Wordless Wednesday: I Love You a Whole Brunch

Peace Cheese – Sun-dried Tomato & Roasted Garlic Cream Cheese

Paris Sweet Crêperie – Vegan Savory Crepe

Mr. Natural – Tofu Scramble

Drink at Fareground – Bloody Mary

Brunch Bird – French Toast

Bistro Vonish – Pistachio-Almond Swirl

Goldie Lox and the Three Beets

Once upon a time, there was a little vegan that was invited to brunch. At the table in the kitchen, there were three types of cured vegetables. The little vegan was hungry. They tasted the tomato topping from the first bowl.

“This one is too fishy!” they exclaimed.

So, they tasted the carrot strips from the second bowl.

“This one is too bland,” they said.

Finally, they tasted the golden topping in the last bowl.

“Ahhh, this one is just right,” they said happily, and piled it high on an everything bagel with cream cheese.

And that’s the story of how Goldie Lox came to be.

There are many vegan smoked salmon options in the sea of plant-iful alternatives, most of which are really quite good, but none that I would crave. Carrot lox have come close, though are naturally just a touch too sweet, which overrides some of the more subtle seasoning.

One day, while fawning over a beautiful bouquet of leafy gold beets, it hit me. The pun was too perfect; it was meant to be.

Briny but not super salty, oceanic but not overtly fishy, silky and not mushy, rich but not unctuous. It’s a delicate balance that defines the best smoked salmon substitute. Mild-mannered gold beets make the best base, shining from beneath any garnishes with a gorgeous golden glow as a side benefit.

Beyond bagels, consider greater serving adventures, such as…

  • Tossing into a crisp green salad
  • Chopping finely and mixing with cream cheese and mayonnaise for an unbeatable dip
  • Wrapping around cucumber or carrot sticks for a killer app
  • Lavishing over avocado toast
  • Mixing with pasta and cream sauce
  • Blending with almonds or cashews to make a rich pate
  • Folded into an eggless omelette

While this fairy tale will definitely end with “happily ever after,” when you have Goldie Lox show up for brunch, that’s only the beginning of this story.

Continue reading “Goldie Lox and the Three Beets”

Ruffle Some Feathers

For all its ready-made convenience, frozen phyllo dough can still be a beast to work with. Forget to thaw it out overnight and you’ll be stuck waiting for hours until it’s pliable. Wait too long, however, and it’ll become as brittle as a dried out twig. Bake it too close to the heating element and the top will burn before the center ever feels a blush of warmth. Under-cook a carefully layered tower, and all your intricate assembly can turn into one murky morass of pastry. It’s enough to make you want to crumble the whole sheet into a ball.

Well, have I got the dish for you! Ruffled milk pie is exactly the catharsis for anyone that’s struggled to deal with fickle phyllo. Traditionally a sweet type of galatopia, which in the simplest terms is just a Greek milk pie. Sometimes there’s semolina involved, sometimes it takes the form of a crustless baked pudding, but the best ones involve that gossamer-thin golden pastry, phyllo.

Before you slam the freezer door shut on this idea, hear me out. Rather than stacking up sheet after sheet in a precarious towering column, all you need to do is roll them into little rosettes, fit them into a pan, and bake without a worry in the world. Since the bottom is immersed in custard, the lower sheets stay soft like bread pudding, while the tops that jut out become shatteringly crisp, without any careful oven calibration required.

Naturally, I could never do anything completely traditional, so my version is savory rather than sweet, designed as a showstopping entree for any brunch, garden party, celebration, or casual affair. It’s so quick and versatile that there’s no reason why you couldn’t just whip it up on some random Tuesday, too. A blend of chickpea flour and nutritional yeast gives it a distinctly eggy flavor, like a quiche or frittata with the crust on top.

Fresh mint and lemon zest add bright pops of flavor in every bite, highlighting tender fresh asparagus that’s woven throughout the matrix of phyllo and custard. Any seasonal vegetable would be fantastic here:

  • Consider peas or chopped artichokes for a change of pace while spring is in high gear.
  • For summer, switch it up with diced zucchini, green beans, corn kernels, or bell peppers.
  • When fall comes around, beets, diced pumpkin, or acorn squash would make a vibrant splash.
  • Finally, consider some wintry options like shredded Brussels sprouts, carrots, or chopped kale to see you through the colder months.

There’s truly never a bad time or place for such a versatile, deeply satisfying, and reasonably healthy meal. It’s certainly a good reason to embrace phyllo again, even if you’ve been burned before. This one is perfect for beginners and believers alike.

Continue reading “Ruffle Some Feathers”

Brunch Like a Boss

Move over, breakfast; brunch is really the most important meal of the day. More inclusive for those who sleep late, anyone can enjoy this timeless meal. Balancing sweet and savory cravings through a variety of equally comforting and energizing options, it doesn’t have to be fancy to hit the spot. Make every bite count, especially during Veganuary, by starting with the best vegan brands.

Nature’s Fynd has all the staples you need to take your brunch game to the next level, effortlessly. Using their Fy™ nutritional fungi protein base to build both meatless breakfast patties and dairy-free cream cheese, it’s unlike anything else on the market. This is a complete vegan protein with all 9 essential amino acids that’s grown using a fraction of the water, land, and energy compared to traditional animal products. Whether you want to reduce your impact on the environment, eat healthier, or make more compassionate choices, it’s an easy decision when building your Veganuary meal plan.

Plus, most importantly from a culinary perspective, it tastes amazing.

Build a better bagel sandwich with a schmear of Original Cream Cheese, so smooth and spreadable that you’d think it was softened butter. In fact, it even melts into the toasted surface of a still-warm slice of toast, infusing all that goodness right into the bread itself. It’s perfect for either sweet or savory applications, which makes it incredibly versatile.

Use it to slather on pancakes, or stuff French toast! Strawberry jam is my jam, personally, which creates an experience not unlike cheesecake filling that you can justify eating as an entree.

Step it up with Chive & Onion Cream Cheese for an aromatic allium twist, made with real vegetables rather than weak flavorings and extracts. Fresh, bold, and bright, it adds an extra zing to just about anything. Don’t limit yourself to using it solely as a topper; a dollop livens up a simple scramble, adding richness and umami in one fell swoop. Be it tofu, lentil, or chickpea-based, this plate of plant-based eggs will wake your taste buds right up, even before the first cup of coffee.

For a meatier main, look no further than the Original Meatless Breakfast Patties. Juicy and tender, all you need to do is heat and eat for perfect results every time. Notably high in protein but low in fat, you can’t beat these nutritional facts. They have 75% less fat than pork sausage per serving, too. Pair with hearty hash browns for an instant brunch bowl, balanced and deeply satisfying in a flash. Subtle herbs and spices add nuance to each bite, keeping you coming back for more, while still playing nicely with any other accompaniments invited to the party.

Meatless Maple Flavored Breakfast Patties provide a more complex study of contrasts, bringing together the woodsy, earthy flavor of real maple syrup with savory seasonings. Ideal for those who want a little bit of everything, you don’t have to make any sacrifices here. In fact, you can use them to enhance other goodies like pancakes or waffles by chopping them up and mixing them right into the batter. Since I’m a big fan of filling up all the crevasses of my Belgian waffles with all the syrup they can hold, this is a way to boost that flavor without going overboard on sugar.

The real beauty of brunch is that there’s no one way to do it, all through Veganuary and beyond. Especially if you start with Nature’s Fynd on the table, you’ll always wake up on the right foot.

This post was made possible as a collaboration with Nature’s Fynd. My opinions can not be bought and all content is original. This page may contain affiliate links; thank you for supporting my blog!

The Early Bird Catches the Brunch

The early bird catches the plant-based worm, if you can find it hidden within this upscale corner store. Brunch Bird has taken nest inside RiverCity Market, thoroughly hidden without proper signage. You just have to trust that it exists, and if you truly believe, your faith will be rewarded with some amazing meatless fare.

We’re taking monster burgers with legit (dairy-free!) blue cheese and sauteed mushrooms, paired with spuds slathered with an impossibly rich, savory gravy, or for the sweet tooth, stuffed French toast loaded with cream cheese and raspberry jam. They go HARD on bold flavor, pulling no punches when it comes to sourcing quality, local ingredients. You’ve got your Easy Tiger ciabatta for the sandwiches, Rebel Cheese bringing the funk, and so many more local stars shining brightly within these chefs’ confident hands.

Don’t sleep on the masterfully brined carrot lox, perched atop crisp toast and adorned with a genuinely runny, spherified eggless yolk. Golden rivulets bath each bite; it’s the runny crown jewel on this dazzling dish.

A menu like this is the stuff of dreams, but also worth waking up for. Luckily, you don’t even need to set an alarm, since they’re open until 5PM everyday.

Brunch Bird
2209 S Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704