Corn and Cilantro Pancakes

Want to eat pancakes for dinner? Why not make them savory pancakes? I adapted this recipe from one I found on Eating Well for Corn and Basil Pancakes. The original recipe contained milk and eggs so I veganized it and swapped out cilantro for most of the basil. I’m pretty sure these would be amazing with just basil, but I had a lot of cilantro on hand.

Corn and Cilantro Pancakes

I also doubled the amount of batter per corn and cilantro because it didn’t look like there would be enough batter to hold everything together otherwise. They turned out really yummy! I served these with the cucumber dill salad from my last post and vegan crab cakes from Sophie’s Kitchen. These savory pancakes are perfect to make on a summer night with fresh corn!

Corn and Cilantro Pancakes

Ingredients:

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp Ener-G Egg Replacer powder mixed with 8 Tbsp warm water
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup soy milk
2 cups corn
1/2 cup fresh cilantro (+basil), chopped

Directions:

  • Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and ground black pepper together in a mixing bowl.
  • In a separate small bowl, whisk together the warm water and Ener-G Egg Replacer powder. Add this to the dry ingredients along with the olive oil and soy milk. Whisk it all together until combined, but don’t overmix.
  • Stir in the corn, cilantro, and basil.

Corn and Cilantro Pancake Batter

  • Heat a skillet over medium heat, and drizzle in a little olive oil. Using a measuring cup, scoop about 1/4 – 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake. Cook the pancakes until they start to bubble and the edge start to dry, then flip and allow the pancake to get golden brown.

CookingPancakes

  • Sprinkle some chopped cilantro on top, serve right away and enjoy!

 

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Vegan Adventures in Minneapolis

This month is shaping up to be quite busy, so I may be continuing on this one-post-per-week pace I seem to have gotten into. I chalk it up to having too many hobbies and too much to do! This past weekend I spent in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was my first time in Minnesota, and really my first time in the mid-west, besides a trip to Ohio years ago.

Whenever I travel I like to find a local vegan or vegetarian restaurant to try out. I wasn’t expecting tons of options in Minneapolis, but after a search on Happy Cow I found the Hard Times Cafe. The description on Happy Cow boasted vegan breakfast with pancakes, tofu scramble, seitan, and more. That definitely piqued my interest!

After reading the reviews  however, I was a bit wary. Reviewers warned about the dive bar/unkempt feel of the place, gross bathrooms, and disgruntled service, but mostly claimed that the food was good. After a bit of debating, my rumbling stomach and I decided to give it a try anyway. I can’t say I wasn’t forewarned of what I was getting into.

Let me preface this by saying that I really try to find the positives about a restaurant when I’m blogging about it. In general, I like to be supportive of any restaurant that is offering vegan options because I think it’s great that they exist. But this place was unlike any restaurant I’ve ever been to.

Let’s start at the beginning. The road in front of the restaurant was completely torn up, so it had the feel of a run down construction site from the beginning.

You walk in and there’s no menu posted on the wall. There’s just a big chalk board full of instructions about how to order your food. You have to find a menu, choose what you want, write it down on a slip of paper along with the price, and slide your slip of paper over to the cashier. The cashier wasn’t overly friendly, but not rude either. I placed my order and took a seat in a torn up booth. This place fit the description of being a dive pretty completely.

It was about 10am, and the music of choice was death metal… a little much for me before my morning caffeine. The way that they alert you to your order being ready is to have the rather disgruntled chef scream loudly, “HEY! (PERSON’S NAME)!” It was quite alarming the first time it happened, but by the time my order was ready I had gotten quite used to it. So I heard a “HEY! KATHRYN!” and I wandered up to pick up our food.

What we got was one giant pancake, two sausage patties, and a plate full of hash browns, tofu scramble, and biscuits and gravy.

It looked good, but as soon as I tasted it, the predominant flavor was grease. There was really no seasoning, and it was so heavy I couldn’t eat much of it. The tea we ordered had the taste of cigarette butts. I don’t want to know why. I was really disappointed because the food was the one upside people talked about in the Happy Cow reviews. We ate less than half the food before we gave up on it.

I tried to take a photo of their front ordering area, and the chef screamed at me from the back that I couldn’t take any photos. I’ve taken photos at many restaurants and have never had anyone say anything to me, nevermind scream at me from across the restaurant. A polite or at least quieter, “We don’t allow photography,” would have sufficed.

So, although I try to find the positives about the vegan restaurants I visit, I can’t say that I could find any positives about this place. Oh wait! It was incredibly cheap, so there you go. It did provide me with a unique experience and a story to tell, so I don’t regret checking it out. Would I ever go back? No, no I wouldn’t. But chances are I won’t find myself in Minneapolis again anytime soon anyway.

The rest of the trip was quite nice though, and I did manage to find plenty of vegan food at stores nearby. The Minneapolis airport even surprisingly had vegan eggplant parmesan.

I saw the giant spoon bridge in the sculpture garden, and I went to the Mill City Museum. This museum charts the history of flour mills in Minneapolis – the Gold Medal brand and then later General Mills. In general, people in Minneapolis were quite friendly, but sadly, the Minneapolis vegans were the least friendly bunch, at least the few that I encountered. If I’d had more time, I would have liked to explore some of the other vegan options in Minneapolis… like the Triple Rock Social Club a few blocks over from Hard Times. They also have vegan pancakes and tofu scramble, and maybe a better atmosphere. Maybe next time!

Vegan Breakfast Month – Odd n’ Ends Breakfast Tips

My vegan breakfast themed month is nearing an end. Hopefully some of the recipes I’ve posted have given you some inspiration for new vegan breakfast options. I’ll wrap up the theme with a few odds n’ ends vegan breakfast tips that didn’t seem worthy of a entire blog post individually.

Pancakes:

I didn’t include a pancake recipe in the breakfast month, because vegan pancake recipes are pretty abundant and easy to find. I like making regular pancakes from scratch as well as various flavors like banana, apple oatmeal, etc. It’s pretty easy and quick to make pancakes from scratch, but if you want them even quicker, try out Cherrybrook Kitchen’s vegan pancake and waffle mix. It really can’t get much easier, and they turn out pretty well.

 

For veganizing baked goods recipes, I usually just switch out Ener-G Egg Replacer powder for the eggs, soy or almond milk for the milk, agave for honey, and Earth Balance vegan butter for butter or margarine. Most of the time recipes can be easily veganized using these or other substitutes.

Soy or Coconut Yogurt Parfait:

Making a parfait out of soy or coconut yogurt, some defrosted frozen berries, and your favorite granola is a simple and satisfying vegan breakfast. I like to pack this up to take to work with me. I put the frozen berries in with the yogurt. They keep it cold and are mostly defrosted by the time I get to work. Keep the granola in a separate container so it doesn’t get soggy. I’ll also sometimes eat this as a dessert when I want something sweet, but don’t want to eat something more sugary like ice cream or cookies.

Bagels:

Bagels are easy to grab on the go or take with you. If you haven’t already tried Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, it’s definitely worth a try. It can also be used in dessert recipes that call for cream cheese. The best bagels, in my opinion, come from NYC. If you live in New York or are here for a visit, I would recommend getting a bagel at Ess-a-Bagel. They have the best bagels I’ve ever had, and they also offer a variety of tofu cream cheeses including scallion, vegetable, raisin walnut, herb, and others. Another good bagel place is Russ & Daughters. It’s a small little store that was packed when I went, but they are surprisingly efficient. We were in and out really quickly. They also offer tofu cream cheese in plain, scallion, and vegetable.

Smoothies:

I’ve lost count of how many blenders I’ve broken trying to make smoothies, but they are tasty and a good way to start the day. My biggest tip is to use frozen fruit, and no ice. The frozen fruit won’t break your blender and won’t dilute the taste of the smoothie like ice will. Play with your favorite fruit or veggie combinations, add some soy or almond milk or some soy or coconut yogurt, a little peanut butter or almond butter, and throw in some vegan protein powders like hemp or soy protein for an extra boost. I would strongly advise not using pea protein. It just doesn’t taste very good, and it’s very dominant and difficult to mask.

Hot Cereals:

Oatmeal is a great staple for a vegan breakfast, but you can also branch out and try other hot cereals like cream of wheat, grits, rice, and other mixed grain cereals. Add some nuts, a little brown sugar or maple syrup, some raisins, and you have a filling and fairly healthy vegan breakfast.

Granola Bars:

If you need something quick that’s easy to take with you, a vegan granola bar is a good choice. There are two brands that I like, NuGo Organic and Pro Bar. These are also great to pack on a trip where vegan options might be limited. If you need a quick snack because you can’t find any vegan options, they’re great to have on hand.

The Rutherford Pancake House

Ah, vegan brunch…one of my favorite things! Breakfasts at restaurants tend to be heavy on eggs, cheese, sausage, and bacon, but I’m seeing more and more places offer vegan brunch options. One of my favorites is the Rutherford Pancake House.

It’s not a diner, but has that casual vibe. It’s not totally vegan, so they do have the usual breakfast fare, but there are lots of vegan options as well. My favorites so far are the vegan pancakes and the Vegan Roman Tofu Scramble.

Each week they also offer a special flavor of vegan pancake such as Red Velvet, Carrot Cake, Apple, Lemon Chiffon, Cranberry Orange, Oreo, Tiramisu, or Chocolate Avalanche. They have vegan pizza, quesadillas, nachos, sliders, among other tasty options. You can get soy milk for your coffee and vegan butter if you ask, and they have gluten free options as well.

Right now they are only open for brunch until 3pm, but they will soon be expanding their menu and staying open for dinner as well. They have a count down going on their Facebook page and in their front window. 17 days! I for one can’t wait. New York has a lot of vegan options, but on this side of the river the choices are a bit scarce.

Rutherford Pancake House is the perfect place to go with a  group of vegans and non-vegans because everyone will find something they’ll enjoy. The owners and staff are very friendly, and the food has been good every time I’ve eaten there.