Monday, August 22, 2011

Vegan biscuits with sausage and gravy

Several weeks ago I discovered a recipe for vegan biscuits that blew my mind. They were lightly salty and buttery, supremely flaky and tender. And vegan! We had a few left over from a batch we made Saturday morning in the fridge and I thought maybe I'd try making some biscuits and gravy. I usually eat light breakfasts with a fair amount of fruit or vegetables but biscuits and gravy sounded really good this morning. We had some sweet sausage in the fridge as well so I was ready to make this right. This dish is very filling. One 2 1/2 inch biscuit per person should be enough. Don't be intimidated by this recipe at all, it's quite simple. The trick to making tender, flaky biscuits is to barely mix the dough. You can even bake them in your toaster oven. For the gravy I used lightly sweetened soy milk which gave it a really nice flavor. Generally, soy milk is lightly sweetened with cane juice. You can use unsweetened though if you wish. I like Morningstar veggie sausage or Lightlife 'Gimme Lean' sausage crumbles.

Serves 2
Time: 20 min


1 cup plus 2 or so tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon of baking powder
1 + 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons of soy milk
2 tablespoons vegan margarine
olive oil
1 lemon
cayenne pepper
fresh herbs ( I used a few sprigs of lemon thyme)
2 servings of vegan sausage


Preheat oven or toaster oven to 450° and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. In a medium bowl combine 1 cup of flour, the baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon of salt (a generous pinch). Add margarine and combine ingredients using fingers or a fork until the margarine is distributed. The mixture should look crumbly. Add in a 1/4 cup plus 2 tablepoons of of soy milk, stir just until flour mixture is completely moistened. You can either use a spoon to drop the biscuit dough onto the baking sheet OR pat the dough with a little flour (to keep your hands from sticking) and transfer it to a lightly floured cutting board, flatten it gently with your hands and cut it into rounds using an inverted glass or a biscuit cutter if you have one. You should have two or three biscuits. Bake for 12-15 minutes. They will not turn gold or brown, when they've puffed up and the crust is crisp, they're done.

Sausage and Gravy:

In a small pan warm sausage pieces through completely following directions on package. Keep warm on low heat.
In a saucepan on medium-high heat warm a tablespoon or so of olive oil, while stirring with a whisk or spoon add in 2 tablespoons of flour. This should create a loose paste, a roux. Add more oil if you need to. Keep stirring and when the roux starts to bubble add in the cup of soy milk and keep stirring until it starts to thicken. Lower the heat if if it's bubbling and squeeze the juice of half a lemon, a generous pinch of salt and a pinch of cayenne to the gravy. Add in the fresh herbs. Turn the heat off and stir in the sausage.

Halve biscuits, place on plates and pour the gravy over. Garnish with cayenne and fresh herbs. Serve immediately.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

poulet rĂ´ti

WARNING: If your oven is not in a well ventilated area do not even attempt this recipe. The oven gets rather smoky due to boiling rendered fat that accumulates in the bottom of the pan. When it boils it starts to spray, hits the sides of the super hot oven and starts to smoke. Sigh. I haven't discovered a way around this. We turn on the fan, open the window and that keeps the apartment clear of smoke.

This is the best roast chicken I've ever had. And it's quite simple. The skin is crispy and the meat is juicy, flavorful and tender. All you need is a little squeeze of lemon to dress it with before eating. If you'd like, you can whisk some butter and water or wine into the remaining rendered fat and juices to make a sauce for serving. As you can see, the wings are missing. The chicken was so tender when I removed it from the pan that they fell right off. Hehe! This is a very impressive dish as a dinner for two or four. I take the remaining meat, which is usually the breast meat, and make chicken salad sandwiches with it. Ahhhhh chicken salad sandwiches!

I adapted this recipe from Saveur magazine.

You'll need:

1 three to five pound roaster chicken
kitchen twine or string
sea salt
4-5 tablespoons of butter at room temperature
lemon wedges for serving
a baster

Preheat the oven to 450°.

Remove the goodies from inside the chicken (if there are any). Discard. Or save them if you want to. You won't be needing them here. Rinse the bird and pat dry with a paper towel. Place on shallow roasting pan or cookie sheet breast side up and tie the "ankles" together. See the photo above? Yeah, tie them just like that.

Rub a few tablespoons of butter all over the chicken with clean dry hands. Have a paper towel at the ready, this gets kind of messy. Lightly sprinkle the entire bird with fine sea salt. That's it! It's ready to go in the oven now.

Roast for about 1 1/2 hours or until a thermometer in a meaty part of the leg reads 160° (you won't get an accurate reading close to the bone) and the juices run clear. Thirty minutes into cooking baste the bird with the rendered fat that has accumulated in the bottom of the pan. You may have to tilt the pan to suck enough liquid up into the baster. You can also do this with a large spoon if you don't have a baster. About an hour in the bird should start to take on a nice golden brown color.

When the bird is done, allow it to rest on the pan for at least 10 minutes. Transfer to platter for serving or cutting board for cutting into pieces. If you'd like to make a sauce with the remaining liquid place your roasting pan or cookie sheet on top of two burners. Turn both burners on medium to medium-high heat. Whisk in a tablespoon or two of butter and three tablespoons of wine or water working to remove any brown bits stuck on the bottom of the pan. When you've made a loose sauce, turn off the burners and carefully pour the sauce into a small bowl for serving on top of chicken. Serve chicken with lemon wedges, a green salad, crusty bread and a nice bottle of red . Bon appetit!