The Brellis House

 

Vegg Review: Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes

Posted on September 8th, 2013 by Dan

maple-syrup-lemon-poppy-seed-pancakes

It’s always such a task to be the first one out of bed on a weekend morning and make what everybody is craving- pancakes. So far, we have utilized two pancake recipes, one for fluffy hand-sized pancakes and another for thin, silver-dollar ones. The latter, by the way, is terrific since you make it in a blender.

lemon-poppyseed-pancakes-series

In our recent efforts to use Vegg in our cooking, especially from the Vegg Cookbook, we decided to try out the lemon poppy seed pancakes from the cookbook. This recipe, from Meggie Woodfield of The Vegan Adventures of Meggie and Ben, was one of the best pancake recipes we’re ever had! “I forgot what pancakes tasted like”, Susanna surprised me after eating them Saturday morning. But she was right, these were not just good pancakes, but delicious. They were light and very fluffy and the lemon poppy seed was icing on the pancake. And so of course, I had to do that cliche pancake photo shot: staked up high with maple syrup running down.

Notes.

I used 1.5 cups of white flour and 0.5 cups of whole wheat and stirred everything until just combined (with a few lumps), then fried them without letting the batter rest for 10 minutes as the recipe suggests.

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French Macarons (Part II)

Posted on July 4th, 2013 by Dan

French macarons are the holy grail of vegan dessert in my opinion. Following a combination of Hannah Kaminsky’s mint macaron recipe in Vegan Desserts and research into foams and non vegan macarons, I’ve got a macaron now that is fairly reliable, though not close to perfect.

lemon-macarons

My problem, still, is hollow centers. I have theories, but I don’t get around to making macarons everyday to experiment. I think my biggest problem is that the batter is too thick (too much almond meal slash powdered sugar), so the shells get too big and puffy. Playing around with temperature and the egg whites might also help.

A macaron after a bite. It's crushed because of the hollow center of the shells.

A macaron after a bite. It’s crushed because of the hollow center of the shells.

Regardless, I’ll share with you my macaron recipe as I work on it now. I hope this can be useful for many people as a jumping off point and I really hope we can collaborate to improve the recipe. As before, my recipe relies on Versawhip as the main foaming agent. Also, I’ve since gotten a stand mixer, and I love it. The whisk attachment is good for making the foam.

Vegan egg whites with my Artisan stand mixer.

Vegan egg whites with stiff peaks using my Artisan stand mixer.

This recipe is a lemon variation, which is all too appropriate for summer.

Ingredients

  • 15 g cane sugar
  • 57 g almond meal
  • 115 g powdered sugar
  • 57g water
  • 1/2 tsp Versawhip
  • 15 g Ener-G Egg Replacer powder (~2Tbl)
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine lemon zest
  • 2 drops of yellow food coloring (optional)

Methods

  1. Put the 15 g cane sugar in a food processor and pulse to create superfine sugar, set aside.
  2. Whisk the water and egg replacer until foamy, let stand for 2 minutes.
  3. Put the almond meal and powdered sugar in the food processor and pulse to combine and destroy any clumps. Don’t over mix or over heat the mixture (we don’t want almond butter).
  4. Place the egg replacer/water foamy mixture in the bowl of your stand mixture along with the Versawhip and xanthan gum. With the whisk attachment on low, slowly add the superfine sugar. Increase the speed to medium, add the lemon zest and food coloring, and then increase to high until you get stiff peaks (the volume wasn’t enough to get my whisk attachment into, so I had to lift the bowl up a bit).
  5. Once you have stiff peaks, turn off the machine and fold in your almond mixture, carefully. Many macaron recipes say that the batter should flow in ribbons like hot lava (whatever that means).
  6. With a piping bag or zip lock bag with the corner cut, pipe 1.5″ circles of batter onto a silpat or parchment paper which is on a baking sheet. Smooth out any bumps and tap the sheet pan to knock out any air bubbles.
  7. Now, importantly, let the batter sit, at room temperature, in a well ventilated room for 1-3 hours. This is essential in keeping the shape and making feet. You want the shells to be dry to the touch.
  8. Bake the shells at 300°F for 10-14 minutes. You can double stack your sheet pans to help with insulation so the bottoms don’t burn.
  9. For these lemon macarons, I sandwiched them with left over lemon icing for cupcakes from my sister.

Additional shots of my stand mixer. I love that it’s red. We actually got it for about half off at TJ Max.

kitchen-aid-stand-mixer

artisan-kitchen-aid-stand-mixer

Bulgur with Asparagus and Balsamic Vinegar Rosemary Seitan

Posted on January 24th, 2013 by Dan

This recipe was my first introduction to bulgur and now I’m a big fan. This little grain cooks up toasty and nutty and keeps it’s toothy texture. With fried chicken style seitan, asparagus, lots of garlic and lemon, and balsamic vinegar, this is one for the books. It’s quick to make and produces about 4 servings.

Bulgur with Asparagus and Balsamic Vinegar Rosemary Seitan

Ingredients

  • 8oz package of chicken style seitan
  • 1 sprig rosemary, plus 1/2 tsp chopped rosemary
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, divided
  • juice from half of a lemon
  • 1 cup of vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking bulgur
  • Half a bunch of asparagus spears
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 tbl balsamic vinegar

Methods

  1. Saute the onion, a pinch of salt, and 2 cloves of garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat until soft, then add the bulgur and vegetable broth.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, covered, until all the water is absorbed. Take off heat and set aside.
  3. In a heavy bottomed pan (preferably cast iron), heat 1/4 cup of oil on high heat.  Once the oil is hot add the chopped seitan and rosemary sprig, and fry until crispy and golden brown.
  4. To prepare the asparagus, wash and chop asparagus into 2 inch pieces. Arrange on a small sheet pan and drizzle half of remaining oil from the setain and toss with lemon juice, tsp of salt, and remaining 2 cloves of garlic. Bake (in oven or toaster oven at 350) stirring halfway through, for 15 minutes or until the edges are crisp and asparagus is bright green.
  5. Combine the asparagus with the bulgur mixture and seitan. Add balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp chopped rosemary, and sliced almonds.  Enjoy!!

Coconut Blueberry Pancakes

Posted on January 19th, 2013 by Dan

I made these delicious pancakes this morning.  It’s a nice variation on a classic pancake recipe- coconut and lemon to blueberry pancakes. Serve with butter and maple syrup.  These pancakes are a little thicker so you can add an extra splash of milk (2 tbsp) if you prefer a thinner pancake. Makes about 10 pancakes.

lemon coconut blueberry pancakes

Ingredients 

  • 3/4 cups light coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup milk (we used rice milk)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp coconut extract (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup blueberries

Methods

  1. Combine everything up to the flour into a bowl, stir to combine.
  2. Sift in the flour, baking powder, and baking soda and stir until just combined, some lumps are okay.
  3. Fold in the blueberries.
  4. Cook over medium heat in a lightly buttered frying pan, 2 minutes on one side and 2 minutes on the other.

Homemade Ginger Beer, Dark & Stormy

Posted on February 12th, 2012 by Dan

Our new favorite drink is a homemade ginger beer that is delicious, easy and much healthier than store-bought soda. It tastes amazing as a dark & stormy, and just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Homemade Ginger Beer

The recipe for the ginger beer is from a bartending and mixology blog that has some other recipes I can’t wait to try (homemade tonic water). All you need is a bottle with a rubber sealing top, some  ginger, lemon juice, sugar and yeast. The blog suggests using champagne yeast, but I used 1/16th of active dry yeast and it was plenty carbonated.

In case you lack ‘food patience’, this does take 48 hours to ferment, but I swear it’s worth the wait. We found that adding a healthy amount of black rum (goslings or another spiced rum) makes it tastes even better.

Thanks to my little sister for passing on this recipe.

Homemade Ginger Beer

Lemon Coconut Blueberry Bundt Cake

Posted on February 12th, 2012 by Dan

Lemon Blueberry Coconut Bundt Cake

This cake just came out of the oven as my breakfast, about 2pm. Worth the wait though. Served warm with soy vanilla ice cream, it was fantastic.

Blueberry Lemon Coconut Bundt Cake

This bundt cake is from Veganomicon. I substituted a half cup of spelt flour in with the all purpose flour, cut the sugar down to 1 cup and added about a 1 – 1.5 cups of fresh blueberries.