Bryanna Clark Grogan

Bryanna Clark Grogan

Posted November 18, 2010

Published in Food, Lifestyle

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Read More: artisan bread, beer batter, bread, chocolate cake, crusty bread, fried oyster mushrooms, grape focaccia, gyoza, mudpie cake, Newman-O's, potstickers, sweet n sour, vegan tempura, vegetable tempura

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Newman-O's Original (vegan "Oreos")

I had plans to start experimenting with various items on my list right away, but, to tell you the truth, I'm having a little vacation from serious cooking after the weeks of cooking for photographs!  In addition, I've been diagnosed with something called a "Bakers cyst" behind my left knee, so I'm supposed to rest my leg.  So, I was being a bit lazy today and started thinking about foods that really tempt me when I'm down in the dumps-- guilty pleasures.  I didn't want to actually eat any of them, as I've got to lose some weight gained in the last few weeks of cooking more elaborate meals than we are used to, but I thought it might be fun to make a list of some of my vegan "guilty pleasures" in the food department.

Below is my baker's dozen list of indulgences (it could be longer, but I have to stop somewhere!), which includes some things that we only indulge in about once a year, some items that we only eat in restaurants, and at least one that is very mundane!  None of them is a complete loss nutritionally, but they are all quite rich, sometimes downright oily-- definitely not everyday food for me!
UPDATE:  I had to add another one, so it's 14 now!

So what are your guilty pleasures?  (Food only please!)

14 of mine are:

#1: Newman-O's Original-- a once or twice a year indulgence!  I like the traditional version!

#2: Peppery Chinese deep-fried oyster mushrooms-- we have these at the World Vegetarian Restaurant in Vancouver, a Buddhist vegetarian restaurant that was formerly the Bo Kong, on Broadway and 14th.  So yummy!  Here's a recipe, but use vegetarian "chicken" broth powder and use black pepper. There's a western version from Chef Ken Bergeron here.

#3: Brown Basmati Rice with Earth Balance! I don't know why, but I crave this sometimes!  (Generally I don't "butter" my rice!)

#4: Glazed Yeast Doughnuts-- a childhood favorite!

#5: Potato Kibbeh (recipe here), a Middle Eastern specialty made from  bulgur wheat, mashed potatoes, herbs, onions and LOTS of olive oil!  It's so delicious, but it just does not lend itself to low-fat versions!

#6: Vegetable Tempura (recipe below), another fried dish that we indulge in almost exclusively at Japanese restaurants, though our Japanese friends serve it sometimes and I make it once or twice a year.  I particularly like sweet potato tempura.

The odd time that I make it, here's the recipe I use:

Printable Recipe
This is James Scarfo's (my husband's stepdaughter's husband!!) recipe:
3/4 cup beer (not dark)
3/4 cup cake or pastry flour (not self-rising)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 small sweet potato
vegetable oil for deep-drying
1 small red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rings
6 asparagus spears, trimmed
Optional: vegetarian "shrimp", about 12
Accompaniment: soy sauce for dipping, if desired
In a bowl, whisk the beer into the flour until smooth and stir in salt.  Keep the batter cold--place the bowl in a bowl of ice. This makes a crispier product.
Peel sweet potato and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. If you use the veggie "shrimp", Make several shallow cuts across inside curve of each "shrimp" and press shrimp gently (to help prevent curling during cooking).
In a 3-quart saucepan heat 2 inches oil to 375°F.
Working in batches of 3 or 4 pieces, dredge shrimp, sweet potato slices, bell pepper rings, and asparagus spears in batter to coat completely, letting excess drip off, and fry, turning, until golden, about 3 minutes.
Transfer tempura as fried to brown paper or paper towels with tongs to drain.
Serve tempura with soy sauce. This recipe makes 2 servings. 
#7: Vegan Pecan Pie-- need I say more? I'll post my recipe around Christmas time.

#8: Gyoza-- potstickers!  My recipe here.

#9: Grape Focaccia-- I eat WAY too much of this fall treat if it's around! (Recipe here.)

#10: Crusty Artisan Bread dipped in good olive oil! (Recipes here andhere.)

#11: Almost any kind of chocolate cake!  Below is my very simple"Mudpie Cake" with a coffee icing.

#12: Chinese Crispy "pork" with Sweet and Sour Sauce, from my Chinese cookbook, made with fried TVP chunks. (Recipe here.)

And last, but not least....

#13: Flaky biscuits with Earth Balance and jam

Barbara commented about her love of Fritos corn chips, which reminded me of yet another guilty pleasure, so I had to add it:

#14: Kettle Brand Sea Salt Potato Chips!  I can't have them in the house or I'll eat them all!

Enjoy your guilty pleasures!