Calgary Vegan Brunch Round One

Considering we just held our second Calgary Vegan Brunch this past weekend, I figured it was about time I posted about the first brunch we held all the way back in November. Better late then never, amiright?

I vaguely mentioned the brunch group we formed during Vegan Mofo, but I thought I’d give you a better explanation of what it’s all about. The group was formed by two of my friends (Connie and Tanya) and myself. We love cooking/eating and we love meeting new and interesting like minded people, so we thought we should create somewhere for vegan’s, vegetarians and veg-curious people to congregate, enjoy great food, partake in good conversation and raise a little bit of money for a local charity in the process. Once you join the Facebook group we created, all you do is wait for us to create an event (which we will be doing monthly), confirm your attendance, show up, eat as much as your belly can handle and mingle. All we ask is that you bring a minimum donation of $5, which will be donated to R.A.S.T.A. There’s no set date but as of now, the brunch will be held on Sundays. Random friends, spouses and children are welcomed, just make sure you let us know in advance so that we have enough food for everyone!

Now that that’s all out of the way, let’s talk about the food!

 

We had quite the spread going on. It’s always hard to estimate how much food to make for a large group and we all know how easy it is to forget about Facebook events, so we expected a couple no shows. I wasn’t alone with my over estimations, apparently we all went a little overboard and ended up with a crapload of leftovers, which is a-ok in my books (yay for leftovers!). For our very first brunch we had a pretty good turn out, we met some lovely people and everyone seemed to have a good time!

Me and Tanya had to make a pitstop at Costco before we made our way to Connie’s and picked a gigantoid box of vegetable gyoza. I can’t remember what the brand was but they were seriously good.

Connie made an awesome spread that consisted of cornbread with caramelized onions, a curry caraway tofu scramble, potato and pea hash and some more of those uber impressive chickpea crepes.

Some perfect looking gluten-free chocolate chip cookies made by Connie’s roommate.

Although not the prettiest looking dish, I made a potato “bacon” hash. The hash was pretty randomly thrown together and basically consisted of roasted potatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, coconut bacon and some herbs. I also made Tofu Benedicts on Sweet Potato and Yukon Gold Latkes, topped with an Herbed Pear Sauce. Definitely more time consuming then I’m used to but pretty darn tasty if I do say so myself. A nice mix of flavours with a hint of sweetness from the pears and sauce and a nice savory tofu patty with just the right amount of saltiness. Care to give it a try? I’m typing out the recipe, but I have to apologize about the portion sizes as I kind of just doubled and triple each recipe as I needed and completely forgot how much the original recipes made.

SWEET POTATO & YUKON GOLD LATKES WITH TOFU EGGS, CARAMELIZED PEARS & HERB SAUCE 

Sweet Potato & Yukon Gold Latkes
Adapted from Food Network

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium yellow onion, shredded
  • 1 pound sweet potato, shredded
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potato, shredded
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour mix
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Directions:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Using a box grater or the grater function on a food processor, grate the both the sweet potatoes andyukongold potatoes. Place the potatoes in a doubled pieced of cheesecloth (a clean dish towel will also work) and wring out as much excess liquid as possible. Place the potatoes in a large bowl, grate the onion and mix it in with the potatoes along with the flour, salt, baking powder, cayenne and pepper. Mix well.

In a cast iron or other heavy skillet, heat a thin layer of oil over medium heat. Working in batches, take about a 1/4 cup of the latke mixture, with your hands form into a patty and flatten to form 3-inch pancakes, then place into the skillet. Take care not to overcrowd the pan. Cook, turning once, until just golden, about 3 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining potato mixture, adding more oil as necessary. Transfer cooked latkes to a paper towel lined platter and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining batter.

Sautéed Pears & Rosemary Sauce
Adapted from Epicurious

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • pinch dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon margarine
  • 4 pears, peeled, quartered, cored, thinly sliced
  • Splash of sherry

Directions:
Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add apple juice, vegetable broth, red wine, vinegar, rosemary, thyme and crushed red pepper; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer until mixture is reduced to 1 1/2 cups, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Strain mixture into small saucepan; discard solids. Mix together the coconut milk and cornstarch until completely dissolved. Add coconut milk mixture and simmer until reduced to sauce consistency, about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile heat margarine in heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pear slices; sauté until tender and golden brown, about 8 minute, add a splash of sherry. (Sauce and pears can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Cover separately and refrigerate. Rewarm pears over medium-low heat before serving.)

Tofu “Egg” Patties
Adapted from Vegan Mischief

Ingredients:

  • 350g block extra-firm tofu
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons miso
  • 2-3 tablespoons thick coconut cream
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • Hot water (just enough to form a paste)

Directions:
Drain and press extra-firm tofu, slice lengthwise into 3 pieces and then divide in half, there will be 6 pieces. Mix together the broth, soy sauce, red wine vinegar, black salt and mustard powder. Pour over tofu, cover, put in the fridge and let marinate for a minimum of 1 hour.

Heat some vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the tofu patties. Fry until golden-coloured and then flip.

While the tofu is frying, mix the remaining ingredients in a small bowl until it forms a thick paste.

Once you’ve flipped the tofu in the pan, spread half of the creamy mixture on the already-fried sides. Once the bottom side has fried, flip the tofu again and spread the newly-cooked sides with the rest of the creamy mixture. Give it a minute, flip the tofu again, give it another minute, and then remove them from the skillet.

To plate, place one sweet potato latke on a plate, top with tofu “egg”, caramelized pears and then drizzle with rosemary sauce. Enjoy!

Now that you’re all good and full, how about topping it all off with a big ol’ piece of pumpkin cheesecake.

This was also made by Connie. I’m pretty sure the recipe is from Vegan Pie in the Sky and was soooo yummy :)

I still have to go through all the photos for our second brunch, but I’ll hopefully have a post up in less then 3 months. We’ve also picked a date for February, so if you happen to be in the area drop by and say hi!

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