Tag Archives: cheese

Vida Vegan Con Pt 1- Food Adventures

Vegan Food Adventures in Austin Texas

If you follow me on social media, you know that I just spent some time in Texas attending and speaking at one of the best conferences ever, Vida Vegan Con. VVC is a media and lifestyle conference that combines the strong feelings of community with seminars about business and ethics, while also featuring local vegan businesses/products.

But, another huge part of this adventure was the road trip there and back, plus all of the freakin’ food! In this post I’ll go through a lot of what I ate from California through Arizona and New Mexico, then (BAM!) Austin, Texas. We stocked up on kombuchas, snacks and water at Whole Foods before we started our road trip in CA and then again when leaving Texas, which helped keep us going during those long drives!

After those delicious eats, we drove straight from Phoenix, AZ. to El Paso, TX. only stopping for gas/bathroom breaks. Joni is a total badass road trip driver! It was at night so we didn’t see anything exciting really, and made sure to get up early the next morning to get a head start on our day. We lived off of snacks and sandwiches that Joni made for her, Sayward and I, until we got to Austin.

First meal there and the start of a million tacos:

Next was breakfast and we went to Bouldin Creek Cafe (for visit #1), where I enjoyed some coffee and the vegan El Tipico with Corn Tortillas!

Breakfast at Bouldin Creek Cafe - Austin TX

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Filed under Dining Out, Healthy Recipes, Personal

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)

 

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Filed under Giveaways!, Savory Recipes

Roasted Butternut Garlic Bisque with Grilled 3-Cheese Sandwich Sticks

It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring… Well, you get the idea. It’s finally raining in Southern California and we all know that means it’s grilled cheese weather! But, I couldn’t make just any ol’ grilled cheese, these tasty grilled cheese sticks have three different vegan cheeses in them and are cut to a size perfect for dipping in some creamy bisque. 

The bisque is made up of roasted butternut squash, sweet potatoes and garlic, plus some rich coconut milk and subtle spice from cayenne and white pepper. Mmm! If you need an easy recipe for bisque that’s tasty and kinda fancy, I recommend trying this one out. All you have to do is roast the veggies, blend them up and warm the soup on the stove before serving. Not that the soup needs any help in the taste department, but dipping crispy sandwich sticks in it kicks it up a few notches.

Aside from this awesome soup/sandwich combo, there has been a lot of stuff going on in my world. Mostly freelance photography projects, including work for Chicago Vegan Foods, Vegan Cuts (as always) and some Happy Herbivore stuff. After speaking with a few people, it already seems like 2015 is going to be crazy, in the best way possible. So, apologies for leaving y’all hanging for most of the month of November, but believe that I’m making it up to you this month with a FEW giveaways.

You read that right. I’m thinking at least FOUR giveaways! Some food, maybe an appliance, and definitely a cookbook or two. One is instagram-exclusive, even. 😉 Keep your eyes peeled for those so you can celebrate the holidays early.

 

Before I forget, I must mention that I used Massel’s No Salt-Added Vegetable Bouillon Granules for this recipe! I love this product because you can adjust the sodium content of the recipe to your liking, easily, and it comes in a cute paint can-like package. Not to mention, it dissolves really easily, unlike more commonly found bouillon cubes. I definitely recommend it!

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Grilled Seitan Kimchi Mac and Cheese

So, today is technically the last day of Vegan MoFo and that makes me super sad because I didn’t get all of the Return of the Mac recipes done for you that I originally set out to do. (Whomp Whomp) BUT, I have good news for you; because I’m sure as hell not done making mac! I’ll continue to post a couple more mac recipes for the first week or so of October for your reading/eating pleasure. 😀

Now, Kimchi and mac don’t sound like they’d really mix together so nicely, but I’m here to show you that this spicy, fermented food brings some great flavor and umami to this very untraditional plate. Another star of this dish is the silken seitan. What is silken seitan, might you ask? This seitan is made by Golden Age Foods which is a local, Southern California company, and is great for slicing up and putting in sandwiches — which, believe me, I have.

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this product, but once I unwrapped the banana leaves around it, cut a couple of slices off and tasted it I really enjoyed the texture and subtle seasoning. I tried to save some of the first package for this mac, but I went through it way too fast and had to open up a second one. Oops! I would say that the texture reminds me of a mix between tofu and seitan, where it’s dense, but moist and easy to prepare. I can’t wait until they get this product into markets (hopefully within the next year!).

Instead of using whole wheat or durum wheat pasta, I used gluten-free as the protein content is usually higher in these types of noodles. Pair that with some fresh edamame and the seitan and you have a super-filling meal that is fun and nutritious. I really enjoy the contrast of cold and crunchy to warm and creamy between the Kimchi and the mac and cheese! I bought a vegan, raw kimchi at Whole Foods, but you can find a vegan one at Trader Joe’s that is delicious or just make your own kimchi, like Nicole did!

Before I forget, the Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook Giveaway is over! Check you email to see if you won one of the three copies. AND Golden Age Foods has been nice enough to offer up some Silken Seitan to a winner of the giveaway at the end of this post! Yay!

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Filed under Giveaways!, Healthy Recipes, Savory Recipes, Vegan MOFO!