Vegan Soul Food Review

I opened up the April edition of Sunset this week (thanks, Mom, for sharing!) and found a spread on cookbook author Bryant Terry. Pictured with his adorable wife and daughter, the article includes three recipes that I tried out this weekend: Garlicky Mustard Greens, Grits with Creamed Cashews and Molasses Cake with Maple-Sugared Pecans.

I'm not going to reproduce them here, since they are available through Sunset and in Mr. Terry's new book, The Inspired Vegan (which I ordered and plan on reviewing more of). That, and I'm not big on illegal activities like violating copyright.

However, I can give a cost and taste break down.

Garlicky Mustard Greens served on Grits with Creamed Cashews
Total Spent at Trader Joe's: $22.40
Includes: Organic Polenta (couldn't find grits and this was easier), Whole Raw Cashews (enough to last through several batches if I don't snack on them), Agave Organic Sweetener, 2 bags pre-washed Greens Southern Blend (with 1/2 a bag left over), Red Wine Vinegar, and Sugar Raw Turbinado Fair Trade.
Most of the other ingredients I already had in my pantry. 

My results? This was a surprisingly simple and delicious pairing. It easily took the full hour or so allotted for me to prepare it (excluding soaking time for the cashews), but I think it will go much faster next time. I also learned that fried garlic is amazing and that the greens can be blanched well ahead of time.

The Hubs loved it too, so this will definitely be a repeat dish. The initial cost was fairly steep, but for the second round all I should have to purchase is about $6.60 worth of greens and polenta. That is $7 a meal amortized over 2 dinners and 2 lunches worth of leftovers.

Molasses Cake with Maple-Sugared Pecans
Total Spent at Walmart: $41.20 (wow!)
Total Spent at Trader Joe's: $11.50 (includes sugar that was already bought for recipes above)
Includes: Pecan Pieces, Sugar Organic Powder, Sugar Raw Turbinado Fair Trade (previously mentioned), Whole Wheat Flour, Soft as Silk Pastry Flour, Fluted Pan (I guess I don't bake that often), Molasses, many, many spices and Baking Soda.
I pretty much had none of what I need for this recipe other than salt and coconut oil. Sad face.

But... the cake batter was pretty amazing. The pecans made enough for another batch (maybe next Sunday?) The cake is still baking while I am typing (and the Hubs and baby are taking naps) so I don't have a taste verdict yet, but I'm guessing it'll be another winner.

Next time all I have to purchase is another bottle of molasses, at about $3. The $53 initially was pretty steep, but I'm hoping that I'll use more of those spices throughout the rest of the cookbook. Until then... 



Recipe: Breakfast Casserole

So, in real life it's been quite a challenge to keep up with blogging about my love of cooking and making our home cozy.

Starting since Thanksgiving, we're eating meat (!). Only about once a week now, and so far it's been turkey cuts from Whole Foods (still haven't figured out what I'm doing with two drumsticks!). Today I'm adding a breakfast casserole. Of course, you don't have to add meat, but we found some gorgeous Sicilian-style chicken sausage at Trader Joe's and I had to find an immediate use for it.

This was taken somewhat from the Cooks.com recipe for Bisquick Casserole, with my own alterations. You could jazz it up with something more South-Western, like sharp Cheddar cheese and green chillies as well.

Breakfast Casserole

Step 1: Brown meat and veggies

  • Heat about 1 T of olive oil in a cast iron pan. Crumble *ETA: about 1/2 lb* sausage with your hands, and add about 1 C chopped onion. You can also stir in other veggies like sliced Crimini mushrooms or chopped green peppers. Let it all brown together, then transfer to an oven-safe dish.

Step 2: Make egg-mixture
  • Deglaze bits of onion from bottom of pan with 3/4 C milk. Pour into oven-safe dish.
  • Measure another 3/4 C milk. Crack 5 eggs into milk. Stir together. 
  • Measure 3/4 C Bisquick or pancake mix. Stir into egg-mixture until semi-lumpy. Pour the entire mixture into oven-safe dish. Give a good stir to make sure milk is mixed in.
Step 3: Add lots of cheese
  • I found a lovely Gruyere-Swiss blend. Double or triple the amount in the recipe - around 2-3 C of shredded cheese. Stir into the oven-safe dish and sprinkle a bit on top.
Step 4: Bake and cool
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or so, uncovered. Check doneness with a knife inserted in the middle. No runny egg should stick to knife. Let cool for about 5-10 minutes, then slice and serve while warm and melty.
This would be a wonderful Christmas morning breakfast - I just might make it again and package it in the freezer for an easy dish. Enjoy!

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