Sunday, October 11, 2009

Vegan MoFo survey time!

 It's survey time, kiddos! I usually don't do surveys unless I'm either A) completely bored or B) can't think of anything to write. Tonight, I'm a combination of the two. This one comes from a post over at Vegan Mecca Love!

1. Favorite non-dairy milk?
I only really use non-dairy milk for cooking, or on the rare occasions I eat dry cereal, so usually it's plain soy, though lately I've been getting behind almond milk in a big way.

2. What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook?
Beer battered seitan tacos, matzoh ball soup and Moroccan Tagine from Vegan with a Vengeance.

3. Topping of choice for popcorn?
I'm boring. Just a little bit of salt does the trick for me. Seasoned salt if I'm feeling sassy.

4. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure?
Hmm. That would probably be my first waffle. I was so excited, and it turned out so bad.

5. Favorite pickled item?

6. How do you organize your recipes?
What is this 'organize' you speak of?

7. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal?
I wish I could say compost, but garbage disposal or trash depending on the food.

8. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods...what would they be (don't worry about how you'll cook them)?
hummus, couscous and lentils

9. Fondest food memory from your childhood?
So many! I loved cooking with my grandma when I was young. If I wasn't cooking with her, I enjoyed just watching and taking in as much of her food knowledge and technique as I could. I wholeheartedly believe that if it weren't for my time spent in the kitchen with her, I would subsist entirely off jarred marinara sauce and spaghetti.

10. Favorite vegan ice cream?
I don't typically eat much ice cream. Once a month (if you know what I mean, ladies!), so I don't have a favorite per say. Right now I'm loving Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge by Coconut bliss. I also really like fruity sorbets.

11. Most loved kitchen appliance?
Total toss up between my rice cooker (which cooks WAY more than just perfect rice) and my food processor.

12. Spice/herb you would die without?
Umm, all of them!

13. Cookbook you have owned for the longest time?
I have a Better Homes & Gardens cookbook that was my grandmother's from 1949, but it is really only used for kitsch value and to marvel at how far women have come since then. Seriously, there is a section on "How to plan the perfect meal for your man", which talks about how after a long day at work, your husband shouldn't have to worry about waiting for dinner (which MUST contain meat, cos men needz ther proteenz!). :sigh: The cookbook I actually use and have owned the longest would be Vegan with a Vengeance.

14. Favorite flavor of jam/jelly?
Again, not something I use on a regular basis, so no real favorite. My mom did send me a red wine jelly that is pretty awesome, though.

15. Favorite vegan recipe to serve to an omni friend?
My friends generally have a pretty open mind when it comes to food, so they like most everything I serve. The ones I get the most complements on from omnis are: Spaghetti with 'Meat' balls, the potato kale enchiladas from Veganomicon, and my cashew nacho cheeze.

16. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh?
I love all three depending on what I'm making!

17. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)?
If I'm cooking on the weekend, I like making a slow cooking meal (such as a soup or stew) so I can start it around 1pm and lounge around until dinnertime. Other than that, I enjoy any time I get in the kitchen!

18. What is sitting on top of your refrigerator?
An old dog food bowl, and a ceramic owl.

19. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking.
Okra, mixed berries and corn

20. What's on your grocery list?
I grew up in a pretty European household, and we never did the 'traditional' American grocery shopping thing. We typically bought what we needed for the day's meals fresh from the farmer's market (which we lived next to) and that's about it. I still shop this way; I plan my meals for the day and buy only the ingredients I need on that day. I do need to pick up some more red wine and balsamic vinegars, though.

21. Favorite grocery store?
I usually go to Sun Harvest, as it's within walking distance. Central Market if I need an exotic salt or spice.

22. Name a recipe you'd love to veganize, but haven't yet.
I really want to make a vegan cheese ball for the holidays.

23. Food blog you read the most (besides Isa's because I know you check it everyday). 
So many! I am a total vegan food blog nerd! Check my links as they contain the ones I frequent. I love finding new blogs, so suggestions are welcome!!

24. Favorite vegan candy/chocolate?
Not a huge sweets person.

25. Most extravagant food item purchased lately?
Lobster mushrooms! $45/lb! I only got a quarter pound, which was plenty, and definitely worth the $$!

26. Ingredients you are scared to work with?
I'll try anything once. If there was a vegan Iron Chef, I'd be down!

27. Favorite food cart?
Counter Culture!

28. Top 3 favorite cuisines!
Mexican, Indian, Ethiopian

Friday, October 9, 2009


Okay. It's been nearly a year since my last post, and so much has happened. But you didn't come here to read about my schooling or my various wacky adventures did you?* No, I'm pretty sure that you came here because, like the rest of the vegan blogosphere, you are in love with/fascinated by Daiya vegan cheese, and that's okay!! I was once like you; perusing the interwebs for any morsel of information and delectable photo of any and everything related to this product. So here you go, my obligatory Daiya post! Yay! P.S. this post relates to my experience cooking with daiya, and therefore has no restaurant reviews. I may do a review of daiya pizzas in the future, but (at least for the sake of this post) the future isn't now. Yet.

If you aren't familiar with the product o' the  day, daiya is a soy free vegan cheese product that has been lauded as the best vegan cheese analogue to date. It melts, it doesn't have that soy flavor that so many have an aversion to, and it makes insanely great sauces. Made from cassava root, it has a good, cheese-like texture and consistency and a slightly sweet flavor straight out of the package. I first tried daiya on a pizza and wasn't super impressed (I may get my vegan card revoked for that statement) as it was sort of liquidy under all that beautiful melty, pizza-ness. While I didn't fall in love with it as a pizza topping, my first reaction wasn't that of disappointment. Rather, I thought, "This is going to change vegan macaroni and 'cheeze' forever!"

I'm not usually the type of person to say "I was SO right", but I will say it here. I was SO right.

Macaroni and daiya cheese. Not pictured, the amazing chipotle field roast
sausage I sauteed and chopped into it later. 

There it is, in all of its creamy, delicious glory. The flavor was reminiscent of a certain boxed macaroni product that usually uses shells as it's pasta of choice, and honestly, that was fine by me as I used to really enjoy said product as a vegetarian. So creamy and cheesy without all the cholesterol, saturated fat and animal cruelty of dairy mac and cheese.

Here's how I did it:

1. Boil your favorite macaroni product. I used regular semolina elbow macaroni, though whole wheat or rice pasta would work too!

2. Make the daiya sauce. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt 1/2 tablespoon vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance). Add 1 cup Daiya Cheddar style shreds and stir until melty. Begin adding your soy milk ( I used soy, but if you have a soy allergy or an aversion to soy products, you can use which ever non dairy milk you like, just make sure it is unsweetened). I started with a half cup and went on from there. I didn't measure it completely, but ended up using around 1 1/4 cup of non-dairy vegan milk. Continue stirring until the sauce is creamy and saucy.

3. Add your seasonings to the sauce. I added a scant of salt, LOADS of fresh cracked black pepper, a bit of season salt and a touch of cayenne pepper, as I am a spicy freak.

4. Stir in you pasta. At this point, you could also add peas (as I did), finely chopped broccoli, or anything else you fancy in your mac.

5. EAT IT!!!


*I know it's rather presumptuous of me to tell you  why you came to this blog, but c'est la vie!

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's roughly 72 hours until gluttony fest 2008 and my first time to host Thanksgiving dinner at my house. Hallelujah! It's ALL gonna be vegan! No soggy green beans and questionable rolls for me this year!! 

Being the Suzy homemaker I am, I decided that it would be wise to get a bit of a head start on the prep work, so this morning I spent 2 hours making and canning my veggie broth. A TON of veggie broth. The stuff goes in everything and there is no way that I will be waking up with the dawn to boil it up Thursday morning. No way, no how. 

I also cleaned the house, perhaps in vain with the dogs tracking all the lovely fall foliage in from the backyard. We'll see though. 

And for the piece d'resistance, I have 2 words for you:

Oh yes, ma'am! I made up some cashew and hazelnut cream and folded it into some melted Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips, let it set up for about 30 minutes in the fridge and got to rollin'!!! It was messy, but deliciously so. 

Here's a shot of what I rolled the chocolatey goodness in; 

chopped cashews
dark cocoa powder

And the finished beauties:

Don't they look lovely? I tend to shy away from candy making, since I have ADD and standing in front of a pot staring at a candy thermometer waiting for the sugary goop to come to a 'soft crack' sounds like some new torture technique. But these suckers were SO freakin' easy, I had to make 'em. Now to figure out how to keep the hubby from devouring them all tonight....

That's all for today. Tomorrow: Adventures in bread making!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

the ubiquitous welcome post

The welcome post.  We've all been there. They are awkward, embarrassing to look back on (especially if they are along the lines of "Hi!!!!!! I'm ______, and I just learned what a blog was so I'm making 5.), but they an inevitable part of every blogger's life.  

This is my bumbling entrance.

I don't need to tell you "this is my blog", because if you are reading this, I'm sure you've already gathered that; 1. this is a blog, and 2: it belongs to someone (maybe a hot chick!!).  No, I won't do that because, quite frankly, that would undermine your intelligence, and, well, I like you too much to do that. 

I will, however, tell you that this blog is dedicated to being vegan, cooking vegan, and probably a bunch of other random things that I haven't even thought of yet.

So cozy up, pour a nice cup of tea, and enjoy the vegan fiesta!