brunch bunch.

brunch is the most awesome hybrid meal and it's kind of anything-goes, so i'm really excited that isa is working on a vegan brunch cookbook, the crack of noon. (which, to be honest, is on the early side for me as far as brunch goes unless someone else is doing the cooking, but that it is a catchy title cannot be denied.) i treated myself to a gigantic pre-oscars meal yesterday and finally got around to making a few of the recipes she's released for testing.

i've never made a frittata before, i guess because it never really spoke to me. i didn't expect all that much from this swiss chard frittata recipe, but boy was i ever underselling it. it's a really simple tofu-chard-seasonings mixture, but something happens during baking that elevates it beyond the simplicity of its ingredients. it's hearty and healthy and a really satisfying dish for brunch or anytime, really. i guess there's something to be said for feeling like a testing slacker because i probably wouldn't have made this if i didn't. anyway, it's opened my eyes to the wonderful world of frittatas. disillusionment can be a beautiful thing.

potatoes + brunch = no-brainer. they're easy to cook and hard to screw up. perfect for hungover brunches, lazy brunches, buffet brunches...in fact, i feel like if you're calling something a "brunch," there better damn well be potatoes involved. i made these paprika rosemary potatoes with hot hungarian paprika and they were a touch spicier than i'd have liked, but i think isa meant for them to be made with sweet paprika. but, i mean, potatoes are forgiving and there are more brunch occasions that call for spiciness than not (see "hungover brunches"), so i think just reducing the seasoning would do just fine.

and last but not least, a two-fer: herbed whole wheat drop biscuits with smoked almond gravy. this was like a flavor explosion. the biscuits are super-simple to make and tasty in their own right, but smothered in this gravy that's impossible to screw up and so fast to prepare it's practically done before you start, they took this meal to new heights. even if isa doesn't include any variations on the biscuit recipe, i'm sure i'll tinker with it and come up with my own different versions because they're so delicious and easy they'd readily complement many meals.

my regular countdown to the weekend has taken on a heightened urgency thanks to this meal. i can't wait to try out some of isa's other brunch foods. only this time, i'll start cooking a little earlier so i eat before 3PM. i guess it's good that i ate late yesterday, though, because it carried me through to a late-ish dinner of hot dogs and potato salad at the 1st Annual I Drink Your Milkshake Oscars Social. slurp.


muffin challenge #3: raspberry muffins!

the muffin challenge has been on hiatus, but i know debya's going to bring a new combination today. with raspberry still on the table, i thought it high time to get baking.
i considered adding another flavor element - citrus, chocolate, cream cheese - but opted, instead, to do a straightforward raspberry muffin. i adapted it pretty much straight from a real simple recipe i found, which lent itself nicely to veganization. i'll post a photo when i'm done baking.

raspberry muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup soymilk
1/4 cup soy yogurt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries

heat oven to 400 ° F and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
in a medium bowl, combine 1 3/4 cups of the flour, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the baking powder, and salt. add the earth balance and combine.
in a second bowl, whisk together the oil, soymilk, yogurt, and vanilla. (i used peach yogurt because, well, it's what i had!) gradually add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. the batter will be lumpy.
toss the berries with the remaining flour in a bowl and gently fold the berry mixture into the batter.
fill each muffin cup 3/4 full. sprinkle the batter with the remaining sugar.
bake for 17 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. transfer pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. serve warm.


taking back tennessee.

well, it's super tuesday and news has come in that hillary clinton took the majority of delegates in tennessee. here in new york, i was really proud and quite moved to be able to cast my vote for barack obama, so i'm hoping her future gains are few and minor. after visiting the local polling place, at the older adult's luncheon club down the street, i came home and reclaimed tennessee in obama's name by creating a newer, more wallet-friendly version of the memphis forque sandwich i made a couple of months ago. well, truth be told, i wasn't so much trying to cast my vote with my dinner plate as i was seeking to quiet a nagging craving i've had for this meal. it's one of the only things i long for on a regular basis and i've been wanting some bbq and celeriac slaw for a week or so and i finally had to give in.

i was really pleased with this version, which replaced the meal starter strips i used before with some smoky marinated and sautéed bbq tofu. it was way cheaper and easily as good. i'm sure it'll be amazing when i finally get around to preparing it with seitan, but i'm also keen to make a jackfruit carnitas version.
regardless of what the bbq component is, it's the tangy sauce and creamy, dijon-y celeriac slaw that take this sandwich to nosebleed heights. it's so nourishing and delicious with a side of simple potato salad. i'll never take it out of rotation.