Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings: Pancakes, Scones, and Risotto

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Pancakes, Scones, and Risotto

I have been seeing pancakes all over the vegan blogosphere, and I found myself constantly drooling over the delicious variety that is the pancake, so I finally made my contribution to the International Vegan Pancake Lovers Movement. I made Veganomicon's Blueberry Corn Pancakes and since neither Brett nor I are huge fans of plain maple syrup (we can definitely do it in things), I made a simple Blueberry Sauce to go on it. The sauce turned out much better than I had anticipated, Brett and I both thought it would be good on vanilla non-dairy ice cream, on a pound cake (there is a V-Con recipe for pound cake I have been eyeing), and probably lots of other things.

Simple Blueberry Sauce
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup water
1/4 organic sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
cornstarch or arrowroot mixed with water

In a saucepan, heat all ingredients until warm and beginning to bubble. When nearing time to serve, add the cornstarch or arrowroot mixture and bring to a boil, stirring frequently, until to desired consistency. Serve warm over everything!

I have been interested in making scones for a little while, so I decided to look around see how difficult it would be to make and veganize a scone recipe. There were some recipes for scones in V-Con, but no flavor combinations that really sent me, and I didn't have any of the needed ingredients on hand. I found a very non-vegan blueberry scone recipe, which I modified the hell out of.

The scones didn't end up with the nice sheen that non-vegan scones do as I couldn't figure out how to veganize the egg wash. I read online that Ener-G doesn't really work for this, so I just tossed a bit of confectioner's sugar on top. But even without the sheen they turned out pretty good. I might add a bit more sugar next time, but they go great with a cup of coffee or tea. I also stuffed a couple with some extra blueberry sauce I had, 'cause as I said earlier, the stuff is good, use it on whatever you can think of!

I adapted the blueberry scone recipe from here.

Vegan Blueberry (and Blueberry Sauce filled) Scones
2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup organic sugar
1 tbs baking powder
6 tbs vegan margarine
1/4 cup soy buttermilk (1/4 cup soy milk with either 1 tsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice) 1/4 cup soy milk
egg replacer for one egg
1/2 cup blueberries
Blueberry Sauce (optional)
confectioner's sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together flour, sugar and baking powder. Cut vegan margarine into dry ingredients until the mixture is very course. Add blueberries and mix.

In another bowl, combine soy buttermilk, soy milk and egg replacer mixed with water. Stir into dry ingredients until moistened. Knead briefly on a floured surface. Do not overwork the dough. Shape dough into a round, 1/2 inch thick. Cut round into 6 wedges.

If filling scones with Blueberry sauce, take a wedge and stretch it out a bit more. Using a spoon, create a nice indentation in the center of the dough and spoon in a bit of the Blueberry Sauce. Pull up the surrounding edges (as best as possible) and try to seal the scone, if you can't get it completely sealed, no worries.

Bake on a lightly greased baking sheet for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Since the recipe for the Blueberry Scones only made 6 scones, I decided to make a small batch of Oatmeal Cinnamon Scones, which I found here. I halved the recipe so it would only make 4, and topped it with a simple Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Topping, which I topped the scones with when there was only about 5 minutes of baking time left.

Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Topping
3-4 tbs brown sugar
3-4 tbs whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 tap ground cinnamon
1-2 tbs vegan margarine

In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients except vegan margarine. Using a fork, slowly add margarine until the mixture resembles a course crumble.

This must look like a lot of work, having made two different types of scones. But truth be told, I was only in the kitchen for a total of an hour making these. I spent the good portion of my day relaxing, playing basketball on the Playstation with Brett, reading, and listening to interesting social commentary podcasts. I like simple recipes that are not too involved (I will do the involved things sometimes, but mostly I like it simple), and really don't ever spend more than a few hours in the kitchen over the weekend and no more than an hour on weekday nights. I am living proof that you can eat homemade foods made from high quality whole foods and not slave for hours a day in the kitchen, except those rare times when you want to.

On another side note, am I the only one who enjoys cooking and serving of good food to others more than actually eating it myself?

Anyways, for dinner, I made a Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto from an old issue of the Vegetarian Times (I cut the recipe in half as there are only two of us). You can find this recipe online here. This is the first time I have worked with squash at home and its fairly easy. I was happy to find an organic butternut squash at the grocery store, but wasn't too happy to see that it came all the way from Mexico, I like my food to come from as close as possible to reduce the environmental impact and increase the freshness and therefore taste of my food, but if you want to eat sometimes you don't have much choice.

What I can say though, in regards to preparing larger squash, is that I really need to get a good chefs knife as squash can be hard to cut, due to their size, with a sub par knife. But once you get it into manageable sized pieces, it's a breeze.

This recipe was very good, and I will definitely make it again. It was savory and filling. I liked the chard cooked in the broth with the rice (Brett really dug Arborio rice). I couldn't find plum tomatoes at the store, so I got organic fire roasted diced tomatoes instead and it added a nice smoky element to the dish. The only thing I will do differently next time is use a bit less sage. Both Brett and I agreed that, as is, it was a bit "sagey" for our tastes.

I will leave the blogosphere with a picture of my lovely organic (though well traveled) squash, as well as the risotto and I'm off to enjoy a beautiful sunny 60 degree day here in Mid-Missouri.

'Til next time!


Lizzy said...

Jennifer, you blow my mind! Thank you so much for posting the blueberry scone recipe. I've been wanting to bake scones forever, but never found a decent vegan recipe. And they're blueberry, yay! I am definitely going to try these, along with the bluberry sauce =)
I've never eaten butternut. Does it taste similar to regular pumpkin? Because I'm not too fond of pumpkin, but your Risotto sure looks tasty.

I always thought preparing dishes would take up a ton of time, but now that I started doing it I came to the realization that it's not nearly as time-consuming as I had thought.
Like you I also enjoy the whole cooking-serving-and-seeing-people-(hopefully)enjoy-it-thing!! And ever since I started cooking myself I can totally understand the disappointment in my mothers face back when we were little and she called us all for dinner and had to wait at least 15 minutes until everybody finally sat at the table and by then most stuff had gotten cold and she was grumpy and all. It really sucks if you feel like your cooking isn't appreciated.

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

International Vegan Pancake Lovers Movement-- haha I love it!

Jennifer said...

Lizzy - Thank you, you are too kind. Please try the scone recipe and improve upon it! Then post it on your blog and then I can try the new and improved version. Both Brett and I agreed that they needed to be sweeter, so that is a word of advice I'll give you for making them yourself.

I guess butternut might be on the same level of sweetness as a pumpkin, but it doesn't taste like pumpkin at all. The best I can describe it is more like a cross between a sweet potato and a regular potato. They are very good, just a bit hard to cut since they are so big. I don't like pumpkin either, so if it tasted like one you could bet I would steer clear as well.

Glad to know I'm not the only one who likes to cook and serve more than eat my creations! And I too feel bad about those time my parents would prepare home cooked meals and I wouldn't be as appreciative as I could have been for their efforts. I am very lucky that Brett routinely expresses his gratitude that I put so much effort into making meals for him. I think, in general, we should appreciate the small things people do for one another more.


the pleasantly plump vegan said...

ooOoo- i love anything blueberries!
yr risotto looks amazing!

Lizzy said...

I always get confused as to where to comment, because I don't know whether people have enabled the mail service or not. For your info, I have ;)

Thanks for the add-suger tip. I'll buy more blueberries today and if I feel like it I might make them tonight =)
Aww, waiting for my improved version, haha! I'll definitely post about it and then you can make the third and even better adaption. It'll probably be perfect then, cause hey, third time's a charm ;)

I've never seen the butternut at my supermarket. But then again I haven't really looked for it. I wonder if it's there... the mistery of a German finding butternut and an American finding Lamb's lettucce , ha ha!

Oh and I'm pretty sure the Tofu had been bad already =(
I tried just a fingertip of the sour cream and it tasted... not good. And the consistence was a bit odd, all wobbly. Seemed a little bit unusual(I could have needed a Tofu expert like you to inspect it) so I threw it away and ate my hot Chili without it. But I'll buy new Tofu today, because I have leftover Chili and I really really want to eat it with that damn sour cream =p

Ohh, you know what happened last night? My ignorant boyfriend made clear that he admires me for all the cooking and trying out "new stuff" (aka veganism). It was so sweet and really meant a lot to me. A few hours ago, after eating a sandwich that didn't really satisfy his hunger he looked at me, a little scared that my answer to his question might be no, "You still have some of that Chili left, right?" Maybe some day he'll become a bit more Brett-ish and even try Tofu ;)

T said...

Oh DROOL! You made two of my favorite things- pancakes and risotto! Butternut squash risotta used to be my go-to for dinner parties since it serves a lot and hardly anyone doesn't like it. And I have got to try out that blueberry sauce to liven up my sunday brunch.

Jennifer said...

Pleasantly - I'm with you, blueberries rock. Thanks about the risotto, it was a bit "sagey", but other than that, delish!

Lizzy - I didn't know you could have mail service for the comments as well! I have mail service for the blogs themselves, so I get updates whenever someone has posted a new entry on one of the blogs I read. I will have to subscribe to the email service for comments as well.

I’m excited to see how your scones turn out if you decide to try them out. I’m glad you’ve taken an interest in some of my recipes. You know, I suppose I could always keep my recipes and someday write a cookbook, but that’s not really how I roll. I prefer to put my work out there and let others improve upon it. In my opinion, this is how progress works, through the efforts of many. And I also don't feel like recipes should necessarily have intellectual property rights attached, not that I'm against buying cookbooks or people making their living that way, I just prefer things to be a bit more reciprocal, and I feel like there is more room for improvement and growth through many people’s trials and errors. This applies for so much more than just recipes though. :-)

That is funny that you have never seen butternut in Germany. Maybe I'll have to send you some butternut and you could send me the Lamb's Lettuce.

Sorry about your tofu :-(. The consistency should be a bit like yogurt when it is finished. Oh, and I'm not sure this was in the recipe I posted or not, but I use firm silken tofu.

Awesome that your boyfriend is coming along! I bet him saying that did mean a lot to you, it would have to me as well; it is very nice to hear that what you do is appreciated. And the fact that he ate your chili! Slowly but surely, you'll get him to try this stuff, trust me!

T - The Butternut Squash Risotto may become one of my go-to dinners as well!

I don't think you'll be disappointed if you try that blueberry sauce either :-)

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Ah, sadly the boyfriend is an omni... I'm working on it, though ;o). Hey, he's come a long way. When I first met him, he wouldn't go anywhere near vegan foods (except for things like spaghetti or pb&j). He hasn't ventured out to try tofu yet, but I did manage to get him to admit he liked the cupcake frosting I made with soymilk. Score!

Jennifer said...

Chocolate Covered - I went vegetarian first, then vegan (as many do), so the boyfriend got to experience the good change gradually. I am still impressed with how willing he is to try all my crazy vegan stuff. To some men tofu is not "manly" enough, whatever that means.

Awesome that you are working on him though. And doubly awesome that he is being better about trying your new food! I bet if you keep making him mind blowing vegan food, you will have him eating tofu, seitan, tahini, agave, etc in no time, happily! I keep hoping that Brett will make the switch and go completely veg, but I only make vegan food at home and we don't go out to eat very often, which is where he eats meat, so, I guess it could be worse.

VeggieGirl said...

Veganomicon doesn't disappoint!! the pancakes look sensational!! and of course the risotto (I LOVE butternut squash) and scones (blueberries galore!!), look terrific as well :0)

Monika K said...

I'm not sure why I haven't found your blog before now - great stuff! I've designated Sunday as my "eat whatever sugar-laden foods I want" day, so pancakes this upcoming Sunday sound like a mahvelous plan. I think I've even got homemade raspberry syrup in the fridge (ooh la la). (-:

Ruby Red Vegan said...

The Blueberry Corn Pancakes are my second favorite pancake recipe ever! (The first is the Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Ones from VwaV. Yum yum.) It's good to hear you're treating yourself well. Every good vegan deserves these pancakes.

Wow, thanks for the reminder that I really need to whip up some vegan scones. Yours look so delicious, and they really put me in the mood for some cruelty-free, healthy scones. I haven't had scones more than twice in my life, and they were those nasty, sickeningly sweet unvegan type of scones. :(

Your Butternut Squash Risotto picture is making me salivate! Ahh! Butternut squash sounds like the PERFECT pairing for risotto - I couldn't think of a better combo.

Jennifer said...

VeggieGirl - You are very right, V-Con has not disappointed at all! Both Brett and I have highly enjoyed all the recipes we have tried so far, and there are many more earmarked to try in the future as well (when the Farmer's Market opens back up - oh my!).

Thanks about the scones, they were alright, but seriously lacking in sweetness. I know they aren't supposed to be super-sweet, but they needed to be much sweeter than they turned out on my first attempt.

Monika K - Welcome! Great idea of designating Sunday's as "junk food day". I generally justify eating big brunches on the weekend because I only have two meals, brunch and dinner. And since I don't (and will probably never again) own a car, I walk ALL the time.

Ruby Red - Very cool. Brett bought me VwaV yesterday actually, I was so stoked! I am going to make those Chocolate-Chocolate Chip pancakes for him for his birthday next week!

Cruelty-free treats are always a winner in my book!

Veggie said...

Oh I love blueberry scones, I'll have to try your recipe one of these days!