Sunday, November 27, 2011

Chef Bryanna Clark Grogan's Vegan Seltzer Waffles with Crispy Sweet Potatoes and Light Chik'n Gravy

We're wrapping up Vegan Awareness Month with sensational holiday (or anyday!) recipes from vegan chef Bryanna Clark Grogan. Bryanna is the author of nine popular vegan cookbooks, including the best-seller, Nonna's Italian Kitchen. Her tantalizing recipes appear in Cooking with PETA, Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes, Howard Lyman’s Mad Cowboy and No More Bull!, and on Dr. Andrew Weil’s Healthy Aging website. Her latest book, World Vegan Feast features a collection of 200 mouthwatering recipes from around the globe. Bryanna is a vegan culinary goddess. Follow her Vegan Feast Kitchen blog, and be constantly delighted and surprised at just how delicious eating vegan can be!

These recipes might seem complex at first, but as you'll see, with all three components, you'll be creating a stupendously delicious dairy-free (and gluten-free!) meal—or you can enjoy the waffles, crispy sweet potatoes, or chik'n gravy served with your favorite accompaniments. And since most of the recipes can be made well ahead of time, this hearty meal will be a snap to put together when it's time to serve!

I don't think there is any other brand of non-dairy milk products that is so reliable and innovative in terms of taste, quality, and variety. I've been a fan of So Delicious soy-based organic "ice creams" for years—they’re so creamy and satisfying! But now they have a wonderful line of coconut-based products that just about everyone, including soy-allergic vegans, can enjoy! Coconut-based organic "ice creams" and fruit sorbets, frozen bars and ice cream sandwiches (stevia-sweetened, sugar-free versions, too!), low-fat coconut milk beverages, creamers, cultured beverages, yogurt (great products for baking and cooking, by the way), and now, Greek-style yogurt. It's all there—guilt-free treats for just about everyone that taste AMAZING and are made with vegan, organic, and natural ingredients.

Lately, I have been a bit obsessed with waffles. While revising my Vegan Seltzer Waffles (made with club soda, which makes them nice and light), I decided to also develop a gluten-free and soy-free version, so we’ve been eating waffles for breakfast and dinner quite a lot lately. Finally satisfied with both my gluten-free version and my wheat version (probably to my husband’s great relief!), I began working on a vegan version of “chicken waffles,” a popular, but very high-fat, restaurant dish. It has always intrigued me, but I was never satisfied with my attempts at recreating a lower-fat vegan version. Until now!

There are two different versions of this dish—the Southern one, which consists of fried chicken pieces on a waffle with hot syrup poured over the whole shebang (and now sometimes further “enhanced” with bacon, for good measure); and the Pennsylvania Dutch version, which is a waffle topped with strips of boiled chicken and a chicken gravy.

The Southern one sounded a bit over-the-top to me, but I liked the idea of gravy on a waffle (I do love gravy). The very first attempt I made was pretty delicious—I combined the Southern and Northern versions and topped our waffles with some President’s Choice “Meatless Breaded Chicken Strips” (a Canadian product made by Gardein®, similar to their “Crispy Tenders”) and a light vegan gravy. Mmmmm-good! (I’m sure that crispy coated tofu strips would be good, too.) The gravy was also delicious with Butler Soy Curls®, reconstituted in a vegan “chicken” broth and lightly browned—a more Northern-style version that would also work with a light seitan or any of the new commercial vegan “chicken” strips and similar products.

But I couldn’t use any of those products in a gluten-free and soy-free version of the dish, so I was racking my brains for something delicious that would be suitable and satisfying. For three days or more I mulled it over. Finally, the light bulb went off in my head—crispy oven-“fried” slices of sweet potatoes or yams; suitably Southern and full of flavor—just the ticket!

For the gravy, I started out with a milky Southern biscuit gravy recipe that I had developed a few years ago, but it seemed too heavy for this recipe. I revised it, substituting some “chickeny” vegan broth for some of the non-dairy milk and adding some herbs and green onions. I used a white-rice-based GF flour mix instead of the wheat flour for the thickener, and it made for an exceptionally silky texture—just what I was hoping for.

I used Original So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage for the "milk" in the waffles, the gravy, and as part of the coating for Crispy Sweet Potato Slices. It provided just the right amount of richness and flavor, without excessive fat. I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe as much as we did!

Vegan Seltzer Waffles with Crispy Sweet Potatoes and Light Chik'n Gravy
(gluten-free and soy free—or not) Serves 4

For convenience, make the waffles and the gravy ahead of time, and reheat just before serving. If you and your guests have big appetites, use 2 waffles per serving. If not, use one each. It’s a filling and satisfying dish. We like this for supper, but it makes a great brunch dish, as well.

4 to 8 Bryanna’s Gluten-Free Vegan Seltzer Waffles (see recipe below)
1 recipe Bryanna's Light Vegan Southern-Style Chik'n Gravy (see recipe below)
1 lb. sweet potato (orange-flesh) or yam (white or yellow flesh)

Yam/Sweet Potato and Coating: (Note: the measurements for the following ingredients are approximate)

1/2 cup + 1/2 tablespoon white GF flour mix
1/2 cup So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage, Original
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/2 cup brown rice flour
olive oil in a pump sprayer bottle

Preheat your oven to 500ºF.

Cut the sweet potato/yam into 4 equal quarters, slicing it in half horizontally and then slicing the halves again in half lengthwise. You can peel the sweet potato/yam first, or remove the peel after cooking—it’s up to you.

I microwave the sweet potato/yam (without any water) in a covered Pyrex casserole for about 7 minutes. You can also steam them. Just make sure that you remove them from the heat source when they are just barely cooked—you can stick a fork in the center, but the flesh is still firm.

Let them cool off. (If you have not peeled them already, run some cold water over the skin side and the peel should come off easily. If it doesn’t, use a paring knife.) Slice the quarters lengthwise into about 3/8-inch-thick slices.

Assemble 3 shallow bowls (such as soup bowls) and place the 1/2 cup white GF flour mix in one; the So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage mixed with the Cajun seasoning and the 1/2 tablespoon white GF flour mix, in the second bowl; and the brown rice flour in the third.

Have ready a large baking sheet (dark baking sheets brown foods better), sprayed with oil from a pump spray bottle. Coat each slice of sweet potato/yam first with the white GF flour mix, then the So Delicious® mixture, and then the brown rice flour. Lay each coated slice on the prepared pan. Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 7 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden and crispy. Turn the slices over and bake for another 4-5 minutes, or until the bottoms are also golden and crispy.

While the sweet potato/yam slices bake, you can gently reheat the Chik’n Gravy, either in a saucepan on the stovetop, or in a microwave-proof pitcher in the microwave at no more than 50% power, and place them on racks on top of baking sheets. Place them in the oven at the same time you turn the slices over to crisp the second side. Watch the waffles so that they do not brown. You just want to heat them up and crisp them a bit.

For each serving, place a waffle (or 2) on a heated plate, top each serving with 5 or 6 hot crispy sweet potato/yam slices, and drizzle with the hot gravy. Serve immediately.

Gluten-free, Soy-free Seltzer Waffles (Serves: 4-8 Yield: Eight 7-inch waffles)

Note: If you don't want to make these gluten-free, you can use Bryanna's original recipe for wheat-based Seltzer Waffles.

I use a regular non-stick waffle iron, not the Belgian type that makes thicker waffles. I have the Cuisinart Traditional waffle iron. These waffles can be made ahead of time and crisped and heated in the oven ahead of time, if you wish.

Dry Mix:
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour (or starch)
1/3 cup potato starch (not flour)
1/4 cup chickpea flour (known as besan in South Asian grocery stores)
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1 tablespoon organic granulated sugar or other sweetener of choice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Wet Mix:
Flax Seed "Glop": 1/2 cup So Delicious Original Coconut Milk Beverage+2tablespoons golden flax seeds (if using ground flax seed, use 1/4 cup)
Additional Wet Ingredients:
7/8 cup So Delicious Original Coconut Milk Beverage
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Seltzer water: 1 1/4 cups (10 oz) club soda
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)

If you are going to eat the waffles immediately after cooking, adjust your oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 250ºF. Set a wire rack in rimmed baking sheet and place the baking sheet in oven. If they are to be eaten later, simply have some cake racks ready on your counter.

Whisk the Dry Mix ingredients together in large bowl to combine.

In a blender, whiz together the 1/2 cup So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage and flax seeds until the mixture is fluffy, white and "gloppy" like lightly beaten egg whites. (See photo below.)

Add the Additional Wet Ingredients and blend briefly to mix well. Turn the blender off, remove the container from the machine and, with a slim spatula, gently stir in the club soda (or alternate).

Immediately make a well in center of Dry Mix ingredients and pour in the combined Wet Mix and club soda. Using a small spatula, gently stir until just combined. The batter should remain slightly lumpy with streaks of flour.

Heat your waffle iron, spray with oil from a pump sprayer (or rub with a little non-hydrogenated shortening), and bake each waffle according to manufacturer’s instructions (for a 7-inch round waffle I used 1/2 cup batter). In my Cuisinart Traditional waffle iron, I cook them on the #4 setting until the steam stops pouring from the iron, which takes about 4 minutes.

Transfer waffles to to rack in warm oven and hold for up to 10 minutes before serving. Or if they are to be reheated later in the day, place them on cake racks on the counter to cool. To reheat the waffles, place them on racks on top of baking sheets in a 350ºF oven for a few minutes, until hot and crisp. Any leftover waffles can be frozen in zipper-lock bags to use as toaster waffles.

Bryanna's Light Southern-style Chik'n Gravy
(soy-free and gluten-free...or not!) Servings: 6, Yield 3 cups

1/3 cup white GF flour mix (or if you are not GF, use unbleached white flour)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage
1/2 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon "chicken-style" vegetarian broth powder or paste
(Use a GF and/or SF version, if necessary—here’s my homemade GF & SF broth powder, but you will need to use 1 tablespoon instead of 1/2 tablespoon.)
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage (not powdered)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (not powdered)
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Place the flour, nutritional yeast and salt in a 2-qt. microwave-proof bowl or pitcher and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Whisk in the water, So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage, soy sauce, broth powder or paste, sesame oil and herbs.

Cook in the microwave on High for 2 minutes. Whisk the mixture well. Microwave again for 2 minutes, or until thickened (microwave once more if necessary). Whisk again, taste for seasoning, stir in the sliced green onions and serve hot.

If making on the stovetop, toast the flour, yeast and salt lightly in a DRY heavy skillet or saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Do not brown the flour. Off the heat, whisk in the water, So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage, and soy sauce, making sure that there are no lumps. Whisk in the broth powder or paste, sesame oil and herbs. Stir over high heat just until it starts to boil, then reduce heat to medium and stir for several minutes, until thickened. Whisk again, taste for seasoning, stir in the sliced green onions and serve hot. Enjoy!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Two Delicious Holiday Recipes from Kathy Hester:
Creamy Greek Yogurt Salad Dressing
and a Coconut Nog-tini!

Earlier this year, we began noticing Kathy Hester’s wonderful blog, Healthy Slow Cooking. Each day for a couple of months, she posted the most exotic slow-cooker oatmeal recipes that were made with our Unsweetened Coconut Milk. Some of us dusted off our crock pots, and some of us rushed out and bought slow cookers. With tantalizing recipes like Blueberry Lavender Rosewater Oatmeal and Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Oatmeal breakfast time at many of our homes was transformed from the mundane to the magnificent. She’s still posting the most creative oatmeal recipes you could ever imagine, so if you’re an oatmeal fan, do head on over to Healthy Slow Cooking, and check them out!

More recently, Kathy’s first book, The Vegan Slow Cooker, was published, and we were thrilled to discover that many of the recipes in her beautiful new book were also made with So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverages and Creamers! Kathy Hester is a true friend and fan of So Delicious, and we couldn’t be more excited to feature her as a guest on our blog! Meet Kathy:

I’m a vegan recipe developer, and it’s impossible for me to pick a favorite So Delicious product, because I use so many of them in my kitchen tool kit. And I love the fact that their products are great for people who are allergic to soy and gluten, as well as dairy.

So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk adds richness to my savory dishes. It makes the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever had and makes great non-dairy creamy veggie soups. I love the thickness of it compared to other non-dairy milks.

The new Greek-style yogurts have become a morning favorite and add a great tart tang when paired with one of my slow-cooker oatmeal creations. The only thing I’ve missed since going vegan was the wonderful texture of thick, Greek yogurt, and now I can have all I want. There’s even a chocolate flavor that’s perfect for an afternoon snack!

Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, So Delicious came out with holiday coconut milk flavors. I’m a nog-a-holic, so this holiday season will be extra tasty this year!

Here are a couple of recipes using some of the newest So Delicious products. Enjoy!

Creamy Vegan Greek Yogurt Salad Dressing
This is the easiest dressing to throw together and It’s great on pasta salads!

Makes about 1 cup

      ½ teaspoon dried basil
      ½ teaspoon oregano
      ½ teaspoon garlic powder
      ½ teaspoon onion powder
      ⅛ teaspoon salt
      pepper, to taste
      a few drops liquid smoke, optional

Mix everything together. Taste, and add extra salt or pepper if needed.

Mix with cooked pasta (I used an 8 ounce box of quinoa pasta), and serve over spinach for a simple meal. You can add some chopped vegan chick’n or extra veggies to customize it.

Coconut Nog-tini

Serves 2

      1 cup So Delicious Coconut Milk Nog
      2 tablespoons vanilla vodka (1 ounce)
      1 tablespoon amaretto (1/2 ounce)
      1 tablespoon Navan or other vanilla liquor (1/2 ounce)
      fresh grated nutmeg for topping

Mix the Coconut Nog with the vodka and liquors. Pour into pretty glasses and serve sprinkled with nutmeg.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Decadent Eggless Egg Nog Beignets
from Lee Khatchadourian-Reese

Our friend, Lee Khatchadourian-Reese, has been cooking up some of the most amazing dishes you’ll find anywhere. Lately, she’s started baking incredible goodies, too—like this Povitica, an Eastern European Dessert Bread! The fact that all of her recipes are not only dairy-free, but also free of all animal-based ingredients, shows just how easy it is to enjoy eating deliciously (and even decadently!) on a plant-based diet. Lee is such a creative culinary artist, that her dishes even impress her “Mr. Meat and Potatoes” husband! More proof positive, that anyone can prepare and serve delicious vegan meals that will satisfy the most steadfast omnivore. Her recipe for Eggless Egg Nog Beignets is an example of how even vegans can enjoy decadent treats now and then. We’ll be indulging in quite a few of these French choux pastries over the next couple of months, and we hope you’ll enjoy making (and eating!) them, too. Meet our guest blogger, Lee Khatchadourian-Reese:

It is Vegan Awareness Month, and as such, I find myself reflecting on the vegan journey I embarked on just over two years ago. After spending much of my adult life as a vegetarian, I finally decided to “go all the way” and go vegan. It has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not only do I feel great, but I also feel a huge weight I did not even know I was carrying around has been lifted.

Sure, I get all the normal questions about where I get protein, how I can live without meat or dairy, and how I deal with such limited food choices. I guess it is all in how you look at it. To me, my choices seem only limited by my imagination in terms of what combinations of food I can come up with; in other words, limitless!

I have always been an avid and passionate cook. Once I really got into plant-based cooking and realized the breadth of amazing foods I could prepare, I wanted to share my creations with those looking for inspiration. Hence, my blog, The Vegan Version was born. In May of 2010 I did my first post and have not looked back! It has been such an amazing experience connecting with so many people interested in animal welfare and plant-based eating.

As a kid, I never cared for milk. In fact, I abhorred it. I was the kid who was often left at the dinner table long after the dishes were cleared with just her glass of milk; not allowed to get up until it was finished. As an adult, I used milk often in cooking, and when I decided to go vegan, experimented with non-dairy milks such as soy, rice, almond, and hemp. While these all have their place in a plant-based diet, I still was not 100% happy with the results. Then I discovered So Delicious products. Eureka! I had finally found the replacement to cow’s milk that not only tasted great but also behaved most like cow’s milk in cooking.

I have written in the past about how So Delicious was a total game changer for me in the kitchen. No longer did I avoid recipes that called for dairy milk. And the results—fantastic!

With the holidays approaching quickly, I am enjoying So Delicious Seasonal Holiday Beverages, particularly the Coconut Nog. We recently had these beignets for breakfast. While not exactly like the ones I had at Café Du Monde in New Orleans years ago, they were pretty darn good! I hope you enjoy them.

Eggless Egg Nog Beignets


1 ½ cups So Delicious Coconut Milk Nog
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 ½ tsp dry active yeast
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour (or for a slightly less dense beignet, you can use 3 cups all purpose flour and omit the whole wheat flour)
2 Tbsp avocado oil (coconut oil, light olive oil, or canola oil will work, too)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
Cinnamon sugar for dusting (optional)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar (or more)
Vegetable oil, for frying


In a saucepan, heat the
So Delicious Nog until just simmering. Remove from the heat, add the maple syrup and dry yeast. Allow to sit for at least five minutes for the yeast to dissolve.

Pour the So Delicious Nog mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add the flours, avocado oil, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Using your hands, form into a dough ball. Place a towel over the dough and allow to rest for half hour.

Heat about 1”-2” of oil until 360 degrees in a sauce pot. Roll the dough out to about ¼ inch thickness and cut into rectangular shapes. Drop into the hot oil and fry until golden brown on each side. Do not place too many in the pot at once as they will expand in size.

Remove from the oil, drain on paper towels, and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (if desired). Sprinkle liberally with confectioners’ sugar before serving.