Monday, June 20, 2011

Vegan Strawberry Shortcakes or How I Ate So Much I Nearly Exploded

vegan shortcakes

Those of you in other countries may not know that Canadians sh*t-talk my home city of Ottawa all the time. The city has a reputation for being boring, reserved, bland, and for, as I remember my parents saying in the '80's, "rolling up the sidewalks at 8PM". I'm not going to say that all of that is patently untrue, but I will say that usually people who complain like that either a) don't live here and haven't spent much time here, or b) live here, but don't do much themselves to turn the city into the kind of place they'd be less likely to complain about.*

All this to say that the sidewalks were not rolled up at all this weekend and I have the sleep deprivation to prove it. I spent most of the weekend attending rock shows as part of the aforementioned Ottawa Explosion, and I had a truly great time. Over three nights I saw sixteen bands, most of them local, and enjoyed (almost) all of them immensely. The weekend was amazingly well organized by a very enthusiastic guy named Emmanuel (he's vegan!) and I hope lots of people thanked him profusely for working so hard on something that allowed us all to have a good time. For my part I brought him some homemade chocolate donuts to express my gratitude.


And, as if to prove that fun is the rule rather than the exception for our fair city, this week continues with a reading by yours truly and the talented Jessica Westhead on Thursday night, an outdoor Elvis Costello concert on Friday night, and a roller derby bout on Saturday. But first I need to rest and eat something.

Actually, I needed to rest and eat something last night, which is when I made these delicious strawberry shortcakes for the Man of Science and I to eat after we'd enjoyed some chickpea cutlets, mashed potatoes, miso gravy, and chard. Which is, just in case you were wondering, way too much food.

I'd had strawberry shortcakes on the brain for a while, but hadn't made them because I never seemed to plan ahead long enough to make the cream. I was also not confident when it came to making the biscuits, since my attempts at biscuits in the past yielded only pasty hockey pucks. Blargh.


But as you can see from this photo, these biscuits rose well and were not puckish at all. I was a bit worried about how they'd be when they were no longer fresh from the oven, but even one day later they are still fluffy and delicious. The strawberries are fresh and local right now here in Ontario and these ones came from a giant basket that my mom bought and generously shared with me. The cream is the same one I always use: Tal Ronnen's cashew whipped cream from his book The Conscious Cook. It is generally very tasty, but I find it a bit coconutty when I eat large amounts of it. I prefer it in recipes like this where it is combined with a few other elements. It's not hard to make once you learn not to combine any warm ingredients with the cashew base unless you want the whole thing to curdle and make you cry and want to smash things.

vegan shortcakes

Vegan Strawberry Shortcakes

Biscuits (adapted from The Joy of Cooking)

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp vegan margarine
3/4 cup soy milk
1 tsp vinegar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar together into a large bowl and mix until they're combined.

Cut in margarine until mixture is somewhat crumbly.

Add vinegar to soymilk and let sit for a minute until it is curdled.

Add curdled soymilk to flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon, until just when a blob of dough forms.

Dump the blob of dough onto a floured countertop and knead for about one minute until dough is smooth. Add more flour is necessary.

Pat dough down into a disc about 1/4 inch high.

Using a drinking glass or a circular cookie cutter, cut out as many biscuits as you can, then knead excess dough back into a ball and pat it down again to cut more biscuits. Repeat until all of the dough has been used. (I got 10).

Place biscuits on parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until biscuits are firm and the bottoms have browned slightly.

Let cool, then pull into two halves and cover with cream and strawberries.


Makes approximately ten shortcakes.


*I'll give a bit of a pass to my husband on this one, since he complains mostly about the city being cliquey, which is often true and hard to remedy. Also he moved here from San Francisco, which provides a very tough act to follow.


Asteroidea Press said...

I want to put all of that in my mouth right now.

ciaochow said...

We moved to Ottawa from NYC which is another tough act to follow but I'm happy to report that, a mere six years later, I'm finally *mostly* in love with our fair city. Heck, in early 2011 I even declared winter my second favourite season (after fall). Life in Ottawa can only get better once you fall in love with winter.

I dream of SSC all summer long so these delightful gems are on my must-make-soon list. Thanks! I would like to see you cut in margarine at some point, it's one of those baking skills I never quite got the hang of.

Jennifer (It Ain't Meat, Babe) said...

M: Maybe I'll experiment with spelt biscuits for you!

CC: Do you have a pastry blender? Mine always works well for me.

foodfeud said...

These look so good! I think the new Vegetarian Times has a shortcake recipe that made me think about making them soon too, but I couldn't think of a good cream substitution. Father's day is over but I can still eat all ten, right?

Sarah B @ Bake + Bike said...

Ahhh shortcakes are one dessert I've always wanted to make - yours look so dainty and wonderful!!

Aren't fresh, local strawberries great?? We just started harvesting them at the farm and it is very, very hard not to want to steal an entire buckets :P

ALSO, I quite enjoyed Ottawa when I lived there last autumn (well I actually lived in Hull, but pretty much spent weekends on the other side of the river) - some GREAT little music venues, shops, cafes, and parks! And Auntie Loo's, of course!

tweal said...

Strawberry shortcake with real whipped cream is something I miss and crave when summer rolls around. I've never tried making my own version because I thought it would be difficult to make biscuits, but I will try this recipe and hopefully they turn out as beautifully as yours.

Elena @MTJW said...

Yum that looks like a great seasonal recipe!

I love Ottawa! I always have a great time there, there's so many outdoors activites and great bars to go to. It's definitely on the list of cities I'd like to live in!

AikoVenus said...

Those look so good! I have a similar recipe - I'm so glad that biscuits are so easy to bake.

Jes Lacasse said...

Ottawa and its little boredom issue has always been a pet peeve of mine! As Harvey Danger so eloquently put it(really?!), "If you're bored then you're boring."

My social calendar is so packed with fun activities I'd be lucky if I stole some time to make this yummy recipe.

Pearl said...

wow. they look fabulous!