vegansaurus!

05/25/2011

Gluten-free biscuits and gravy! Your eyes do not deceive you!  »

I don’t have celiac disease and I don’t have a sensitivity to gluten; nonetheless, I’m into the challenge of making delicious gluten-free, vegan, baked goods and entrees/sides.  The thing that discourages me when I am looking for recipes is that I need to have 5 million ingredients, none of which are in my “pantry” (haphazard shelf in the kitchen). I mean, are 15 different bean and grain flours necessary?

I’ve taken it upon myself to experiment and I came up with this biscuit. Only three flours! Plus xanthan gum, which is expensive, but imperative. It is what binds the flours together, which is what gluten normally does. I like to get mine out of bulk bins, that way I don’t have spend $15 at a time.

Ingredients
1/2 cup corn flour
1 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup garfava flour
3/4 tsp. xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp. salt
5 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup chilled soy margarine or vegetable shortening at room temperature
1 cup unsweetened soy milk or water

Instructions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
The trick with biscuits is to not play with them too much. This is especially true when working with regular flour, but I like to think the same rule applies for gluten-free as well. The less you handle them, the flakier they will be.

Measure out your flours, salt, xanthan gum and baking powder (dry ingredients) in a bowl.  Whisk to get any lumps out and to mix everything together (you can use a fork for this step-sometimes I find myself with no whisk). Add chilled soy margarine in small chunks.  This is called cutting it in, which is described here. You don’t need a pastry cutter, some people use knives, but I use my hands. Not over mixing or playing with your dough is extremely important once you start adding the fat and liquid.
 
The different dry ingredients whisked together.


Chunks of fat.

Lightly, by hand, mix everything together. You want the consistency to be “pebble- or sand-like,” with chunks of magerine or shortening visible throughout. Next, add your soy milk or water.  Knead 10 times, no more!
 
Pebble-like. Maybe closer to sand this time around.

Now, I don’t have a pastry-cutter, I’m not that fancy, but maybe I should look into it. I just spoon out some dough and drop in onto a greased baking sheet. A few inches apart, and you should get about eight biscuits out of it. Place in the center of the oven.

Gluten-free goods bake faster than their regular counterparts. Check them around the 8 minute mark.  If the bottoms are browning, they are close to done. You don’t want the tops to brown, or they won’t be flaky, they will be OVERBAKED. The baking time should be around eight to 12 minutes, depending how long the oven preheated and how quickly your oven bakes.

Perfect!

Gravy is so easy, once you make it the first time, I guarantee you will become a gravy-making machine!

Ingredients
1 medium red onion
4 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp. rice flour (sweet or regular)
3 cups unsweetened soy milk
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 to 1 Tbsp. salt
pinch of Italian herbs

Instructions
Dice up your onion and saute it on medium heat until it’s transparent or caramelized. Add chopped or minced garlic, cooking until fragrant, but don’t let the garlic brown. Add 2 Tbsp. rice flour to coat everything in the pan and let it cook in for a minute or two, moving constantly as to not let flour burn. Browning it a little will add a subtle nutty flavor to your gravy.


Onions and garlic, coated with rice flour.

Pour in 2 cups of soy milk, whisking constantly, and bring to a light boil. You will probably need to turn up the heat a little bit. Add your salt and pepper, then the remainder of the soy milk. Don’t stop whisking! Once you get the consistency/thickness you prefer, take off the heat and add a pinch of Italian herbs. Add more salt/pepper as desired. You can either leave it chunky, or throw it in a food processor or blender until smooth.


Adding the soy milk.


Whisk until thickened.


Biscuits and gravy! There you have it!

05/12/2011

Little Bird Coffeehouse in the Tenderloin!  »

VEGAN BREAKFAST ALERT! One of the hardest things for vegans in this city to find is a suitable breakfast or brunch option. Well, there’s a new sheriff in town and they put a motherfucking bird on it! Little Bird Coffeehouse is a fairly new place in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood that serves up all kinds of vegan breakfast and brunch options, including damn good gluten-free blue corn waffles (covered in fresh fruit, maple syrup, and Earth Balance!), damn good vegan breakfast sandwiches (made with Soyrizo, tofu scramble, vegan cheese and magic), and lots of other damn good vegan stuff like donuts and muffins and other fantastic shiz. Also, various types of non-dairy milk for your coffee and tea beverages! It’s no-frills, with a counter for ordering and some rickety tables and chairs to enjoy your goodies. This place is a little interesting because it’s like stepping through a tear in the fabric of the universe and ending up in the Mission. When I’ve eaten there, its been infested with miner bros* ordering espresso and reading David Foster Wallace. Not a bad scene, just FYI.

I’d bring your friends, wife, LOVAS, kids. And I’d hide your parents unless they’re OK with no table service and enjoy listening to Ani Difranco whine about the 1990s. It’s really nice to have some more options in this area of town and I’d like to see them be the little bird that could so get on down there and eat some some breakfast panini.

Waffles

Soyrizo breakfast sandwich

Little Bird Coffeehouse is at 835 Geary St. (at Larkin), (415) 440-2165, open every day from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. CASH-ONLY, Y’ALL.

*TM Kate Losse. It refers to a specific type of dude who wears plaid shirts and scruffy beards, à la gold miners. I will demonstrate:

Real gold miner

Classic “miner bro”

[miner bro, other miner bro]

04/07/2011

Oh She Glows has an entire feature up on Vegan Overnight Oat Parfaits. Now, the only words that really appeal to me there are vegan and PARFAIT (ooh la la) but you know, new year, new me. Healthy can be delicious! No more cookies for breakfast, it’s time to step up my game and move on to shit that just LOOKS like dessert, but tastes like NUTRITION. I can do this, I believe in me.
Please note: if in two weeks you might find me huddled in a corner repeating “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home” to a cookie, just know I tried.

Oh She Glows has an entire feature up on Vegan Overnight Oat Parfaits. Now, the only words that really appeal to me there are vegan and PARFAIT (ooh la la) but you know, new year, new me. Healthy can be delicious! No more cookies for breakfast, it’s time to step up my game and move on to shit that just LOOKS like dessert, but tastes like NUTRITION. I can do this, I believe in me.

Please note: if in two weeks you might find me huddled in a corner repeating “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home” to a cookie, just know I tried.

03/29/2011

Yeasted meringue coffee cake—I don’t know what that means but it LOOKS GOOD! Finding Vegan had a nice breakfast food roundup today and when I saw this coffee cake from My Recession Kitchen, I ‘bout died. Actually, I am dead. In lieu of flowers, please send coffee cake. And strapping young available men.

Yeasted meringue coffee cake—I don’t know what that means but it LOOKS GOOD! Finding Vegan had a nice breakfast food roundup today and when I saw this coffee cake from My Recession Kitchen, I ‘bout died. Actually, I am dead. In lieu of flowers, please send coffee cake. And strapping young available men.

03/15/2011

Yummy vegan breakfast time!  »


Today we’ll be making the quick and easy cream cheese and jelly on toast! I forgot how much I loved this stuff! And boy, so simple: toast two pieces of pumpernickel bread, spread with vegan cream cheese, then top with your favorite jelly! Voilà! Yummy vegan breakfast time!

Today I used Follow Your Heart vegan cream cheese but sometimes I use Tofutti cream cheese. I can’t decide which I like better but I think maybe Tofutti. No, never mind, I can’t decide! Stop pressuring me! 

To complete your morning, I suggest watching the Gummi Bears like I used to do every morning before school:

[Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!]

02/11/2011

Guest post: Vegan in St. Louis: because you might have a connecting flight cancelled here someday  »

As a born-and-raised Midwesterner, I developed a country-mouse inferiority complex at a young age, and like Janice Dickinson before me, I was all “I’M A CELEBRITY, GET ME OUT OF HERE.” So that’s what I did, for a while. Now I’m back, living in my hometown of St. Louis, Mo., and surprise, surprise, vegan food is now almost as ubiquitous here as getting a DWI in the Busch Stadium parking lot. Holla! Here’s a fat-pants-approved guide to eating vegan in St. Louis.

Breakfast

Waking up with an unbearable hangover means the same thing wherever I live: time for cheap-ass vegan brunch. Thankfully, St. Louis is with me on this. On Sundays, Shangri-La Diner offers a rotating brunch buffet including vegan French toast, meat-free brown sugar ham, sausage patties, breakfast potatoes, Southwest tofu scramble, and fresh fruit, and other, less expected dishes, such as vegan green bean casserole. Shangri-La also serves slamming vegan milkshakes, sandwiches, and desserts. A few blocks away, Black Bear Bakery does vegans proud with a similar array of vegan breakfast classics, as well as vegan cookies, cakes, and muffins. At Sweet Art Bakeshop & Art Studio, vegan brunch goes off the rails: breakfast quesadillas packed with potato, roasted red peppers, vegan sausage, and vegan cheese topped with avocado. If you sleep through brunch, stop by Sweet Art for a vegan BLT or any and all of the cafe’s LIKE WHOA vegan cupcakes: Boston cream pie, carrot ginger, red velvet, chai-spice, orange blossom, and more. For a unique vegan brunch, head to Rooster, where vegan Crêpe Suzette is served all week long. Rooster also offers a variety of vegan-friendly crepe inclusions, from oven-dried tomatoes with fresh basil to roasted apples with cinnamon and brown sugar. Keep things real (tipsy) and wash down breakfast at Rooster with mimosas, bloody Marys, beer, or wine.

Lunch
My bottom-line for lunch is simple: inexpensive, no-frills, and filling enough to ride me out until dinner. Pair lunch with a pint of Missouri-brewed beer at Atomic Cowboy, where spicy vegetarian chili sans cheese makes snow in March seem almost charming. Channel your inner Liz Lemon with sandwiches at Foundation Grounds (the Madahoochi layers vegan cheddar cheese, marinated red onion, and spinach) or at the Mud House (the portobello reuben minus Swiss cheese still equals GIMME THAT). Hit up Cheesology for vegan mac ‘n’ cheese, or trek out to Vegadeli, located in Chesterfield, Mo., where rich people serve other rich people vegan burgers, nachos, tacos, and more.

Dinner

Forget about New York City and Chicago, because local chain Pi Pizzeria in St. Louis is where vegan deep-dish pizza IS AT. Even President Obama agrees! The recipe for vegan pizza at Pi is simple: heaps of Daiya vegan cheese and spicy marinara, all the veggies you can stomach, and optional vegan Match Meat toppings. In addition to deep dish, Pi also serves vegan, gluten-free thin crust pizza, salads, and desserts, as well as great happy hour specials.


If you’re not down for pizza, CRAZY, go Midwest-traditional and grab house-brewed beer and a bite at Schlafly Bottleworks, where they serve vegan mac ‘n’ cheese, lasagna, and portobello burgers topped with Teese. For fancier fare, mosey on down the street to Boogaloo for Jamaican Johnny cakes with roasted plantains or yucca mashed potatoes. If you’re in St. Louis during baseball season, check out the veggie chicken and garlic fries at Dizzy’s Diner inside Busch Stadium, or hit up one of the arena’s many concession stands for soft pretzels, peanuts, or beer. Unfortunately, ordering a veggie dog at St. Louis’ famous stadium still isn’t an option—hey, guess what? You’re still in the Midwest.

[Photos, from the top: vegan brunch at Shangri-La; vegan deep-dish pizza at Pi Pizzeria; and portobello burger with soy cheese at Schlafly Bottleworks. This post was written by Liz Miller, who is pretty much the best. She loves champagne, beer, working out with sledgehammers, Arrested Development, 30 Rock, being sassy, and generally tearing shit up. You should try to be her friend because she would totally hate that.]

12/20/2010

Bonjour, butternut squash cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting! They are super-easy to make and they taste like they’ve got pumpkin (squash, whatever) pie inside.
The filling recipe goes like this:½ cup Earth Balance (or similar)1 cup dark brown sugar1 cup butternut squash purée3 Tbsp. cinnamon1 Tbsp. ginger1 Tbsp. cardamom2 tsp. nutmeg1 tsp. coriander
Cream the vegan butter and sugar until well combined. Add squash purée and spices, mix thoroughly but gently. I then refrigerated mine for like 12 hours, as I made it the night before, but if you can refrigerate yours for an hour, that’d be fine. You want the filling to be thick and gloppy so it stays within the confines of the dough when you work with it.
Follow instructions for filling and baking in your cinnamon roll recipe (here are some ideas!). I baked mine for 30ish minutes at 360 F (yeah I know;  I was splitting the difference between two sets of instructions). After about 30 minutes out of the oven, I frosted them, using the cream cheese frosting recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World with extra cream cheese and a little sour cream (leftovers).
Eat warm, though they’re really good cold, too.

Bonjour, butternut squash cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting! They are super-easy to make and they taste like they’ve got pumpkin (squash, whatever) pie inside.

The filling recipe goes like this:
½ cup Earth Balance (or similar)
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup butternut squash purée
3 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. ginger
1 Tbsp. cardamom
2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. coriander

Cream the vegan butter and sugar until well combined. Add squash purée and spices, mix thoroughly but gently. I then refrigerated mine for like 12 hours, as I made it the night before, but if you can refrigerate yours for an hour, that’d be fine. You want the filling to be thick and gloppy so it stays within the confines of the dough when you work with it.

Follow instructions for filling and baking in your cinnamon roll recipe (here are some ideas!). I baked mine for 30ish minutes at 360 F (yeah I know;  I was splitting the difference between two sets of instructions). After about 30 minutes out of the oven, I frosted them, using the cream cheese frosting recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World with extra cream cheese and a little sour cream (leftovers).

Eat warm, though they’re really good cold, too.

12/13/2010

You guys, it’s the brand-new vegan brunch at Donut Farm and it’s off the chain! You need to eat it NOW. You get one plate option, or you can choose a sandwich or pancakes (blueberry or plain). The plate option this week was tofu scramble with tomatoes, mushrooms, and spinach, hash browns, toast with housemade vegan butter. Coffee was good and strong! Everything is organic and at $8 for a giant plate, you’re getting a deal. It’s Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and you’ll be very happy that you went. Trust! I love brunch. I love it so much. That is all.

You guys, it’s the brand-new vegan brunch at Donut Farm and it’s off the chain! You need to eat it NOW. You get one plate option, or you can choose a sandwich or pancakes (blueberry or plain). The plate option this week was tofu scramble with tomatoes, mushrooms, and spinach, hash browns, toast with housemade vegan butter. Coffee was good and strong! Everything is organic and at $8 for a giant plate, you’re getting a deal. It’s Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and you’ll be very happy that you went. Trust! I love brunch. I love it so much. That is all.

11/18/2010

Vegan butterflake rolls from Inspired Vegan Eats.
Beautiful buttery rolls, warm and soft and crispy-edged, just look at those gorgeous layers. And they’re an anytime food; they’re brilliant. Oh, would you like the recipe? Why certainly; your Vegansaurus loves to make you happy.
[photo by cdr!]

Vegan butterflake rolls from Inspired Vegan Eats.

Beautiful buttery rolls, warm and soft and crispy-edged, just look at those gorgeous layers. And they’re an anytime food; they’re brilliant. Oh, would you like the recipe? Why certainly; your Vegansaurus loves to make you happy.

[photo by cdr!]

09/17/2010

Beats ‘n’ Brunch still killing it!  »

I was back in SF last weekend and we had a regular old Vegansaurus party at Beats ‘n’ Brunch! Laura reviewed it before but I had never been. IT’S OFF THE HOOK! I got the “Freedom toast” pictured below (9/11 humor!). It was bangin’. I also got the bottomless mimosa and this I MUST RECOMMEND.

Next is some tortilla thing that almost everyone got but me. I hear it was good but I didn’t try it. It had some cutesy hip-hop-related name that I now forget. But rest assured it was cute and hip-hoppy! [Ed.: it’s called “The Durty 30”!]

Steve and I also went to town on the bread pudding of the day. Again, there was a cutesy name involved that I forgot, but the flavor was stone fruit and coconut. Scrumptious! I did my best to keep up the picture-taking though I forgot to take one before we started with the bread pudding, so here’s one midway:

Sorry! It’s still a sweet pic though! You can taste the stone fruit goodness.

Moral of the story: If you haven’t been to Beats ‘n’ Brunch yet, GET TO STEPPIN’! Also, Laura’s description of the ambience is spot-on and I was all, “OMG so SF.” I decided that, per-capita, there are as many good-looking people in San Francisco as there are in New York; they just have funnier, most likely homemade haircuts.

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