Hazelnut scones recipe and Colorado potluck report!  »

Yesterday I asked you what to bring to a potluck. You replied with fantastic suggestions. And yet…I made something else. Behold!

Maple-glazed potatoes and green beans from Vegan with a Vengeance. In the recipe intro, Isa says this is a potluck hit. Plus I could make it with things I can buy at my crappy Denver Safeway (raw cashews? Better Than Sour Cream? Gardein burgers? Tempeh? nope!).

I also made hazelnut scones, adapted from another VWAV recipe. Isa’s scones are too much like biscuits in this purist’s view, so I tried to make them more dense and sconey. I consider this a work in progress, but here’s my version, which is closer Platonic Ideal Scone:

Rachel’s Hazelnut Scones (adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance)
Makes 16 scones

1/2 cup nondairy milk (the creamier the better)
3/4 cup fresh brewed coffee
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/3 cup sugar plus some to sprinkle

dry stuff
3 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup almond meal (or grind up hazelnuts for hazelnut meal if you’re ambitious)
1/2 tsp nutmeg

2/3 cup toasted and coarsely chopped hazelnuts (toast them for about 12 minutes at 350 F, let them cool a bit, then rub the skins off)

Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease a cookie sheet or two.

Mix together the liquids and set aside so the milk will curdle. In another bowl, cream together the goodness.

In YET ANOTHER bowl, sift 2 1/2 cups of the flour and the rest of the dry stuff together. Use a pastry cutter or your fingers to smush the greasy goodness into the dry stuff until it looks like crumbs.

Add the wet stuff and mix until just combined, then fold in the nuts. The dough should be dry; add more flour if it’s really sticky. Knead the dough five to 10 times. It should pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Divide dough in half. On a floured surface like a cutting board, pat each half of the dough into a circle about 8” diameter and 3/4” thick. Cut each circle into 8 triangles. Slide them onto the cookie sheet and sprinkle some sugar on top if you’re feeling fancy.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until slightly browned on the bottom and firm on top. Then eat them with your pinky out.

But that’s not all! When 80 vegans get together, you can bet there’s going to be a spectacular spread. It was so awesome, I only wanted to take pictures of the food, not the people or the teepee or the trampoline or the hot-tub or the pool table or the creek in the woods. It was a good time—if you’re in Denver/Boulder/beyond, join the club.

The food table, pre-swarm


Kabobs awaiting their fate: the grill

DESSERT! With a cameo by grilled asparagus.

Vegansaurus NYC: Champs Bakery in Brooklyn!  »

I stopped by Brooklyn’s Champs Bakery the other day specifically so that I could tell you all about it. I’m so nice to you. It’s not a shiny-happy-people-holding-hands type of bakery but it feels like a neighborhood joint, which has its own appeal. I will definitely have to go again because they had all these sandwiches I didn’t try. I did, however, get some biscuits and gravy! They were jalapeño biscuits so they were a bit too spicy for me (they ran out of the regular, I think you have to show up on the early side for the full selection), but they were still totally great, and the gravy was good too.

I also got a rosemary scone that I was pretty into. It was odd to eat rosemary in something sweet, but it was interesting and good. They don’t have the widest selection but it’s all the necessities—lots of muffins and scones. I love vegan scones! It’s the food of my people, plus vegan. There were also cupcakes and cinnamon rolls and whatnot. I think though that the savory items may be what set this bakery apart from the Babycakeses of the world. And you can totally sit down there and eat so that is nice.

So I say, if you’re in the hood, you should definitely stop by. You can get lunch and then grab a scone to save for breakfast.


Guest review: Azna Gluten Free bakery!  »

I was visiting Never Felt Better in Sacramento when the owner, Shawn, gave me a tip: if I had the time, I should visit the gluten-free and vegan bakery called Azna Gluten Free, located in Cameron Park (about 30 miles east from Sacramento). It happened that I did have the time, so I decided to make the trip.

Although Anza normally offers sandwiches, burritos, lasagna, and calzones, in addition to their sweet items, they didn’t have any sandwiches available to eat when I visited; I made do with a baked good instead. Of course, it was still difficult to make a decision. After conferring with a fellow customer and gazing over the display, I picked a mini cinnamon roll and blackberry scone, as well as a spoonful of some roasted yams and sweet potatoes (cooked with olive oil and many seasonings, and the only savory items available).

Really, EVERYTHING on their menu is vegan and gluten-free; I could eat ANYTHING I wanted. I was in special-diet heaven.

The scone was a little crumbly, but the berries added sweetness and made it a little moister. The mini cinnamon roll was chewy and yummy and just the right size. The roasted yams were delicious, I couldn’t believe how well-seasoned they were. I wanted to just keep eating them, but I got too full.

The service was friendly and fast, even though there was just one guy there, and he seemed to be in charge of baking AND serving the customers. Prices were on the moderate end—my entire “meal” cost $10.25 with tax—and I left feeling more than satisfied.

Geanna lives in Portland, Ore. where she can be found hiking, eating, or writing about food (sometimes she goes to work, too). Find her on Twitter @greenvegnliving or check out her blog, Green Vegan Living.


Vegansaurus roadtrip: Grindcore in Philly!  »

Yo, cuz! I been chilling in Philly again and I finally got to check out vegan coffee house Grindcore. LOVE IT. It’s hella crazy! What you see above in the coffee cup is an ALMOND MILK latte! Have you ever heard of such a thing? I hadn’t! You can also get a rice milk latte and every other kind of non-dairy milk latte! So cool. Plus, they have pastries from like four different bakeries! Above is a chocolate chip scone (the food of my people) and a sweet potato chocolate chip blondie! The scone was off the hook and the blondie tasted like pumpkin pie with chocolate chips—holler! Behind my treats is my sister’s PB&J. She said it was like the best PB&J ever. Behind THAT is my sister’s fake fur coat—she was worried everyone would think it was real! So cute, right? So cute.

Now the other great thing about Grindcore is that the customers are like straight-out-of-Portland crazy! There was a couple sitting next to us discussing the guidelines for their group house. The boy was wearing a cat collar! Like, one a cat would wear. Hot pink with a bell—and hopefully it was a breakaway collar, safety first! Then the couple started “hand dancing.” They were moving their hands around together and were like, “hey, we’re hand dancing.” And I was like VOM. Then they got up and started noodle dancing. And I was like VOM. But I looked around and it seemed like everyone else was like WTF as well so there’s still hope for the world.

The women working there were so nice! They even toasted my sister’s bread for her PB&J. It’s all about toasting the bread. OH AND a girl got a call-back from America’s Next Top Model while we were there! It’s basically coffeehouse to the stars. Next time you’re in Philly, you have to stop by Grindcore. Especially you Portlanders, if you miss home.

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