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The Easiest and Best Vegan Cheddar Cheese Sauce

15 May

I know, that title sets a pretty high standard. I was pretty skeptical when everyone in a Facebook group I’m in with posting about this potato carrot cheese, stating that it was the best cheese they’ve ever made. We decided to try it to see if it lived up to the hype, but obviously made a few modifications. I’ve tried my fair share of cheese sauces, from cookbooks and online blogs, but this one is going to be my current go to from now on. This cheese sauce works because the cell walls of potatoes release starches when you destroy them, this is a common problem when making mashed potatoes and results in a gluey texture. However, with vegan cheese, gluey texture equals amazing stretch.
The carrots add that nice orange flavor, coconut oil replicates the creamy mouth feel of dairy fats, nutritional yeast has the stinky cheesy smell of cheddar, miso paste gives an authentic umami flavor, and lactic acid provides the sharp tang of dairy cheese. Please try this cheese!

The Easiest and Best Vegan Cheddar Cheese Sauce

This recipe is fantastic for nachos.
The Easiest and Best Vegan Cheddar Cheese Sauce

As well as breakfast sandwiches.
The Easiest and Best Vegan Cheddar Cheese Sauce

In fact, it’s pretty much good with just a spoon and nothing else 🙂

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Review: Kite Hill Artisan Almond Milk Product (formerly White Alder)

15 Feb

I read about Kite Hill’s new vegan cheeses well over a year ago and have been on the lookout for them ever since. They’re made by Tal Ronnen, the renowned celebrity chef who has made vegan meals all over the world. Whole Foods has an exclusive deal with Kite Hill, so if you don’t have one nearby you’re out of luck. I’ve looked at Whole Foods in the Chicago area, but never had any luck. I realize now I probably have been looking in the wrong section every time we’ve been there. Our other closest Whole Foods is in St. Louis, Missouri. We took a Valentine’s Day trip to St Louis this weekend and I made a point of stopping before we left for home.

We found the three Kite Hill cheeses after asking an employee who originally told us they were out. They were located in the cheese case, but we also found them lumped with the vegan cheeses. I’ve missed brie since going vegan more than any cheese; I’ve honestly had dreams about eating it again. I knew I wanted to try the White Alder flavor since I first read about them.

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It’s no longer called White Alder, instead it’s labeled as “Artisan Almond Milk Product.” The price tag at St. Louis Whole Foods was $9.99 for a 4 ounce wheel. I was expecting $14.99, so that was a surprise, but it’s definitely still steep when 4 ounces of dairy brie is around $5.

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The ingredients are simply almond milk, salt, enzymes, and cultures. I definitely appreciate that the entire container is less than 300 calories, as I probably could polish it off in one sitting.

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Upon opening the package, I was struck by how realistic the rind is. Kite Hill using the same aging process with their cheese as dairy cheese makers, which explains how they achieve such a similar product. It even had that strong brie odor.

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The inside is creamy, albeit more opaque than I remember dairy brie being. I was impressed with my first bite; however it went downhill from there. The rind is very loose from the soft interior and each slice kind of falls apart into rind and inner piece. It definitely has a similar mouthfeel, but it left a tingling in my mouth that I couldn’t get past. I don’t have an allergy to almonds and I can’t imagine why the cultures would cause this, but I could only eat about two pieces before it bothered me too much. My husband also ate a bite, but he had never had aged cheese before going dairy free. He ate one bite, declared it tasted like really bad feta, and gave me the rest of his piece.

My overall impression is that it’s an interesting product and was worth the try. If I were trying to impress my omnivore friends I would include it on a cheese plate or perhaps bake it in a crust with raspberry preserves. I think it’s a good marketing move to maintain the exclusivity with Whole Foods, as they can keep the price high without competition, but I also feel the price is something only dairy free people would be willing to pay. If the price point was dropped to about $7 I feel it would be reasonable to splurge on something like this every once in a while, but I doubt I will purchase it in the future, especially with the unpleasant reaction I had.  As much as I miss brie, I think I’ll have to finally attempt Miyoko Schinner’s recipe or go without.

Buffalo Seitan

26 Oct

Football on Sundays is a tradition in my house. I usually serve nachos, but some weeks I want something different.  We love spicy foods and finger foods:buffalo wings are an easy answer. Obviously we don’t eat wings, but seitan is an easy substitute. I’d love to try wrapping the seitan around skewers so you get the “handle” for eating. Something like this from Meet the Shannons would work great.

I was curious as to why they are called buffalo wings, and Wikipedia gave me this answer “One of the more prevalent claims is that Buffalo wings were first prepared at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, by Teressa Bellissimo.” One more question I will no longer have to wonder about.

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(Hopefully you think ahead before you make these and don’t run out of hot sauce like I did.)
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Chipotle Chickpea Salad

17 Oct

I’ve already expressed my obsession with Just Mayo in my previous post, and I was excited to find the Chipotle mayo in a nearby store. I should be receiving a jar of their new product Just Cookie Dough in the mail next week, so I plan on doing a review here. Check back for it!

I wanted to use the Chipotle mayo for something more exciting than just a sandwich, and I couldn’t imagine a better application than in chickpea salad. I love recipes for chickpea salad as a tuna salad/chicken salad replacement because I grew up eating those for lunch over the summer. The chipotle mayo adds a really nice kick; I would love to try this with some chopped cilantro or in a lettuce wrap.  You could even serve this as a warm dip with hot sauce and chips.

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Our favorite sliceable, meltable vegan cheese

9 Oct

Since I’ve been spending more time at home, as I only work part time since the birth of my baby, I’ve been experimenting with different recipes for vegan cheese. As much as I love Daiya, it gets expensive, even with coupons.

I’m a big fan of Vedged Out’s foxy moxy mozzarella, but I wanted something that held up to slicing and grating. I tried a recipe with cashew cheese, but without investing in a Vitamix blender (hint hint family members:Christmas is coming) the consistency was too grainy for my taste.

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Baba Ghanoush

19 Jan

Every food blog needs a recipe for hummus, guacamole, or the eggplant equivalent-baba ghanoush. I have been craving baba ghanoush for weeks, so I picked up an eggplant on sale at the beginning of the week. I finally had time on Friday to fulfill my craving-I served it with pita bread and madras sambar. Roasting the eggplant gives it an amazing smoky flavor and I found myself eating it on slices of cucumber and tomato when my pita bread was gone.

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Beer-Battered Avocado Wedges

6 Jan

I didn’t plan on posting this today but I enjoyed it so much I wanted to share.

I’ve never made beer batter before, but now I’m wondering about all the possible things to fry. Tofu, seitan, pickles, mushrooms…the list is endless. I’ve seen plenty of recipes for avocado fries that interested me, but most called for eggs. When I found this recipe, I thought it was perfect; it combined the two things I love the most-avocados and ales. This would be a great recipe for Super Bowl weekend. We had it today with wings and beer and it was perfect for munching in front of the television.

Beer Battered Avocado Wedges

The batter fries up soft with a little crunch, while the avocado stays soft and creamy. It was really nice with some dipping sauce; I stirred together 1/4 cup Tofutti sour cream and 2 tablespoons chunky salsa which worked well. You could just use salsa as well.

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Vegan Nacho Cheese

2 Dec

Sundays during football season mean one thing to me-nachos!

I can remember going to freezing November football games in high school and ordering nachos at the food stand. Back then (and probably still now, knowing my high school) the cheese came out of a machine, already warm and thick and spicy. After walking all the way back to the stands, the cheese-coated chips were limp and easy to shovel into your mouth with partially frozen fingers.

This recipe brings me back to that and has slowly become my favorite recipe for nacho cheese. We were out of a Daiya one weekend and I decided to wing it with a traditional vegan cheese sauce. I wasn’t disappointed-it’s the same cheesy taste with more spreadability.

This would be really great with salsa mixed in or on top of enchiladas. Leave a comment below if you have any different ways you would use this!

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Tomato and Basil Bruschetta

29 Nov

Before I created this blog, I was posting photos of my meals on Facebook regularly. I’ve been going through my old photos to remember what I was making several months ago, which sometimes inspires new ideas for me. Yesterday, it inspired me to make tortellini.

I found this bruschetta that I made over the summer several times and I thought I’d share the standard recipe I use. My basil plant was growing and it was a great use of the fresh summer tomatoes-sometimes I added roasted red pepper, roasted garlic, or heirloom tomatoes.

Feel free to make any of the suggested modifications from above or any based on your own tastes. I like to use an 18 year aged balsamic from Galena Garlic Company that I picked up about a year ago when I visited my parents. I highly recommend it-it’s amazing on tomatoes, avocados, plain bread, or even on it’s own.

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 medium ripe plum tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt and black pepper

Directions:

1. Chop tomatoes, removing most seeds. Mince garlic. Tear the basil into small pieces. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and let flavors combine for 1-2 hours. Serve on toasted bread or with warm pita on the back porch on a nice summer day.

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