Skull & Cakebones add vegan baking mixes; Rabbit Food Grocery Jumps – Food and Dining – Austin American-Statesman

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many companies to rethink the way they do business.

When restaurants closed and wholesale orders plummeted, Skull & Cakebones owners Yauss Berenji and Sascha Biesi knew their model of running the vegan bakery and good wholesale bakery business near Dripping Springs was not going to work in this new food economy.

In the first few weeks, they offered curbside pickup, but after employees expressed unease with the continued contact with customers, Berenji and Biesi started playing around with an idea they’d wanted to explore for a long time. some time: home cooking kits.

“It’s something we’ve wanted to do for at least two years,” Berenji said. “It just kindled the fire under our (expletive).”

They are now selling baking kits for pancakes, scones, cakes and, soon, cookies. Each kit includes dry and wet ingredients, plus instructions on how to combine and cook them. Biesi also shot tutorial videos for the company’s Instagram page.

In addition to many of their signature desserts, which are also available for delivery, Skull & Cakebones also sells a French toast kit and cupcake kits with a bag of frosting and a jar of sprinkles, as well as products from groceries such as Overnight Oats, Cookie Dough, Dressing, Vegetable Broth Powder, Barton Springs Flour, Yeast, Vegan Mayonnaise, and Hearty Vegan Breast Inspired Tempeh.

Skull & Cakebones have also partnered with Torchy’s Tacos to offer a Vegan Shrimp and Barbacoa Taco Dinner that includes vegan shrimp, jackfruit barbacoa, and cashew-based queso.

They offer local delivery on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays and shipping across the United States on many items. For more information, visit

In other good vegan news, the Tarrytown Rabbit Food Grocery market is busier than ever since the coronavirus pandemic hit, said co-owner Jessica Morris, who opened the store in 2012.

Morris says customers used to come to the store at 2425 Exposition Blvd. for the vegan specialties they offered, but not for the fresh produce or pantry staples. “We have never sold dry beans or rice, and now we do a survey every three days,” she says.

Several notable vegan restaurants now sell some of their products at Rabbit Food Grocery. Arlo’s sells ready-to-bake versions of its popular vegan burgers, “bacon” and macaroni and cheese in the frozen section, and Possum Pizza offers take-out versions of its pizza. Morris says the two companies have never sold their products directly to customers through a retail outlet, but plan to continue to do so even after the pandemic has ended.

The store also added take-out from vegan restaurants, including Bistro Vonish, Bruja’s Brew, and Counter Culture, which were closed when ordering from on-site refuge. When Vegg Catering weddings and events were called off, they also started cooking family meals which are also available at the Tarrytown grocery store.

The store also sells baked goods from local bakeries Capital City Bakery, Celeste’s Best, and Happy Vegan Baker, all of which typically sell in cafes and restaurants.

Morris says they only let four people in at a time to comply with physical distancing guidelines, but that creates a calm shopping environment. The best days for shopping are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, she says. They have fresh produce delivered on Wednesday, she says, and partner companies make daily deliveries.

“It’s really amazing,” she said. “The whole vegan community has come together to try and keep these businesses afloat.”

Morris says she hopes to start carrying even more local restaurant produce soon, such as Bouldin Creek Breakfast or Beer Plant BBQ Sauce. Morris is considering adding in-house delivery, but for now people can place orders online for pickup.

“Every day I try to see the bright side of things,” she says. “I think it’s going to change the way people shop in the future. It won’t be as crazy, but people will want more delivery and curbside in general.”

Make your own tempeh

Since we’re talking about vegan staples, I came across a recipe for making your own tempeh using an instant pot. This is from Kathy Hester, author of a new book called “Gluten-Free Vegan Cooking in Your Instant Pot” (Page Street Publishing, $ 21.99).

Hester uses the Instant Pot’s pressure cook function to cook black beans quickly, but the low temperature fermentation of these beans occurs on the yogurt function, the lowest heat setting on many multicookers.

Mine doesn’t have a yogurt function, however, but tempeh only requires a temperature of around 88 degrees, which is what my cooking looks like right now. Local homebrew stores have tempeh entrees and you can buy them online as well.

Easy homemade tempeh

Making tempeh is easier than I thought. The trick is to make sure that you don’t cook the beans too long and that they are completely dry before adding the vinegar and the starter. Please note that fermentation may take longer than it is “assumed”, but as long as you start to see the white mycelium continue to grow, it works. You will need a 6 or 8 quart instant jar for this recipe.

Using pasteurized vinegar helps ward off bad bacteria, while allowing mycelium to thrive. It may appear that your tempeh has deteriorated when the white spores turn black or gray. This will most likely happen if you ferment for too long, or it may just happen around the holes you drilled in the bags. It is safe to eat as long as it isn’t moldy and doesn’t have a bad smell.

– Kathy Hester

6 cups of water

1 pound of dry black-eyed peas

1 tablespoon of white vinegar or pasteurized apple cider vinegar (not raw or homemade)

1 packet of tempeh starter culture, such as Cultures for Health

Add the water and black-eyed peas to your Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Release the pressure manually.

Drain and rinse the cooked beans. Filter the beans to make sure they are as dry as possible so the crop can do its job. I put two layers of clean paper towels or tea towels on two large cookie sheets. Then carefully spread the beans in a single layer as close as possible. Cover with another layer of absorbent paper or a clean tea towel.

Let the beans sit for about 15 to 20 minutes. I carefully roll up the layers to remove the last part of the moisture. You don’t want to crush the beans.

Transfer the beans to a large, very clean bowl. Add the white vinegar. Using a rice spatula or large wooden spoon, mix well without crushing the beans.

Add the tempeh starter culture and mix well; the culture should be as evenly distributed as possible.

Take two quarter-sized freezer bags and poke holes about 1 inch apart on the bags in a grid format. You don’t want the holes to be huge, so use a toothpick or a metal skewer to make them.

Place half of the bean mixture in each bag. You want to take half the freezer bag and make it about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick.

Add the support to your Instant Pot. Carefully place the bags in them without overlapping. In an 8 quart instant jar you can lay both bags flat, but in a 6 quart jar you will need to tilt them a bit.

Touch the yogurt setting and set to 48 hours; make sure the lid is vented, or you can use the slow cooker lid if you have one. Note: You may need to repeat this step when checking your tempeh.

Check the beans after 12 hours to see if you can see any white mycelium. You might only see spots at this point, but don’t worry. Return the packages.

Check every 12-24 hours and return. When the beans are solid and held together by the white spores, the tempeh is ready. It may take 36 to 48 hours or more.

You can stop the cultivation by placing the tempeh in the refrigerator. You can keep it like this for up to 10 days.

Don’t plan on eating it all in 10 days? You can also freeze your tempeh. You just need to take one more step. Place each tempeh cake in boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove, dry and place in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. It will freeze for up to 12 months.

– Excerpt from “Gluten Free Vegan Cooking in Your Instant Pot” by Kathy Hester (Page Street Publishing, $ 21.99)

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Raymond I. Langston

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