Beer Battered Avocado Tacos

During the Los Angeles Vegan Beer Fest, I had the awesome opportunity to try Searbirds‘ beer-battered avocado tacos.  As a lover of tacos, of beer, and of avocado – this was a moment of sheer joy.  As someone who enjoys cooking – this was inspiration to try to do something similar myself.

Given that avocados, when cut up, are somewhat slippery, I figured I needed a “more grippy” batter.  Usually, for beer batter, I use Isa’s recipe from Vegan Brunch.  For this, I decided to make the batter more putty-like, less batter-like – the idea being that I could take gobs of it and mold it around the avocado slices.

Beer Batter Ingredients

I took clumps of the “batter” and molded it to wrap around each avocado slice. I then rolled them in a separate bowl of bread crumbs to get the final later of crispy outside.

I don’t have a deep fryer, so I simply pour a thin layer of canola oil into a nonstick pot and fry in that.

That’s it.  Simple!  In the first picture, I topped one of the tacos with Drew’s Smoked Tomato Dressing and another with some salsa, stacking the avocado slices on top of a bed of chopped romaine lettuce.  I think these turned out pretty awesome.  My only complaint is that I am somewhat poor at picking out ripe avocados, so some of the pieces were not as buttery soft as I would have liked.

11 Years of Stone Imperial Russian Stout & Vegan Feast

Stone IRS is like no other beer. In the opinion of VeganBrew, hands down, the best beer on the planet. I do not say this without due consideration of the “best beers of the world” from sites like and A king’s ransom has been spent drinking through those lists and, more often than not, Stone IRS would have been preferred. It’s  uniquely flavorful and complex, yet balanced and incredibly drinkable…and the best part, it’s created by a vegan brewer: former Stone brewmaster Lee Chase.

Over the past few years, I’ve made it my mission to collect a bottle from each year’s release of Stone IRS. After a friend secured the last bottle I needed to complete the vertical (2001)  on ebay a few months back, I decided it was time to open a decade worth of this amazing beer. On October 2nd Kevin came up to Albany and the 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 bottles of Stone IRS were opened and enjoyed with friends.

The bottles were all opened at the same time and about 2 ounces of each year was poured into 11 cups labeled with the appropriate year. Unfortunately, we did not have enough glassware to use real glasses, so we had to use plastic cups. However, since all of the beers are pitch black, this didn’t change the experience much.

It was very interesting to see how the years (and storage) changed this beer. Without a doubt, the 2001 was the year favored by everyone. The chocolate and roastyness shined through and the bitterness was mellowed and complimented by the sherry notes and the sweetness of the beer.  I assume this bottle was also the beer that was handled the best. I’m fairly certain it was purchased at the Stone Winter Storm the year before, which means it was stored in absolute perfect aging conditions at the brewery most of its life. Anyway, it was fantastic, while the 2002 was terrible – seemed to be infected. The 2006 had some serious oxidation problems, which made it taste like a moldy basement. The others had a lot of the awesome flavors found in the 2001, just a bit more muted. Nonetheless, an epic tasting, which ended with a few other guest bottles (a growler of Ithaca Outdoor Harvest Ale, a bottle of Old Rasputin XII Kevin brought up, a bottle of Hair of the Dog Cherry Adam from the Wood and a bottle of Captain Lawrence Barrel Select). Also, we mixed in two bottles of the Stone IRS clone Kev and I brewed last year, which seemed to be enjoyed just as much as the original.

So, on to the food (after all, this is the Vegan Month of Food!!)…October 2nd also happens to be Mohandas Gandhi’s birthday, World Farm Animal Day and the start of Vegetarian Awareness Month. To commemorate the day and to make the omnivores who joined us more aware of the deliciousness of vegan food, Kev and I cooked up some good eats to pair with the decade (+1) o’ Imperial Stout. First, we made up some Gardein Beefless Tips in the porter-bourbon sauce from this recipe.

Next, made up the Apple and Squash Risotto recipe from Mac & Cheese, subbing the wine with Unibroue Ephemere (used for the last broth addition). All served up with a side of freshly harvested kale, sauteed in garlic and olive oil.

The food came out excellent, with many compliments from the non-vegans at the table. The meal provided a nice heartiness that helped us make it through the tasting fairly sober. The porter-bourbon sauce added a rich punch to the beefless tips and the Ephemere risotto was a very pleasant compliment of sweetness and stick-to-your-ribs starch.

Amazing beer, great food, good times. Maybe we’ll have to do something similar for a 12.12.12 Vertical Epic tasting?

Just Tomatoes Bacon Bits

Here we are: our first entry as first-timers in Vegan MoFo and personally my first post in a long while (Brett is the far better brewer and food-creator.)

This weekend I was making some vegan beer chili (we’ll cover this later in the week) and wanted to add a little something to punch up the flavor. Lots of chili recipes tend to include bacon, and I had no suitable bacon replacements in the house. Scanning my shelf o’ goodies, I spotted a small tub of Organic Just Tomatoes Bits that I have not used in a while. If you are not familiar with their products – they essentially have a whole line of tubs full of dried fruits & vegetables. You can find them at pretty much any co-op or natural foods store.  I figured I’d experiment to see how they’d turn out if I bacon-bit-ized a scoop full of them to add to the chili.

Just Tomatoes Bacon Bits

  • 1/2 C Just Tomatoes Bits
  • 1 tsp high quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbs liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp tamari

Smoked Tomato "Bacon" Bits in the Pan (Start)

Simple instructions: Add the olive oil to a pan over medium heat; Add Just Tomatoes Bits so they are coated well in the oil (lots of stirring); Add the liquid smoke and tamari almost immediately. The key is to keep an eye on it and stir often. They can easily burn if you get lazy (obviously I learned that lesson the hard way.)  It only takes a few minutes (5 for me; will vary depending on your cookware & stovetop.)  I was looking to brown the bits – but not make crispy.

Smoked Tomato "Bacon" Bits in the Pan (End)

Add some more oil if you desire – I think it can only help give it a bit of “greasiness.”

Smoked Tomato "Bacon" Bits After & Before
After on Left; Before on Right

I thought these turned out pretty awesome. They ended up giving the chili an extra oomph I was looking for, though I wish I had made & added more to that.  I can see other uses in the future too – these would be perfect as a topping on some Sunday brunch tofu scramble as an alternative to the tempeh bacon we’re all too often accustomed to.