. An e-copy of Crazy Sexy Diet from our favorite neighborhood bookstore, The Bookery Nook. We love the Crazy Sexy Diet for its accessibility, compassion and complete absence of self-righteousness. (Not that we’re juicing, but we think about it.)
  3. A weird-vegan-food kit. Chia seeds, hemp seeds, Himalayan salt and nutritional yeast. Don’t ask.
  4. A donation to your vegan’s favorite animal shelter or farm sanctuary.
  5. A gift certificate at your local health food emporium. Or in lieu of that, Whole Foods.
  6. A homemade vegan dinner. At your place!
  7. A bottle of domestic, organic olive oil.
  8. A gift-card to Chipotle. (OK, not vegan overall but accessible with plenty of vegan options.)
  9. 100% Pure Lip Glaze. (Assuming your vegan wears such things.) Fruit-pigmented, vegan and gluten-free.
  10. Herbivore t-shirt. Subtle. Non-judgmental. Made in the USA.
  11. Bonus: Copy of the film Vegucated. The latest in the convert-inveterate-carnivores genre.

Gluten-free vegan pumpkin cornbread

See. It's not air. You really can make a gluten-free vegan pumpkin cornbread that tastes like...cornbread. Really good cornbread.

With tomato-fennel soup ready for dinner, I scurried around the Internets looking for something quick and starchy to make, knowing soup wouldn't sustain Mr. Nake-id. Cornbread seemed the perfect thing: autumnal and just a bit sweet to offset the tarty tomatoes. And there was cornmeal in the fridge.

Then I wondered whether it could be made gluten free.

This recipe turned up, which I combined with this newly veganized favorite, Sage and Honey Skillet Cornbread. The bread is crumbly, full of corn flavor with just a hint of sage. Definitely Thanksgiving-worthy!

The recipe follows:

    2 cups organic yellow cornmeal
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon sea salt
    1 cup pumpkin puree (I used canned)
    1/4 cup butter-flavored grapeseed oil or neutral-tasting oil
    1 cup nondairy milk
    8 or 9 whole fresh sage leaves
    1/4 cup agave nectar, or to taste

    Preheat oven to 425. Spray medium-size cast-iron skillet with cooking spray and lay sage leaves in bottom of skillet.

    Carefully pour batter into your skillet and bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool and invert onto serving plate.

Ordering vegan

The other night I was scheduled to meet a friend at this darling uptown bistro. I arrived early. The cafe was small and spare, minimally adorned; the kind of place where the food speaks for itself. The waitress explained that the chef changes the menu nightly. I noticed that while there were vegetarian options on offer, none were vegan. So working up a vegan head of steam, I asked whether the chef could adapt one of the entrees. The waitress was more than accommodating. After a consult with the chef, she mentioned that the gnocchi was out (made with eggs), but that he could make me a nice risotto. Perfect! When my friend arrived (she's picky but polite), we put the poor waitress through similar paces, using as much humor and good grace as we could muster. We even asked if she had ever seen the diner segment from Five Easy Pieces. She hadn't. She would have found us much more amusing if she had. It was clear by the end of our time together that our waitperson had had enough of us and our queries; not to blame her, she had a long night ahead. But I did feel guilty, as if we had behaved like Jack Nicholson in the above scene. In theory I think it's fine to make polite requests in restaurants. In spite of my last name, which makes it appear like I grew up on a windy steppe eating beets and wearing folkloric blouses, I was raised in a WASPy household, where waves don't get made. To ask for something off menu or (heaven forbid) send it back, is anathema. So to cop vegan attitude, well, it's just not the Nake-id way. Still, the more people who do ask, the more restaurants will add interesting vegan options to their menus. Maybe I should grow sideburns?

Grumpy Confused Vegan: What's for dinner contest?

Let's just say that sometimes a plate of broccoli is less than exciting.

Desperately seeking your go-to, week-night, plant-world recipes. A reward and contest is forthcoming. But any recipes contributed from now until Aug. 2 will be entered in a random drawing (and for consideration in the Nake-id Cucina).

Your suggestions, por favor?

Vegan Caesar Salad Recipe

It's come to this. Not only am I annoying family with my vegan pretentions, I'm spreading it to friends and neighbors.

Last night I brought a veganized Caesar Salad that was slurpped up with nary a quibble. (We have polite friends.)

I'm mad for this, no doubt because it has none of the low-fat virtues of some vegan recipes. It has the creamy texture of a great Caesar without incorporating anything creepy like fake cheese or cream. And, for those of you with anchovy aversions--this is a no fish dish. (This recipe was inspired by this flavor-packed version here.) Bon apetit!

Veganized Caesar Salad

Ingredients

1 head Romaine lettuce

4-5 slices dark rye bread, toasted or stale

1-2 cloves garlic

olive oil

Dressing

1/2 cup good quality olive oil

1/2 fresh lemon

1/2 avocado

1 heaping TBS capers

1 TBS red wine vinegar

1 small raw clove garlic

1 scant TBS Dijon mustard

Kosher salt and Tobasco to taste

Instructions

Wash, dry and tear lettuce.

Cut toasted/stale bread into 1-inch cubes. Heat olive oil and garlic in skillet and toss in bread cubes, stirring for several minutes over medium heat.

For the dressing, toss all ingredients into the blender and combine on a low speed.

Toss together with lettuce until lettuce is well covered with dressing. Add croutons. And chow down!

Notes: I've wondered about adding two or three TBS of nutritional yeast as a grated parmesan cheese substitute, but have yet to try. Also if you want a fishier dressing, you might add a pinch or two of dulce flakes to the dressing ingridients, but haven't given this the taste test either!