Friday, June 20, 2014

Killer "Buttermilk" Biscuits & Gravy w/ Gardein Chick'n

Biscuits & Gravy

A lot of really "bad" foods are vegan.  I always tell people, "The less real the product is, the more vegan it is". Which is always funny to them, because they think of vegans as so healthy. That pillsbury buttercream frosting? Vegan. Not a lick of real butter in there. Your precious oreos with cream filling? Vegan. Not an ounce of cream in there. And as convenient and awesome as those products are, and as thankful as I was in my early vegan days for such modern conveniences, pre-made biscuits just don't hold a candle to the homemade ones.

I have a lot of comfort foods in my life, and these biscuits are one of them. Growing up, my parents always made those shamefully unhealthy, just-so-happen-to-be-vegan biscuits from a can (a can that pops really loud and scares the heck outta me no less). So when I finally started making them at home, I was baffled by how much better they are. Sure, they're a little misshapen, and their flakiness doesn't have that factory standard seal of approval, but they have a freshness and a lightness that you can't manufacture.  Topped with some awesome (and convenient) gardein strips and a killer gravy, I guarantee this will make you never want to buy a can of pillsbury biscuits again.

Killer "Buttermilk" Biscuits & Gravy 
Makes 8 big ole biscuits and enough gravy for all

Biscuits (recipe below)
  1/2 cup raw cashews
  2 tbsp earth balance
  1 tbsp olive oil
  1/2 cup chopped mushrooms of your choosing, I use portobellos
  1 shallot finely chopped
  1 tbsp chopped fresh poultry seasoning blend (a few sprigs of thyme, rosemary, and sage)
  Salt and Pepper to taste (I use about 1/4 tsp of salt)Gardein Chick'n
  Optional: creole seasoning and cayenne pepper

Optional: Green onions for garnish 

* Bake your gardein chick'n first. I season it with creole seasoning and cayenne pepper, but you can just bake them as is if you don't want to mess with it. This takes about 15-20 minutes. When they're finished, set aside in a warmer and increase your oven temp to 450 for the biscuits.
* Prepare your cashews. Place your cashews in a blender and fill with water to 2 1/2 cup line. Blend on high for about 8 to 10 minutes.
* While they're blending and when your oven is ready, place your biscuits in the over and bake for 10-12 minutes.
* While those are baking, heat a little salt, earth balance, and olive oil in a pot on medium heat. Add you mushrooms and shallots, cooking for about 8 minutes, allowing the shallots to soften and the mushrooms to brown.
* When ready, add you seasoning, nutritional yeast, and blended cashews to your pot of mushrooms and shallots. Mix and allow to bubble and thicken about 10 minutes. If your oil and cashews are separating too much, constantly stir or whisk your sauce as it thickens to allow the sauce to come together. 
* When your biscuits are ready, place 2 on plate, top with big scoops of gravy, a few pieces of chicken, and some green onions if you like for garnish. 

To Prepare the Biscuits:
2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp cold earth balance buttery spread, soy free
"buttermilk" - 1 cup unsweetened, plain almond milk + 1 tbsp white vinegar 

* Preheat oven to 450. 
* Add the vinegar to the almond milk and set aside in the fridge to keep cold.
* Whisk together the flour through salt. You can use a standup mixer or do it by hand. 
* Using a stand-up mixer on a low speed, add the cold earth balance, one tablespoon at a time. Then quick pulse a few times until it resembles a coarse meal, like wet sand.
* Add "buttermilk", until JUST combined. Place on a floured surface rolling once or twice to form a ball. Then flatten out with your hands to about 1/4 once thick. Try to handle with your hands as little as possible to keep the dough cold. Fold the dough in half, flatted, and fold over again about 5 times. Shape into a rectangle about 1" thick.
* Cut your rectangle of dough into 8 squares, and gently shape them into round circles if you like. Place on a sheet and put in the refrigerator until ready to bake.
* When ready, place an inch or two apart on a dark baking sheet for 10-12 minutes. Lay them cheek to cheek if you prefer a softer biscuit. 
*They will be puffy, golden and awesome when ready.

Biscuits and Gravy

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