I don’t have Celiac’s, I don’t have a sensitivity to gluten, nonetheless, I’m into the challenge of making delicious gluten free, vegan, baked goods and entrees/sides. The thing that discourages me when I am looking for recipes is the 5 million ingredients I need to have, none of which are in my ‘pantry’ (haphazard shelf in the kitchen). I mean, are 15 different bean and grain flours necessary?
I’ve taken it upon myself to experiment and I came up with this biscuit. Only 3 flours! Plus xanthan gum, which is expensive, but imperative. It is what binds the flours together, which is what gluten normally does. I like to get mine out of bulk bins, that way I don’t have spend 15 dollars at a time.
You will need:
*1/2 cup corn flour
*1 cup sweet rice flour
*1/2 cup garfava flour
*3/4 tsp xanthan gum
*1 1/2 tsp salt
*5 tsp baking powder
*1/3 cup chilled soy margarine or vegetable shortening at room temp
*1 cup unsweetened soy milk or water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
The trick with biscuits, is to not play with them too much. This is especially true when working with regular flour, but I like to think the same rule applies for gluten free as well. The less you handle them, the flakier they will be.
Measure out your flours, salt, xanthan gum and baking powder (dry ingredients) in a bowl. Whisk to get any lumps out and to mix everything together (you can use a fork for this step-sometimes I find myself with no whisk). Add chilled soy margarine in small chunks. This is called cutting it in, which is described here. You don’t need a pastry cutter, some people use knives, but I use my hands. Not over mixing or playing with your dough is extremely important once you start adding the fat and liquid.
The different dry ingredients whisked together.
Chunks of fat.
Pebble - like. Maybe closer to sand this time around.
Lightly, by hand, mix everything together. You want the consistency to be ‘pebble or sand- like’, with chunks of magerine or shortening visible throughout. Next, add your soy milk or water. Knead 10 times, no more!
Now, I don’t have a pastry cutter. I’m not that fancy, but maybe I should look into it. I just spoon out some dough and drop in onto a greased baking sheet. A few inches apart, and you should get about 8 biscuits out of it. Place in the center of the oven.
Pre - oven.
Gluten free goods bake faster than their regular counterparts. Check them around the 8 minute mark. If the bottoms are browning, they are close to done. You don’t want the tops to brown, or they won’t be flaky, they will be OVERBAKED. The baking time should be around 8 - 12 minutes, depending how long the oven pre- heated and how quickly your oven bakes.
Gravy is so easy, once you make it the first time, I guarantee you will become a gravy making machine!
You will need:
*1 medium red onion
*4 cloves of garlic
*2 Tbs Rice flour (sweet or regular)
*3 cups unsweetened soy milk
*1/2 tsp pepper
*1/2 - 1 Tbs salt
*pinch of Italian herbs
Dice up your onion and saute it on medium heat. Go until onions are transparent or caramelized. Add chopped or minced garlic, cooking until fragerent, but don’t let garlic brown. Add 2 Tbs rice flour to coat everything in the pan and let it cook in for a minute or two, moving constantly as to not let flour burn. If you get it a little browned, it will add a subtle nutty flavor to your gravy.
Onions and garlic, coated with rice flour.
Pour in 2 cups of soy milk, whisking constantly and bringing to a light boil. You will probably need to turn up the heat a little bit. Add your salt and pepper, then the remainder of the soy milk. Don’t stop whisking! Once you get the consistency/thickness you prefer, take off the heat and add a pinch of Italian herbs. Taste, add more salt/pepper as desired. You can either leave it chunky, or throw it in a food processor or blender until smooth.
Adding the soy milk.
Whisk until thickened.
Biscuits and gravy! There you have it!
I wish it worked. I wish it made me feel better. But then I just have to look at my puffy face in the mirror. Okay! Tomorrow is a new day! Time to go back to stir frying! Or a raw food diet. Yeah right. I’m broke. Raw food is for the rich. Or me, when I’m in denial about how much I make. But seriously, I gotta start eating better to feel better!
Jeez, it’s like I’m in grade school all over again with my book report, but without all the blacking out and forgetting to breath due to A VERY REAL fear of public speaking. Fuck, just talking in general is sometimes too much for me to handle. Fortunately for me, my social anxiety meds come over the counter in the somewhat inexpensive form of
PBR vitamins and exercise.
Alright, let’s do this so I can get back to
watching Twilight VERY IMPORTANT other things I have to do! The Vampire and the Vegan is by first time novelist, Merlene Alicia Vassall. Her writing style is fast paced and ‘easy to read’, yet (and this drives me crazy) she is a writer that spoon feeds! I always get the impression authors who do this have no faith in their readers to remember any details, so they must keep repeating themselves over and over and over again. I dislike it immensely. I WANT STRONG CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT! I WANT MYSTERY!
That being said, The Vampire and the Vegan takes place in D.C., through the eyes of a vampire named Pearl. I wish I could give you some background into her character, but…there isn’t much. It seems her (undead?) life revolves around her dinners, which consist of men hoping to get lucky with her. Pearl chooses her victims based on their ‘necromantic energy’; an energy that lingers in their bodies from the animals that they eat — the more horrifying and hideous the death/slaughter of the meat consumed, the more appealing the energy is to her. Pearl can actually visualize, while feeding on these men, the deaths of the animals they have eaten in their lifetime. This is where Vassell shines as a writer - illustrating in very descriptive terms, the inhumane and terrifying ways that factory farmed animals (even a lobster in a fish tank) are treated and killed. When it comes to veganism, Vassell can intellectualize it! Unfortunately, that makes parts of this book read more like a ‘Why Vegan?’ pamphlet than a novel.
When our narrator, Pearl meets her neighbor Salaam, he invites her up to his apartment to share his Thai take-out, which happens to be…VEGAN! She begrudgingly joins him, all the time wondering why she doesn’t want to make him dinner, but -OH! his body isn’t saturated with the ‘necromantic energy’ she so craves. Tofu just doesn’t do it for her.
Soon enough, Pearl and Salaam become friends, as Pearl lives a very lonely, isolated life. Salaam begins to teach her everything there is to know about being vegan! She feels so guilty as she keeps consuming human animals!
This book got pretty good reviews on Amazon, and from watching this video featuring Vassar, I have to admit I like her. I just don’t think horror/fiction is the right genre for her. The book is not scary, not funny, the sexy times are not hot or sexy (maybe because the term ‘making love’ totally freaks me out), the characters are pretty one dimensional and there is NO VAMPIRE LORE (traditional or made up — Stephanie Meyer, I’m talking about you and your ‘vegetarian’ vampires.). Vassar’s background is as a grant writer, and I feel it shows in her writing style. She’s excellent at addressing the hows and whys surrounding veganism - describing the slaughters, espousing nutritional information and explaining how to live the lifestyle. Unfortunately, she falls short at transforming and flowing that knowledge into a work of fiction.
Even though I didn’t particularly like this book, I still want to applaud Vassel for finding a new and creative way of addressing and promoting veganism. According to some of the reviews on Amazon, her readers want to stop consuming as much meat, even abstain altogether. That, my friends, is a job well done! Admittedly, when I’m drunk on
PBR, the wonders of vitamins and exercise, I do things like (GASP!) judge a book by it’s title — I was hoping for a work of ‘camp’ filled horror, or lust; ideally, BOTH. I’m not going to lie to you, I’ve seen every episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, more than once. And I’ve got an R Patz calendar hanging by my bed. (My bed covered in Twilight sheets from Hot Topic! J/K, I have no idea if Hot Topic carries Twilight sheets. I’m also not almost 30 and sleep in a twin bed. Covered in Edward Cullen sheets.)
Okay bakers, let’s do this! ‘Pie or Die!…part deux’, is coming to San Francisco, courtesy of SF Food Wars. It’s being held at The Ferry Building and they are looking for competitors! Pull out your aprons, your oven mitts, your rolling pins and get to work! Be creative, be classic, I don’t care, JUST MAKE THE BEST VEGAN PIE OF YOUR LIFE! (Pies? Must be enough to sample out to AT LEAST 70 peeps.) Enter to compete here.
The competition takes place Saturday, June 12 and is free to enter to compete! But space is limited to only 20 competitors, so sign up RIGHT NOW!! (Don’t even worry about finishing this post. Seriously. Sign up. Now.) Pie must be sweet (as opposed to savory) and feature at least one ingredient from the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market. You can do this! Vegansaurus believes in you!
At first I was really turned off by the name of this event. It looks amazing though. Really eye opening. Especially the girl carrying the “This is what I wore when I got molested. Tell me it was my fault again. I DARE YOU” sign.
I understand some of the criticisms being made about the SlutWalks and those folks have every right to level those criticisms. That said, I stand with SlutWalk and believe it is fiercely important to draw attention to and help dismantle rape culture. If radical feminists don’t like it, then please go back to the 1980s.
I quit being lonely. Fall of 2009. I had just moved back to California, from Chicago, I was determined. To be vulnerable. To put myself out there. Date again? Maybe. Definitely not spend so much time alone.
Two months in, I got mugged outside my house. Attacked, physically assaulted…it was pretty traumatic.
A week later my Grandpa died. I talked to him on the phone the day he died. He wanted to make sure I was okay after the mugging.
I was supposed to go to Chicago for a wedding, the weekend after I got mugged. I asked my parents what I should do, while they were helping me move out of the house I had just been attacked outside of. My mom said I should stay, come home, work on finding a new place to live. So we canceled my flight and I had to back out of a wedding invite at the last minute. Use the time off to recuperate.
I was with my mom when she got the phone call late that Friday night, from my Grandma, telling us we needed to come, the Fire Department was at their house.
A mere few hours earlier, I had talked to my Grandpa, assuring him I was alright, and yes, we loved each other and it was flattering to be invited to live with them in the Peninsula, if I couldn’t find a suitable place in the greater Bay Area.
We drove, the hour and a half, from Discovery Bay to Redwood City, not sure what we’d find when we got there. My dad, an airline pilot for Delta, was in NY. I had to call his phone, and tell him we were in distress.
I wanted Grandpa to just be having another heart attack that he’d pull through of. I told myself I’d do anything- stop eating, stop loving, stop anything, JUST BE ALIVE. I didn’t know. No person I’d been as close to, had died, just pets, of old age. I was sure he’d make it. He still had so much living to do! I had moved back cause I promised him! We still had more time!
His body was still there, when we arrived. My Grandma was so worried for me, she told me not to go in the room. Grandpa was there, Auntie Lisa was in there, I had never seen a dead body before. He looked so peaceful, finally. And he was still warm.
I had to call my dad. I had to call my sister. I wanted to. My mom and aunt — what do you do when your daddy is gone?
I had to call the mortuary and ask ‘what is taking so long’? I’ll never forget seeing him taken out with a sheet over his body. I’ll never forget my Grandma saying goodbye. I’ll never forget the night my mom, my grandma and my aunt and I all slept in the same bed together, wishing, hoping it hadn’t happened.
I stopped carrying grudges, I stopped getting mad over little stuff, I cried a lot, my heart broke in a way I don’t think it will ever heal, and I stopped being lonely.
Your friends are the family you choose. And if you are as fortunate as me, you have a family you’d pick anyway, even if they drive you mad.
My Handsome Grandpa. Mr Muscle Beach 1955. He was in a movie you may have heard of….”The 10 Commandments’.
The love of my life! Nine years now. When she was purring next to me this morning, I thought, ‘man,this is longest relationship I’ve ever been in. And it doesn’t feel like work.’ Do people feel this way, when they wake up next to each other? Like, you’ve scared me, I’ve bailed you outta jail (animal shelter, not her fault, but she’s microchiped now), I feed you, I’ve taken care of you when you’re sick, and you do all those things for me! (Well, she doesn’t pay rent, she can’t contribute to food or vet bills, but, she takes care of me when I’m sick, when I’m lonely..)
I have the perfect companion.
I thought there was no room in my heart for dogs. Cats — I understand them. They are moody, picky, sassy, make no qualms about wanting to scratch your eyes out if you mess with them and when they love you - it’s like being initiated into a super secret club in which you two are the only members. My cat is a little different as she likes to whore herself all over all my visitor’s laps (I have no idea where she learned that from…..)
My cold, dark heart began to melt last summer when I met my sister’s dogs, Jake and Billy. They loved me the instant they met me, (I do always appreciate having the upper hand) and followed me around as if I was the leader of their playful, slobbery doggie pack.
(Billy and Jake. Jake suffers from red eye, much like myself)
But now, it’s official. Toby has stolen my heart and is running with it. I read this little guy’s updates everyday, and just bought the homemade vegan dog biscuits for Jake and Billy. Hopefully my sister will be able to give me a review by the end of the week!
Toby is having a slew of medical problems, yet his ‘parents’ John and Veronica can see the fight in his eyes and are doing everything they can to get him healthy again.
John explained to me “Toby is family, by choice we don’t have kids, our dogs are our kids. Toby has a shot at a normal (or closely monitored normal-sh) life but he needs time to get regulated. The idea to sell the biscuits was inspired by the Apron Campaign (http://theaproncampaign.blogspot.com/) which I got Veronica for her birthday last year. We looked for ideas of what we could do to help raise money for Toby so we could afford to keep his treatment going.”
(Toby and his ‘sis’, Meg)
I’m rooting for you Toby! If we lose you, I’ll never find it in my heart love dogs again! Okay, not true. You’ve actually opened my eyes to the adorable world of dogs, and perhaps one day, when I have the living space, I will have a pooch companion.
Toby, I love you so!
(Pictures by John and Veronica except of Jake and Billy - that’s from my sis! All used with permission!)
In the words of my roommate, Crystal Paul (who makes amazing vegan macncheese, check it out, yo) “I can get up when my uterus stops hating me”.
Thanks! I felt so self conscious after writing that, like, WHY AM I USING THE INTERNET AS A DIARY? But I always appreciate when other people do it, I feel less alone.
Thank you so much. I am really excited to start reading your blog! Did I misread, or do you live in Chicago??