You guys, the internet has been flooding with Buffalo recipes for the past week or so and it is making me crave everything spicy. Of course, I kind of did it to myself by sharing my Buffalo Chickpea Nacho recipe and Olives for Dinner’s Sriracha Habanero Buffalo Seitan. Mmm.. To be honest, I’ve had this idea for a long time. My mom got a recipe from one of her friends years ago that was called “Buffalo Chicken Dip”. Basically, this thing was heavy, spicy, creamy and outright addictive.
It has been a long, long time since I’ve had this dip, but I knew that I’d eventually have to veganize it. I even put it in my recipe idea note on my phone! What had immediately come to mind as far as subbing stuff out was to use jackfruit in place of shredded chicken, and for convenience-sake I used some vegan, non-dairy products. The spinach was my attempt to make this dip slightly less overindulgent. Ha!
Of course, if you don’t want to use pre-made products you can make your own vegan cream cheese, vegan ranch and vegan cheddar, just know that the measurements may be different. The reason this dip is so perfect for game day is that it takes about 5 minutes of prep and then 30 minutes of baking. Easy-peasy!
So, if you are into spicy, creamy, Buffalo foods, you should definitely try out this Buffalo Jackfruit Spinach Dip!
Are you all ready for a super informative excerpt fromThe 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)
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.
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, PortobelloVegan 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).
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!)
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)
As some of you may know, half of my family is Polish, so certain Polish/Eastern European food is special to me. One dish in particular is Golabki, which I’ve veganized before for Rika’s beautiful blog Vegan Miam. So, when Rika asked if I could do a guest blog for her this month, we both agreed that another vegan Polish recipe was in order!
Me and My Grandma
Let me give you a little background on this recipe: Kluski is really just a simple noodle/dumpling that is boiled and then traditionally served with a meat sauce; for a low-cost, filling meal. When my family and I would visit my grandparents in Michigan, this dish was made for us by my grandmother almost every trip. She would always serve it with a side of sliced tomatoes and maybe some corn or peas. Really colorful meal, right?
Well, one of the last times that I saw my grandmother, it was actually for my grandfather’s funeral. She was suffering from dementia, almost to full-blown Alzheimer’s at that point, she had macular degeneration (terrible vision) and couldn’t hear too well. It was nice to spend time with her, even though there were some rough moments. During that visit, I followed her around in the kitchen, helping her make Kluski for everyone and jotting down a recipe so that I could recreate it later on (this was a few months before I went vegan).
As you can see, I took some photos of her doing her thing, and I’ve always kept those memories near to my heart when I think about her. Clearly, it was time to find that scribbled mess of a recipe and veganize it for everyone! It was much easier to do than I had originally thought and the final product was seriously dead-on. I even had my parents try it to verify authenticity and they both are really excited about how it turned out.
To be honest, after getting the thumbs up from everyone and while I was taking the photos, it all felt a little bittersweet. I was stoked that I had recreated this recipe successfully, but it also made me miss my grandparents immensely. My dad now owns their property, so I’ll be happy if I get to go out to Michigan this year and go to their old house to get a little nostalgic while being amongst beautiful scenery.
Sorry for the long post, but I thought I’d share a little bit of why this simple dish means so much to me. You can find the recipe over at Vegan Miam, and while your there check out her entrancing photos from traveling all over the world!
Happy New Year, everyone! I hope that y’all are doing okay now that the holidays are over and most people are returning to work and school. After all of that blogging/giveaway mayhem, I had to take a break and I’m so glad that I did. The holidays were crazy! Working at Whole Foods during the holidays is a special type of hell, so balancing that with visiting friends and family was a bit tiring. I guess when I say break, it was really just from blogging and nothing else. Ha!
Here are some of my highlights from the past couple of weeks:
#TristanLAfoodtour: Where one of my best friends, Tristan, came home from the Army for a bit and we ate many awesome vegan things in LA. Plus, went to the Griffith Observatory and MooShoes!
Anyhow, it’s a little too late for a round-up of 2014’s most popular recipes, so I’ve decided to show everyone some awesome, healthy recipes to start off the year. Here are some of my favorites, including some from awesome guest bloggers! Check them out and be amazed at all of the deliciousness. <3 (Click on the picture to go to the recipe!)
Quinoa Cauliflower Bowl with Almond Sriracha Sauce by Vegan Richa
Banana Cacao Recovery Smoothie
Southwestern Kale Salad
Cream of Asparagus Soup – Keepin’ It Kind
Deconstructed Falafel Bowl – The Vegan Cookbook Aficionado
This is a vegan food blog, run by Jackie Sobon, that covers everything from indulgent desserts, to healthy dinners, and even raw recipes! I also write up restaurant reviews and am sort of a beer snob. You'll find that there is something for everyone, here!
If you would like to contact me about photography jobs, testing out a recipe, review your restaurant or just have a question you'd like me to answer email me at: [email protected]!