Thursday, November 18, 2010
WHAT ARE YOUR GUILTY (VEGAN FOOD) PLEASURES? (INCLUDES RECIPE FOR BEER-BATTER VEGGIE TEMPURA)
UPDATE: This post has been updated November 2012 to have only palm-oil-free products.
Country Choice Chocolate Organic Sandwich Creme
Below is my baker's dozen list of indulgences (it could be longer, but I have to stop somewhere!), which includes some things that we only indulge in about once a year, some items that we only eat in restaurants, and at least one that is very mundane! None of them is a complete loss nutritionally, but they are all quite rich, sometimes downright oily-- definitely not everyday food for me!
UPDATE: I had to add another one, so it's 14 now!
So what are your guilty pleasures? (Food only please!)
14 of mine are:
#1: Country Choice Organic Chocolate Sandwich Cremes (veganessentials carries them, too)-- a once or twice a year indulgence-- I like the traditional chocolate with vanilla creme version, but there are others. Unlike my former favorite (Newman-O's) and every other vegan version of this favorite cookie, Country Choice Organic contains NO PALM OIL!
#2: Peppery Chinese deep-fried oyster mushrooms-- we have these at the Whole Vegetarian Restaurant in Vancouver, BC, a Buddhist vegetarian restaurant that was formerly the Bo Kong, on Broadway and 14th. So yummy! Here's a recipe, but use vegetarian "chicken" broth powder and use black pepper. There's a western version from Chef Ken Bergeron here.
#3: Brown Basmati Rice with vegan butter-- I don't know why, but I crave this sometimes! (Generally I don't "butter" my rice!) On the rare occasions when I eat "buttered rice" I use my homemade palm-oil-free vegan "Buttah", but I understand that a commercial vegan palm-oil-free vegan spread will be available in North America soon.
#4: Glazed Yeast Doughnuts-- a childhood favorite. Here's a new recipe for glazed, yeast-raised vegan sweet potato doughnuts.
#5: Potato Kibbeh (recipe here), a Middle Eastern specialty made from bulgur wheat, mashed potatoes, herbs, onions and LOTS of olive oil. It's so delicious, but it just does not lend itself to low-fat versions.
#6: Vegetable Tempura (recipe below), another fried dish that we indulge in almost exclusively at Japanese restaurants, though our Japanese friends serve it sometimes and I make it once or twice a year. I particularly like sweet potato tempura.
The odd time that I make it, here's the recipe I use:
This is James Scarfo’s (my husband’s stepdaughter’s husband) recipe:
3/4 cup beer (a light-colored beer)
3/4 cup cake or pastry flour (not self-rising)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 small sweet potato
vegetable oil for deep-drying
1 small red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rings
6 asparagus spears, trimmed
Optional: Chinese vegetarian “shrimp” or "prawns", about 12
Accompaniment: soy sauce for dipping, if desired
In a bowl, whisk the beer into the flour until smooth and stir in salt. Keep the batter cold—place the bowl in a bowl of ice. This makes a crispier product.
Peel sweet potato and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. If you use the veggie “shrimp”, Make several shallow cuts across inside curve of each “shrimp” and press shrimp gently (to help prevent curling during cooking).
In a 3-quart saucepan heat 2 inches oil to 375°F.
Working in batches of 3 or 4 pieces, dredge shrimp, sweet potato slices, bell pepper rings, and asparagus spears in batter to coat completely, letting excess drip off, and fry, turning, until golden, about 3 minutes.
Transfer tempura as fried to brown paper or paper towels with tongs to drain.
Serve tempura with soy sauce. This recipe makes 2 servings.
#7: Vegan Pecan Pie-- need I say more? (There's recipe in my newest book, World Vegan Feast.)
#8: Gyoza, or potstickers-- my recipe here.
#9: Grape Focaccia-- I eat WAY too much of this fall treat if it's around! (Recipe here.)
#10: Crusty Artisan Bread dipped in good olive oil (there's recipe in my newest book, World Vegan Feast and another here)
#11: Almost any kind of chocolate cake! Below is my very simple "Mudpie Cake" with a coffee/coconut icing.
#12: Chinese Crispy "pork" with Sweet and Sour Sauce, from my Chinese cookbook, made with fried TVP chunks. (Recipe here.)
And last, but not least....
#13: Flaky biscuits with vegan butter (palm oil-free) and jam
Barbara commented about her love of Fritos corn chips, which reminded me of yet another guilty pleasure, so I had to add it:
#14: Kettle Brand Sea Salt Potato Chips-- I can't have them in the house or I'll eat them all!
Enjoy your guilty pleasures!