Category Archives: Breakfast/Brunch

Shakshuka and a Vegan Poached Egg

Yesterday was the Vegan Cookoff – the theme was Middle Eastern and North African food. I just had to make shakshuka, a pepper and tomato stew that originated in Tunisia and is popular across the MENA region. It’s often served for breakfast with poached eggs swimming in the thick, sweet sauce, and what a great opportunity to discover some new vegan egg tactics while using some of my old favourites.

shakshuka
Before tomatoes, after peppers and spices

SHAKSHUKA

I based this shakshuka recipe after Yotam Ottolenghi‘s, with a few elements from other shakshuka recipes I found online – I subbed out Yotam’s cayenne for fresh jalapeno, and had (surprise!) run out of saffron so I did not use that. I also didn’t have fresh cilantro/coriander on hand so went with dried. Ottolenghi didn’t use garlic, and I chose not to use thyme. The balance in my shakshuka was perfect, but you wouldn’t lose using his recipe either.

1/2 tsp cumin seeds
200mL extra virgin olive oil – use the good stuff because you will really taste it
2 yellow onions, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced into 1cm wide strips
1 yellow and 1 orange bell pepper, prepared as above
2 jalapenos, roughly chopped
2 tbsp organic raw sugar
2 bay leaves
1.5 tbsp dried coriander
Handful fresh parsley (be generous)
4 large or 6 small tomatoes, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

In your largest, deepest cast iron frying pan (or use a saucepan if you don’t have a cast iron), dry toast the cumin seeds on high for about 2 min until they are brown in colour. Add the olive oil and turn the heat down to medium-high. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and cook for about 2 – 3 minutes until they start to soften, then add the garlic and cook for another 3 – 5 minutes until the whole mixture is looking dewy. Add all of your peppers, sugar, and spices and cook for 10 – 20 minutes, stirring regularly, until the peppers soften and the whole thing is taking on a red-orange colour. Add tomatoes and cook for another 10 min, then taste. Add salt and pepper and adjust everything else for spice if you need to; remove the bay leaves at this point as well, if you can find them.

If you’re adding the eggs, ensure your stew is nicely broken down first – it should have a thick consistency, a nice level of sweetness and a gentle heat.

Vegan Poached Eggs

1. WHITE

The recipe for the white is based off of one from Chel Rabbit which the author used in their shakshuka.

either 1/2 cup soaked raw cashews, pureed into a cream, or 1/4 cup vegenaise
1/4 lemon worth of zest
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp black salt aka kala namak (i get this at buy low in the indian spices section)
i also added 1/8 tsp asafoetida aka hing, another indian spice that i don’t expect anyone else to have – because i didn’t have onion powder
soft organic tofu – don’t use the vacuum packed kind!
Combine all ingredients except for tofu and blend til smooth.

2. YOLK

If you’re a Vegan Mischief follower, you’ll be familiar with this yolk recipe – I found it on a website called The Airy Way and adapted it here for Vegan Mischief.

1 tbsp vegenaise
1 tbsp carrot juice or v8 (this is just for colour)
4 tbsp vegetable broth
2 tbsp earth balance
2 tsp cornstarch

This recipe is designed to be “poached” in a stew. You could probably also use it in other contexts but you’d have to alter the preparation a little bit.

Make holes in your stew for your eggs – I made 5. Spoon in a tablespoonful of the creamy white mixture and smooth it into the hole. Scoop out a tablespoonful of soft tofu and place it on top. This is going to be the texture of the white, while the cream is the taste. Let your stew simmer with the white in it for 8-10 minutes so the flavours combine – don’t stir, of course, or you’ll wreck your eggs.

In the meantime, prepare your yolk. If you have a microwave, this is a bit easier, but I have done it on a stovetop before as well. Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl or small skillet and melt – in a microwave, zap for 20 seconds and then whisk. On a stovetop, melt and then whisk. Now, the key is to warm it and whisk it until it is a creamy bechamel or egg yolk consistency, and then IMMEDIATELY remove it from heat because if it gets past that point it will separate. If it separates, it still tastes good but it looks gross. In the microwave, zap for 5 second increments, whisk, and then put it back in if you still need to. On the stovetop, warm gently while whisking until it’s perfect.

Scoop a teaspoonful of yolk into the centre of each white. Turn the heat off and serve. Shakshuka is usually served straight out of the cast iron – bring it to the table with some fresh toasted flatbread and a big serving spoon and let your dining companions feast on it in the messiest way possible!

Let’s Talk About Tofu Scramble

Tofu scramble: the most beautiful of vegan breakfasts. Getting it at a restaurant is usually disappointing; I’ve never once had a scram at a restaurant that was as good as the one I make at home. My recipe is here: Malloreigh’s Semi-Famous Tofu Scramble. Like all of my tried-and-true recipes, this one is approximate. I alter all of the ingredients every time I make it, depending on how thick my coconut milk is, what type of mustard I’m using, and what vegetables I have. The consistencies are important, too, though – always get that tofu sauced up before you start chopping your onion for maximum flavour. Never put too much liquid in it or it’ll be tough to brown it before you add your veg. Be prepared to adjust, because the taste of tofu is crappy, and the taste of flavour is AWESOME.

So that’s the most recent scram I made, on Saturday morning. It was the same formula as usual – coconut milk, nutritional yeast, mustard, and fenugreek leaves for the tofu, plus vegetables. I used a nice seedy dijon mustard which added a good texture and flavour… I will do this again! Also, I added a whole bunch of kale, torn into pieces. Remember always to discard the stalks as they are woody and fibrous… but get every bit of that leaf in there, yum. I added the kale and zucchini when the tofu was pretty much done (letting it sit on top of the tofu), tossed a bit of the liquid from my coconut milk in, and put a top on to let it steam til it was bright green. Then I stirred it all together and cooked it for a bit longer to get all the flavours infused.

This was possibly one of the best scrambles I’ve ever made.

I hope that when folks make my scramble recipe, they are taste-testing and adjusting as they go. It can and should be improved upon! I started making this scramble six or seven years ago and I’m still improving it. YUM

trini doubles, yum yum yum

Hello there, friends and vegans! It’s been a while since last I posted; I’ve been working full time AND going to school full time, so I hope you’ll forgive me.

Anyway, I wanted to post about my entry in the last vegan cookoff. Just to refresh your memory, the cookoff is a monthly event some friends and I have been doing for four (count em, FOUR) years solid. Everything has to be vegan, and these days, nut-free as well, and it suits the purposes of the aspiring winner to offer a gluten-free entry or option as well, as we have three gluten-free participants. The theme, date, and location is chosen the month before. Everyone brings the components of their dish, assembles on location, and serves small portions to all of the attendees. At the end, everyone who’s eaten votes in each of five categories, and a winner is crowned.


The photo of mine hasn’t been uploaded yet, so here’s one from Tried and True Favourite Recipes!

Our last competition was Caribbean-themed. I made Trini doubles – a street food dish from Trinidad involving chana masala (my favourite Indian dish made with island flavour) stuffed into deep-fried bread dough. It’s simple and it’s delicious. I chose to serve mine with a fresh salsa made of mango, cucumber, lime, jalapeno, and cilantro. The whole thing was quite hot, but so delicious!

Chana Masala for Doubles

Now, I’ve tried to make chana many times before and have never made an authentic-tasting one. This was my first success with a chana masala that tasted like I’ve had it in restaurants.

2 tbsp sunflower/canola/veg oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 tsp caraway or coriander seeds, whole
4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1.5 inches thick ginger or 2 inches thin, grated
2 tbsp+ masala mix or chana masala mix powder (NOT garam masala, NOT thai red curry, etc.)
2 cans chickpeas, or 3 cups cooked chickpeas
1 small can or 1/2 large can diced tomatoes (ensure you get ones without extra spices)
1 bay leaf

Heat a medium-sized pot on just under medium heat on a burner. Add oil and let it heat for a minute before adding the onions. They should sizzle slightly, but if they spit at all, turn the heat down. Stoves vary a lot, so it’s best to know whether your stove runs hot or cool. Mine runs hot, so I saute my onions on heat 2 or 3 (electric). Gas ranges often run hotter than electric because of the direct and instant heat.

Stir the onions to ensure they don’t get stuck or burnt. While your onions are cooking, in a small bowl, combine the minced garlic, grated ginger, and dry masala. Add a splash of water (I like to use warm) and mix it all together so it combines into a paste.

Once the onions are softened, add the caraway or coriander seeds. Ensure there’s enough hot oil in there to coat the seeds – stir it together and cook until they are toasted. Then, add your spice paste and stir it all together to toast the spices and cook the garlic and ginger.

While this is happening, drain and rinse your chickpeas. Add them to the pot next and stir to coat everything equally in the spices. Next, add the diced tomatoes. This provides some liquid to cook the chickpeas further til they’re soft. If it looks dry, add a little water. Add the bay leaf now and stir.

Bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Put a lid on and let it go for at least 20 minutes, better at an hour or even more. Continue to stir it every so often and ensure there is enough liquid; you don’t want it to burn to the bottom but you also don’t want it to come out too liquidy at the end. You need to scoop it up with fry bread!

Note on curry powders

Holy mackerel are there a LOT of curry powders out there. There’s Japanese curry, Thai curry, Indian curry, Island curry, and so on, and within each type of cuisine there are a number of variations as far as spice combination goes. For a successful chana masala, you will want a MASALA MIX or a CHANA MASALA MIX. Look for a spice mix that contains coriander, clove, cinnamon, chili, turmeric, and ginger. Chana masala should be heavy on ginger, coriander, and – believe it or not – lemon! You don’t want any lime flavour, nor cumin. If you want to make your own spice mix, use those listed above. A little cardamom wouldn’t hurt either. The “pie spices” complement the chickpea and tomato in chana masala. If you want to vary the spiciness of your dish, making your own spice mix is a great idea. You can chop fresh chilies in with the garlic and ginger, or add chili powder or cayenne with the dry spices.

Fry Bread

This part is super easy. While your chana is simmering, make some bread dough. My bread yeast was dead, so I used instant pizza yeast and actually just made a pizza dough. You don’t have to spice it – just salt it. You don’t need much, either. When you fry the dough, it’ll puff up and bubble so you can cut it open and put chana inside it. YUM.

To deep fry, choose a deep pot with a small diameter. Fill it with about 2 inches of oil with a high smoke point (sunflower/canola/veg oil) and heat it on high. Ensure you have a plate next to the stove with paper towel on it to drain, as well as a metal or silicon (NOT PLASTIC) slotted spoon, tongs, etc. You’ll know it’s ready when you put a wooden spoon in, touching the bottom, and little bubbles immediately rise from the wood. BE VERY CAREFUL if you are new to deep-frying! Tear off little chunks of bread dough and toss them in – do no more than three at a time so the oil doesn’t lose too much temperature. Watch them turn golden, turning if necessary, and then pull out to drain. Serve hot.

Oh, and I won the cookoff with this dish.

Gluten-Free Green Onion and Spinach Pancakes topped with fenugreek butter and Arugula Salad with Hazelnut Vinaigrette

savoury gluten-free green onion and spinach pancakes with spring arugula and hazelnut salad and housemade coconut yogurt - 2

This recipe was conceptualized by Yotem Ottolenghi in his cookbook “Plenty”, I made it vegan and gltuen-free for our april brunch.  The recipe I have is not exact therefore I am not going to put it up on our website. I strongly suggest picking up the cookbook “Plenty” and playing around with some of his recipes. The book is simple and does justice to the vegetables that he works with. Simple.

Blue Corn Pear Muffins

 

Photo http://www.lospoblanos.com/food-and-dining/recipes/

This Recipe comes from one of my favourite places in Albuquerque, New Mexico. When We visit again we will definitely be staying here http://www.lospoblanos.com/.  This is the veganized adaptation of the blue corn muffins from Los Poblanos.

1 Cup Blue Corn flour

2 1/2 C All Purpose Flour

1 3/4 C Sugar

2 Tsp Baking Powder

1 Tsp Baking Soda

1/2 Tsp Salt

1/2 Pound Earth Balance (melted)

3/4 C Almond Milk

1 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar

2 Tsp Vanilla Extract

1 Tsp Cayenne (if you like it spicy)

2 C small diced pears

2 Tbsp ground flax (mixed with 1/4 C warm water)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using the pan grease, grease the muffin tins well. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl.  Add the melted earth balance and add the remaining wet ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the pears. Fill the muffin tin and bake for 20-25 minutes.

 

 

Caramelized Apple Sticky Buns

We made these for our most recent brunch to rave reviews. Warning: if you are going to make these, be prepared to use a LOT of Earth Balance, a LOT of sugar, and a LOT of flour. These are by no means healthy, despite the inclusion of fruit. Oh, and prepare to spend about 4 hours on them.

The base is the VeganYumYum Perfect Cinnamon Buns dough. We had used it before and it worked perfectly. For brunch I doubled the recipe, but making a single recipe should work just fine. Yield is 12 big buns.

Dough

The original VeganYumYum recipe for the dough comes with great step by step photos, so head over there if you’d like.

Yeast Mixture
4 tsp Active Dry Yeast (a little less than 2 packets)
1 tsp Sugar
1 Cup Warm Water

Dough
1 Cup Non-dairy Milk
2/3 Cup Sugar
2/3 Cup Earth Balance Margarine
2 tsp Salt
2 Egg Replacers, prepared, optional (I used 2 tsp ground flax and 6 tbsp warm water, stirred in a small bowl and let to sit for a couple of minutes)
Yeast Mixture, from above
6 Cups All Purpose Flour, more for kneading

Filling

Raisins, optional
1/4 cup Raisins
1/4 cup Whiskey
2 Cinnamon Sticks

1/3 cup Walnuts, broken into small pieces
1/2 cup Earth Balance Margarine
1 & 1/4 cup Sugar
2 tbsp Ground Cinnamon

Sticky Sauce

1 – 2 Apples
1/2 Lemon or 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Earth Balance Margarine
1/2 cup Sugar
1 tbsp Maple Syrup (agave works too)
2 tbsp Non-Dairy Milk

Dough

Mix together the ingredients in the yeast mixture in a non-reactive bowl. Let the yeast mixture sit for about ten minutes to proof – you’ll know it’s ready when it’s nice and foamy.

While you’re doing that, in a saucepan, combine the non-dairy milk, sugar, margarine, salt, and egg replacers over medium-low heat. Heat until the margarine is melted, mixing together. You don’t want it to be hot – if it’s too hot, it’ll kill the yeast. Test by putting a bit on the back of your wrist.

Add the yeast mixture to the milk/margarine/sugar mixture and stir.

In a large bowl, combine 4 cups of flour with the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Add the remaining 2 cups of flour and mix in partially. Turn out onto a clean, dry, floured surface and knead together until the dough is smooth and elastic, or 8 – 10 minutes. Use extra flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.

Once the dough is ready, place it in an oiled non-reactive bowl, cover it with (oiled) plastic wrap, and leave it in a warm place to rise for 90 minutes.

Now you’re ready to start preparing your filling.

Filling

If you’re doing the raisins, follow these steps. Break up the cinnamon sticks. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the raisins, whiskey, and broken cinnamon sticks. If the whiskey doesn’t cover the raisins, add water. Allow this mixture to heat until it’s simmering; simmer 10 minutes and then remove from heat. Allow the raisins to continue to soak.

Toast the walnuts in a small dry skillet over medium heat, flipping often so they don’t burn. You’ll want to toast them until they have darkened/goldened slightly and are fragrant. If you really wanted to go decadent here, you could candy the walnuts.

At about the 70 minute mark, peel the apples and chop them into cm x cm cubes, approximately. Sprinkle them with lemon juice to avoid them browning while you take care of the other steps.

At about the 80 minute mark, when your dough is just about finished rising, throw the raisins into a food processor or blender, or use a hand blender. Alternately, cut them with a knife. You want to purée them a bit so they are spreadable, almost like a jam.

Sticky Sauce

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the margarine, sugar, maple syrup, and milk. Stir together until the Earth Balance is melted.

Pour the sticky sauce into the bottom of your lasagna pan. Add the chopped apples.

Dough – rolling and filling

You’ll know your dough is finished rising when you can press a finger into it and it doesn’t spring back.

Preheat your oven to 350F. Find your lasagna pan. Oil it.

Remove the dough from the oiled bowl and roll it out into a 15″ by 20″ rectangle on a clean, dry, floured surface. The more perfect the rectangle, the more perfect your buns.

Melt the Earth Balance for the filling and brush it evenly across the dough rectangle. Add the sugar, sprinkling evenly, and the cinnamon.

Now, starting at one horizontal edge (I prefer the one closest to my edge of the counter/table), spread the raisin mixture along the edge. You want to fill up about the bottom 5cm of the rectangle. This will fill the centre of the rolls with yummy whiskey raisins.

Sprinkle the toasted walnuts evenly across the dough rectangle.

Now it’s time to roll your buns up. Start at the bottom edge and roll nice and tight until you get to the top. You will now have a long, skinny tube. If possible, you will want to cut them with thread or fishing line so you don’t squish them. I used my thread to make marks along the length of the tube so I would end up with 12 evenly sized buns. Don’t worry – these will continue to rise afterward; they won’t really be as small as they look.

Again, for more details, check out the step by step photo guidelines at VeganYumYum.

Once your rolls are sliced, place them in the pan. They will be swimming in sauce by the end, which is good. Cover them and let them rise some more – I let them rise overnight in the fridge, but you can also just let them rise in a warm spot for another hour or 90 minutes.

Bake 25 – 30 minutes or until golden. We had a bit of an issue with the bottoms not being fully cooked due to the overwhelming wetness of the apples and sticky sauce. If this happens to you, put a piece of tin foil over the pan to avoid burning the tops and bake for another 20 minutes in the oven.

Let them cool for about 5 minutes before you eat them. Pull ’em out, flip ’em over, and eat with a fork. Add candied walnuts on top, or icing sugar, or fresh apple. Yum!

Vegan biscuits are for lovers!

We’re making a little vegan brunch tomorrow for some 41 friends and family to the theme of “Vegan brunch is for lovers”, and our red-and-white benny will be sitting atop these cute heart shaped biscuits. Recipe below.

We modified from this recipe. This was all Kaylie, except for the cutting, which I did.

Two tablespoons shy of 1 cup unsweetened almond or other non-dairy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 cups all purpose flour plus more for rolling
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup Earth Balance margarine, cold
1/3 cup garlic confit or roasted garlic in oil – if not soft, chop beforehand

Heat the oven to 450 F. Prepare two baking sheets by greasing or lay down parchment paper.
Combine the milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl; flip lightly with a fork to simulate sifting, or sift.
Cut in the margarine – use a pastry cutter or two knives or a large fork. Your aim is to have chunks of margarine holding the flour together to give the biscuit its flakiness.
Pour in the milk mixture and add the garlic – it should be soft and easy to cut with a fork. Mix together but do not overmix or you will end up with tough biscuits.
Roll the dough out until it’s about 1cm thick or slightly thicker on a clean, lightly floured surface and cut with a cookie/biscuit cutter or use a knife and cut into squares.
Put in the oven. Check after ten minutes – you want the bottoms to be lightly browned and the biscuits firm.

Brown Sugar Bars

I got this recipe from The Tolerant Vegan. These were great – like a fancy chocolate chip cookie, but a bar. I made them for our Saturday “picnic” brunch.

brown sugar bars

Recipe reprinted here for your benefit:

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread, softened, plus more for the pan
1 3/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup soy creamer
8 ounces vegan semisweet chocolate chips
Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
Line a baking pan with wax paper, and then coat the paper and the sides of the pan with Earth Balance and flour.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and sea salt.
In a separate bowl, mix together the Earth Balance, brown sugar, apple sauce and vanilla extract on low-medium speed until combined.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick can be inserted and removed cleanly.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
In a small pan, bring the soy creamer to a boil.
As soon as it begins to boil, remove from heat and pour over the chocolate chips, stirring until all the chips are melted.
Let the ganache sit for 30 minutes so it can thicken.
Remove the brown sugar cake from the pan and cut in half.
Spread the ganache on one half of the cake, stopping about 1/4″ from the edges
Place the other half on top, making a ganache sandwich
Place your yummy creation in the refrigerator for two hours so the ganache can set.
Remove, cut into pieces, and you’re all done!

Pierogies

cheese and bacon perogies with fried onions and coconut bacon bits with salad

I had never made pierogies before and gracefully accepted the challenge of making them. If I might say so, they were a hit for brunch so here is the recipe. I hope you make to many so that you will have to freeze them and have a stockpile for when you desperately need some flavour in your face.

Here’s a basic pierogie dough recipe that I found off of the interwebs! Click on the link to see the proper making instructions with pictures!

2 C White Flour

1/2 Tsp Salt

1/4 C Soy Margarine

3 Tbsp Water

For the method, check http://hellyeahitsvegan.com/?p=768 – they’ve got pictures! But just in case that site goes down, here are the steps:

To prepare the dough, sift together the flour and salt.

Cut in the margarine with a pastry blender or two knives. Add water and mix well. If more water is needed, add a tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a ball. You don’t want it to be too wet.

Dust a clean surface with flour, and knead dough for 10 minutes. Place in an oiled, covered bowl in refrigerator for half an hour.

Prepare your filling.

Remove dough from refrigerator; divide into thirds. Roll each section into a ball. On a lightly-floured surface, roll one ball of dough out until it’s about 1/8? thick.

With a round cookie cutter or a glass, cut into 2½-3? circles of dough. (Keep the scraps–you can roll them out again later.)

Place a walnut-sized amount of filling in the center of each circle. Using your fingers and a small bowl of water, dampen the edges of the dough and fold dough in half, enclosing the filling.

Pinch edges with your fingers or a fork to seal.

Here’s the filling that I constructed to go inside of my pierogies

6 small yukon gold potatoes (about 4 cups diced)

2 cloves garlic minced

1 green onion finely sliced into rings

1 tsp Paprika

1/4 C Daiya (white or yellow)

2 Tbs Soy Margarine

1/2 C Nutritional Yeast

– Dice and boil the potatoes until they are soft enough to mash.

– Mash the potatoes together with all of the rest of the ingredients.

– Add about 1 Tbsp of filling to each pierogie.

 

When your pierogies have been completely folded and assembled make sure to let them cool in the fridge or freezer. After about an hour of cooling you must steam each pierogie in a medium saucepan or steamer for approximately 3 minutes. After this step I choose to pan-fry them in very hot oil to get a crispy crust on the outside.