What I'm not proud of is that super awful play on words blog title for this entry. I can't help myself. No, really, I can't or I'd have deleted it by now. But it's at least less wordy than the formal description of my entry,
Roasted Butternut Squash Rosemary Scones over White Sage Gravy with Popcorn Encrusted Soy-tan Cutlets and a Dijon Apricot Drizzle
the Vegan Chopped Brunch Edition ingredients?
As is the case with me and Vegan Chopped ideas, I'm not known for really busting out of the vegan culinary box, but my brain dreams up something immediately upon seeing those four ingredients. Once that idea is born in my brain, there is no deviating.
For some reason I immediately thought of Chicken 'n A Biscuit. before my two decades of being vegetarian then vegan, I'd never tried the combo, never knew anyone else who had, and had never seen them on an actual menu. Somehow this did not stop me from knowing that the pairing was a popular brunch item somewhere. So be it!
I have only made scones once before, but felt I needed to try my hand at them in a savory way. I adapted Vegan Brunch's Tomato Rosemary Scones as I've heard nothing but good things about them. Swapped tomato for roasted butternut squash puree that I'd made the day before and added ginger because, to me, ginger and rosemary need to be together. Okay, truth be told, ginger needs to get it on with most other flavors that show up on my plate so I may be biased in her favor. Ginger it was. Mmmmmm, ginger. I think next time I'd amp up the ginger now that i know how seductive she was in a subtle appearance in these babies.
Roasted Butternut Squash & Rosemary Scones
(adapted from Vegan Brunch)
3 cups unbleached flour
2 T baking powder
1/4 (scant) cup Florida Crystals
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1/3 c. olive oil (I used a very light bodied variety)
1 1/2 cups roasted butternut squash puree*
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 T fresh rosemary, chopped
2-3 tsp fresh grated ginger (I use my microplaner)
combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and black pepper in large bowl.
in separate bowl, whisk squash, oil, vinegar, rosemary, and ginger.
add wet ingredients to well in dry ingredients and stir gently until well incorporated.
line baking sheet with parchment paper.
my dough was sticky at this point so I lightly oiled my hands and my dough scraper.
divide dough into two and shape into two discs. divide each disc into six equal (ish ;) triangles.
bake 14-16 minutes or until firm.
mine, tested with a wooden skewer, were perfect inside after fifteen, skewer coming out clean but the scones were pillowy inside and the lightest crust on the outside (and such a pretty color!)
The gravy is a simple versatile no-nonsense gravy. I just wanted something thick and hearty to make the scone more biscuit-y and when I think rosemary, I think thyme and sage. I saved the thyme for the soytan breading.
Easy Vegan White Gravy
2 cups nondairy milk (I always use unsweetened almond), warmed
3 T unbleached flour
2 T vegan margarine (my fave is vegan Organic Smart Balance)
1 1/2 tsp dried sage
salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powder to taste
warm almond milk (I nuke mine for a few minutes). over medium heat, toast flour in a saucepan until fragrant, whisk in margarine. keep whisking until well combined (add nooch if you want here, I almost always do but just flaked this morning) then start slowly adding, whisking the whole time to avoid clumps, the warmed milk. simmer until thickened and add seasoning to taste. keep covered on low until ready to serve.
I feel in love last week with 1000 Vegan Recipe's Soytan cutlets, recipe here, (thanks again, Magic Jelly!) and love them as is in the recipe. It was no real stretch to make popcorn flour in the food processor (took about ten minutes and was beautiful, using my favorite, Black Jewel popcorn). I seasoned the already perfectly salted flour with Hungarian paprika, nutritional yeast, thyme and fresh cracked black pepper.
Edited to add that I have my computer up and running this morning so I added the pic! Off to back up this thing before I lose it all forever!
I dipped the cutlets (made a double batch) in almond milk and then dredged in the seasoned flour. Fried them in oil for a few minutes on one side, then splashed with lemon juice after flipping, browned the other side for a few minutes, then laid them to rest and cool on a paper towel lined drying rack, covered with a large pan cover til ready to eat.
The fancy sounding Dijon Apricot reduction was just a simple but great way to add a little sweet to all the savory (I should note that the scones were a tad sweet and I'd reduce the sugar a bit more for this recipe when making again, but I am so happy to eat the leftovers as is).
fancy sounding Dijon Apricot Reduction
1 5.5oz can of apricot nectar
1/2 c. apricot preserves (I did find a fancy imported french variety. ooh lala!)
2 T Dijon mustard
3 tsp apple cider vinegar
3 tsp agave nectar
salt to taste
pepper to taste
in saucepan over medium heat, bring all ingredients except salt and pepper to boiling, whisking continuously. simmer for about ten or fifteen minutes or until reduced and thickened. If it's too thick, add a few more splashes of nectar, too thin? try simmering for another 3-5 minutes.
add salt and pepper to taste.
I paired the satisfying, tasty plate with some fresh grapes and fresh peaches. and what kind of brunch would I be hosting without a fancy drink? Apricot Mimosas (I put a sprig of rosemary in mine and let it sit for a bit while plating and serving. was surprisingly so very good!).
I have to say, everyone was very happy with the results, but my most favorite reply came from my omni husband in the other room watching football, after the last bite, as the clink of his fork was heard hitting his plate, "Hey Bry? That was NUTS dude. NUTS! Wow. Thank you for that!"
I'm still smiling over that one. And plan to totally dis my daily beloved steel cut oats breakfast tomorrow for a fancy 'wish it was still Sunday' breakfast of brunch leftovers in the morning.