appetizers

Completely Board Post #14: Mini Sausage-Cheese Scones

Veg-am's Completely Board - Vegan Month of Food 2014

I had a hard time deciding how to name this post because I set out to make one thing and ended up with something completely different.  Here’s the story…

I was inspired by this pin that was on Panda With Cookie‘s old blog.

Pin of Vegan Sausage Balls

It led me over to the I-40 kitchen for a recipe for Sausage Balls. I remember going to oh-so-many church events growing up that had the non-vegan version of these on the table.  Ten year old me thought she could live on these.  Thankfully, no one let me try.

So, I set out to re-create this treat from my childhood.  I didn’t get them.  But, I ended up with something that I think I liked even better.

First of all I had to overcome the bisquick problem.  There is a gluten-free bisquick, but there’s something in it I can’t eat (I think it’s a soy product, but I don’t remember).  So, I searched the web for a gluten free substitute.  I found this one.  Just a heads up that it actually makes a little more than 3 cups.  (For the potato starch/corn starch, I actually used a combo of those two)

Then there were the sausage and Worcestershire ingredients.  I don’t know of any vegan versions of these items that are both gluten and soy free.  So I set off to find alternatives.

For the sausage, I used the beefy variety of Beyond Meat Crumbles.  As I browned it, I mixed in 1/2 tsp sage, 1/2 tsp ground fennel, and a pinch of cayenne to give it a more sausage-y taste.

For the Worcestershire, I once again relied on my handy Google skills and found this site of substitutions which said to use “2 teaspoons soy sauce, 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice,1/4 teaspoon sugar and a dash of hot sauce for every tablespoon Worcestershire the recipe calls for.”  I used my usual substitute for soy sauce — Coconut Aminos.

So, I had all my ingredients, and I began to mix up my sausage balls.  It was SOOO dry.  John at the I-40 kitchen warned they’d be a little crumbly but would come together soon. I mixed for a couple minutes and still just a dry crumbly mess. Where did I go “wrong”?  Well, it could be that I browned the crumbles first which could have made them a little drier.  It could have been that gluten free flours are just often a little drier than all purpose flour.

Whatever happened, I knew the only way to come out with anything was to add liquid.  Out came the trusty almond milk.  I ended up using 3/4 cup before I got anything that would stick together.

What I didn’t think of is Bisquick+milk=biscuits.  I proceeded to brush a little olive oil on top to help with browning (it didn’t help that much) and pop those bad boys in the oven.  I did not end up with the greasy little sausage balls of my childhood.  What I did end up with was something remarkable: tiny little round scones.  Yes, the were sausagey and cheesy and biscuity.  Scones, I tell you, savory scones.  Next time, I may change them into a flatter shape so they look like a scone instead of being a poser sausage ball, but I won’t change anything else.  They were delicious!
Sometimes accidental food is the best food.  Ok, not usually.  But this time, it was completely true.  Below is the final recipe so that you don’t have to go through the notes above if you want to try them.

Gluten-Free Vegan Sausage – Cheese Mini Scones

Makes 35

Gluten Free Vegan Sausage Mini Scones

In a big bowl, combine:

2 c Daiya cheddar shreds
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 – 11 oz package Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles, browned with 1/2 tsp sage, 1/2 tsp ground fennel, and a pinch of cayenne (or cayenne to taste if you want more kick)
3 c gluten free bisquick substitute (despite the note on the recipe – it makes more than 3 cups)
1 t sage
1 t vegan Worcestershire (my sub = 1 tsp of this mixture — 2 teaspoons coconut aminos, 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice,1/4 teaspoon sugar and a dash of hot sauce)
1 t onion powder
a few drops liquid smoke
black pepper to taste
3/4 cup unsweetened original almond milk

Line baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350F.  Mix all ingredients except the almond milk and 1 Tbsp olive oil until well combined.  Add almond milk and mix to make a nice dough. Roll into balls (I haven’t tested flattening them into little biscuits yet, but I think that would work too to make them look more like scones) .Brush tops with remaining olive oil.  Bake 25-30 minutes.  They won’t brown much, but there’s a tiny bit of browning on the bottom and the biscuit dough will be thoroughly cooked.

Fig-Cashew “Goat Cheese”-Spinach Pinwheels

I’m so glad that this year Vegan MoFo is in September so that I could catch the end of fig season.  One of my favorite salads is spinach, topped with tangy “goat cheese”, sliced figs and a sweet red wine vinaigrette.  I wanted to see how I could combine some of those flavors in slightly different way.

This is actually one of the first things I attempted this month, but for some reason I have been putting off posting.  Procrastination stops here.

I’ll tell you up front that the dough was a little harder to work with than average, but the final result was well worth it.

Mildly sweet, mildly tangy, and dare I say, buttery.  These pinwheels give you something a little different with every bite.

Fig-Cashew "Goat Cheese" - Spinach Pinwheels | Veg-am

Fig – Cashew “Goat Cheese” – Spinach Pinwheels

The Filling:

Prepare ahead the Vegetarian Times “Goat Cheese”: Do steps 1 and 2 as written.  Follow step 3 up until the point of aging time.  About 5 hours is enough here as long as it doesn’t still have liquid dripping out (mine usually only has a couple drops drain out anyway).  No need to chill or bake.

Mix the “goat cheese”, spinach and almond milk.  Set aside.

Wash and thinly slice the figs.  Set aside.

The Dough:

  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp Garfava Flour
  • 3/4 cup Tapioca Starch
  • 2 tsp Gluten-Free Yeast
  • 1/2 Tbsp Xanthan Gum
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 3/4 cup Warm Water (about 110F)
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

In a stand mixer with a dough hook or a food processor with an s-blade, mix the dry ingredients.  Mix the wet ingredients and add to dry.  Mix/process until it starts to form a ball.  Remove from processor/mixer and set out to rise 20-30 minutes.  The dough will be sticky.  If you’ve done a lot of gluten-filled baking, it will seem that it’s too sticky and you should add more flour.  Don’t be tempted to do that.  This is harder to work with, but more flour will make it heavy and dry.

The Pinwheels:

Preheat the oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

To roll out the dough, you’ll need a wax paper working area.  Flour it well (use the garfava). Also do a dusting of flour on the ball of dough, your hands and your rolling pin.  As you roll out the dough, you will get some stickiness from the inside dough.  Sprinkle a little flour there too if it’s starting to stick to your pin.  Evenly roll out into a rectangle 1/8 thick.  (Sorry – I forgot to measure it, but I think it was about 12×14)

Spread the “cheese”-spinach mixture evenly across the dough.  (Don’t go all the way to back edge or it will squirt out when you roll it.  If that happens though, no big deal, just wipe it away with a paper towel. )

Evenly distribute the fig slices on top of the spinach mixture.

Using the wax paper, working from the long side of the dough, lift and roll toward the filling.  Peel the wax paper off the portion of the dough that has been rolled (this is where that initial flouring step is important).  Then continue rolling/peeling the wax paper off until you have completely rolled the dough up jelly roll style.

Slice the roll in about 3/4″ slices.  Place each slice on the parchment lined cookie sheet.  Because the dough doesn’t seem that substantial and the filling is a bit runny, you may need to shape the pinwheels with your hands a bit once you get it on the parchment.  (I honestly thought at this point that they mightn’t turn out as they were a bit flimsy)

Bake at 425F for 22-25 minutes until golden brown and filling set.  Let it cool a few minutes and then serve warm.

 

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Almond “Feta” Stuffed Dates

Years ago, before I went veg, I went to this little Persian restaurant that served an appetizer that I had never seen before.  It was just a plate of feta, walnuts, and parsley.  It became a fast favorite.  Something about those flavors and textures just worked.

I don’t remember when or how, but at some point in recent years, I decided it could only be made better by stuffing it into a date.  This is more of an idea than a strict recipe because you can make as much or as little as you want.  You need to plan ahead to make the “feta”, but once that’s done these are quick and easy.  They make a great snack, party finger food , or an appetizer to your favorite Mediterranean meal.

Almond "Feta" Stuffed Dates | Veg-am

Almond “Feta” Stuffed Dates

  • Medjool Dates
  • Vegetarian Times Almond Feta (I do it a little differently from the original, so my version is below)
  • Walnut Pieces or Halves
  • Fresh Parsley

Slit open each date lengthwise and remove pit.  Fill with almond “feta”.  Smoosh it down so it doesn’t crumble out and so the other ingredients will stick.  Place a line of walnut pieces (as pictured) or a walnut half on the feta and top with a leaf of fresh parsley.  Can be served immediately or made ahead and served the next day.

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Almond “Feta”

    • 11/ cup slivered almonds (these are already blanched)
    • ¼ cup lemon juice
    • ½ cup cold water
    • 3 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1/2 tsp crushed garlic (or 1 fresh garlic clove)
    • 1 ¼ tsp. salt

1. Place almonds in medium bowl  and cover with cold water. They will soak up some of the water so give it an inch or two of water above the almonds.  Let soak 12 hours. Drain soaking liquid, rinse almonds under cold running water, and drain again.

2. Purée almonds, lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt, and 1/2 cup cold water in food processor until VERY smooth and creamy, at least 6 minutes.  Probably more like 10.

3. Place strainer over bowl, and line with triple layer of cheesecloth. Spoon almond mixture into cheesecloth. Bring corners and sides of cloth together, and twist around cheese, forming into orange-size ball and squeezing to help extract moisture. If yours isn’t very liquid-y, don’t squeeze much or you’ll lose valuable cheese :)

Making Vegetarian Times Almond Feta | Veg-am    Making Vegetarian Times Almond "Feta" | Veg-am

4. Secure with rubber band or kitchen twine. Put the cheese, strainer and bowl in the refrigerator and chill 12 hours, or overnight. Discard excess liquid.  I rarely have any excess liquid beyond a few drops, but the chilling/aging time is important for the taste of the “feta”

5. Preheat oven to 200°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Unwrap cheese (it will be soft), and transfer from cheesecloth to prepared baking sheet. Flatten to form 6-inch round about 3/4-inch thick.

Making Vegetarian Times Almond "Feta" | Veg-am

6. Bake 80 minutes, or until the cheese has a nice little crust to the top and starts to crack.  Cool.  Then crumble into a container and chill.  I’ve kept this in the refrigerator for about 5 days with no problem.  It may keep longer, but it has never lasted that long at my house!

Making Vegetarian Times Almond Feta | Veg-am


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1 food 5 ways, Cashews, Way #1: Cashew Goat Cheese


This recipe has been floating around the internet for a couple years, but I’ve only recently tried it. And I LOVE it! Vegetarian Times’ pepper crusted cashew goat cheese takes some pre-planning, but with a food processor (or possibly even a good blender) it’s pretty easy. I can’t honestly tell you that it tastes just like goat cheese because I don’t remember what goat cheese tastes like. But it’s creamy, tangy, and all around delicious.

If you haven’t made this recipe before, I have a few tips for you:

  1. Make sure it’s really creamy before you take it out of the food processor. You don’t want ANY chunks of cashew left.
  2. In step 3 of the recipe where it says to drain out the extra liquid, don’t be concerned if you don’t get any liquid out. I don’t and it still turns out great. But DO give it the 12 hours to sit there and age even if it doesn’t need to drain.
  3. To get the cheese as firm as I think it should be, I cook it 50-60 minutes instead of the 35 as listed.
  4. Try it asap!!

For those to whom the recipe is not new, here are a few of the ways I like to use it. Hopefully at least one of them will be something new for you.

Rice cake with cheese and diced fresh peaches


Foodie Tortilla Pizza Wedges
Brown Rice Tortilla, Your favorite pesto (I whipped up a spinach based one), red bell peppers, shallots, crimini mushrooms and crumbled cashew goat cheese
Bake on pizza pan at 400 for 8-10 minutes until edges of tortilla are golden brown
Use as a meal or put out a platter full for appetizers


Pear- Cashew Goat Cheese-Walnut Salad

Spring Mix, 1/4 pear – seeded and sliced, walnut pieces, crumbled cashew goat cheese, dried cranberries and red wine vinegar-agave dressing (1.5 tsp of each)
The tart dressing and cheese against the sweet fruit is delish!

Fig-Cashew Goat Cheese-Walnut Salad
Same as above but replace spring mix with spinach, pears with sliced figs and leave out the cranberries (though they’d be good too)


Enjoy! I’ll be back tomorrow with way #2 to use cashews.
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