Friday, September 5, 2008

The Brunchening 2.0

I know I said my next post would be about cake, but I don't have pictures yet, so you get brunch instead. Sorry!

I celebrated Labor Day with a brunch picnic in Prospect Park. Almost all recipes came from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's upcoming brunch book Crack of Noon. I cannot express how much love I have for most of the recipes that will be in this book. The sausages, waffles, scones and scrambles are some of the best food I've ever eaten.

I don't know how I managed to eat almost nothing but brunch for three months without a waffle maker. I didn't realize I had that much restraint, but my period of deprivation is over. To celebrate, I made Cornbread Waffles With Pantry Mole Rojo And Seitan and Buckwheat Waffles With Red Wine Tarragon Mushroom Gravy.

Cornbread Waffle with Pantry Mole Rojo and Seitan:

The cornbread waffle is great. It's almost like a waffle-shaped corn muffin. I love corn muffins so much. The seitan is so simple, but incredibly tasty. I made the Simple Seitan recipe from Veganomicon, and sauteed it with some red onion and yellow pepper. Easy and delicious. I actually ate most of it without the mole or the waffles and think it'd be great over rice. This was my first mole and I found it really interesting. I don't think I've ever made anything with such a wide variety of ingredients before. Chocolate, chili, raisins, peanut butter, tortilla chips and other things all came together to make a really nice sauce. It was so nice some of my friends at it alone and one did a little dance with her waffle:

Buckwheat Waffles with Red Wine Tarragon Mushroom Gravy:

That waffle looks a little odd because it was the last one, made with the leftover batter. It was the only one to get eaten at the picnic because we were full and it was small. The buckwheat waffles are good, and feel kind of healthy, which is nice. The gravy is rich and awesome. I'd love to put it over mashed potatoes (actually, that may be dinner tonight) or seitan steaks. I'm definitely going to make it again in the winter.

Wallowing in Waffles:

Of everything I've made for brunch so far, I think I've had the most fun with sausage (get your minds out of the gutters, people). The recipes are so easy: make dough, wrap it up like a Tootsie Roll in some foil and steam it. In less than an hour, you have tasty sausages. This time, I made Cherry Sage Sausages. Dried cherries in sausages never would have occurred to me, but I'm glad it occurred to Isa because they freaking rule.

You know what else is kind of awesome? Tofu Benny. Seriously. Have you ever had homemade vegan hollandaise while sitting on the ground in Brooklyn? I have. It'll be something to tell the grandkids. Someone else's grandkids.

Yup. That there is marinated tofu over a slice of tomato with smoked salt, on a bed of Diner Home Fries from Veganomicon, smothered in hollandaise. It tastes even better than it looks and sounds, I swear. And the cute little circles sit so nicely on top of the tomato slices (the tomato in the picture is hiding; you can almost see it on the right). It's one of those fairly easy but impressive looking dishes I love so much (it looks way more impressive when it doesn't spend an hour on the train, honest).

Does Scrambled Tortillas sound odd to you? It sounded odd to me, but I soldiered on and I'm glad I did because this is easy comfort food. It's sort of like Mexican Matzo Brei. The flavor took a few bites to grow on me, but I totally dig it now. I swear it tastes better than it looks.

Scones are required eating for brunch, right? How about Berry Lavender Scones? Those should be required eating for all the time. The recipe calls for marionberries, but I've never even seen one of those, so I made mine with a mix of raspberries and blackberries. I can't say anyone complained! These were my first scones ever and they came out quite well. Sadly, they got squished under the rest of the food on the way over (but they tasted fine, just the same):

We also had Polenta Rancheros with Cashew Sour Cream. I love polenta. I'd put it on anything. This is a nice, beany way to have it. I've eaten it for lunch every day this week and am not sick of it yet (which is sad because I just ate the last portion). I have to say the Cashew Sour Cream doesn't really taste like sour cream, though. Instead, it tastes good. I've always hated sour cream, but I'm throwing this cashew stuff on pretty much everything. Both are really easy, make a lot and reheat well, so this is a definite not-miss recipe.

All that was great, but a meal is nothing without dessert. Lucky for me, Lauren (pictured above with waffle) brought the Veganomicon Strawberry-Plum Crisp. Even after all that food, I had two large helpings. She managed to keep it warm the whole time and it was one of the best desserts I've ever had. I will definitely have to make it myself soon. Like weekly.

Despite that, when getting together with a group, I can never resist the urge to bake something (and the scones just weren't enough), so I made donuts. Yes, donuts. I got the recipe from VeganYumYum, the mini donut pan from Amazon and had a grand time.

The chocolate ones came out very similar to the ones from Entenmann's, just a bit more bitter because I used semi-sweet chocolate. I think I may try these again using rice milk chocolate.

And with sprinkles. Like Homer Simpson, but more awesome:

Hopefully, my next post will be cake!


Neta558 said...

I almost jumped to bite the screen!
Brunch is always great and everything look amazing.
Is the book going to be released soon? I can't wait!

Liz² said...

beautiful, it all looks insanely good! you are so lucky to be wallowing in waffles and all that extra innovative AM eats from isa and terry, oooooh. :o~~~~

Seitan Said Dance said...

Hi Neta558. The book should be available around Springtime.

You're right, Liz²; I'm really lucky to be able to try all these great recipes!

Paula Dines said...

Everything looks great!

I'm happy you have fun with your sausage. Really.

Can I steal your "someone else's grand kids" comment? Well, I am. So there.

And you ended with sprinkles?

Homer: Lisa, would you like a donut?
Lisa: No thanks. Do you have any fruit?
Homer: This has purple in it. Purple is a fruit.