Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Easy Basic Simple Vegan Pancakes

Hmmmm.... okay, so I am not so great at this whole blog thing yet.  The blog is still white.... you can't quite tell that the Lysol chemist is working in a really cute home kitchen in my banner.  I am sure my blog is white because I have the Lysol guy in my banner.  White just says "clean".  That's definitely gotta change... when I feel like it.
My entries need pictures.  I don't have any pictures of my food yet.  Hmmmmm.... I will cheat and go back in time and put the pictures in after I've taken pictures of the food in the future.  If you take a picture of food from the future before you prepare it, what happens if you change the recipe?  Does the picture change too?  Does Michael J. Fox start to fade before his guitar solo?

This is probably the first vegan recipe I ever came up with.  I remember being on Veggieboards as a new vegetarian and somebody kept telling me about their vegan pancake recipe and how I should try it.  My life was pretty disorganized and flighty at the time, so I ended up never trying theirs but instead, creating my own one weekend when I wanted pancakes.  If I remember correctly, I basically just read a recipe off the side of a package of flour or baking soda and substituted apple sauce for the eggs and rice milk for the milk.
One thing you may have already found as a vegan is that in baked goods, there is no one substitute for eggs.  As a matter of fact, the Post Punk Kitchen has a fantastic page that explains vegan substitutes for eggs in baking.  Eggs play many different roles in baking.  In pancakes, the eggs make the pancake more pliable and soft, rather than becoming a crisp wafer.  For this reason, apple sauce makes a good substitute.  The main difference in these pancakes and more traditional pancakes is these pancakes pick up a slight sweetness from the apple sauce.

Easy Basic Simple Vegan Pancakes
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder (aluminum-free recommended)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup soy milk (or any other plant milk)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce

  1. Combine dry ingredients well in a bowl.
  2. In another container, combine the applesauce and soy milk.
  3. Pour the liquids into the dry ingredients and combine till all the flour is very moist but still a little lumpy.
  4. Heat up a pan -- I recommend an iron skillet with some spray oil on it -- and get it good and hot. Have a plate ready to catch completed pancakes.
  5. Take a 1/4 cup measure (like the one you used for the applesauce) and scoop up some batter and pour into the pan. You should hear it sizzle. (Don't pour any more in!)
  6. Wait until the pancake becomes bubbly and the bubbles look like they might want to stay, then turn the pancake over.
  7. Cook the other side for 30-45 seconds.
  8. Put the completed pancake onto the plate and repeat the batter pouring process until you run out of batter.  
This is one of these recipes where amounts can vary -- in this case, you may end up needing more soy milk than the recipe calls for in order to get a batter that will pour.  You don't want your batter too runny, but you also don't want a batter that is so thick it holds its own shape.  
After you have your non-stick pan or well-seasoned iron skillet heated up, you may want to turn the heat down just a tad -- medium high.   Too much heat will burn the outside of your pancakes while leaving them a gooey batter in the middle! 
Of course, when I make these, I also make a fruit topping to go with them.  Oh, I suppose you want a recipe for that too, huh?  Try them with syrup for now while I go figure out exactly how much cornstarch and water I use with my fruit.  Happy Eating! 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Traditional Yellow Vegan Potato Salad

Okay, so I went to visit my absolute favorite person this week.  Right now, I am sitting here composing this post on my laptop and she is actually posting vegan recipes of her own on her blog right now.  Let's just say we're both foodies, so we're full of Thai food, chocolate, and wine.  She's posting the risotto we made together for the Teese brand vegan cheese contest, and I am presenting you with my first experiment:  Vegan potato salad.  It's probably no surprise to you that I got all amounts right on the first try.  But it did not necessarily go off without a hitch either.  On the week that I had planned to make the potato salad, I had actually quadrupled this risotto recipe: Garlicky Risotto with Wild Mushrooms and Sage and somehow the number of servings it made increased exponentially so that by the end of the week, I still had half of the risotto left.  Meanwhile, my potatoes sat in their clear plastic bag, exposed to plenty of light, and not surprisingly, turned green full of solanine, and grew eyes. I decided to use them anyway!  (It really did not turn out too bad, and I did not notice any bitter taste.)  I guess the other mishap is that I put too much mayo in the version I made so I had my potatoes floating in the sauce.  Some people like it that way.  I reduced the Vegenaise for this recipe.

So here's the very first recipe for the "vegan recipe project":

Traditional Yellow Vegan Potato Salad
  • 2 large yellow or russet potatoes (yields approximately 4 cups of potato)
  • 1/2 medium yellow or sweet onion (yields approximately 1 cup of onion)
  • 1/3 cup Vegenaise, Nayonaise or other egg-free mayonnaise.
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 2 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider or white vinegar 
Note on potatoes: I don't usually peel my potatoes, but typically eat them with the skins intact. If you wish to peel your potatoes, you can peel them with a peeler while raw before boiling or they should peel very easily by hand after they've been boiled and chilled.
  1. Place potatoes in a pot and cover so that they have at least half an inch of water above them. Bring water to a hard boil and turn the heat down to medium or just low enough that the potatoes will not boil over. Put a lid on the pot.
  2. Once an hour has passed, poke the potatoes once with a fork. The fork should go into the potatoes very easily and the potatoes should be soft enough that the fork would rather pull back out than lift the potato. Once they are done, remove the potatoes from the water and chill until nice and cool. (Probably another hour. I just go do some nice long chores or watch a movie.)
  3. Chop the potatoes into bite-sized pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Mince the onion finely and toss in the bowl with the potatoes.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients, and toss the potatoes around to mix the mixture well until the sauce that the potatoes is in is a uniform off-yellow. Don't perform this step with hot potatoes -- the potatoes will absorb a lot of the mayonaise and may break down while you're mixing them with the sauce.
  5. Place the potato salad in the refrigerator for a couple of hours in order to allow the flavors to congeal. Serve when ready.
Not sure where to get Vegenaise?  Around here, I have several health food stores that carry Vegenaise such as Whole Foods, Vitamin Cottage, Trader Joe's, and my local coop.  If you're not able to locate Vegenaise, Nayonaise, or any other eggless mayonnaise, you can make your own.  For example: LadyVegan's take on Vegan Mayo