I have this aversion to eating the same breakfast foods on weekends that I enjoy during the week. The tastes and textures of my weekday breakfasts become so engrained, that when I attempt to eat the same thing on a carefree weekend morning, every bite reminds me of hurrying to get somewhere on time. So at least one day each weekend, I try to prepare a breakfast or brunch dish that’s a little less rushed, a little more sumptuous and ideally yielding leftovers to enliven my weekday routine. Kicking my standard soy yogurt and Ezekiel 4:9 cereal to the curb, this weekend I aimed to create something inspired, and enjoy it without haste the way weekend mornings should be.
I recently received The Inspired Vegan by Bryant Terry as a gift, and this seemed like the perfect time to try out a recipe from this thought-provoking cookbook.
Terry is both swish epicure and scholarly activist. His hip music recommendations and global culinary influences evoke a fabulous dinner party. But his inspiration from inside the world of food (Roger Feely, Alice Waters) and out (Jean-Michel Basquiat, Shirley Chisholm) highlight the more rousing character of the book, as he shares thoughts on seasonal eating, the rights of farm workers, and social justice. That is not to say the book is preachy. Terry’s writing is thoughtful but reserved, presenting issues in a way that compliment and add dimension to the recipes, not overshadow them.
I made Terry’s Sweet Potato-Cornmeal Drop Biscuits with Maple Syrup. His recipe was influenced by another favorite in my cookbook library, Peter Berley’s The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen. The recipe was clear and straightforward, and while I had to improvise on a couple of ingredients, I was pleased at the level of sweetness, texture and overall versatility of these lovely little biscuits. I can see them working with a morning tofu scramble or veggie sausage gravy, as well as at dinner, with spicy greens or hearty chili.
One thing I particularly like about The Inspired Vegan, is that it never rehashes the same types of hummus-heavy, nutritional yeast-centric vegan recipes you see in countless blogs and cookbooks. Borrowing from many culinary traditions (Creole, African, Chinese, Indian, et al), Terry presents a bolder, more adventurous vegan cuisine. For better or worse, one of the best things you can say about a vegan cookbook is that it doesn’t seem…well, vegan. And that’s how I would describe it. More than a cookbook, The Inspired Vegan is an inviting guide to the rhythms of seasonal cooking and the importance of our food choices.