Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Brunch with blog 'scuse me? (at Tara's)

Over the summer, Tara made us a great brunch before a mini road trip to South Jersey.

On the brunch menu at Tara's, a damn fine cup of coffee, tofu scramble with spinach (and maybe some other green), soy sausage patty, and toast. Add some late morning cartoons and you've got brunch perfection. If only Jem and The Holograms were on, I would have been in heaven.

On to the reason for this post:
I have been reading many of the other excellent blogs involved in VeganMoFo and I saw some insanely delicious looking tofu Benedict food porn:


...even the Girlie Girl Army

And so, Tara, I am just suggesting that next time we do brunch at your place, we make tofu Benedict. Maybe some fresh squeezed orange juice too?

Did someone say apple pie?

It's the last day of VeganMoFo and I'd like to share with you, my pride and joy, my strategy for a superior apple pie.

Disclaimer: This is not a recipe, it is a way of manipulating any apple pie recipe into what I consider a good apple pie. Constructive criticism is welcome.

I used to use the Pillsbury ready made dough, but since becoming vegan I just make my own. It's not difficult, it tastes more homemade, and you usually end up with a little extra dough which I'll explain why that's a good thing later.

I've tried out a few pie dough recipes, but lately I really like the one in Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's The Joy Of Vegan Baking. I use the 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine, 1/2 cup shortening variation of her recipe. It gives you that perfect balance between flakiness and workability. If you don't own the Joy Of Vegan Baking, which I suggest you do, Martha Stewart also has a good basic pie dough recipe, just replace the butter with non-hydrogenated margarine. I add a little more sugar to both of these recipes because I like a sweet dough.

You need about 5-6 apples for a pie. I use only granny smith apple and I cut them as thin as possible. This is entirely up to your preference.

For the cinnamon/sugar/flour/nutmeg/salt mixture, I typically start with any recipe I can find just for the basics. I use the Pillsbury perfect apple pie a lot. Taste the mixture, keep the sugar and cinnamon out, add more cinnamon, taste it again. If it gets too cinnamony, add more sugar. Wait until mixture makes your mouth water just a bit, then it's ready! Put a thin layer of the sugary mixture at the bottom of the pie before the apples. Add a layer of apples, then more of the sugary mixture, continue layer by layer.

Sugary apple mountain...

Here's an easy way to make your pie crust look pretty.

Poke holes, make slits, have fun with it. Sometimes I like to put my initials in the pie.

When the pie is in the oven, to prevent the end crusts from over baking, I put some foil on the edges and then when the pie has about 15 minutes left in the oven I take them off to give it some color.

Now while your pie is in the oven and you have a little extra pie dough lying around. Take those extra pieces and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar or any leftover sugary mixture on top and pop it in the oven after the pie comes out. (My mom put a little almond milk on the dough before the cinnamon and sugar, but that's not necessary.)

After the pie, turn the oven temperature down a bit and cook them until they get a golden brown. This is the perfect treat while you patiently wait for the pie to cool down.

The finished product!

Look at that awesome flaky crust... LOOK AT IT! To the left is an equally delicious pumpkin pie yet again from The Joy Of Vegan Baking. On the right is my delicious apple pie.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

HomeFoodz: Shop Rite is Awesome

There are few things more annoying than walking into a supermarket and finding that wilted produce and bottled water are the extent of the vegan-friendly options. Big reason to appreciate my local Shop Rite, which seems to get vegan-friendlier all the time and is even including Tofurkey roasts in its annual "rack up points, get a holiday entree" thingy.

When I don't feel like cooking a full dinner, here are a couple of Shop Rite offerings that come to my rescue:

Tofutti Pan Crust Pizza Pizzaz! Yummy as can be with or without toppings. I sauteed and seasoned frozen spinach and sliced a few queen olives for a flavorful, green touch.
The Shop Rite salad bar does it up nicely. I mixed a parsleyish, oniony salad with a bean salad, added a few stuffed grape leaves, and sauteed fresh spinach in oil and a heavy sprinkle of nutritional yeast.

How does your supermarket treat you? Lots of vegan goodies or disappointments galore? Found any big surprises e.g. Tofurkey sausage next to the hideous pork products? Please share!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Nanner Nirvana

I had been itching for weeks to try Vegan Brunch's Banana Rabanada (Brazilian French Toast) recipe, and figured I'd give it a shot as kickoff to my series of VeganMoFo experiments. I totally understand why this dish is traditionally served at Christmas; it's rich, sweet, and cozy. Like a beagle puppy who got his lil' mits on the winning scratch-off.

Two very ripe nanners, almond milk, vanilla, and cornstarch ready to spin. Shockingly, I remembered to put the lid on beforehand.

Whole wheat baguette slices soaking up banana custard. I could have face-planted in the baking pan at this point.

Sizzlin'....the kitchen filled with the scents of warm banana and vanilla, and all was right with the world. Eh scratch that - all was right in my apartment.

The final result, heavily dusted with cocoa powder and cinnamon and slathered in Smart Balance and maple syrup. The perfect partner for a cup of hot coffee with almond milk. YUM-O*

*The second image is available for rental if you go through the black curtain at the back of the Palmer Video.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Brunch with blog 'scuse me?

Brunch at Caravan of Dreams

Caravan is great vegan restaurant located on East 6th Street in the East Village in New York. This place is also an excellent option for brunch. If you order off the prix fixe menu, you get a house salad, coffee or tea, and sangria or juice with brunch. Apparently, this is the rare brunch spot that serves both red and white sangria, so the temptation to get crocked before teatime is a solid one.

Coffee and Sangria

A caffeine jolt plus some hair of the Smart Dog? You'll be dancing on your hangover's grave in no time.

House Salad

Mediterranean Brunch

That's a pile of awesome right there. Perfectly cooked greens, Spanish rice, and more seitan than you handle.

Country Breakfast Platter

Berries are mixed into the pancake batter. That's a fancy country right there.

Caravan Breakfast Burrito

A burrito jam packed with veggies and tofu scramble. The perfect cure for that Sunday morning ehhhh feel.

...and a look inside!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Vegan MoFo 2010

It's everyone's favorite time of year, when blog 'scuse me? enters a month long food coma. We've been working hard all year to come up with some exciting Vegan MoFo content. Consider this our least lame Vegan MoFo ever! So what do we have in store for you?
  • Brunch with blog 'scuse me? - adventures with me and Tara to find the perfect weekend midday meal.

  • Cupcake Throwdown! - a friendly competition of vegan cupcakery.

  • Vegan food porn posts on our twitter and tumblr.

  • The blog 'scuse me? IMDB Bottom 100 Movie Club - where we watch the worst movies as rated by everyone's favorite internet movie database, discuss it on our facebook page, then post our reviews.
This month's movie: Troll 2

A story about goblins in the town of Nilbog who love to eat their "vegetables". The rare sequel that surpasses the original.

...and much more so stay tuned!

Check out more blogs participating in this year's Vegan MoFo!