Brunch: Tiramisu Pancakes and Kale and Egg Scramble

Weeks ago, I got an email from VegNews containing a recipe for Vegan Tiramisu Pancakes.  I immediately forwarded the email to Lindsey and a few girlfriends, and started planning when I could justify making such a decadent breakfast.  I ended up scheduling two brunches, since, unsurprisingly, a lot of my friends were intrigued.  The first of the two was last weekend.  I can’t wait for round 2, scheduled for Cinco de Mayo!

Brunch.  My favorite meal!

Brunch. My favorite meal!

Obviously, I have a bit of a brunch obsession.  My friend and I went all out.  We poured some mimosas, mixed up a colorful fruit salad with pears, clementines, blueberries, and rasperries, and made eggs with some of the vegetables I had on hand.  The resulting kale, onion, thyme, and egg scramble was delicious!  It was a great, savory dish to balance out the sweet pancakes.

Fruit salad

Fruit salad

Now about those pancakes…

I didn’t read the instructions thoroughly, so I overlooked the chill time in the whipped cream instructions.  Our coconut cream ended up as more of a syrup replacement than whipped cream.  While I recommend following the original instructions, our resulting cream tasted awesome, and added a bit of extra moisture to the pancakes.  We made a few other modifications, just based on the ingredients we had.  Some of them I will be repeating!

Pancakes and Eggs

Pancakes and Eggs

Vegan Tiramisu Pancakes

Recipe by Chloe Coscarelli, slightly modified

For the Coconut Whipped Cream

  • 13.5 ounce can full-fat coconut milk, chilled
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting

For the Pancakes

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground hazelnut coffee*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Malibu coconut rum**
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips (dairy-free), plus more for garnish
  • Canola oil, for greasing

*Original recipe: instant espresso powder

**Original recipe: dark rum

For the whipped cream, chill the bowl and whisk of a hand mixer in freezer for 10 minutes.  Skim the solidified cream from the can of coconut milk, and transfer solids to the bowl.  Do not include the coconut water.  Add powdered sugar and whip until cream begins to stiffen.  Chill whipped cream in an airtight container for 3 hours to 1 day before serving.

For the pancakes, whisk flour, baking powder, coffee/espresso, and salt in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, whisk water, maple syrup, and rum.  Add the wet mixture into the dry and mix until just combined.  Gently fold in the chocolate chips.  Do not overmix.

Lightly oil a large, nonstick skillet, and heat over medium-high heat.  Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto skillet, and cook until bubbles appear in center.  Flip with a spatula, and cook other side for about 1 minute, until golden-brown.  Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil when needed.  If batter becomes too thick, add 1 tablespoon of water.

To serve, top pancakes with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of powdered sugar and chocolate chips.

So much to love

So much to love

We ended up with a lot of leftover coconut cream.  I threw some of it into the blender with fruit the next day for a tasty dessert smoothie.  Yum!

While I’m not a vegan, I enjoy vegan recipes.  I generally avoid dairy products, so vegan baking is usually safer for me.  After making (and devouring) these pancakes, I can’t wait to pick up a copy of Chloe’s book, Chloe’s Vegan Desserts!

What are your favorite brunch recipes?

New favorites

My new favorites

Happy eating!

-C

Mocha Coconut Oatmeal

“The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.” (Source)

It’s no secret that I love oatmeal.

Mocha coconut oatmeal

Mocha coconut oatmeal

While a basic bowl is always delicious, sometimes I wake up feeling indulgent–and this bowl certainly is, with coffee AND chocolate mixed in. But an indulgent morning is about more than food.

Breakfast is served

Breakfast is served

Cooking helps me to slow down and to see the details within the everyday routine of my life. Starting my day with a bit of breakfast indulgence means more than adding chocolate to my oats, it means taking time to create a breakfast lovely enough to photograph and unique enough to make the day “special.”

Indulging in my morning means really noticing they way the soft spring sunlight streams into my apartment; feeling connected to my husband as we sit on the couch to eat breakfast and watch the Today show together; not responding to the inevitable buzz of my phone as work emails start to come in.

Coconut cream on top

Coconut cream on top

I increasingly find myself wanting to resist the “busy trap” of modern society, even as I say “yes” to too many things and inevitably overcommit myself. I need reminders that idleness is healthy, and spending time in the kitchen helps me to do just that. So oatmeal like this becomes a small way in which I am able to slow down and indulge a little, to notice the details and to enjoy my morning routine a bit more.

Digging in

Digging in

Mocha Coconut Oatmeal

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 banana, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (full fat, from a can)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon raw cacao powder
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • top with coconut cream*, coconut flakes, and cacao nibs

*Place can of coconut milk in the freezer for 30 minutes. Skim coconut cream off the top. Pour the remaining liquid into ice cube trays and freeze for later use (in smoothies).

Method

Combine oats, banana, coffee, coconut milk, water, cacao powder, and cayenne in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir vigorously to combine. Cook about 5 minutes; transfer oats to a bowl; top with coconut cream, cacao nibs, and coconut flakes. Indulge!

Morning indulgence

Morning indulgence

How do you find small ways to slow down and indulge throughout your day?

-L

Touring and Tasting San Francisco

Last week, two of my best friends from Texas finally came to visit.  I’ve talked San Francisco up quite a bit over the years, so I knew they were arriving with high expectations.  One of my favorite things about San Francisco is the diversity of the city.  Each neighborhood is distinctly different, and I wanted to show them as many areas as possible.  We ate our way through the city, taking in the sights as we went.

San Francisco, from the Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco, from the Golden Gate Bridge

Day 1: Come Fly With Me

Before picking my friends up at the airport Wednesday night, I made a batch of banana muffins, using Jenna’s banana bread recipe as a guide.  If you have not yet read her book, White Jacket Required, I highly recommend it!  These little muffins were great to have available for breakfast or snacks while my friends were in town.

Banana Muffins

Banana Muffins

The girls arrived hungry after a long flight.  We dropped their luggage at my apartment, then went straight to the Blue Jay Cafe for dinner.  This colorful little spot serves up hearty comfort food at low prices.  They have an extensive side list, full of tasty options, so 2 of us ended up ordering plates of sides.  Our favorites were the mac and cheese and brussels sprouts, with sweet potato fries close behind.  We chatted the night away, finally falling into bed in the wee hours of the morning.

Day 2: Coffee, Carne, and Cacao

Cafe Au Lait

Cafe Au Lait

Thursday morning I had a client to see in the Financial District.  My friends came along and stopped at Coffee Bar, a small cafe that I frequent, while I went to the studio to teach.  As soon as I was through, we hit the ground running!  My roommate, another friend from Texas, joined us as we walked to the Ferry Building and grabbed lunch at Il Cane Rosso.  All 4 of us ordered the sunchoke soup.  I paired it with half a pork sandwich, and the girls both had half a beef brisket sandwich.  It was all delicious!

Pork Sandwich and Sunchoke Soup

Pork Sandwich and Sunchoke Soup

After perusing the shops at the Ferry Building, we continued up the Embarcadero to Tcho, my favorite chocolate maker in San Francisco.  I loved the chocolate tasting at Tcho after my tour a few months ago, and I was excited to experience it again.  The second tasting did not disappoint!  My friends liked the milk chocolate best, while I was partial to the “Nutty” dark chocolate.  This stop reminded one of my guests of a visit to Ghirardelli when she was a little girl.  We decided to make it a chocolate day, and continued walking to Ghirardelli Square.  We checked out the views from the square, rested briefly by a fire pit, then got some ice cream at the cafe.

Ghirardelli Square

Ghirardelli Square

I had planned to take the girls to Absinthe, but after a day of rich, sweet food, we were craving something a little lighter.  We ended up going to Lers Ros, also located in Hayes Valley, for Thai food instead.  We shared a green papaya salad with prawns, pad thai, and red curry with chicken.  By the time we walked home, we were all worn out!

Red Curry with Chicken

Red Curry with Chicken

Day 3: Around the World in 12 Hours

Anxious for something “normal”, I started Friday with coffee and a bowl of oatmeal at home before going to ballet class at ODC.  One of the Texas gals joined me, and we had a great time dancing together for the first time in 3 years.  The three of us teamed back up after class and went to lunch at La Boulange.  This French bakery has a number of locations in San Francisco.  It has good coffee, delicious pastries (almond croissants… mmmm), and nice salads and sandwiches.  My Nicoise salad was great, and the girls enjoyed their egg salad sandwich and quiche/soup combo.

Nicoise Salad

Nicoise Salad

We were joined by another dancer friend of mine, and journeyed through the Gates to China Town.  Spotting a familiar sign for free tea tasting, I led them into Vital Tea Leaf.  Lindsey and I had an amusing visit to this little store during her first visit to SF years ago.  Our favorite teas of the day were a rose green tea and lychee oolong.  The young woman helping us was full of information, and also full of smiles.  We hit the street again, taking in the sights and sounds of Chinatown.  Turning right on Jack Kerouac Alley, we ended up outside the famous City Lights Books.

Tea Tasting

Tea Tasting

We continued walking on Columbus Avenue, into North Beach.  After a little pick-me-up, AKA gelato, at a sweet shop, we walked up to Coit Tower.  We opted not to go inside, but we enjoyed walking around the tower, seeing the beautiful views of the City and the Bay.  Walking back down the hill, we stopped at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, arguably the best pizza in SF.  We shared a Cal Italia and a Margherita pizza.  All I can say is “YUM!”  The tour continued as we walked across Lombard Street to see the crooked block, consisting of 8 sharp turns.  Fun fact: Vermont Street is actually the most crooked street in San Francisco, though it is less of a tourist destination.

Cal Italia at Tony's

Cal Italia at Tony’s

The day concluded at the War Memorial Opera House, where we watched our friend perform with the renowned San Francisco Ballet.  The highlight of the program was Yuri Possokhov’s new Rite of Spring.  After the performance, we went to get a drink at Dobb’s Ferry with a couple dancers.

Coit Tower

Coit Tower

Day 4: It’s Always Sunny in the Castro

I had to neglect my post as tour guide on Saturday morning and go to work!  I met up with my friends to see the matinee performance of San Francisco Ballet’s Program 4.  I thought Scotch Symphony looked more solid than when I saw it last season, but my favorite piece of the day was Christopher Wheeldon’s Within the Golden Hour.  I was feeling restless after working at a desk all morning and sitting through the performance, so I was happy to move as we walked to the Castro.

Cosmos and Food

Cosmos and Food

My SF girlfriends and I used to frequent Cafe Flore to take advantage of their Saturday 2-for-1 special on Cosmos.  I was happy to share this spot with my Texas girls.  Cafe Flore has a a beautiful outdoor patio (with heat lamps), good food, and an entertaining staff.  After a drink and a late lunch/early dinner, we moved on to Hot Cookie.  As we ate our cookies, we continued wandering.  I gave a brief history lesson when we passed Harvey’s, but mostly stayed quiet as the girls took in the sometimes odd, but mostly awesome, neighborhood.

We ended the day at Cafe du Soleil, chatting over wine and coffee with a good local friend of mine and her out-of-town guest.  It was a great place to wind down!

Coffee

Coffee

Day 5: International Orange

Breakfast

Breakfast

The one thing my friends really wanted to do was walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.  Sunday morning, after grabbing coffee at Mojo Bicycle Cafe and pastries at the Divisadero Farmers’ Market, we made the trek to the bridge.  It was my first time to actually walk on the bridge!  I’ve biked across twice, but never have tackled it on foot.  It was a beautiful, sunny day, and we had a lovely walk across.  We wandered down through the Presidio, stopping to play around in Crissy Field, then went to the Marina.  Our first stop was lunch at The Grove.  After fueling up, we went window shopping.  We stopped at Kara’s Cupcakes for a treat before heading home to rest.  I had the special Bailey’s flavor, and my friends both had red velvet.  I want to play around with Bailey’s baked goods now!  It was so good.

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

My roommate joined us for dinner.  Tapas and sangria at Picaro!  We ordered calamares fritos, broccoli con almendras, pollo al ajillo, tortilla de patata, and patatas aioli.  The broccoli and tortilla de patata were my favorite dishes.  We had a great time catching up all together, and laughed a lot.  I’ve had some great nights at this restaurant, but Sunday will join the ranks as one of the best.  We moved on to Lion Pub, where we enjoyed some delicious margaritas.

Bailey's Cupcake

Bailey’s Cupcake

Farewell

We stopped at Cafe Abir Monday morning before driving to the airport.  I was sad to see them go, but was happy to have had so much time with them.  I hope they understand now why I love San Francisco!  We laughed a lot, ate a ton, and walked a grand total of 23 miles.  It was a wonderful few days!

San Francisco

San Francisco

Happy eating!

-C

Reflections on Brunch + Vegan Waffles

I love brunch.  Absolutely love it.  You get to eat excessive amounts of delicious food, spend time with friends and/or family, and enjoy a nice cup of joe (or even better… mimosas!).  I’m not sure exactly when my love for brunch began.  It was probably in high school when we had Sunday brunch every week with my grandparents.

Mmmhmm

Mmmhmm

Brunch is the perfect time to catch up with my girlfriends.  Unfortunately, a lot of my old brunch gang has relocated!  When I woke up late Sunday morning, I was craving a nice big brunch.  Since my girls were gone, I made myself a meal using things to remind me of them.

Waffle Iron and Coffee Maker

Waffle Iron and Coffee Maker.  Great gifts!

A great friend of mine gave me her waffle iron when she moved away, and I had not yet used it.  Waffles sounded perfect, but after going on a brinner (breakfast for dinner) kick last week, I was all out of eggs!  Enter vegan waffles.

Waffle and Fruit

Waffle and Fruit

Vegan Whole Wheat Waffles

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients.  Stir in soy milk and oil.  Pour into waffle iron and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Mug of Memories!

Mug of Memories!

I also made a nice cup of Green Mountain Coffee, using the handy dandy Keurig coffee maker that my sisters gave me a couple years ago.  I poured it into my new mug.  For Christmas this year, my best friend from home gave me a mug decorated with memories of our friendship.  It always makes me smile!

To finish off my meal, I topped some yogurt with bananas and blueberries.  It was the perfect way to start my day!

Mmmhmm

Mmmhmm

What are your favorite brunch dishes?

Happy Eating!

-C