The meal consisted of:
Pumpkin French Toast with Cranberry Ginger Sauce
Pumpkin Bran Muffins
Blueberry Ginger Spelt Muffins
Omelets Rancheros with Spicy Beans and Guacamole
Roasted Herb and Garlic Potatoes
Avocado Potato Salad
Breaking down the Brunch experience:
Muffins are my favourite breakfast treat so that’s where I started in my exploration of Isa’s newest recipe offerings. As a self-proclaimed connoisseur, I am very picky about the texture of my muffins – I really don’t like a mushy muffin. But Isa did not disappoint, she offers nine tempting muffin variations. The pumpkin muffins are hearty with a hefty amount of fibre, but the pumpkin spice flavour make them a treat to devour. The blueberry ginger spelt muffins disappeared in minutes. The bite I managed (before the batch vanished), had a lovely light texture with a subtle ginger flavour. I have since made another batch of the pumpkin bran muffins and doubled the amount of spice called for in the original recipe (I like life full of spice!), and I found them even more satisfying then my first batch.
I have never been a fan of french toast. It just isn’t a dish that calls to me. But, my Mom LOVES french toast and I’m always trying to find the perfect recipe that can match her pregan memories.
This is a very straight-forward dish and Isa provides lots of spice variations. We combined the garlic and fresh herb version. The results were crispy, oven baked fries. A lovely, savoury side.
When my brother selected this dish, my Mom said that it sounded disgusting. If that is your reaction, work through it people. Because this is an amazing salad. I personally hate soy vegan mayos. Seriously, I find the flavour really puts me off and can easily ruin an entire dish. So, a potato salad that employs avocado to impart that essential creaminess is the perfect alternative. This isn’t the most attractive picture but I implore you to give it a try this summer.
I have often heard that if you get one great new recipe from a cookbook then it is worth the purchase. Vegan Brunch is full of fantastic recipes, but I would buy it just for the omelets! After a quick scan of all of the filling suggestions Isa provides we decided on the omelet rancheros as they were to be the star of our menu. The bean filling was easy to prepare ahead of time. The recipe is also used to top the polenta rancheros, which I’m sure are delicious as I would certainly eat this bean dish on top of just about anything. I loved the smokey, sweet flavour of the black beans (okay, as you can see we used black and kidney beans because that’s what we had in the pantry).
The omelet itself is pretty impressive. The texture is like nothing else I’ve experienced in my two decades of veganism. It is almost fluffy. The first one didn’t turn out, but just like pancakes after that, the subsequent omelets were perfectly formed and cooked (Dan-you are the man). I really enjoyed the flavour, although I had not been able to find the black salt that was suggested in the recipe. I know I can track it down at the local Indian spice markets. Just give me time and I know my omelets will have that balanced sulfur flavour that is the true hallmark of egg dishes.
Here is one of the omelets full of beans and slathered with creamy guac. Isa provides a long list of filling suggestions. An asparagus omelet would be a great celebration of the local offerings now available at our farmer’s markets.
There wasn’t a single recipe that left me thinking…what would I do differently next time. Each dish had an interesting flavour profile that appealed to the vegans, the omnis and even the children at the table. At the end of the meal we all pushed back our chairs, with very full and happy bellies.
I continue to carry Vegan Brunch around with me. It is full of post-it notes for all of the recipes I can’t wait to try. After flipping through this book, I know that Sundays this summer will be super special as I invite the people I love to continue to help me work through the pages. I love the laziness that brunch promotes. This book provides the perfect excuse to slow down, brew some tea, and bake some scones for the people you love. Or, for the perfect start to a quiet weekend, grab the paper, brew yourself a pot of coffee and devour a big plate of puttanesca tofu scramble.
Next on my list to try are: Mushroom, leek and white bean pie, tofu benny with hollandaise sauce and the ethiopian crepes.
If you want to hear a lot more about Vegan Brunch check out my interview with Isa.