Monday, June 08, 2009

Bunches of Brunches

I have been seriously loving Isa's new book "Vegan Brunch." I can't stop cooking from it. Here's what I've made in the last week:

I made the Puttanesca Scramble, with some lightly braised turnips with turnip greens for dinner last week. I loved the strong, pungent flavors of the scramble, but Mr. Vegan Eats & Treast thought it was a little too strong. He said "This would be good with some pasta." That's probably true, but pasta is also his answer to most of life's problems. Personally, I thought it was great. Incidentally, this was my first time eating turnip greens and I really liked them a lot. This was a fun way to cook them that I learned from the farmer at the market:

1 bunch baby turnips with greens
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
2 tsp olive oil
dash of cooking sherry
salt & pepper to taste

Pick off any icky leaves from the turnips, and wash the turnips. Cut a deep "X" in the turnip, from the tip of the root back toward the point where the leaves meet the turnip, but don't cut all the way through. In a medium saucepan, warm the oil and saute the garlic for a minute or so. Add in the turnips, stir a few times, throw in the sherry, cover, and cook over medium heat until the greens are nicely wilted. Add S&P to taste. Yummy!

I also made the Mushroom Leek Pie, which was a huge hit with Mr. VE&T. I was feeling too lazy to bother with the pie crust, so I just made it without one, and served it with toast instead. It was delicious, and I'll definitely make it again. Rich flavors, creamy texture... and great with toast. Here you see Yummers the cat interrupting my photo shoot!

And here's a slice with the toast and steamed chard.

Next up, the Chesapeake Tempeh Cakes. WE HAVE A WINNER! Now, Mr. VE&T is a happy eater, but he truly flipped out over these babies. He could not stop talking about them, even the next day. This is especially notable because he doesn't even like tempeh. They have great texture, and wonderful explosions of strong flavors. I was especially glad he loved this meal, because it was our last meal together before he headed off for a few weeks travelling with his brother. I don't even want to know what he's eating over there, but I'm glad he left with a happy belly full of yummy vegan food.

On his first night gone, I cooked up the "Kale and Yam Tofu Scramble," and LOVED it. I loved the sesame-gingery flavors with the greens and the sweet yams. This is especially wonderful, because kale and yams are two of Mr. VE&T's least favorite foods ever, so I rarely cook with them. Rest assured my friends, I have two more batches of kale in the fridge, and pre-cooked yam all ready to eat. Mmmmmmm.

The "Vegan Brunch" extraveganza continued into the weekend, when I hosted this week's Family Brreakfast (instead of the usual family dinner). How exciting to have an actual breakfast party! First up I made a big batch of English Muffins. Truth be told, I didn't use Isa's recipe. I have a recipe from a few years ago that I already trust and love, so I stuck with that one. I served them with a trio of homemade jams: Raspberry, Apricot, and Concord Grape. There wasn't even a single one left at the end of the meal!

Then I made two of Isa's amazing "Shiitake Dill Frittatas." I had no problems getting them to form up, unlike some other bloggers have mentioned. I did really press it all down into the pan quite firmly before baking. This is a great recipe - really easy and really flavorful.

When it comes to special breakfasts, I am a 100% believer in the Sweet AND Savory approach. So I made up a batch of the "East Coast Coffee Cake," and used the fresh blueberry variation. I also cut back half the oil with applesauce. Coffee Cake is one of those things where I usually end up watching someone else eat it while wishing that it was vegan. Well, guess what? Coffee cake is totally freaking delicious and I loved this recipe. Mmm!

Here's my breakfast plate, at least the first pass! Included are some strawberries and a big mound of raspberries from the never-ending raspberry patch at my aunt's house.

So, really, I've gotta say, I love this book. I haven't made a dud yet - and so far all the recipes I've tried have been easy to follow and accurate about how simple or complicated they are. The flavors are great, there are classics and innovative ideas, and best of all - there are still SO many recipes I want to try!


  1. i am so glad!!! the book looks so amazing and it's eagerly awaiting its use on my bookshelf. i am intrigued by homemade english muffins in general, just because it's not something i ever thought to make myself. fritatta looks bomb, so does the coffee cake! yay vegan yummy things.

  2. wow! You have totally convinced me that paying for the shipping to get vegan brunch over to Brussels is WORTH IT! I love the look of that mushroom pie - and I dig the idea of skipping the crust! (love the kitty pic).

    I hear you on your Mr. finding pasta as a world salve - my own Mr.VeganCowGirl practices the same form of world peace keeping.

    Great post! Thanks!

  3. All that food looks and sounds so tasty! I can't wait to get my little mitts on Isa's new book - I have seen a lot of bloggers making her recipes lately, and the temptation is too much! And gotta love all those raspberries you've been eating, I am a little jealous :D

  4. Anonymous5:46 AM

    Wow all that food looks delicious!

    I think I could eat that entire basket of English muffins alll by myself...slathered in some peanut butter and jelly. mmmmmm.

    I'm going to have to try out the recipe you linked to.


  5. I think the tempeh cakes, frittata and coffee cake will be next on my brunch list. But truthfully, seeing the turnips made me feel hungriest! I like to cut them into matchsticks and brown them a little in a wok, then add the greens to the wok for a minute or two. Yum.

  6. Yay, I just blogged about Vegan Brunch, too! I've only made two recipes, but there are a lot of things I'm excited to try. Everything looks delicious.

    What a cool what to prepare turnips! I'm not a huge fan of them when they're bigger, but perhaps the small ones with their tops would be more to my liking. I'll have to give it a try. :-)

  7. Totally agree with you... I'm loving Vegan Brunch too! We had the tempeh cakes and John also like them even though he's not a tempeh fan either. And now I want to make English muffins. And that coffee cake, oh my, so good.
    I have my brunch post in the works right now...
    Hope you are doing well and enjoying all the foods Musty doesn't like while he's gone!

  8. Anonymous9:52 AM

    Everyone is posting amazing photos and reviews of this book! I'm dying to get it, ahh!

  9. Anonymous11:38 AM

    oh my, those english muffins and the east coast coffee cake look amazing! i want an english muffin with some jam now! :)

  10. Ooh, you're making me wanna go home right now and start cookin'! I was supposed to be having a friend over for a vegan brunch this weekend, but she had to we're rescheduling for July 3rd. So long to wait...

  11. Everything looks fantastic but I especially love the mushroom and leek pie!

  12. Isn't it SO great?! I'm dying to make that coffee cake!

  13. What a great spread! I can't wait for my copy to arrive, I already have such a long list of things to try...for example that scramble.
    The English muffins look great! I crave carbs like this now.

  14. I bought Vegan Brunch but haven't made anything out of it yet - you've inspired me to change that really soon! The coffee cake especially sounds good...

  15. English muffins!! I still haven't been very successful in making my own, but I guess I'll have to check this recipe out. Yours certainly look perfect!

  16. Anonymous1:03 PM

    Hi Amey,
    Finally made the tofu/yam/kale scramble last night. I have been thinking about since this time when you posted the photo. It was the perfect winter dinner dish, and felt so nourishing. Gonna try the coffee cake soon with half applesauce as you did.
    jen e.


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