Posts Tagged ‘vegan cheese’

  1. Maria’s French onion soup

    June 14, 2014 by Angie

    I’ve been on a quest for really fantastic homemade vegetarian French onion soup. This slow cooker version I made a few weeks ago was pretty great but I thought I could do better. My friend’s mom, Maria, makes an amazingly delicious soup that I have been fortunate enough to eat. Here is my slightly altered rendition of Maria’s recipe. Let’s just say: Mission Accomplished.

    a bowl of French onion soup

    Makes 4-5 servings

    Ingredients

    1-2 tbs olive oil
    5 medium to large sweet onions, cut in thin rounds
    64 oz of vegetarian beef stock made by dissolving 3 tbs Vegetarian Better than Bouillon No Beef Base in 2 quarts of boiling water
    1/4 cup cooking sherry
    3/4-1 tsp thyme, to taste
    salt and pepper, to taste
    1 loaf of French bread
    1 oz of shredded Swiss cheese per serving (or Daiya shreds to make it vegan)

    Instructions

    1. Caramelize the onions. I used the slow cooker to do this so that I didn’t have to babysit. I put about a tablespoon of olive oil in the slow cooker, added the sliced onions, put the lid on, and cooked on low for about six and a half hours. My slow cooker cooks hot so other crocks may require eight hours of cooking. Stir every few hours, if you’re home.

    2. Boil two quarts of water in a large stock pot. Stir in 3 tbs of Vegetarian Better than Bouillon No Beef Base.

    3. Once the bouillon is dissolved, turn the burner down to low. Add the sherry, thyme, salt, and pepper. Transfer the caramelized onions to the stock pot. Let the soup simmer while you do the next steps.

    French onion soup

    Simmering French onion soup

    4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Shred your cheese if you haven’t already.

    French bread in bowls

    Two servings of French onion soup coming right up!

    5. Cut slices of French bread about 3/4 inch thick. Place one or two pieces in the bottom of an oven-safe bowl for each serving.

    6. After the soup has simmered for 10-15 minutes, add seasoning to taste. Ladle the soup into each bowl and top with the shredded cheese. Move the bowls to the oven (on a baking sheet to avoid a mess) and bake until the cheese is bubbly and melted.

    just out of the oven

     Just out of the oven

    7. Pour some wine to drink with your ridiculously good French onion soup.

    yummy

    OMG French onion soup


  2. Siesta Key, FL

    May 15, 2014 by Angie

    This past weekend we took a mini-vacation to Siesta Key, FL. We knew that it’s been voted Best Beach in the U.S., in the World, in Creation, etc., BUT we didn’t know that it’s where Florida keeps it’s very drunk retired people. We learned this quickly.

    But first things first. We stayed at Sara Sea Beach Resort which is a part of the Tropical Beach Resorts. It’s a small resort with a gorgeous, white sand, private beach, a pool, a volleyball court, a shuffleboard court, and beautiful grounds with lots of places to lounge and grill. The resort also boasts a lot of free things including Wi-Fi, towel and chair rentals, DVD library, coffee, pink lemonade, cookies, and maid service (which, believe it or not, is hard to find on Siesta Key). We got the smallest queen bed room and, even though we weren’t in there very long, it was small. Tiny as it was, it did have everything we needed with a fully equipped (hair dryer, Aveda products) bathroom and a real kitchen with an almost normal-sized fridge, stove, microwave, and dishes and utensils. Here are some photos of our home away from home last weekend.

    Sara Sea Queen Hideaway

    Sara Sea Queen Hideaway was the name of our room size/style

    Sara Sea Beach Resort Kitchen

    A real kitchen! We only used the fridge, cups, and ice bucket but it’s nice to have the option to cook during a longer stay.

    Sara Sea pool

    The pool.

    Walkway to the private beach

    The walkway to the private Siesta Key beach.

    Siesta Key private beach at sunset

    The beach is, of course, the reason to visit Siesta Key. The water is calm, the sand is powdery white and goes on and on, and the water is clear.

    Siesta Key beach

    Ahhhhh.

    pretty ocean

    Wonderful.

    After checking in, we went to happy hour at Flavio’s Brick Oven and Bar. The pizza was pretty delicious but the drinks and atmosphere were ehhh. The happy hour pizza and drink prices can’t be beat, however. We stopped by a main drinking attraction, the Daiquiri Deck, before heading back to the resort. They basically serve adult Slurpees which isn’t really our style but we had to see it. We had a good time drinking Cigar City Jai Alai IPA and cherry vodka and soda, respectively, while listening to the cover band.

    Daiquiri Deck

    Daiquiri Deck’s array of adult Slurpees

    After dropping off the car and trying a dolphin statue:

    Robbie trying a dolphin statue

    we walked across the street to check out the walking distance establishments. We stopped in at the Crescent Beach Grocery and looked at all the amazing cheese we were too full to eat. We then walked to the Captain Curt’s Crab & Oyster Bar triumvirate of establishments, stopping first at Sniki Tiki. It’s a “where everybody knows your name” kind of establishment. We had a really good and really big plate of homemade potato chips with chipotle sauce and some drinks. The bartender was quite awesome. The locals were…old and…colorful but we had a good time. After that we walked over to the karaoke portion and closed out the night there. Some of the singers were really good, like, realllllyyy good. There was a fluorescent wig-wearing group of women with older gentlemen who danced and kept things very entertaining.

    On Saturday morning, we went to brunch. We ate at  Village Cafe where we both had veggie omelets with home fries and toast. We actually meant to go to Sun Garden Cafe but we saw Village Cafe and got confused and went in. We were seated right away and the food and service were good. I would accidentally go there again.

    After brunch, we got ready for the beach by filling our reusable water bottles with boozy drinks. Alcohol is permitted on that beach as long as it’s not in a glass container. The beach was so pretty and relaxing. It was too cold to get all the way in the ocean so we swam in the pool after.

    For dinner we went to Veg, just over the little bridge from our resort. I didn’t know there was a mostly vegetarian restaurant nearby so this was a very pleasant surprise. Veg has a large, almost entirely vegan menu except for some seafood dishes. Kinda weird, I know, but I guess when you’re right by the ocean you get really into seafood, I dunno. Everything we got was incredibly good. We had the cashew “cheese” pâté for our appetizer. I failed to get a photo of this. They tried with the presentation but it still looked kinda like cat food, but, trust me, it was so tasty. Robbie got the seitan brisket and I got the Shabu Shabu which is fake chicken, vegetables, Ponzu sauce, and rice noodles. They also have beer, wine, and housemade sangria, so that’s cool. I would definitely eat here again if we’re ever back in that area.

    Shabu Shabu at Veg

    My Shabu Shabu at Veg

    Seitan Brisket at Veg

    Robbie’s seitan brisket with a sweet potato and veggies

    After dinner, we drove back over to the area with a lot of bars and restaurants and walked around some. We stopped in at Blu Que Island Grill for a round. The same cover band we saw at Daiquiri Deck the night before was playing there. We were so full from Veg which was a little bit of a tragedy because the guy at the table next to us was eating nachos that looked phenomenal. Our bartender was a bit of a character and looked exactly like The Stranger from The Big Lebowski. I tried to discreetly photograph him but this profile shot is the best I could do.

    The Stranger/Bartender

    “Now this here story I’m about to unfold took place back in the early ’90s – just about the time of our conflict with Sad’m and the I-raqis.”

    We ended our evening and vacation sharing a bottle of champagne on the lawn outside on the resort grounds. It was a great trip. A few too many very drunk, very old people but the beach, the resort, and the food at Veg are worth making a return visit.

    champagne on the lawn

    Pray that all their pain be champagne


  3. pizza with vegan mozzarella

    April 21, 2013 by Angie

    We had a pizza party last night! I made my usual whole wheat crust and topped with our favorite toppings: spinach, artichoke hearts, garlic, tomato, and basil (from my window sill basil plant – I felt fancy about that). The big difference this time was homemade vegan mozzarella cheese! I tried this new vegan mozzarella recipe I saw on Reddit. It was fantastic!

    pretty pretty pizza

    I’m an admitted dairy cheese addict and thus very skeptical of “fake” cheese. The cashew queso recipe from Post Punk Kitchen is my one exception. I’m big time in love with that fake cheese so when I came across this recipe for fresh margherita style mozzarella made with cashews I wanted to give it a try. It’s also great! Cashews are magic! I think this stuff is so much better than Daiya. It’s a lot less labor intensive than the cashew queso and really comes together pretty quickly. Here’s a photo of the leftover cheese after I topped the pizza.

    vegan mozzarella

    And one more photo of the pizza because I think it’s pretty.

    vegan mozzarella pizza


  4. “Chloe’s Kitchen” Cookbook Review

    December 12, 2012 by Angie

    Book: Chloe’s Kitchen: 125 Easy, Delicious Recipes for Making the Food You Love the Vegan Way
    Author: Chloe Coscarelli
    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    I recently checked out Chloe Coscarelli’s new book Chloe’s Kitchen: 125 Easy, Delicious Recipes for Making the Food You Love the Vegan Way from my public library. I’m a fan of her blog and heard good things about this cookbook so I dove in and made several recipes over two weeks. Here’s a rundown of the recipes I tested.

    Penne alla Vodka with the Best Garlic Bread in the World: This was my favorite. I made the garlic bread twice – once for our omnivorous friends to go with a stew I made. Everybody loved it. The Penne alla Vodka was so good too. I made it with Dreamfields penne for fewer carbs. The sauce was excellent and was possibly even better the next day. It’s fast so it could be a weeknight meal. Using the hand blender to blend the cashews and water together made it really easy and the cleanup was pretty painless that way too.

    The Christmas Kitty salt shaker presides over the delicious garlic bread.

    Mongolian BBQ Seitan: This one was kind of a miss. It wasn’t bad but I wouldn’t make the seitan part again. The sauce was good although I’d made something very similar on my own before out of ingredients in my fridge so it was nothing revolutionary. Her seitan recipe from the back of the book wasn’t great. I had never made seitan before but I followed the directions perfectly. The only thing that might be user error is how I sliced it. I tried to slice it thin but it was still kinda chunky. If I had used a vegetable peeler to shave the seitan that might have resulted in a better texture. It was on the rubbery side but it also didn’t taste like much even though it cooked in a tasty soy sauce/vegetable broth for over an hour.

    Tomato-Basil Bisque: Robbie said it was the best tomato soup he’s ever had and he’s a tomato soup connoisseur. I have to agree with him. I’m kinda picky about tomato soup and sometimes find it a bit gross but this one was excellent. The recipe is easy – roughly chop the vegetables, roast them, then combine everything in a stock pot and use the hand blender to get it to the right, smooth consistency. I think this would be a much bigger hassle if you had to pour it in batches into a blender as the recipe suggests. Hand blender is the way to go!

    Fettuccine Alfredo: Another very easy weeknight recipe. I sauteed some zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli, baby carrots, and cauliflower in vegan margarine to go with it. I also used Dreamfields linguine instead of real fettuccine to make it healthier/low carb. It’s creamy and delicious like real Fettuccine Alfredo but I didn’t feel like I needed to take cholesterol medication after I ate it. I have leftovers I’m looking forward to for lunch.

    Best-Ever Baked Macaroni and Cheese: I made the stovetop version of this recipe from her blog. It’s identical up until the point where you sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake it. It’s fast and tasty but definitely not my favorite vegan macaroni and cheese recipe.

    I’ve made and enjoyed at least two other recipes from her blog in the past, as well: panang curry and chocolate chip cookie dough truffles. It’s no doubt she has some great ones.

    Overall, I give the book four out of five stars. I deducted a star mostly because it’s light on the photos. There are no photos at all of several of the recipes which is kinda lame, in my opinion. I read a lot of blogs and love that I can see photos of every finished dish and often step by step photos for the recipes I make. She clearly hired a food photographer for this book and has included several photos of herself so I don’t see why there can’t be at least one color photo for each recipe. We need to know how the finished product is supposed to look! Also, the index is not great.

    Everything I tried was a great success except for the Mongolian BBQ Seitan. Now that I’m the proud owner of a bag of vital wheat gluten, I’ll be trying out other seitan recipes and would happily use her Mongolian BBQ sauce/stir fry idea to go with it once I find one we like. She explains everything clearly so it’s not difficult to follow the directions and get the same results in your kitchen. She also uses fairly “normal” ingredients that I’m able to get at my grocery store. The only thing she called for that I’ve never seen before is canned lentils. Only dried lentils ’round these parts. Another thing I like is how she names her recipes so arrogantly – “Best-Ever Baked Macaroni and Cheese” and “Best Garlic Bread in the World”. She’s the cocky rapper of vegan chefs.


  5. vegan hot dogs with cashew queso

    May 25, 2012 by Angie

    There is a magical place in Downtown Orlando that only comes out at night.  It’s the Sah Nevaeh Vegan Hot Dog Cart.  We could eat an unlimited number of these hot dogs.  The Buddha Dog is the way to go with all the toppings.  Robbie and I have been salivating over and trying to recreate these perfect hot dogs for a few years now.  We were in Orlando last weekend and used that opportunity to order three and gobble them down standing up on the sidewalk.  We did our best to analyze the ingredients between exclamations of how amazing they are.  It’s a saltier soy dog on what seems to be a steamed bun with three-bean vegan chili, vegan cheese sauce, onions with sweet red sauce, sauerkraut, vegenaise, and curry-naise.

    Here is our latest attempt using Smart Dogs hot dogs, wheat buns, homemade cashew queso, Inglehoffer Stone Ground Mustard, Vegenaise, Health Valley 3 Bean Chipotle Vegetarian Chili, ketchup, and diced onion.  Get the cashew queso recipe here courtesy of the Post Punk Kitchen.

    Cashew Queso: Really queso-like and great on hot dogs and chips.

    I don’t think we’ll ever manage to copy the masterpiece exactly but this rendition is pretty amazing in its own right.  We had our friends over for dinner and drinks.  One BFF ate three hot dogs so I think that’s a ringing endorsement.  I was too busy having fun with them to take many photos but here is a shot of my hot dog after it fell over under the weight of all those tasty toppings.  Messy but so good!

     


  6. cream cheese brownies

    May 11, 2012 by Angie

    This week’s Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Baking challenge is black and white.  I used the vegan brownies recipe from Week 1 and added a cream cheese swirl to the top.  I used fat-free dairy cream cheese but these can easily be made vegan by substituting the same amount of vegan cream cheese.

    Cream cheese topping ingredients:

    8 oz package of fat-free cream cheese (or vegan cream cheese)
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 tablespoons cornstarch
    1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

    Directions:

    1.  Make the vegan brownies as directed in Week 1’s post and spread the batter into the pan.  Before baking stop and follow these next steps.

    2.  Using a hand or stand mixer, cream together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Add the cornstarch, flour, and vanilla and beat again until smooth.

    3.  Drop the cream cheese mixture onto the brownie batter in clumps.  Use a knife to swirl the cream cheese mixture into the brownie batter to create a marbleized look.  I had a lot of the cream cheese mixture so I ended up covering top of the brownies with it and then trying to swirl with the knife so that the brownie part showed through.

    4.  Bake for 35 minutes in your oven’s lowest rack.

    I’m bringing these to a get-together tonight but Cute Husband and I tried them last night for…science.  They’re pretty decadent and amazing.  Delicious, gooey, chocolate brownie with sweet, creamy, cream cheese mixed into every bite!


  7. stovetop vegan mac & cheese

    March 1, 2012 by Angie

    For dinner last night, I tried a new vegan mac & cheese recipe from vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli of Cupcake Wars fame.  You can see the full recipe over at her site.

    It is A LOT less time-consuming than the version I usually make.  It comes together very quickly with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.  It’s very easy, creamy, and yummy, but not quite as special as the baked one.  Use Dreamfields elbows for the macaroni for a lower-carb dinner.  Definitely worth trying!


  8. vegan lower carb mac & “cheese”

    February 7, 2012 by Angie

    This is my lower carb vegan mac and “cheese” recipe.  No nutritional yeast or soy cheese required!  I adapted the famously delicious VegNews Vegan Macaroni & Cheese to create this when I was on Phase 2 of the South Beach Diet.

    Special equipment needed:
    Food processor
    Slotted spoon
    Colander

    Ingredients:
    1 box of Dreamfields elbows (You’ll have some left over.)
    vegan breadcrumbs (You can make your own using a lower carb bread or some of the store-bought panko kind are vegan.)
    1 c cauliflower, chopped
    3 tbs green onion, diced
    1/4 c carrots, chopped
    1/3 c yellow onion, diced
    1 c reserved water from boiling the veggies
    1/3 c non-hyrdrogenated margarine (like Earth Balance)
    1/4 c raw cashews
    2 tsp sea salt
    1/2 tsp garlic, minced
    1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
    1 tbs lemon juice, freshly squeezed
    black pepper, to taste
    tiniest pinch of cayenne
    1/4 tsp paprika

    Directions:
    Fill a medium-sized pot about half-way with water and start heating it up.  Do the same with a second pot to cook the Dreamfields elbows. Wash and cut up the veggies.  Once the water is boiling, place the chopped up cauliflower, green onion, carrots, and yellow onion in the pot.  Put the lid on and let them boil for 15 minutes or until they’ve softened.

    While the veggies are cooking you can make the Dreamfields elbows according to the package directions.  I use about 5/6 of the box.  If you make the entire box you’ll probably not have quite enough of the “cheese” sauce to adequately to cover all the noodles.  It’s very important that you use the Dreamfields brand if you want this mac and “cheese” to be lower carb.  These are special low-glycemic noodles.  They may lose some of their effectiveness by baking them after boiling them but they’re still much lower in carbs than normal (or even wheat) pasta.

    In a food processor, process the margarine, cashews, sea salt, garlic, Dijon mustard, fresh lemon juice, black pepper, and a tiny pinch of cayenne powder.

    By now, your Dreamfields elbows should be ready.  Drain them right away.  Keep the dry elbows in their pot and set aside.

    Once the veggies are ready, use a slotted spoon to transfer all the veggies to the food processor without the water.  Do not use a colander and throw out the water! You will need it in a second.  Okay, now scoop up about 3/4 c of that reserved veggie water and put it into the food processor.  Process everything together until it becomes a smooth liquid.

    Preheat your oven to 350.

    Pour the “cheese” mixture from the food processor right into the pot you used to boil the pasta.  Mix it up so that all the elbows are covered with “cheese” sauce.

    Pour the “cheese”-covered elbows into an 8″ x 8″ glass baking dish.  You could use a bigger, shallower 9″ x 12″ casserole dish if you prefer that.  Sprinkle a thin layer of breadcrumbs on top followed by the 1/4 tsp of paprika.  Don’t go crazy on the breadcrumbs – carbs, people!

    Bake on the middle rack for 35-45 minutes if using the 8″ x 8″ pan and more like 30 minutes for the shallower 9″ x 12″.  When the sauce is bubbling and the top is browned, it’s ready to eat.

    Cute Husband doesn’t care much for “real” mac & cheese but he loves this version!