Thursday, November 18, 2010


Best Blog Tips
UPDATE: This post has been updated November 2012 to have only palm-oil-free products.

Country Choice Chocolate Organic Sandwich Creme

I had plans to start experimenting with various items on my list right away, but, to tell you the truth, I'm having a little vacation from serious cooking after the weeks of cooking for photographs!  In addition, I've been diagnosed with something called a "Bakers cyst" behind my left knee, so I'm supposed to rest my leg.  So, I was being a bit lazy today and started thinking about foods that really tempt me when I'm down in the dumps-- guilty pleasures.  I didn't want to actually eat any of them, as I've got to lose some weight gained in the last few weeks of cooking more elaborate meals than we are used to, but I thought it might be fun to make a list of some of my vegan "guilty pleasures" in the food department.

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:

Printable Recipe

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!


Marta Jeremy Emily and Abigail said...

Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo, with lots of earth balance margarine, coconut milk and vegan Parmesan...

Brenda W. said...

Hey Bryanna!!

Well .. we share a couple of guilty pleasures ... the rustic bread dipped in olive oil and biscuits with Earth Balance and grape jelly!!

Also here in Brevard, NC, a local bakery makes mile-high English Muffins, and I love those with EB and jelly. Or even better ... EB and cinnamon and sugar!!

Another ultimate indulgence is Vegan Dad's Chocolate Ice Cream!! Haagen Dazs gone vegan!!

PS .... you snuck in 13 guilty pleasures!! You've got two #9's!!

A baker's dozen!!

Stephanie said...

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE NEWMAN-Os!!! Also, Purely Decadent Chocolate Obsession. I can eat both entire containers of these products in one sitting. Never regrettable, always delicious. Those fried oyster mushrooms look divine, too!

Hope your leg is better soon!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Oops! Thanks for the heads-up, Brenda! I'll fix it!

JohnP said...

Holy Moley, that's a good list! And I'm flagging more than a few of the recipes for future indulgence!

Anonymous said...

:) Fritos. No kidding - nothing in there but corn, oil, and salt. I knew I was in trouble the day I discovered that.

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Oh, Barbara-- you just reminded me! I have to add another one to my list-- Kettle Brand Sea salt Potato Chips!

Beth said...

I could come up with a list of about 25! Yes, newman'0s, vegan ice cream (almost any kind or flavor!), my own home made chocolate cake, my zuchinni muffins, home made choc. chip cookies, your delicisious lasagna recipe, my hot sourdough bread with loads of earth balance, waffles with real maple syrup. I better stop here, the list could go on and on!

Fanny said...

NUMBER 12! OH MY GOD that looks crazy delicious. I'm checking in the recipe right now.