Holiday Vegan Brunch
Garden Napoleans and Butternut Streusel Triangles: A Brunch for Special Occasions.
These two recipes may not sound like they belong together. Truth is, they wouldn't, if not for the Vegan Brunch Challenge, brought to you by the Post Punk Kitchen.
Isa Moskowitz, vegan chef, author of several cookbooks and a lovely blog, incorporated a fun, creative way for fans to interact with her on facebook page. In the spirit of the Food Network's hit TV show Chopped, Isa made up a vegan version of her own, challenging participants to create a vegan entree using 4 mystery ingredients. (If you're unfamiliar with Chopped, these ingredients are usually an unlikely pairing, requiring the challenged chefs to get super inventive with their dish.)
Then nitty-gritty of the contest can be read here.
This particular round was a brunch recipe. I saw the four required ingredients, and I couldn't resist:
Butternut Squash (a favorite of mine!), Rosemary, Popcorn, and Apricot Preserves.
As Isa pointed out, brunch can be savory OR sweet, so the sky's the limit when it comes to culinary creativity! I decided I wanted to make two accompanying recipes that tempted different taste buds. Brunch is definitely an indulgent sort of meal, don't you think?
I ended up with de-LISH-ous Rosemary Popcorn Biscuits that I stacked with garden fresh tomato, onion and spinach. Then, a mouthwatering butternut filling that could be used in crepes, atop waffles, stuffed into french toast... endless possibilities. I chose to make phyllo dough stuffed triangles, because I felt they were extra decadent in nature, and the light, flakiness was a nice juxtaposition to the dense "buttermilk" biscuits. In fact, "nice" is an understatement. The rich, herbi-ness of the biscuits made the sweet, butternut pastry-like dish all the more heavenly. And, rosemary balances any squash well, so there was a connectivity between two very different creations.
All of this took some significant time. For a morning celebration with your favorite vegan(s), you may go for the full menu. But I attest, these two dishes can each hold their own for lighter fare.
These biscuits pack a punch! The flavors of fresh rosemary and tangy buttermilk come through strong, with a hint of corniness from... you got it: popcorn! While popcorn muffins are apparently a "thing," I'd yet to see a popcorn biscuit... until now. Funny enough, I've never made a biscuit before. I took a standard recipe, adapted it to vegan needs, and added the popcorn in place of (some of) the flour. Who knew I'd be falling in love!?
Prep Time: 20
Total Time: 30
- 1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/4 c. popcorn kernels
- 1 T. baking powder
- 1/4 t. salt - divided
- 1 1/2 t. sugar
- 1/2 t. garlic powder
- 1/2 t. onion powder
- 5 T Earth Balance spread (butter substitute)
- 3/4 c. soymilk
- 2 t. white vinegar
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary - de-stemmed and diced
- 4 large spinach leaves
- 4 slices tomato
- 1/2 of a medium red onion - sliced into rings
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 T. olive oil (for sauteeing onion)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Pop the popcorn (I place it in a brown paper bag with 1 t. oil for 3 minutes in the microwave!)
- Grind ¾ c. worth in a food processor until smooth (should resemble coarse sand). You'll have a little extra left over for garnishing.
- Use a whisk to combine flour, ground popcorn, baking powder, 1/8 t. of the salt, sugar, garlic/onion powder, and rosemary in a large mixing bowl.
- Cut in the butter until coarse and crumbly.
- Vigorously mix soymilk and vinegar (to make "buttermilk") and pour slowly into the bowl, mixing with a fork.
- Heavily flour a flat surface and use to knead the dough for about 20 seconds, until elastic-like.
- Flatten dough to about Â¾ in thick. Use an upside-down drinking glass to "cut" dough into rounds - about 2-3 inches in diameter. Place biscuits on a baking sheet. There should be about 10.
- Bake for approximately 10 minutes until golden on bottom. Remove from heat and cool on a wire rack.
- Sautee onion slices on medium heat in 1T olive oil. Add remaining salt and the fresh cracked pepper.
- Turn one biscuit upside down. Layer with spinach, tomato, and sauteed red onion.
- Serve immediately.
Butternut Streusel Triangles - Right-Angled Awesomeness.
Move over, pumpkin pie. It's like thanksgiving in a hot-pocket. But way, way better than a hot-pocket. (...Not that I even know what a hot pocket tastes like.... That's just how sure I am that these are really THAT good.)
I kept 'em simple. I was tempted to put in all kinds of spices that make you say "Mmmm.... autumn." at first bite. Because apricot was a required ingredient, I thought I might sort of hide it in there amongst all the notes of nutmeg and such... but that's missing the point of a Chopped challenge, isn't it? I ended up glazing the triangles with a blend of apricot and maple syrup, so the apricot flavor was strong to start, but then transitioned into brown-sugary sweetness. I skipped the powdered spices all-together, because the concept of this brunch menu was about the balance of savory and sweet. Aka, I didn't want the cinnamon and spice to stand in rosemary's way.
So, here's what happened in the kitchen:
Prep Time: 20
Total Time: 45
- 6 sheets Phyllo dough
- thawed (and kept covered until use)
- 1/3 of a butternut squash - peeled and cubed
- 2 T. Earth Balance Spread (butter substitute)
- 1/2 c. brown sugar (packed)
- 1 c. walnuts - chopped
- 2 T. all-purpose flour
- 3 T. apricot preserves
- 1 T. Maple syrup
- 1 T. canola oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Steam cubed squash for 15 minutes until extremely tender. Remove from heat, and mash until creamy in a large bowl.
- Cream butter substitute and brown sugar. Slowly add flour, then walnuts. Add to squash and combine well.
- Remove 4 sheets of Phyllo dough from package, and cut in half. Fold each piece in half long-ways, so you have 2 layers of dough in a long strip.
- Add about 1 - 1 1/2 T. of squash mix to the bottom of a phyllo dough strip. Fold the bottom left corner up to the right side of the strip, creating a triangle. Then, fold the bottom right corner up to the alternate side. Repeat until you reach the end of the dough strip and you have a neat, folded triangle. Repeat until you have made 12 triangles.
- Brush the top of each triangle with canola oil.
- Mix apricot preserves and maple syrup in a small bowl to make a glaze. Coat each triangle with the glaze.
- Place on greased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until triangle tips begin to brown.
- Serve immediately.
Post Punk Kitchen is Fun! - Love the user interactivity going on at the PPK.
Do you have any of the following cookbooks from Isa Chandra Moskowitz? If no, well, then why not?!
Popcorn! Get your Pop-corn!
Popcorn, for me, is that super tasty, super easy, super fresh and super full of potential snack that I always seem to forget about. I had you pop a little extra when making the popcorn biscuits. Drizzle it with olive oil, add some sea salt and cracked pepper, and munch away.
And now, for a closer look. - One picture is worth 1000 words, but one bite is worth 1000 pictures.
... But since technology doesn't allow taste testing via internet (yet), I'll post a big pic here. :)