Cookbook Challenge Week Eleven: Vegan Brunch

vegan-brunchI couldn’t wait to start this weeks challenge, I’ll use any excuse I can muster to eat breakfast for dinner for an entire week. Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz is the perfect book to satisfy all your breakfast needs, you’ve got your sweet, your savoury, your toppings, your sides and everything in between. Reading through the sweet section made me a realize that a waffle maker is an appliance I’m in desperate need of, I haven’t had waffles and years and there’s a recipe for peanut butter waffles! Not only that but chocolate beer waffles too!  I’ve stuck to mostly the sweet recipes since I picked this book up but for the challenge this week I thought I’d go the savoury route. I really wanted to make the tofu benny’s but alas I could not get my hands on black salt, so that one will have to wait until another day.

To make up for the lack of tofu benny’s in my life I instead made the Courico Tacos with Grilled Pineapple Salsa. The recipe gives you the choice of using seitan or soycurls and since I used soycurls last week and I just so happen to have some white seitan left over from last week, seitan it was. These were delicious! Really smokey, spicy and rich. I made the mistake of using hot chili powder instead of the regular stuff and added 3 chipotles in adobo sauce , so mine ended up being slightly hotter then hell, but with the help of the pineapple salsa I was able to power through like a champ. The recipe suggests 2 to 6 chipotles, so let me just say that unless you are a freak of nature who uses hot sauce as a beverage instead of a condiment, then stick to the lower amount. You have been warned. I couldn’t find any hard taco shells, so I picked up some soft shells instead, I think the hard shells would have been a less messy choice but they were still good with the soft shells. The pineapple salsa went perfectly with the tacos, the cool sweetness really balanced out the spiciness. Technically you’re supposed to grill the pineapple on your bbq (hence the grilled pineapple salsa) but being that it was March in Canada, that wasn’t gonna happen. Instead I just pan fried them a bit until they started to caramelize, it’s not quite the same  but it got the job done. I’m not a lover of red onion so there was a bit too much for me, but over looking that this salsa was very flavourful, especially with some yummy cilantro thrown in.

Next up on the list was the Polenta Rancheros, a vegan spin off of the Huevos Ranchero’s, I’ve never tried either before so was completely in the dark on what to expect with this one. I guess the original consists of soft eggs, which the polenta is supposed to be reminiscent of. What I got was a hearty, tomatoey, lightly spiced, bean filled sauce and some creamy polenta to top it off. I sprinkled the top with some chopped tomatoes, avocado and scallions, which really complemented the flavour. Unless you’re allergic, I really don’t think you should eat this dish without avocado, not just because avocados are freakin’ awesome but they also really add to the creaminess of the dish. I’ve never made just regular cooked polenta before and as it turns out, when it’s in from of me I can’t stop eating it! I scoffed at the suggested serving sizes and ended up eating more then my fair share. This would be so easy to whip up and serve to a large group, just provide all the separate components and toppings and it would be sure to please, and hot sauce, never forget the hot sauce. I would definitely make this one again but next time I’m gonna make sure I grind the spices a tad better as I was picking pieces of coriander seeds out of my teeth as I ate (do I know how to paint a pretty picture or what?).

I’ve been eyeing the frittata and quiche recipes since I got this book, it was about time to finally try one of them out and having all the ingredients already in my pantry I went with the Curried Cauliflower Frittata. This is another one of those recipes that comes together really quickly, you could probable even saute the cauliflower the night before if you were really pressed for time. There’s no need to marinate the tofu or anything so you get right to it by giving it a squeeze, then crumbling it all up so it resembles something like ricotta. Once that’s done you just mix in the remaining ingredients, press it into a pie plate and bake. I baked mine for the time specified, letting the top get nice and brown, when I took it out I thought I would leave it as is but the recipe suggests waiting 5 minutes and then flipping it over onto a plate….this is where I went wrong. I’m not sure if I didn’t press it in the pan firmly enough, or if I didn’t bake it long enough, but when I tried to get it out of the pan and onto the plate, my meal transformed from a frittata into a scramble. I used a nonstick pan and also sprayed it with oil but that damn thing just didn’t want to let go. Looks aside, I really enjoyed the flavour, the curry was a little overwhelming but it was still a nice addition to the nooch and cumin, the carrot didn’t add much for flavour but it added a nice little punch of colour and nutrition. I don’t usually eat savoury breakfasts but it was really nice having the leftovers to eat for the next few mornings, now if only I could figure out how to keep the damn thing intact.

If you are a fan of breakfast, and you’re ready to move on from your standard bowl of morning oats, then I highly suggest you pick this book up. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

3 thoughts on “Cookbook Challenge Week Eleven: Vegan Brunch

  1. cdb says:

    hello, did you ever manage to locate any black salt? if not, i’m not sure what part of town you live in, but i am sure i have some suggestions for where to look!

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