Food, Inc. and reading some books, including The China Study (ok, I didn't read it cover to cover, it's a bit dense), I was appalled enough at the state of food production in America to give it a go. I was pleasantly surprised that a diet based on vegetables, fruits, and grains was delicious. Not only that, but as an avid home cook, I was having fun using new cooking techniques and ingredients. I even started to experiment cooking with greens, including kale, which I have always been grossed out by.
All that being said, you might be looking at the picture above and thinking, ummm, that french toast isn't looking so healthy. And it is not by any means. It's deep fried bread, for Pete's sake. But it was tasty and I'd like to think proves that vegan cooking is way more than rabbit food. The recipe comes from a cookbook called Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites and has all kinds of sumptuous recipes like Chorizo and Potato Lasagna Bake, Fruity Creamsicle Whoopie Pies, and Coconut Creme Brulee Baked Oatmeal. The french toast sticks you see above is the first recipe I have tried and it was delicious. Of course, the kids liked it (but then again, anything with maple syrup is always welcomed).
I'm certainly not exclusively vegan, or even completely vegetarian, but I do tend to cook that way a lot these days. So you'll see a lot of posts with vegan recipes and I hope you might consider giving them a try.
French Toast Dipsticks
vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp. evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup vanilla-flavored non-dairy milk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 loaf hearty artisan French bread, stale is best
Powdered sugar, for serving
Warm maple syrup, for serving
Preheat the oil to 350. (I used a large, deep stockpot) In a shallow dish, combine the flour sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the milk and vanilla and stir to combine until there are virtually no lumps. Cut the bread into strips about 4-6 inches long and 1 inch thick and wide. Dip each strip of bread into the batter and place in the hot oil using tongs. If using a deep fryer, it should take only 5-10 seconds to get nice and golden and crispy. If using a frying pan, place on one side for 5-10 seconds, then flip and repeat until both sides are golden and crispy.
Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Sprinkle with the powdered sugar and serve with the the warm maple syrup for dipping.
Yield: 12-16 dipsticks
From Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman, Fair Winds, 2011.