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Vegan Brunch, Isa Chandra Moskowitz (Da Capo Press, 2009)

Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz - review by

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Although this book was published in 2009, it is still a “go to” book for wonderful brunch recipes.  It crosses that line of “Sweet versus Savory” beautifully.  Moskowitz first made her mark in the vegan cookbook scene with Veganomicon in 2007, a very tough act to follow.  But follow it she has with books before and after Vegan Brunch.

In “The Savory” chapter, she includes basic directions and spicing recommendations for scrambled tofu and scrambled tempeh.  She then elaborates on those basics with dishes such as Sesame Scrambled Tofu and Greens with Yams, a yummy dish that is vibrant in appearance as well as in taste and nutrients.  If you want to impress your brunch guests with a showy dish, try the Tempeh Sausage Pastry Puffs!  It’s fairly simple to prepare and the use of puff pastry elevates it to “company” status.  She suggests serving it with “greens and gravy”.  We made the Navy Bean Gravy to go with this dish and it was spectacular!  After trying this gravy, a neighbor (completely not interested in healthy or humane eating) said “Just give me a bowl of this gravy and I’ll be happy!”  And how virtuous is that, a gravy recipe based on beans!   I admit that “The Savory” chapter is my favorite as I love savory!

Not to be outdone, “The Sweet” chapter offers a rich and varied assortment of recipes for waffles, pancakes, French toast and crepes.  “The Sides” chapter includes various and interesting takes on potatoes, veggies (stuffed, sautéed, and more), and recipes for making your own vegan sausages.    “The Breads” section offers creative and varied takes on breads ranging from muffins, coffee cakes and cinnamon rolls to scones, biscuits, and flavored cream cheeses.  “The Toppings” chapter includes creative gravies, sauces and spreads from sweet to savory to spicy.  And last, “The Drinks” chapter includes interesting drinks to serve with your brunches.

This cookbook includes many varied options that are easy to prepare.  There are enough tantalizing photos to keep you hungry and interested in preparing the recipes.  This is a book that you will return to again and again when you want something creative, beautiful and yummy for brunch.  And remember, brunch is good any time of the day!

Justina Walls (6/1/2014)

Chesapeake Tempeh Cakes from Vegan Brunch

For the cakes:

  • 8 ounces tempeh (use the nori tempeh if you can find it, but plain soy tempeh is fine, too)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons Vegenaisse
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard (stone ground Dijon works, too)
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup very finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspooon salt
  • fresh black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs, plus extra for dredging
  • Optional: 1 finely chopped nori sheet or 1 tablespoon kelp granules

Oil for pan frying

For the remoulade:

  • 2 tablespoons Vegenaise
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain or dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons capers (try not to get too much brine)

Lemon wedges for serving

First steam the tempeh to get the bitterness out and infuse flavor with the soy sauce. Crumble the tempeh into a small pan in little bits. Add the water, soy sauce, oil and bay leaf. The tempeh won’t be fully submerged, but that’s fine. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, let boil for 12 to 15 minutes, until most of the water has evaporated. Stir once during boiling.

Transfer contents to a mixing bowl, remove bay leaf, and mash with a fork. Let cool for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to hasten the cooling process. Make sure the tempeh is barely warm before you proceed, or the cakes may fall apart when you cook them. Add the mayo, mustard, hot sauce, vinegar, chopped bell pepper, spices salt and pepper, and mix well. Add the bread crumbs and nori and use your hands to incorporate.

Once you are ready to form the cakes, preheat a thin layer of oil in a heavy bottomed non-stick skillet (cast iron is great) over medium heat. Pour a few tablespoons of panko into a bowl. Scoop a little less than 1/4 cup batter into your hands and form into a ball. Flatten between your palms and then roll the sides gently with your hands cupped to smooth them. You should have ten 2 1/2 to 3- inch patties. I do them in batches of five. Press them into the panko to lightly coat. They don’t need to be thoroughly covered, just a little bit for some texture.

Fry a batch of five cakes for 4 minutes on one side and flip when dark golden brown. Fry for 2 minutes on the other side and transfer to a paper towel or paper bag to drain. Do your second batch and in the meantime make your remoulade by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl.

Serve with lemon wedges.

Chesapeake Tempeh Cakes from Vegan Brunch