Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Vegan Parmesan Cheese Two

I recently took an excellent 'Non-Dairy Cheese Making' class. The room was filled with vegans and the vegan-curious, and I felt so comfortable being with them! Some folks were looking for ways to eliminate lactose from their diets. Others were life long vegans. The woman sitting next to me had been eating vegan for three weeks - I hope she was inspired and not overwhelmed. The diet is amazingly simple - eat vegetables, not animals. All the other stuff, like the following recipe, is just icing on the cake.

This cheese tasted EXACTLY like dairy Parmesan. The only thing I do not like about it is that it kinda melts a bit when sprinkled over hot food and becomes a bit saucy. If you don't mind that, then this is the new Parmesan for you.  I actually mixed in this cheese with a batch of cashew Parmesan I had in the fridge which created a superb creation!

The recipes from the Non-Dairy Cheese Making class came from these books: Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Schinner, Non-Dairy Formulary by Skye Michael Conroy, and The Un-Cheese Cookbook by Jo Stepaniak. I do not know which author gets credit for this recipe. Sorry!

1 Cup almond meal
1/4 toasted pine nuts
2 T nutritional yeast
1 T mild miso
1/2 t salt
1/4 t onion powder
1/4 t garlic powder

Process in a food processor or high speed blender until finely ground. Store in refrigerator.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Chickpea Cutlets - Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Remember when Valentines Day was all about decorating a shoe box and lugging it to school for the class party? Didn't you secretly dream of getting a Valentine card from that special someone - and then actually read the messages on the cards to see which friend chose which card especially for you? My Valentine went way over and above this year and sent me these beautiful tulips! If you look closely, you can see another bouquet on the piano in the background - 2 dozen!! They did not fit in one vase. I am blessed with love and showered with kindness, thoughtfulness, and appreciation.

So the least I could do in return was clean the kitchen, set the table, and make a nice dinner. I think I did pretty well by choosing Isa Chandra's Chickpea Cutlet, homemade mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, roasted butternut squash. You can find the Chickpea Cutlet recipe all over the internet, so I won't reprint it here.

The texture of these cutlets is *almost* like meat....but not really. You're supposed to use a knife to cut them.... but you could just use the side of your fork. They are simply some crushed chickpeas and seasonings.....but there is also some of the mysterious wheat gluten thrown in. So, basically, it's a meatless meat for those of us who no longer eat meat, but still want to include a knife when setting the table and chew something toothsome. Try them - they're excellent! In fact, make a double batch.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Spicy Nacho Cheese

Winter has not lost its grip on me. It's snowing right now out my window.  I have been cold, cold these past few weeks. Wool sweaters barely do the trick. I kept my winter coat on in a meeting last week.  Is it my age? Is it my metabolism? Am I tiring of the dark months? Why won't people stop talking about their recent trips to Florida and the islands?

There is, however,  much beauty to be found in the winter months: ice on bare branches, dogs with snowflakes on their noses, children bundled up.

I'm hanging in there till I see my first robin. And I'll keep eating comfort foods.

Spicy Nacho Cheese
(This recipe is much easier if you have all the ingredients in place before you begin)

1/4 C flour
2 T Earth Balance non dairy butter
2 t smooth peanut or almond butter
1 C unsweetened non dairy milk (maybe a bit more)
3/4 t garlic powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1 can El Pato brand salsa (or 1 C of your favorite salsa)
chopped pickled jalapenos to taste with a little juice (optional)

Toast the flour by whisking it over medium heat until it starts to produce a warm, toasty smell. It will smell nutty.

 Remove from heat and drop in the margarine and nut butter. Allow them to melt and then whisk them into the flour. Slowly pour the milk into the butter blob and whisk until smooth. It should become quite thick.

 Add the remaining ingredients and adjust the milk to your taste - depending on how thick or thin you want your cheese.

This stuff is great! 

The recipe is inspired  from a Non-Dairy Cheese Making class I recently attended. All the recipes came from these books: Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Schinner, Non-Dairy Formulary by Skye Michael Conroy, and The Un-Cheese Cookbook by Jo Stepaniak. I do not know which author gets credit for this recipe. Sorry!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

A Basic Formula for Veggie Patties

The basic formula for making any kind of veggie burger at home is very simple. Once you have conquered the basics, you may add all sorts of flavors, spices, additional vegetables, and then depending on how wet or dry the mixture is, you may fry or bake the burgers. These turned out a bit too wet for a bun, so I call them patties rather than burgers.

We rarely eat a veg burger in a bun because we're already eating plenty of fiber and carbs. We much prefer eating our veg burgers in a pita pocket or in a tortilla - either flour or corn, depending on what's in the fridge. My favorite way to eat patties or burgers is with a fork and possibly a drizzle of something saucy.

For these patties, I used some leftover, cooked "Three Continent Blend." Here you could use a mixture of grains and beans, or just straight grains (like I did today) or even straight beans. Then I minced and sauteed some carrots, onions, and celery. Sauteed mushrooms are always a big success in this step. Be sure to cook all the water out of them though. Stir in the grains, season well, and blend.

The secret to a good consistency is to remove about 1/2 of the mixture and blend it well in a food processor. Place everything in a bowl, add some bread crumbs or oatmeal or ground crackers. Sometimes I add a flax egg or E-ner G egg, but today I did not. Stir gently. Form patties, Chill. Saute or bake. Sometimes, it works to saute the patties and then also bake them for a bit. It all depends on how wet or dry you want it to be.