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Pennsyltucky Griddle Crêpes

Welcome to the Virtual Vegan Potluck’s dessert tray! My vegan Pennsyltucky Griddle Crêpes are filled with regional goodness that represent what my blog is all about, exploring vegetarianism in central Pennsylvania of the United States of America. For another helping of Lou’s Creamy Beetroot & Coconut Tart with Chai Spices and Fresh Mint on her fridge scrapings blog, press the “go back” button.

If my recipe and demonstration video don’t demystify vegan crêpes, nothing will.

I haven’t made anything that has required a lot of cooking skill in months with all of my energy having gone into marathon training. The race is over but the big hungry appetite lingers on. I awoke early one Sunday morning with the hopes of trying out the new restaurant downtown that offers vegan crêpes. They don’t open until 11 AM and I got the crazy notion to just use what I have in my pantry and cupboard to make my own.

Taking on vegan crêpes seemed like a huge deal when I read all of the other recipes that highly suggested the use of special non-stick crêpe pans, thin round tipped metal spatulas or wooden crêpe turners and spreaders.

I only have cast iron griddles/skillets so vegan crêpe success seemed highly unlikely. Let me share the ingredients I had and *the advice I used that lead to a complete success.*

Pennsyltucky Crêpes
yields six 9″ vegan crêpes

Ingredients
1 Cup all purpose flour
1/4 Cup tapioca starch (got mine at a local Asian market)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 Cup plant-based milk (I used coconut)
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
spray oil for griddle
1/2 Cup plant-based whipped topping (I used MimicCream’s Healthy Top that I got from Spencer’s Market)
1/2 Cup apple butter
ground cinnamon for topping

Directions
Sift first the 4 dry ingredients together. Add them as well as the milk and maple syrup to a blender. *Blend together for about 30 seconds and scrape sides down to make sure all ingredients are smooth. Refrigerate batter for 1 – 2 hours.*

Pre-heat skillet over medium-high heat until a light sprinkle of water sizzles and dances away. Pour one serving of the chilled batter into 1/3 Cup measuring cup and allow the rest to remain in the refrigerator. Give the griddle a very light spray of oil (my cast iron is well seasoned) and pour the 1/3 C batter into the center of the hot skillet. Immediately tip the skillet in a gentle circular motion so that the batter spreads into an ever increasingly large and thin round crêpe (see video clip below). You can see the outer edges will be wafer thin as you set it back onto the heat.

Small bubbles will form on the surface over the next minute or so as the top starts to dry out. You will notice it will lose its glossy wet look and you can actually touch it without leaving a fingerprint. The crêpe will be close to being ready to be flipped when the papery edges are lifting away from the skillet. Use a spatula to lift an edge, or as I did gently with my fingers, and peek to see if the center is golden. The crêpe may even start to shift on its own and can be flipped with a spatula or by hand. A dear Pennsyltucky grandfather I knew, Pup Pup Deihl, said flipping pancakes more than once makes them go sour. Stick with his advice and allow about 30 second for the finishing touches on the second side your crêpe.

Crêpes should be moist with just a slight crispiness on the outside and I liked serving them before they lost that crisp exterior. I made a couple at a time and filled them to serve before I went back to the griddle. Use a couple tablespoons of plant-based whipped topping and the same amount of good old dutchy apple butter as a filling and roll them up. Garnish with a dollop of whipped topping, apple butter and/or cinnamon.

This was the first time I have ever made crêpes and they ALL turned out. They made for a really special brunch but will also make a great dessert for our Virtual Vegan Potluck. Be glad you saved room for them, they are delicious!
Don’t stop now, hold on to your fork and head on over to K-bobo’s Gormandize with Us for a big helping of creativity and flavor and some Chocolate Banana Ice Cream Pie. Just click on the “go forward” button to continue to enjoy the Virtual Vegan Potluck.

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New Veggie Options in State College!

Just because I am busy in my last month of training for a full marathon doesn’t mean I have given up eating, nor being vegan. On the contrary – I have become an eating machine. I just don’t have the time to write down and photograph, let alone blog, all of the great fuel that has been giving me super veggie energy as I pound out my long runs. I have been cooking at home and dining out and as I spend hours on roads and trails I think of creative recipes and places to eat. Let me tell you, over 12 – 20 miles gives you a LOT of time to think and vegan food is almost always on my mind.

Other the the super vegan fueling option provided by Hammer Nutrition for my long runs, I want to quickly share some new local dining options that I hope to eventually review in full. Although this won’t be detailed, I don’t want to delay from sharing these new State College delights so that more people can support and enjoy them.

This week, Lemongrass opened at 432 E College Ave. This Vietnamese Cafe has a focused menu of Pho (noodle soup), Bun (vermicelli noodles with savory dressing), Com Tam (rice platter with savory dressing), and Bahn Mi (sandwich). There are vegetarian choices for each and the portions are immense. The ingredients are fresh and prepared as you wish in front of you. Do ask for the vegan broth in the Pho and choose tofu as a protein option in any of the items to make for a great veggie feast. The staff was caring enough to check and double-check that we were vegan when preparing all of our dishes. The place has a grab-n-go feel to it but has plenty of seating even in an upper loft. Very nice and filled my ever aching void post 12 mile run.

Similar Vietnamese cuisine with a warmer sit-down environment is provided by Pho11 at 146 N Atherton St. I can’t say enough about this kind and attentive staff, that checked on every menu item we had questions about. Vegetarian Salad with Tofu was vegan and large enough to share. We also got vegan menu items, Vegetarian Vermicelli with Tofu and the Lemon Tofu (Fried tofu prepared with fresh cucumber, radish, carrot, onion & celery). This was a nice meal we had back in April and I waited to be able to compare it to what Lemongrass had to offer. I would say Pho11 is better for groups and relaxed dining but you can’t beat the freshness and portions of Lemongrass.

A total culture shift but still right in downtown is the new Joie de Crêpe. I know all of you hard core strict vegan types just raised an eyebrow when you read “Crêpe”. Before you blow by this paragraph remember this blog is for vegetarians and this little nook has vegan crêpes! They also can use Tofutti cheeses, offer a savory vegan sauce option, plenty of sweet fruits, spreads and the like. It is tucked way downstairs at 428 E College Ave. and has even more ever changing menu items if you are vegetarian.

Opening today is yet another carb loading option option for me at the chain Noodles & Company. Vegetarians have tons more options at this place so take a look at the nutritional breakdown for all of their menu items if you want to know the details (check the allergens columns). Last time we were in Pittsburgh we found that we could eat the Japanese Pan Noodles and Indonesian Peanut Sauté but I see a few vegan salad options too.

For literally the icing on top, don’t miss *ndulge Cupcake Boutique. This one takes just a little more foresight (vegan cupcake orders take 72 hours advance notice) but is well worth it! We placed a special order for vegan Coconut sCream cupcakes to share with friends from Green Street Vegetarian Club and they were beyond splendid!

With so many more people being sensitive to vegan and gluten-free needs, you have no need to walk more that a few steps in downtown State College without finding another impressive vegan choice or two. We will be traveling more beyond Centre County in the coming month to make the final decisions for the 2012 Pennsyltucky Veggie Awards in the categories of best Portobello, Veggie Burger, Soup, Salad, Chili, Specials, Ethnic Restaurant, Vegetarian Restaurant Best Restaurant and Peoples Choice. If you want to nominate a place or menu item to be considered for any of the mentioned categories, please leave a comment below or email to PennsyltuckVeggie@hotmail.com. See the map below to know the entire region we cover.

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