I'm so honored to see my very own wedding in the pages of Martha Stewart Weddings. It certainly feels surreal after so many years of creating great stories and real weddings for the pages of the magazine. Our fall season in my studio has been absolutely crazy with gorgeous events so I'm a little behind on my blog posts highlighting some of my favorite wedding details. Today I'm focusing on the menu planning as this was such a huge part of the overall experience we wanted to share with our guests.
I prefer to eat a vegan diet and I really wanted a full vegan wedding but clearly weddings are about sharing and compromise. I had to find a good solution to creating a menu that satisfied my vegan requests and Jack's desire to have some of his favorite (very non-vegan) things on the menu. We both have southern roots so that was also a challenge as southern food is not really known for maintaining a vegan friendly list of ingredients! I'm lucky to count Julie Taras of Tipsy Parson in NYC as one of my dearest friends so our menu brilliantly satisfied the vegan and carnivore demands! Julie experimented for weeks in her restaurant kitchen to create the perfect vegan and gluten free southern biscuits, grits and many other delicious treats!! Only a friend would go through so much trouble to accommodate my somewhat eccentric requests! The amazing thing is all of the non vegan guests enjoyed these delicious creations so much they had no clue they were all meat and dairy free!!
Julie was generous enough to provide the recipes for her vegan grits and biscuits and I'm thrilled to share with you all today! Give it a try and please share your own vegan menu suggestions!
Here a few photos of our fabulous menus printed on linen (By Arak Kanofsky Studios) and check out the individual bread baskets at each place setting! I used vintage berry baskets and each guest received the delicious vegan biscuits and cornbread with some of Julie's delicious spicy tomato marmalade!
Julie's Vegan & Gluten Free Biscuits (They are AMAZING)
VEGAN & GLUTEN-FREE BISCUITS
Makes ten to twelve 3-inch biscuits
4 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free AP Flour
2 T Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free baking powder
1 t Bob’s Red Mill xantham powder
4 ½ t kosher salt
12 T Natural Balance Soy Free Vegetable Shortening (cut into ¼-inch cubes) 10-12 oz. unsweetened almond milk
Refrigerate vegetable shortening until firm.
Combine flour, baking powder, xantham powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Whisk to incorporate.
Cut cold shortening into dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or food processor (quickly process on/off 2-3 times) until well incorporated (shortening should be smaller than the size of a pea).
In a bowl, add the almond milk gradually and mix by hand until the mixture is lightly moistened and begins to stick together.
Turn the dough onto a work surface lightly dusted with gluten-free flour.
Knead the dough into a ball and fold in half 5-6 times (for maximum flaky biscuit results).
Roll dough out to 1-inch thickness.
Cut into rounds using a 3-inch biscuit cutter, balling up extra dough and re-rolling to create more rounds. Place on a sheet tray lined with a silicone baking sheet.
Brush biscuits with unsweetened almond milk and sprinkle with maldon salt or demerrara sugar (depending if you want sweet or savory biscuits).
Chill or freeze biscuits before baking (see Cook’s Note below).
Bake biscuits at 450º for 12-17 minutes until lightly brown.
Rotate halfway through if using a conventional oven.
Cook’s Note: These biscuits are even better if frozen before baking.
You can make a large batch and just bake off what you need, when you need it.
You can transfer frozen biscuits from freezer to sheet tray and bake immediately.
No need to thaw before baking.
Sweet or Savory?
You can make this recipe sweet or savory by mixing in items such as:
- vegan cheese (1 cup)
- vegan chocolate chips (1 cup)
- fresh herbs - chives, sage, or rosemary (1/2 cup)
- raisins, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, etc. (1 cup)
- nuts (1 cup)
SOUTHERN GRITS – Vegan & Gluten Free
1 ½ cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Grits
2 ½ cups water
2 cups almond milk, unsweetened (Blue Diamond)
2 t salt
Natural Balance Vegan Spread
Cracked Black Pepper (if desired)
In medium saucepan, bring to boil water, almond milk and salt.
Reduce to simmer.
Slowly whisk grits into liquid.
Cook slowly for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add cracked black pepper, if desired.
Remove from heat, cover and let stand for a few minutes before serving.
Add a dollop of vegan “butter” spread or shredded cheese (like Daiya) and your favorite toppings.
Perfectly cooked grits should be soft and creamy and a bit toothsome.
They should fall easily from a spoon when plated (if yours are thick like mashed potatoes, add more liquid). Do not overcook grits. You should still feel the “grit” texture on your tongue.
These grits are a great basic to have in your cooking repertoire.
You can make them sweet or savory. Top them with roasted mushrooms for a hearty dinner or add a bit of your favorite sweetener, dried fruits and nuts for a simple, warming breakfast.
Grits are known for being sturdy and hold up well to reheating.
Don’t worry if you have leftovers. They will solidify when refrigerated.
Just add a bit of water or almond milk and reheat on the stove or even in the microwave!