Vegan in Saint Augustine Florida

I love Saint Augustine, Florida.  It is one of my favorite places in the world.  It is full of history and charm, especially the downtown area around St. George Street.  I get to visit often because my daughter goes to college in St. Augustine.  As I posted recently, my daughter broke her ankle, so I left the Abacos (Bahamas) early in order to help take care of her for a few weeks.  Not only did this give me time to catch up with her, I was also able to explore the beaches, restaurants, and shops.  It was wonderful.

I love the water, so I took a lot of beach walks.  The sand in St. Augustine is soft near parking, but hard near the water.  It’s perfect for a jog or even a bike ride, and it is really good for building sand castles.  Dogs are allowed on the beaches here; bring your dog!

Walking downtown near the inter-coastal is an excellent way to get some exercise.  St. Augustine is perfect for early risers.  Watching the  sunrise over the Bridge of Lions from the fort wall is just gorgeous!

I really like all the vegan options in STA.  Breakfast at The Manatee Cafe is fantastic.  I highly recommend the vegan french toast, breakfast burrito and tofu scramble.  http://www.manateecafe.com/

The Floridian Cafe has a few great options, but my absolute favorite is the Winter Salad with Tempeh. http://www.thefloridianstaug.com/

Dos is a great coffee shop to work in during the day.  Friday nights they have live music and a full house!  They also serve wine, beer and local kombucha.  This particular latte is Vanilla-Pear Tea with soy milk. https://www.dosbar.com/

If you like drinks with a view, Sangria’s is on St. George’s Street and awesome for drinks and appetizers.  Live music on the weekend.  Make sure you specify NO DAIRY when ordering! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sangrias-Wine-Piano-Bar/

Another favorite coffee shop is The Kookaburra.  They have several locations.  These photos are from the larger on on US1.  Perfect place to work while enjoying a fantastic latte and vegan pumpkin donut.  It’s bigger than it looks in these photos, and often full to capacity. https://www.facebook.com/TheKookaburra

I didn’t include all the places I visited and delicious food I enjoyed while I stayed in STA.  I have been busy with the business, taking care of Sky, making sure she got to class and appointments.  I will miss this beautiful little city while I am away, but leaving means getting ready for the roadtrip!  So happy to get to travel the country soon.  🙂  I will post more next time I am in town.  If you visit and find an amazing dish or restaurant I didn’t mention, leave a comment!  I would love to try a new place next time I am in STA.

 


Tofu Breakfast Hash

I grew up in a Mennonite household, so we ate dishes that some other families didn’t eat.  Those foods in particular are the ones I remember most from my childhood.  A lot of my mom’s recipes were from her mother or my father’s mother, and because both my parents grew up in Amish households many of the recipes leaned toward German style cooking.  I can certainly say it was a “meat and potatoes” menu for the large part.  Of course, because we lived in farm country, we always had access to fresh milk and eggs, so we consumed large amounts of those as well.  Luckily, my parents had huge gardens most summers, so we also ate a lot of fresh and home-canned fruits and veggies.  While I don’t miss consuming animal products, I used to miss the comfort that eating the food I grew up on provided.  When I first went vegan, I had no idea how to veganize recipes; but over the last five years, I have learned a lot.  So now, when I think of a dish from my childhood and feel that nostalgia, I sit down and figure out how to make it vegan.  Today’s breakfast was one of those dishes.

Interestingly, I can remember my dad making this dish more than my mom.  It was one of his special recipes.  He would chop up onions and garlic, and fry them in a pan full of shredded potatoes.  Once they were nice and brown, he would break a few eggs over the top of the whole mixture and fry until the eggs were cooked through.  He or my mom would cook the potatoes the night before and shred them by hand just before frying.  I am more of a semi-homemade kind of cook, so I typically just by pre-shredded potatoes at the store.  Kudos to all you cooks who enjoy the cook-from-scratch concept, I just don’t have make the time for that.

This recipe is very quick and easy if you use some shortcuts.  It took me about 15 minutes this morning.  The first thing I did was pour myself some coffee.  I have a new favorite combination: Stok Chocolate Iced Coffee paired with Coffee Mate natural bliss Almond Milk Caramel Creamer.  I was away for a few days at a Marketing Event, so I didn’t have time to home-brew a batch.  It turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because I found chocolate coffee.  This coffee is so good, I could drink it black.  If you must have creamer, the key is not to put too much creamer in, or it will cover the wonderful chocolate flavor.

After a few sips of coffee, I was ready to tackle breakfast.  I always have onions and garlic on hand.  Who lives without fresh onions and garlic?  If you do, stop everything you are doing and go get some right now.  Life is so much tastier with fresh onions and garlic in it.  If you don’t like chopping and mincing, you can by onions pre-chopped and Gourmet Garden garlic paste in a tube.  I will not buy pre-minced garlic in a jar.  It just freaks me out.  But I love this garlic paste and use it all the time.  I happen to like chopping onions, so I don’t buy pre-chopped onions.

For this recipe, I used Earth Balance butter.  My folks always used butter for this dish, and I wanted to get as close as possible to the “real deal”.  I melted the butter in the pan on medium-low heat, then added the onion and let it saute for a few minutes before adding the garlic.  I am a huge garlic fan, so I wasn’t shy with it.  You can adjust your garlic to your own taste preference.  The garlic only needs about a minute before you add the shredded potatoes.  Once the potatoes are in, add salt and pepper to taste and give them a chance to brown up.  I stir everything around a bit until it’s a light golden brown color.  After that it’s time to add your tofu.

I seasoned my tofu for this recipe just like I do for my sunny side up tofu sandwich, with a little turmeric, paprika, salt and pepper.  I am really enjoying the flavor combination right now, and I don’t have all of my usual spices anyway, since I am at Skylar’s house.  First press (with a paper towel) to remove excess moisture, then crumble the tofu.  After that sprinkle it with your spices and mix with your fingers.  Make some space in your pan and add the tofu in with the rest of your ingredients.  I gave it another three minutes, stirring as necessary until it was heated through and golden brown.  Then it was time to eat! I didn’t have any fresh parsley or cilantro to throw on top this morning, (I really need to go grocery shopping), but I have broccoli in the fridge, so I cut off the very end of a floret and sprinkled it over the top.  Delicious and pretty!

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBSP vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped small
  • 1 clove garlic (or equivalent paste)
  • 3/4 cup shredded potato
  • 2-3 ounces extra-firm tofu, pressed and crumbled
  • Dash of Paprika
  • 1/8 TSP Turmeric
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions:

Heat butter on medium-low.  Add onion, saute for 3 minutes.  Add garlic, saute for a minute.  Add shredded potatoes, salt and pepper, fry until light golden brown (3-5 mins). Add pressed, crumbled, and seasoned tofu, fry another 3 minutes or until all ingredients are heated through and golden brown.  Plate with fresh tomato and herbs (or broccoli).

I hope you enjoy this veganized version of one of my childhood favorites.  The turmeric gives it a slightly Indian vibe, which I love.  Turmeric also happens to be a powerful anti-inflammatory and strong antioxidant.  It is best absorbed into the body when paired with black pepper and a bit of fat. Happily, this dish has both for premium absorption.  You also have protein and potassium in this meal.  Enjoy your comforting and healthy breakfast!