Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Lightest, Best Buttermilk Waffles You've Ever Made

Waffles are probably my second-favorite breakfast staple (after biscuits, of course). They're crispy and buttery and perfect in every way, if they're done right. I only ever have them at home, because the pricing structure of restaurant waffles makes no sense at all. You can have 2 pancakes for $5, or 4 for $7, but one waffle will cost $5 or $6 all by itself. There's no option for a short stack of waffles like there are for pancakes. It's very weird.

The problem with homemade waffles, for vegans anyway, is that most of the recipes are either complex or yield disappointingly dense, limp waffles (or both). That's where these babies come in. They're very easy, buttery and light as air, while maintaining some crunch. Heavy, dense and limp waffles that take all morning to make are a thing of the past.

The key to keeping your waffles warm and crisp is to keep them in the oven at 200 degrees, directly on the rack. That last part is really important. If you use a sheet pan to hold them (like you might do with pancakes), they'll get soggy. Even if they aren't stacked on each other. Do this and you'll be plating perfect waffles every time:


3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp evaporated cane sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup plain unsweetened soy milk
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Vegan Egg (or other egg replacer), prepared
1/3 cup Earth Balance, melted (or 1/3 cup vegetable oil)
1 tsp vanilla

In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, combine the soy milk and cider vingar with a whisk. Let it sit for a bit while you prepare the egg replacer. Add the egg replacer, soy milk mixture, Earth Balance and vanilla to the dry ingredients and combine well, making sure to work out all the lumps. Place the batter into the fridge and let it set for 30 minutes.

Heat up your waffle iron and turn your oven on to 200 degrees. Once the waffle iron is ready, pour about 1/3 cup of batter into the center and close the lid.

Once the waffle iron indicates that it's ready (usually it's a light), open it up and put each finished waffle directly on the rack in the oven until ready to serve.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Tomato and Peach Gazpacho

I go through phases every summer of which seasonal fruit is my favorite. Right now I'm on a peaches kick. Can't get enough of them. Lots of other fruits have been used for gazpacho, but peaches are sadly overlooked. It's too bad, because they're perfect for it. Just enough substance, juice and sweetness to temper the tomatoes.

This is a really easy soup. If you can, try to make it well ahead of time and let it sit in the fridge to get really nice and cold. The flavors will develop even more during that time. Seriously, take a taste before you put it in, then a taste after a few hours in the fridge. Big difference. It'll be really good no matter when you eat it, but it's an interesting detail.

I didn't peel the peaches or the tomatoes for this because that's a lot of extra work. Just strain out the pureed soup before finishing it and you'll be fine. Or leave it in, if that suits you.

 - 1 clove garlic, minced 
 - 1 shallot, chopped
 - 1 tbsp olive oil 
 - 2 lbs heirloom tomatoes, quartered 
 - 1 lb ripe yellow peaches, quartered 
 - 1 bunch fresh thyme, chopped
 - 1 tsp sea salt
 - 2/3 cup vegan cream (I use soy creamer)
 - 1 tbsp unrefined cane sugar

Heat the oil in a medium pot. Don't go super hot or you'll burn the garlic. Drop in the garlic and shallot and saute them for a couple of minutes, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the tomatoes, peaches, thyme and salt and turn the heat up to medium high. Cook it all for about 15 minutes, stirring often with a wooden spoon to help break the tomatoes and peaches down. By the end, it should still be a bit chunky, but mostly soft and liquified.

It'll start like this:

Almost there...

Here we go.

Transfer the peaches and tomatoes to a blender and process. You may need to work in batches, depending on how big your blender is. 

Pour the soup through a fine-mesh sieve back into the pot. You may have to use a ladle to help it get through after a bit. Don't push it through, though. Put the pot back over medium-low heat. Add the cream and sugar and stir it well to incorporate. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes, then pour it into a bowl and put it in the fridge for at least an hour to chill. This would be a good time to also put your soup bowls into the freezer to chill until you're ready to serve. Garnish with some extra thyme or oregano on top and serve it with some toasted crusty bread. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Easy Tabbouli

I'm back! I took a longer-than-planned sabbatical for the winter/spring. Originally, I'd planned to change up the look of the site to something more "professional." I ended up deciding that it's fine as-is.

Anyway, here we are in summer. As I've said many time before, I love summer. The weather, sandals, late sunsets and, best of all, the food. Summer veggies are the best. I have a lot in store for you this summer, starting with this little gem.

Every time I'm at a party or potluck where someone brought tabbouli, I wonder why I don't make it more often. I can eat it by the bucketful. I know, it's basically just an elaborate parsley delivery system, but who doesn't love parsley? And mint? I'm already sold right there.

This summer, I planted some potted herb gardens which are going gangbusters. I have no idea mint grows like crazy once it's set loose. Part of the reason I made tabbouli was because of all this excess mint.

This is a back-to-basics recipe. Tabbouli has gotten a bit complicated lately. Nothing wrong with that, but when the classics work, I don't see any reason to mess with them. Aside from oil, this is what you're dealing with:

1 cup bulgur
1-2 bunches curly parsley (depending on how much you like parsley)
12 large mint leaves 
6 green onions
2 medium tomatoes 

1 cucumber 
2 lemons, juiced 
1/2 cup olive oil

Put the bulger in a bowl and fill the bowl with water until it's about an inch over the top of the bulger. Let it sit for about 30 minutes. It won't look like much at first, but it'll double in size during that time. It'll go from this:

To this:

While the bulger is soaking, finely chop the parsley and mint and put them into a large bowl. Peel, slice and seed the cucumber, then chop it and add it to the bowl. Dice the tomatoes and add them as well.

Pour the bulger into a large sieve, pressing out as much water as possible. 

Once it's dry, add it to the bowl and stir to combine it well with everything else. 

To make the dressing, combine the lemon juice and olive oil and whisk vigorously to combine them. Pour it over the tabbouli and add salt and pepper to taste. Keep the tabbouli refrigerated until you're ready to eat.