Soynog French Toast

One of the best parts of the beginning of the (vegan) holiday season is… soynog. As soon as the weather turns chilly, I start checking for it. Right before Halloween, I’m searching the grocery stores for soynog. Of course, it doesn’t usually turn up around these parts till mid-November, but I’m still eager for it nonetheless. Every year, I always wish I had a huge freezer to store a massive supply of soynog in to last me for months (really, it’s that good).

 

There are a few brands out there, and some new ones this year too. I’ve managed to find Silk nog so far (which is my favorite), but I can’t wait to try the new So-Delicious coconut-milk version (which you could use for this recipe if you don’t use soy). I love nog chilled and topped with nutmeg, or steamed and mixed with chai tea or espresso, or used to make this amazing cheesecake. But for the last few mornings I’ve been craving a noggy french toast.

Soynog French Toast

1 French baguette, sliced into 12 – 1 inch slices
3/4 cup vegan eggnog (I used Silk nog)
1 very ripe banana
2 Tablespoons organic cornstarch
1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 Tablespoon organic canola oil
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (I love Trader Joe’s brand)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
dash of salt (optional)

1-2 Tablespoons of organic canola oil, or cooking spray, to coat the pan for frying the french toast.

Preheat a nonstick skillet to medium-high heat. In a mixing bowl, mash the banana with a fork until it’s smooth and creamy. Add all of the other ingredients, and whisk until combined. Soak a few baguette slices (2-3 at a time) in the nog batter for about a minute (make sure both sides are soaked, but don’t allow to get too mushy or soggy). Pour a little canola oil into the preheated skillet. Place the slices into the pan, and fry 2-3 minutes per side (until sides are browned nicely). Repeat until all slices are cooked.

Serve warm with fresh fruit, vegan butter, cinnamon-sugar, and pure maple syrup – and a tall glass of frosty soynog!

This recipe would be perfect to make for Thanksgiving or Christmas brunch, or any weekend morning. It’s warm, comforting, festive and delicious. It would go great alongside smokey maple tempeh bacon (which I wish I had when I made this). I hope you like it!

Advertisements

Calzones!

I’ve been making calzones from scratch since first becoming vegan close to 9 years ago. A calzone is basically a sandwich-size pizza pocket. Traditionally, a yeasted bread dough is filled with leftover vegetables, cheese and tomato sauce, and it is baked to perfection. Calzones are really easy to make, and are great to make ahead and take on the go for lunch. For a vegan calzone, the filling possibilities are seemingly endless: vegan cheese, vegan pepperoni and pizza sauce is an obvious, but how about curried vegetables and rice; or tofu, brocoli and potato; or peppers, onions and tomatoes?  You can be as creative as you want to be with calzones. They are really a fabulous comfort food.

I filled with a balsamic-braised beef-style seitan, green peas, bruschetta sauce and vegan mozzarella. It’s a very delicious combination, comforting and warm. It’s a great movie night dinner, when you just feel like staying in. Or make these ahead, and pop in the toaster oven for a few minutes to reheat for lunch.

Calzone Dough
makes 8 calzones

1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon natural cane sugar
1 – 1/4 ounce packet quick-rise yeast (about 2 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons vegan butter, melted (I use Earth Balance)
3 cups unbleached bread flour
1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs (a mix of basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, parsley, sage)
1/2 teaspoon salt

1-2 teaspoons olive oil

In a glass bowl, dissolve the sugar in the warm water completely. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water, stir gently. Let sit for up to 5 minutes to proof the yeast, if it does not bubble up, it’s inactive and you’ll need to start over. In a separate bowl, or the bowl to your stand mixer, sift together the bread flour, dried herbs and salt. Add the water, yeast and melted vegan butter to flour mixture and knead to form a dough. If you use a stand mixer, with your dough attachment, knead the dough for 5-10 minutes, until it’s soft and no-longer sticky. If you don’t have a stand mixer, knead your dough on a floured surface with your hands for 10 minutes, or as long as you can go! Form the dough into a ball. In the same mixing bowl, pour a little olive oil to coat the bowl, put the ball of dough back inside the oil-coated bowl, and cover with a clean, dry towel. Let rise for one hour. After one hour, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Farenheit. Punch down the dough (which should have greatly expanded in size) and with a little bit more flour, knead for about 3 minutes. Cut and form the dough into 8 balls. With a rolling-pin, on a floured surface, take a dough ball and roll it out till it’s about 1/2 inch thick and about 5 inches in diameter. Place filling on half of the dough circle, and fold over the other end on top of the filling. Fold over the edges to seal the pocket. Poke the top of the calzone a few times with a fork. Drizzle tops with olive oil if desired. Repeat with all of the dough balls until you have 8 calzones. Place calzones side-by-side on a baking pan and bake for 10-12 minutes until tops are golden.

For the filling:
2 cups beef-style seitan (I used Gardein Beefless-Tips)
up to 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup bruschetta sauce (or pizza sauce)
1/2 cup cooked sweet peas
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and black pepper to taste

In a cast-iron (or non-stick) skillet on high heat, sear the seitan in a teaspoon or so of extra virgin olive oil for 5 minutes, or until all sides are browned. Reduce heat and pour in the balsamic vinegar, stir to coat, cover pan and let cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  In a separate bowl, mix the garlic, salt and pepper in with the peas. Assemble the calzones by spreading a thin layer of sauce, topping with seitan, peas and then cheese. Proceed with making and baking the calzones as stated above.

Enjoy!

Virtual Vegan Potluck: French Silk Pie

For this years Virtual Vegan Potluck, I’m bringing dessert: a rich, creamy, and oh-so-decadent French Silk Pie. I hope you saved some room for a slice!

This is one of those recipes where the statement “they won’t even know it’s vegan” will actually be true. This pie is rich, delectable, both heavenly and sinful – an absolute indulgent dessert. It’s so chocolatey. It’s so dreamy, creamy… the crust is flaky and crispy… mmmm…

This pie would be a wonderful dessert to bring to a holiday party. It’s the perfect “pie and coffee” dessert. Or pie and soynog… oh.. yes.  I’m just going to let the photos do most of the talking for me on this one…

Vegan French Silk Pie
makes 1 standard size pie

Ingredients:
Crust:
1 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chilled vegetable shortening (I used Earth Balance shortening sticks)
2 tablespoons chilled canola oil
4-6 tablespoons ice water

Filling:
1 cup raw, unsalted cashews (soaked in water overnight)
1 cup vanilla hemp milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 – 8 ounce container vegan cream cheese (I used Trader Joe’s brand), at room temperature
8 ounces semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips
3/4 cup vegan natural cane sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
dash of salt

Directions:
In a bowl, prepare the crust by sifting together the flour and the salt. Cut the shortening into chunks and cut it into the flour using a pastry cutter or strong wire whisk until the mixture is crumbly. Cut in the chilled canola oil. Add the ice water a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together. Form dough into a ball, cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes while you prepare the filling.

Drain the water from the cashews. In a blender or food processor, blend the cashews and the hemp milk until very smooth and creamy. Add all the other ingredients, except the chocolate chips, to the blender and blend well to combine. In a double-boiler (or carefully in the microwave) melt the chocolate chips. Once melted, add the chocolate to the blender and blend to combine. Set aside.

Remove the pastry dough from the fridge. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. On a clean, floured surface, use a rolling-pin to roll out the dough in the shape of a large, flat disk the size of your pie pan. Carefully place crust into the pie pan; press to the sides and bottom of the pie pan. Using a knife, or pastry scissors if you have them (I don’t) trim the edges of the pie crust. With a fork, poke 5 or 6 times in the bottom of the crust. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and pour in the chocolate pie filling. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely before serving and topping with coconut whipped cream (recipe follows).

Coconut Whipped Cream
Makes enough whipped cream for one pie

1 – 14 ounce can full-fat coconut milk (I used Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream), chilled overnight in refrigerator
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Scoop off the top of the coconut cream from the can (it will be very firm and you will be left with coconut water) and place in a bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Using an electric beater or stand-mixer, whip the coconut cream until it is fluffy. Add the coconut flour and vanilla and whip until stiff peaks form. If your whipped cream is too stiff, add a bit of the leftover coconut water. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.

When the pie is completely cool, spoon coconut whipped cream into a pastry bag, and pipe on top of the pie. Garnish the top of the whipped cream with chocolate shavings (optional).

Thanks Virtual Vegan Potluck! I can’t wait to see what everyone is bringing to the table!

To visit the blog that precedes mine in the Potluck, click here.
You’ve reached the end of the potluck!