Tag Archives: brunch

Recipe : Vegan French Toast

Délicieux petit-déjeuner...

Better than pancakes, easier than waffles, French toast made from fresh bread proved just the perfect breakfast on this freezing Florida morning. I even cut some into sticks for le enfants to take to school today. Ahhh, winter. We will not be defeated by you.

This weeks loaf: braided bread. Turned out well (my kids ate multiple slices, in rapid succession, with butter). But I didn't have bread flour--only King Arthur Unbleached AP. So white! I added a few tablespoons of gluten flour to the mix and it turned out so very...spongey. Like an unbromated Wonder Bread. Very strange. I need some money to restock my bulk supplies. In the meantime, it's KA white flour from Sam's club, $6 for 10 lbs. That's how we suffer.

This morning was freezing cold in Florida! I decided to be a good mom and actually feed my children breakfast! Inspired by the wonder of yesterday's spongey bread, I gave my hand at vegan French toast. Only we are lacto-vegetarians, so I did use butter and cow milk. But the recipe below can go either way.

Recipe : Toast de France

2 cups milk (vanilla nondairy milk, coconut milk or moo milk)
1/4 cup flour
1 TBSPN sugar
1/2 tspn cinnamon
5 slices of bread cut half inch thick
cooking oil, such as coconut, or butter/buttery stick
optionals: pinch of cardamom, fresh grate of nutmeg, splash of vanilla, etc.

1)Combine milk, sugar, cinnamon, flour with whisk in shallow bowl.

2)Let sit a bit to thicken.

3)Warm cast iron skillet or whatever your pan of preference is.

4)Dredge bread through the mixture, coating both sides.

5)Melt/heat butter/oil/buttery stick.

6)Place coated bread in pan, fry over moderate heat. Flip, repeat. Remove from pan.

7) Serve with powdered sugar or maple syrup. Or both.

My son, Grégoire, was loving the cinnamon-y aroma from the get go. Here he is settling down to his breakfast. Okay, he ate it standing up--but he was at the table, which is a good thing.

Here's my little Manon, thoroughly enjoying her French toast breakfast. Notice she is sitting at a separate table from her brother. We Mirels need our personal space.

While my kids were thinking of this:

I couldn’t help remembering this:

Sadly, I had more batter left after making breakfast for the birdies. When I returned home from dropping them at school, I proceeded to cook more.

Looks good, no? Yes. I ate it. All. Now I need to sleep it off, sumo wrestler style. Such will be my Wednesday. I hear this is how French women stay so thin.



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Grapefruit Jelly Jam Yes Ma’am

Can you handle the gorgeousness of this fruit? Such amazingly fresh grapefruit, picked last weekend by the amazing boys of my life! XOXOX Vm & Babu.


Using his powers for good, my son climbed this grapefruit tree in a parking lot of the hotel we stayed at in Siesta Key and, with a little assistance from my husband, filled two re-usable shopping bags with ripe, sweet grapefruit.


Total nectar! Okay, you have to channel a German Hare Krishna monk to get the full effect of that phrase. I juiced a lot of grapefruits last nite. I learned that my $30 citrus juicer was not meant to juice a lot of grapefruit. I also learned that fresh grapefruit juice tastes best when drunk from a cheers cup.


The Babu, home from work and freshly showered, drinking his antioxidants and bioflavinoids.


Around 10 o'clock in the evening, I revealed on Facebook my plans for Friday nite: JAM MAKING! Mohini was all like, "Not without me!" And I was all like, "Duh, come over." And so she did. She even went home to get her own juicer when she saw what a dying sick animal mine was. Moaning and wheezing. It was terrible. This was Mohini's second time making jam--her first using natural pectin and doing it low sugar! Exciting times, I tell ya!


We stayed up till 3 in the morning, acting like young girls on a chitty chatty jam making binge. Only we are in our thirties and I am way pregnant and we both have demanding offspring. Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.


The next morning, I stumbled out of bed at an unbelievably late 9 am and was greeted in the kitchen by these jarred jewels! Grapefruit jelly and cranberry grapefruit jam.


I set aside some for gifts and some for the family.


I have these corny gift tags from Target, so tonite I scribbled out some I.D.'s for tiny jams.


While Florida may not have a proper fall–no crabapple, no quince, no pear–we do have winter citrus! Not a bad deal at all…if you have a good juicer!


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Artisan Bread for Bumbling Fools

A bit of a spoiler putting this gorgeous round loaf at the front of the post, but seeing is believing.

My BFF Padi is becoming famous for her mastery of the 5 minute no-knead artisan bread loaf. I particularly fancy her baguettes. We had a little telepathic love moment yesterday when she whipped up a batch of vegan cranberry shortbread bars whilst I (yes, she’s British) got hot and steamy over some easier than your mama (okay, that was just wrong) artisan bread.

Let’s take a look at what I did. First step, mix your dough! It is best to mix the dough *at least* 12 hours before you plan to bake. However, as I find with pizza crust, the longer you let the scant amount of yeast in your dough ferment, the more flavorful and chewier your finished product will be.

Here is the recipe I used for the bread. Yes, the flour is white.

Easy Artisan Bread

5 cups bread flour/hi-gluten flour

1 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons salt

3/4 teaspoon yeast

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups room-temperature water

*This makes a very wet dough that is difficult to work with! Keep some extra flour on hand for mixing in so that your hands don’t turn into an abominable dough monster. If you have a stand mixer, use that to mix it up real good. If not, incorporate the ingredients all together  with your paws.
*Put the dough in a floured bowl and cover. Set to rise in a warm room for about an hour.  Make sure dough is well wrapped (you can put in a plastic container or cover a bowl with saran). Stick in fridge over nite or for a few days.
*On day you are set to bake, remove from fridge and allow to rise in a warm room for a few hours.
*Everything else you need to know is below the next pic.


Inside the Oven: I preheated the oven on broil with a soapstone tile that I use as a pizza stone and my dutch oven on the bottom rack. After an hour of preheating, I placed the bread dough I had rising on a sheet of parchment inside the dutch oven (parchment included). I then sprayed the top of the bread with Braggs Liquid Aminos and sprinkled sesame seeds on top. Then I carefully pulled up a corner of the parchment and dumped about a half cup of water into the cooker. Steam shot up and I carefully replaced the lid, transferring the cooker back to the oven. Reducing the heat to 475 degrees and turning on my convection for optimal air circulation, I returned in 35-40 minutes to remove the cooker from the oven.

I was happily shocked when I removed the lid (carefully since I am an idiot prone to burns, forgetting that things are skin-threateningly hot). The loaf was beautiful!

The outer crust was rough and flaky. The taste of the Braggs was not at all distinguishable yet I know the spritzing did the bread good.

But what about the inside? I was in love when I cut into this bread. Gainesville bakeries, eat your doughy hearts out!

On a bread high, I decided to give homemade mozzarella a try. It wasn't until I put the milk up that I remembered that my candy thermometer broke. Can anyone recommend one that is not total crap? Anyway, feeling confident I went ahead, hoping I could feel out the required temps needed for cheese making. Talk about hoping against hope. I guess I brought the milk to 90 too quickly, or warmed it past 90. It started to curdle (had citric acid in it). I added the vegetable rennet and carried on. The curd firmed up, but was not firm enough. Something was wrong and Stacia wasn't here to council me through it! The whey was not clear enough, that I know. But was I doomed from my initial heat up? I aborted the mission, undertaken with too much bravado and whimsy, and simply hung my curds in a cheese cloth (cloth diaper, actually), cutting my losses. I squeezed out the way, brayed the curds, kneading in salt and dried Italian herbs, rolled into a log and sliced. Unfortunately, the resulting cheese was too good and I ate a huge sandwich of the stuff--the delicious bread, creamy cheese and utterly flavorless roma tomatoes--despite having no real fire of hunger. Ahhhh, it was good.

Within a few hours, most of the bread was eaten by my kids and I. By the time my husband got home from work, all that was left was a tiny wedge. No worries. It's so easy to make. Tomorrow I will mix a few batches of dough. Some to bake, some to freeze. Just a few weeks left until our 6 pound bun comes out of the oven!


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Cooking for Baby Bindu! (Autumn Soup Recipe Included!)

As mentioned in the previous post, I am trying to prepare for baby number three by cooking and freezing so the family and I are well fed during the transition period.

The goal is to devote one day a week to cooking and freezing until I go into labor. Today’s attempt was a success. In addition to what’s pictured, I made two pumpkin pies. They will be more photogenic once cooled.

This weekend we are celebrating the boy turning 7 with a real life boy party. Baking will happen. I plan to crank out extra for the Sabjimata freezer section–brownies, vegan rice krispie treats, cookies and pizza.

Next week I hope to get some palak paneer, pasta casseroles (lasagna, manicotti, ziti) baked and frozen as well as raviolis and Chinese dumplings. The husband will be responsible for getting fresh fruits and veggies on the table when Bindu comes (yes, her name really will be Bindu…Bindumati to be exact). I know he can handle it. That and pancakes. The man makes an excellent pancake!

My kids' favorite soup. Vegetable barley--with pasta (alpahbets), nutrella (TVP), barley, beans and veggies.

In process: roasted butternut squash soup.

All done and topped with ground dry roasted cumin and a big squeeze of lime.

Lovely lovely soup! I am a fan of blended soups. Prefer them to brothy  soup with stuff in them (unless that stuff is some sort of dumpling).

A few weeks back my talented, beautiful, enchanting friend Mohini brought over a delicious autumny roasted squash soup for a little ladies who lunch date. Me, along with my UPS man who happened to stop by, were floored by this soup. It was a drop dead gorgeous on the tongue tribute to all things beautiful about blended soup. Creamy. Silky. Full of complex flavors blended together yet bursting at different taste bud locales in your mouth. Totally top of the line homemade soup.

Mohini posted the recipe on Facebook and, without her permission, I am posting it here. Hope you don’t mind  Miss Mo!

I don’t have a real recipe for this I’m just guessing on quantities for the most part. I like to roast the squashes and sweet potatoes first but you could use just butternut and/or sweet potatoes and peel and simmer in the broth with the other veggies.


3lbs. Winter Squash and sweet potato mix of your choice

1 Med/Lg Onion

1 Apple, peeled

2 Celery stalks

1 in. chunk of ginger

4 C Broth

4 C Water

Salt and Pepper

Olive Oil

Halve, seed, rub with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt your winter squash and taters. Toss in a 425 degree oven for 45-60 min or until done. Let cool and peel off those skins.

Dice up the onion, apple, celery, ginger and sweat in your soup pot in a little olive oil for 8 min or so.

Add water, broth, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then simmer 25min or until everything is nice and soft.

Add your cooked squash and puree with your wand blender or puree in batches in blender or processor.

Now you can season it to your liking. Today I used coconut milk and red curry paste. I also like to use Greek yogurt (or cream, half and half, or milk) and smidge of maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg if you like those seasonings. Or just the dairy and some fresh parm. Oh, a little sage would be good too. There are a lot of ways to take this soup. Enjoy.

I usually fly by the seat of my maternity pants in the kitchen, but I was scheming to make this soup to freeze so I bought a few ingredients–namely butternut squash–and got cooking. My recipe really didn’t follow Mohini’s. I didn’t use apple. Had no ginger. And did not make it over to the Asian market for the red curry.

Jonesing for the quintessential flavors of the soup, I did *roast* my butternut squash. I strayed from my usual cooking repertoire and used some forbidden fruits (vegetables really) for the mirepoix. Carrots, celery and….two others! Anyone want to try and guess?

I added the spices at the end, after the soup was blended. Fresh green curry leaf, hing, black pepper, cinnamon, garam masala, thyme and dry roasted ground cumin. Also, lots and lots of lime. Salt and Braggs as usual. The result was warm and rich and tangy. Not Mohini’s, but definitely a contender. Looking forward to pushing this baby out so I can indulge in some soupness.

Half gallon and quart jars filled--with ample headspace left--and headed to the freezer, to be retrieved when Baby Bindu is born.

Harriet's thumbprint jam cookies (click the recipes section on the top of the page to get the 411 on Harriet) made with my sweet & sour cherry + tangerine persimmon jams.

This cookie plate is gone, save for two remaining cookies that don't have much hope of making it past breakfast time. I made 5 dozen cookies. The rest have been divided into three rations and are now in the freezer.

For the Babu's dinner, I attempted to make a vegan-ish omelette. I wasn't working from a recipe, although I had read a few. Well, I didn't read carefully enough because I way overdid it with the milk. I cooked it on the stove top. I baked it in the oven. It never got crepey. In the end, I put it in a bowl and called it sandwich spread. The flavor was good; it tasted exactly like stuffing--proving fast and loose doesn't always work out.


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Eggless Challah

Shared it on Facebook first....eggless (vegan-ish) challah and Devorah.

I’ve been wanting to make eggless challah ever since I first ventured across a vegan recipe from the PPK gals. Except their recipe calls for bananas. And that just seemed too…banana-y for me.

Well, last Shabbat (don’t I sound like a proper Jewess?) Trailrunner posted her weekly challahs on GW. They looked goooood.  The next day Jterrilynn posted her successful attempt. I was feeling left out. And also some pregnancy related challah cravings. If you’ve ever been Jewish, you just might know what all the fuss is about!

So I began researching vegan recipes. I decided to use a combo of ground flax and boiled sweet potatoes and plantains as my egg subs. I was going for bind and fluff, the subtle sweet flavor and color.

The combo made a nice bread, but aside from the shape and moistness, it wasn’t really challah. But it was good. My son loves it and I will use the same recipe for the dinner rolls I am slated to make for his class Thanksgiving.

I’m still contemplating ways to improve the recipe. Challah is similar to brioche–very eggy. Impossibly eggy. I will troll the online recipes and try to patch together some mash-up of ideas. My dough was very wet (I used whey so technically it wasn’t vegan). Trailrunner says you need the dough to be soft and squishy like a baby butt.

Speaking of baby butts, I don’t know when I will actually attempt another challah since my baby butt will be here in 5-8 weeks. Which is why I spent the day cooking stuff to freeze…

Ready to face the morning with a hot cup of apple cider, eggless challah and butter. From France.My son’s fancy tastes.

6 strand braided challah topped with sesame seeds

This is the second challah I made. It's quite large. The plan is to freeze it for the family to enjoy when the baby comes and I am *resting.* *All day.* *In bed.*

Strawberry jam, you are so delicious! After i took these pics, I devoured everything.

I would eat it again if it was on a plate in front of me.

* Chomp * Chomp *




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