Category Archives: Giveaways!

Say (Vegan) Cheese!

Are you all ready for a super informative excerpt from The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, by Karen Page? Today is National Cheese day, so it’s only appropriate that we delve into vegan cheeses! Read all of the way to the end so that you can enter to win a copy of this AWESOME book!

Say (Vegan) Cheese!
by Karen Page
(based on an excerpt from THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE)
Vegetarian Flavor Bible by Karen Page

Cheese addiction is one of the last things standing in the way of would-be vegans. Indeed, as my husband Andrew Dornenburg and I sought to reduce our consumption of eggs and dairy, we easily stopped buying eggs and butter and yogurt. A wedge of Parmesan cheese was long the last bit of dairy to be found in our refrigerator, however. And it took us months to evolve our regular order for our favorite neighborhood pie – a large ‘Shroomtown pizza on organic multigrain crust with roasted garlic from Vezzo in Manhattan’s Murray Hill – to evolve from “light cheese” to “half-cheese” to “NO cheese,” which is how we’ve been ordering it for the past several months even prior to our participation in “Veganuary.”

I interviewed bestselling author Dr. Neal Barnard of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) about the phenomenon for The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, and he shared that some people’s addiction to cheese is physical. “Nutritionally, [cheese] is awful – with a very high content of saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium…It’s not just taste, it’s not just mouthfeel – dairy producets are unique in that they release casomorphins, and cheese has a much higher concentration of them than milk or ice cream,” he told me. “If I stuck a needle in your arm a half-hour after you ate cheese, there would be opiates in your bloodstream and attaching to your brain. While it’s not enough to make you drive dangerously or rob a convenience store, it’s enough to make you say the next day, ‘I think I’d like a little more cheese.’”

A cottage industry of vegan cheeses has sprung up. Vancouver-based Daiya cheese debuted in 2008, supported by a strong marketing campaign, and launched a retail line in 2010. Vegenaise makers Follow Your Heart debuted their line of Vegan Gourmet shredded vegan cheeses in 2013.

Portobello Trattoria PDX Vegan Restaurant

Many vegans enjoy branded vegan cheeses, which come in various flavors (e.g., cheddar, mozzarella) and often melt and stretch much as dairy cheese does. Just last week, Andrew and I enjoyed a vegan slice at The Slice of Life in Sebastopol, California, which we were told was made with shredded Follow Your Heart mozzarella-style cheese. We were impressed with its very mild flavor and melting texture – which is sometimes lacking in other brands.

I have to admit that I’ve been even more impressed with the flavor of some of the artisanal vegan cheeses I’ve tasted. In addition to serving cashew cheese on its vegan pizza, Portobello Vegan Trattoria in Portland, Oregon, serves an artisanal vegan cheese plate that has showcased cheeses from cheese makers across the country, including Field Roast, Seattle-based producer of Chao Cheese (herb-crusted, tofu-based cheeses), Door 86 (Nashville), Heidi Ho (Portland, OR), Kite Hill (Hayward, CA), Punk Rawk Labs (Minneapolis), and Treeline Treenut Cheese (Kingston, NY).

Vegan Cheese Rounds

The very best artisanal vegan cheese I’ve ever tasted was made by a woman named Lori Robin (above right) — who goes by Cheezehound – based in Fleischmanns, New York. Last July, we were houseguests of our omnivore actress friend Susan Dey, who couldn’t remember if we were eating vegetarian or vegan at the time, and bought some of Lori’s vegan cheese at a local farmers market for us. When we tried Lori’s peppercorn-flavored Brie-style vegan cheese (made with a combination of hemp seed milk and macadamia nut milk), we were truly floored. It turned out to be the first-ever vegan cheese we ever truly loved. (Thank you, Susan!)

Miyoko Schinner Artisan Vegan Cheese

Interested in trying to make your own? You’ll want to pick up a copy of Miyoko Schinner’s 2012 book Artisan Vegan Cheese, which is developing a cult following among vegan chefs and foodies.

And the next time you or your friends are trying to kick your dairy cheese habit, look to the handy chart in Chapter 2 (pp. 76-80) of THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE excerpted here for other ways to tame the crave:

 

IF YOU ARE CRAVING….

 

This                                                    Try This Instead

 

cheese                                                  cashew or other nut-based cheese

 

cheese, cream                                      soy cream cheese

 

cheese, Parmesan                                Parma brand vegan “Parmesan”

 

cheese, ricotta                                     ground almond, cashew, macadamia or pine nut “ricotta” half nondairy cream cheese + half  firm tofu, mashed tofu “ricotta,” made from crumbled tofu

 

cheese, smoked                                   smoked tofu (e.g,. on sandwiches, in salads)

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

There are affiliate links within this post. Purchasing things through these links help support this blog and keeps the free recipes coming!

24 Comments

Filed under Giveaways!, Savory Recipes

Pressure Cooker Seitan with Red Wine Mushroom Sauce

Can I get a drumroll, please? (Drumroll) It’s here! The last giveaway of the year. This time, you all have a chance at winning a T-Fal Clipso Pressure Cooker and the useful Zabada Kitchen Handy! If that doesn’t get you excited, I’m not sure what will. And if you’ve been out of the loop because of holiday craziness, make sure to check out the THREE other giveaways that I’m hosting right now! 1: #vyatreatyoself, 2: YumUniverse cookbook giveaway, and 3: Massel Bouillon Prize Pack.

Now, let me say a little bit about my experience with this pressure cooker. I actually bought a different model from Fagor almost a year ago and have used it once. So, I’m not experienced with these AT ALL. But, was I excited to get another pressure cooker? Hell yeah! Once the Clipso showed up on my doorstep I excitedly opened it and was impressed with the quality of construction. This thing is heavy-duty. Not to mention, the awesome one-handed, latching system that really is a push of a button and that lid is locked on. I flipped through the instructions to make sure I had the basics down as far as cleaning and operating went. Then I started plotting what I was going to make in it.

I was chatting with my good friend Joni about all of the pressure cooker possibilities and how my mind was pretty stuck on grains and beans or maybe winter vegetables and squash. Then she suggested pressure cooker seitan. Say what? That’s brilliant! I went on to look at some tips from The Blissful Chef and Vegan Epicurean on times, and used my Stuffed Seitan Roast recipe with some minor changes. Naturally, I wanted to make it a wow-worthy dish for the holidays, so I thought that a simple and fancy red wine mushroom sauce would be perfect to top it off.

Honestly, I love making seitan because it is so damn easy. The only problem with big roasts is that they can take up to an hour or so to fully cook, and then you may have a slightly drier end result. After making this roast in the pressure cooker in just about 30 minutes, I’m SOLD. Unless I’m making sausages or something smaller, I can see this being the only way I make it from now on. The roast turned out flavorful with a great texture and an even cooking throughout, maybe just a little softer in the center but I liked that about it.

I can’t wait to try out different seitan flavors and applications in my pressure cooker, now! I must mention that there was quite a bit of cooking broth mixture left over in the pressure cooker so I saved it in a container to add to soup bases for more flavor. Wins all over the place!

Check out the recipe below and definitely keep it in mind for your upcoming Christmas dinners. Like I said, a beautiful seitan roast in 30 minutes! Plus, roasting some fingerling potatoes and making the wine sauce while the roast is cooking, works for reducing time spent in the kitchen and it’s all ready at the same time. Speaking of reducing time, the Zabada Kitchen handy is an awesome tool! Reusable, easy to clean and no harsh chemicals needed to aid in washing your dishes and kitchen when you have this thing in your hand. I’ll definitely be buying more of these in the future!

Continue reading

31 Comments

Filed under Giveaways!, Healthy Recipes, Holidays, Savory Recipes

Veggie Frittata Bites and a Giveaway!

Boo-yah! Can you believe all of the blogging that’s been going on around here this month? I barely can, especially with the holidays going on; but I’m stoked to host the third, but not last, giveaway on the blog for the month. This time I’m giving you the chance to when an assortment of vegan/gluten-free Massel Bouillon products! Yes, the ones that I’ve used for vegan beefy tacos, skewers and butternut garlic bisque. Plus, I even have another recipe to show you what you can do with them.

I’ve played around with frittatas before, but I’m SUPER happy with how these adorable frittata bites turned out! Plus, they are low in oil, gluten-free, soy-free and obviously, vegan. I guess the fact that they are full of tasty veggies is a selling point, as well. These mini-frittatas are great for serving at potluck brunches, and are kid-friendly!

I used chickpea/garbanzo bean flour as the base for this recipe, along with some cornstarch to thicken a little more, Massel’s salt-reduced vegetable bouillon granules (my favorite!), Black Indian Salt (Kala Namak) for eggy flavor and nutritional yeast. You could add a little ground turmeric for a more yellow color, but it is not necessary.

As far as the veggie stir-ins go, the possibilities are endless! To be honest, I went with what was in my fridge that I knew would go well together, but you can use your favorite diced veggies however you’d like to combine them. Keep the measurements the same and you’re good to go. Easy recipe, easy execution, easily found ingredients and easily eaten. Eating them is obviously the best part. ;)

Before I get to the fantastic recipe, I’d just like to mention that I can’t believe that there is still another giveaway (THIS WEEK, EVEN)! You guys are damn lucky, if I do say so myself. I don’t know how January is going to fare compared to all of the fun happening on the blog this month.

Continue reading

8 Comments

Filed under Giveaways!, Healthy Recipes, Holidays, Savory Recipes

YumUniverse Giveaway and Super-Veggie Pot Pies!

I’ll get right to the point: today and for the following week, you’ll have a chance to win your own copy of YumUniverse: Infinite Possibilities for a Gluten-Free, Plant-Powerful, Whole-Food Lifestyle by Heather Crosby, of YumUniverse! Exciting, right? The answer you’re looking for is, “Hell yeah!”

This book is more than a colorful and eye-catching cookbook, it is a thorough guide to gluten-free, plant-based eating. Heather starts out with explaining WHY you should try out a plant-based diet, listing off the benefits (there are many!) then spends a while teaching you HOW to achieve it talking about pantry staples, prep, appliances and social situations. 

After all of that comes the stuff that I’m into, beautiful breakfasts (banana pancakes!), baked goods, toppings/sauces/spreads, entrees (fig & caramelized onion tart!), desserts (Mexican unfried ice cream!), and more. You may want to grab a napkin or bib before looking through this book, because I’m pretty sure that you’re going to drool on it.

I do have to point out that there are a few recipes where she uses honey, and I’m sure that’s why they call this book “plant-based” instead of “vegan”, just make sure to use agave nectar or maple syrup instead!

Now, you lucky readers get to see one of the tasty recipes that I made from the book, the Super-Veggie Pot Pies! I made these into larger containers than listed in the recipe and they came out to a perfect 4, filling, servings. Making gluten-free crust was fun and I’ll definitely have to try it out again. After the recipe, you’ll find where to enter the giveaway for a copy of YumUniverse! (US residents only, sorry!)

Continue reading

36 Comments

Filed under Giveaways!, Healthy Recipes, Holidays, Savory Recipes