Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thanks for being so patient!

...and the winners are: (winners chosen at random using the random number generator on

"I love mine baked then topped with margarine and seasalt and fresh cracked black pepper...hands down my fave starchy food! Yum! The po boy looks so good! Def gonna make for my family!"


"Because I've had them SO recently and I LOVE them, I'd say sweet potato chips! OMG. Well... maybe not more than Susan's Sweet Potato Casserole (from OMG sweet potato bliss! :)"

I am making the best attempts to email you, but if you see this first, email me!  joni at justthefood dot com with your snail mail address so I can ship out your bookie books as soon as possible!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Christmas that almost wasn't...

Happy day after Christmas everyone!  I hope you and all of yours had a relaxing, fun, and food-filled, cruelty free holiday.  For those of you living in flood and weather stricken areas, my heart and thoughts go out to you.  I hope you are safe and not too much damage was done.

Here in Orange County, California, we are just not used to this kind of weather.  And in the area where I live, well, the ground just couldn't take any more rain!

Thanks to the hard work and determination of the firefighters, neighbors, volunteers, family, and friends, the majority of the damage in my neighborhood was relegated to the roads.  A few houses and cars didn't fare as well, but as far as I know, no person or pet was seriously injured.

This is the road/bridge out of town near my house. 4 hikers went missing, but they were found, cold and wet, but okay on Tuesday morning.

Wednesday...same road.  I have seen a few news stories that state 2 persons were killed on the roads during this storm.  My heart goes out to the families of those that lost loved ones.


At the entrance to the road into my neighborhood...the mud pile was over 6 feet high!  Thanks to the quick hardwork of the county, the bulldozers were able to clear a path out (and in!) even though I was too scared to drive through.  I opted to park down the way at the elementary school and hike home through the mud.

This is a picture from Downtown Laguna Beach, across the street from where I work.  This water was pouring over the street into our parking lot.  I've never seen anything like it.

Most of the roads in and out of my house, and to my work have been closed for most of the week.  Turning my normally 45 minute commute into a 2 to 3 hour ordeal in each direction.

Add in the fact that the electricity would go in and out every couple of hours during the whole week, and well you can probably imagine that I didn't get to do much of my holiday baking or cooking this year.

Thankfully, we were able to head out of town and spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with our families and forget about the mess for awhile.

Maybe New Year's will be dryer...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sweet Potato Po'Boys (and a holiday giveaway!)

Less than a week until Christmas!?!  Oh my gosh.  I am not even halfway there...not even a quarter way there.

So before I get all caught up in the rush of it all, let me give my present to you...a new recipe featuring my favorite tuber, the sweet potato!  And if you leave a comment (here on the blog, not on facebook or twitter) telling me your favorite way to prepare sweet potatoes, I will pick 2 of you at random, Wednesday night at 8pm, Due to weather related issues, the giveaway has been extended, and I will do the drawing on Wednesday December 29 at 8pm, to receive a copy of Celine and my brand spankin' new book The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions.  CONTEST NOW OVER

Okay, to the food:
Sweet Potato Po' Boy...

Sweet Potato Po'Boys
If I ever opened a lunch truck or diner, it would be made up solely of gourmet sandwiches and a variety of macaroni salads. This sandwich would definitely be on the menu. Not a traditional Po’ Boy by any sense of the word, it is inspired by the fried seafood sandwiches made famous in Louisiana. Now a true Po’ Boy would be a foot long, so these ones are considered “shorties” and if you decide to use the highly recommended pile of Sweet Peppercorn Coleslaw, well then you can consider your Po’ Boy “dressed.”

As always, a deep fryer works best here, but if you don’t have one, a pot filled with about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of oil will work just fine.

For the Sweet Potatoes:
1 large sweet potato
1/2 cup (120 ml) plain soymilk or other nondairy milk
1/2 cup (62 g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (14 g) cornflakes, crushed
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the Fennel Marmalade:
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
1 bulb fennel, sliced in a thin julienne (reserve the leaves for later use)
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
pinch salt
2 tablespoons (42 g) agave nectar

For the Aioli:
1/3 cup (75 g) vegan mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 tablespoon (2 g) chopped fennel leaves (reserved from the bulb above)
1 teaspoon minced garlic

Vegetable oil for frying
4 (6-inch, 15 cm) french rolls
1 recipe Sweet Peppercorn Coleslaw, below, optional, but highly reccommended
Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C, or gas mark 6).
To make the sweet potatoes: Slice the sweet potato into thin rounds, about 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick. You can peel your potatoes if you choose, but we like ours with the skin on!

Place the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
To make the Fennel Marmalade: While potatoes are cooking, add olive oil to a pan and heat over low heat. Add fennel, garlic, shallots, and a pinch of salt.
Slowly cook until very soft and tender, and just beginning to caramelize, About 15 minutes, stirring occasionaly.
Add in agave and toss to coat. Crank up the heat and cook about 5 more minutes, stirring constantly, until caramelized, sticky, and browned. Remove from heat and set aside.

To make the aioli: Whisk ingredients together. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Finish the sweet potatoes: Preheat your oil to 350°F (180°C). Place milk in a shallow dish. Add flour, cornflakes, Old Bay, and cayenne to a resealable plastic bag and shake to combine. Dip one round into the milk to coat and then add it to the bag. Repeat until you have about 5 rounds in the bag. Shake to coat the potatoes with the flour mixture. Carefully add to the coated potatoes to the hot oil and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, flipping half way through, until golden and crispy. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Repeat until all potatoes are fried.

Assemble the Po’ Boys: Spread a layer of aioli on each half of the french roll. Pile 1/4 of the sweet potatoes on the bottom half of the roll, and top with 1/4 of the Fennel Marmalade, add a heaping pile of the Sweet Peppercorn Coleslaw, if using. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 Po’ Boys

Sweet Peppercorn Coleslaw
*Gluten Free

*Quick and Easy
This coleslaw is a great side dish on it’s own, but it really takes the Sweet Potato Po’ Boys to a whole new level. You can make this ahead of time, but if you do, keep the dressing separate and toss together just before serving.

For the slaw:
1/2 head of green cabbage, shredded
1 1/2 cups (162 g) shredded carrots
1/2 cup (80 g) raisins or dried cranberries, optional

For the peppercorn dressing:
1/2 cup (120 ml) plain soymilk
2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
1/2 cup (112 g) vegan mayonnaise
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, coursely ground or cracked
1 tablespoon (2 g) fresh chopped fennel leaf
1 tablespoon (13 g) sugar
salt to taste

To make the slaw: Toss together the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
To make the dressing: Add soymilk to a small mixing bowl. Stir in lemon juice and allow to sit for a few minutes. It will curdle and become like buttermilk.
Whisk in the remaining ingredients.
Toss dressing with the slaw and serve immediately.

Yield: 8 servings

Sunday, December 5, 2010

FOUND: A Mo Betta Chedda!

After much investigation, some tasty (and some quite disgusting) I am finally ready to post my results for the best tasting vegan cheddar alternative.

Here are the contestants.
The Contestants

I tested each cheddar in 3 categories.

Cold, as is, right out of the package, on a cracker.
(I was lucky enough to have a helper test this one.  Dominic, my 10 year old nephew helped with this taste test)

Meltability and stretch, on pizza.

Mixability and creaminess, in macaroni and cheese.

Each cheese was scored on taste compared to "real" cheddar, creaminess, and overall taste and texture, and I also gave info on availability and cost.  Scores were based on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the best.

The results: (Click on the image to take you to Flickr wher you can make it larger and easier to read!)

Mo Betta CHedda Results

In addition to the results above, I will add that I most commonly buy Daiya, Wayfare, and Sheese.  Once testing was over, I threw away the Vegan Rella, Rice Vegan and Soy Vegan.  I would never, ever, ever buy those again.  I'd rather just go without, or make my own from scratch. 

And to be fair, the best mac and cheese (using fake cheese) was made last night using the leftover Daiya, Teese, Sheese, Vegan Gourmet, plus Tofutti Sour Cream, Tofutti Cream Cheese, Silk Creamer, and Earth Balance.  I know, ridiculous.  I did it in the name of research.

I would also like to add, as I did before, that I was only testing CHEDDAR flavors, and, in my opinion, the best imitation cheeses out there are not cheddar replacers...Dr. Cow (any flavor), Sheese Blue Cheese, Wayfare Hickory Smoked Spread, and any of the nut based home made cheeses out there blow all of these out of the water!

A Winner!

And the winner is...LAZYSMURF!  I sent you an email, so send me your addy and I will send you your book!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I've been a bad MoFo'er

So, on this last day of Mofo I plan to play catch up.  Starting with Finger Limes and a giveaway!  These limes just arrived at work last week and I was so excited to bring some home and play with them.  And play is about all I did.  Other than adding these to a cocktail, or squeezing a tad of the caviar like insides onto a sweet biscuit, or even using them in some kind of mock sushi, I can't really think of anything to do with them, and at $45 a pound, it would be pretty expensive to use them in any sort of large quantity.

(picture borrowed from HERE)

But don't get me wrong...these little fellas are quite tasty.  The fruit is quite small.  It's about 2 inches long and about the size of a dime around.  The insides really do look like caviar, but each of those little balls is full of delicious sweet and sour lime juice, and there are what seem to be thousands in each lime.

Maybe you all can help me think of something to use them in?  Leave a comment (only on the blog please, not on Facebook!) with an idea of how you might use these in a recipe or as a garnish.   (Keep it vegan please, as I don't want anyone posting ways to use these with seafood...I AM NOT INTERESTED!)

I will pick one random commenter to receive a copy of The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions, as soon as I get my hands on one to send!  Rumor has it that some have started shipping, although the official release date isn't until January.   I will pick a winner on Saturday Night (12-4-2010) at 10pm PST.  Yes, I will ship internationally! CONTEST OVER!!!

Vegan Subs Cover

The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions: Veganize It! Foolproof Methods for Transforming Any Dish into a Delicious New Vegan Favorite

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The obligatory "What I'm making for Thanksgiving dinner" post

I cannot believe that tomorrow is the day before Thanksgivng.  I have been working so much lately helping everyone else get ready for Thanksgiving, that I really haven't had any time at all to prepare for my own!

So, as I previously mentioned, I am working Thanksgiving morning, so I will need to do all of my cooking tomorrow night.  Knowing that tomorrow will be a horribly long and strenuous day at work, I am going to go simple, yet traditional.  There are only 4 vegans at dinner this year, so I don't need to go overboard, and even I have come to admit, that it is okay to buy some things from the store...

The Menu:
*Seitan en Croute

*Cheesy Herb and Garlic Mashed Potatoes (Made super easy by jazzing up some instant potato flakes!)
*Garlic and Mustard Roasted Brussels Sprouts (RECIPE BELOW, from 500 Vegan Recipes)
*Bread Stuffing (Stale bread cubes baked with The leftover Sippity Soup from the other night, with dried cranberries and rosemary added, and the beans and broccoli fished out.)
*Storebought Vegan Mushroom Gravy from Whole Foods Market
*Storebought Vegan Cranberry Sauce from Whole Foods Market
*And for dessert...Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

Garlic and Mustard Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Sorry I don't have a picture of'll just have to trust me on this.  I just bought mine on the stalk today.  Less than $3 for the whole stalk!

*Gluten Free
*Soy Free
Even if you don't care for brussel sprouts, give these a try. The marinade is so flavorful you will totally forget you are eating this high protein, high fiber, calcium rich, mini cabbage!

1 pound (454 g) Brussels sprouts
1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (84 g) agave nectar
2 tablespoons (30 g) prepared stone ground mustard
2 tablespoons (30 g) minced garlic
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4).
Have ready a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment or aluminum foil.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together olive oil, agave, mustard and garlic.
Toss in brussel sprouts to coat.
Spread evenly on baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, until tender.

Yield: 4 servings

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Peanut Butter Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Icing

PB Cinnamon Roll

Cinnamon rolls are good, sure. But Peanut butter cinnamon rolls, topped with a gooey maple cream cheese icing, whoa!

For the dough:
1 cup (235 ml) water, heated to lukewarm
2 tablespoons (24 g) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons (1/4 ounce, 7 g) active dry yeast
2 cups (250 g) all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (64 g) creamy no stir peanut butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon oil

For the filling:
1/4 cup (56 g) nondairy butter
2 tablespoon (32 g) creamy no stir peanut butter
1 cup (220 g) firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the icing:
8 ounces (227 g) nondairy cream cheese
3 tablespoons (45 ml) maple syrup
3 cups (360 g) powdered sugar, sifted

Combine water with sugar in a microwave-safe dish. Heat until lukewarm, about 30 seconds. Stir in yeast and let sit a few minutes until bubbles appear, to ensure the yeast is active.

In a large bowl, combine flour, cinnamon and salt.

Add peanut butter and vanilla to yeast mixture.

Stir yeast mixture into dry, mixing until combined,

Lightly flour the counter, place dough onto counter and start kneading. If dough is too dry, add a smidge more water as needed. If it is too wet, add a smidge more flour as needed. Knead for 8 minutes, until the dough is smooth and pliable.

Alternatively, use a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. The kneading time will be the same, until the dough forms a ball.

Lightly coat a large bowl with 1/2 teaspoon of oil. Place dough in bowl and gently roll and turn dough to coat with oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, 60 to 90 minutes.

Gently deflate dough and place on a lightly floured surface.

Knead for an additional 3 to 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4).

Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat.

On a well floured surface, roll dough out into a rectangle about 12-inches x 16-inches (30 cm x 40 cm).

Prepare the filling by mashing together butter, peanut butter, brown sugar and cinnamon using your hands to make a well incorporated paste.

Spread the filling in an even layer across the dough.

Starting at the short end of the rectangle, roll up the dough tightly.

Using a sharp knife, cut the rolled up dough into 12 equal cinnamon rolls.

Place on baking sheet, equally spaced from each other.

Allow to sit for about 20 minutes before baking.

Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown.

While cinnamon rolls are baking, prepare the icing.

Beat together cream cheese and maple syrup.

Slowly beat in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time.

Once cinnamon rolls are done, allow to cool for a few minutes before topping with icing.

Serve warm.

Yield: 1 dozen cinnamon rolls

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sippity, Sippity, Soup, Soup

A little bit of olive oil, a whole bag of onions (roughly chopped), a can of white beans, a can of chickpeas, a half a bag of frozen broccoli florets, a head of garlic (minced), dried cilantro, red chile flakes, veggie broth powder, water, a touch of agave, a bit of lemon juice, and sea salt.

That's what's in my big ole pot of soup.  No measuring, just throwing it in there.  It shall keep me warm and cozy for at least a week. 

Sippity Soup

My quest for a Mo Betta Chedda is well underway.  I have charts and notes and strategies and stuff, but man, that's a lot of flippin cheese!  I hope I can finish before the end of 'Mofo.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Who woulda thunk?

So my copy of Melisser's new book, The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life, arrived a few days ago.  Of course, I spent the afternoon reading it, pretty much cover to cover.


First off, the book is adorable, which makes flipping through the pages (that happen to be thick and glossy and full of color on every page!) so much fun.  Secondly, Melisser does an awesome job of highlighting vegans from all over the world, from every walk of life.  It is so interesting to read their stories! 

But, don't think that this book is for beginners only, either.  Vegans of every level will learn a thing or two from this book.  For example, we all do our best to check the ingredients of our foods, and our beauty products, right?  Of course we do.  We check to make sure our shampoo, our make-up, our toothpaste, our hair dye, even our shaving cream is vegan and wasn't tested on animals.   I do too, but I never would have thought to check the actual RAZORS!  Melisser has schooled me in my bad shaving ways, and I will no longer buy razors with those little moisturizing strips...becuase guess what?  They're not vegan!

I wholeheartedly recommend this book.  There are tips for just about everything a vegan girl does in her daily life!  Not to mention DIY crafts, beauty hints, recipes, and cute little drawings by Michelle Cavigliano.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nephews, Husbands, and Amusement Parks

I have been out numbered by boys!  My 10 year old nephew is staying with us this weekend and he and my husband have turned our tiny little home into a skateboard, cartoon, video game, burpin' and fartin' clubhouse.

"We need to get out of the house!"

Off to Knott's Berry Farm it is...for those of you who don't already know, it's way cheaper after 4pm.  I hadn't been in almost 10 years, and things have changed.  Not as charming as the "berry farm" used to be.  Chain restaraunts (Panda Express, Johnny Rockets, Pinks) have infiltrated the once old fashioned family vibe, and even old "Ghost Town" was less, well, ghost-y.

Gone was the old Soap Box Derby, Greased Lightning, and Kingdom of the Dinosaurs.   No more Parachutes or Haunted Shack.  Even Sad Eyed Joe (the lonely cell mate stuck in Ghost Town Jail) wasn't talking!  Instead, big shiny roller coasters that seemed a little too crazy for a 10 year old, and honestly even me and Dan, have taken their place.  So we settled on a few of the classics, The Log Ride, Montezuma's Revenge, Big Foot Rapids, tried a few new ones, Boomerang, and Ghost Rider (I skipped that one), then headed for some amusement park grub.

If there's one thing Knott's has always been known for, it's the funnel cake.  At least they still have that.  Unfortunately for me, it's not vegan.  I settled on a giant dill pickle and a Boysenberry Punch.  But that funnel cake, oh how I miss it.

Fear no more!  From the upcoming Heart Vegan, Funnel Cake!

Funnel Cake

*Quick and easy
These are easier than you might think to whip up in less than 20 minutes! Unless you have mad skills with a real funnel, I suggest you use a plastic bag, and snipping the corner off. A deep fat fryer works well here, but if you don’t have one, a pot filled with about 3 inches (7.5 cm) of oil will do the trick nicely.

oil for frying
1 1/4 cups (156 g) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (25 g) sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup (235 ml) soymilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
powdered sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oil to 350°F (180°C).
While oil is heating whisk together remaining ingredients until smooth in a medium mixing bowl. It should be the consistency of a thin pancake batter. Transfer batter to a resealable plastic bag.
Snip a corner of the plastic bag and quickly swirl about 1/4 of the batter into the oil.
Allow to fry for about 1 to 2 minutes then carefully flip using a slotted spoon.
Continue to fry another 1 to 2 minutes until golden and crispy.
Carefully transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil.
Repeat with remaining batter.
While stil warm, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

Yield: 4 (4-inch, or 10 cm) funnel cakes

Friday, November 12, 2010

What Up MoFos?

I have a terrible toothache, so I am trying to soothe the pain with a strong mix of Kahlua and Silk Nog, but the cold is only making it worse!  At least I can get Silk Nog from now until Christmas, right?

Before going any further, I need to announce the winner of the 2fer!  I used an online Random Number generator to pick the winner.  Out of 119 entries, both on the blog and on facebook, placed in order of time received, and the winner was #95!

VeganMofo 2fr random

Congratulations Heather!  You win!  Send me an email at joni at with your mailing address so I can send you your books!

VeganMofo 2fr random HEATHER WINS

It is now 2 weeks away from Thanksgiving.  I haven't even begun to plan my menu.  My family now proudly sports 5 real live vegans, so I am excited to cook for them all, but at the same time, I am working Thanksgiving morning, so I have to plan on cooking the night before, so I need to make dishes that not only taste good, but do well in the fridge overnight and heat up well.  I'm thinking I might go ultra traditional this year with a standard bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, some sort of green bean dish, and for the center of plate option, the Seitan en Croute from 500 Vegan Recipes which I am reposting here for your viewing (and possibly cooking) pleasure!  For dessert, I will probably make a pumpkin cheesecake with a chocolate cookie crust and carmelized pecan topping (kind of a conglomerate of a bunch of your suggestions!)

Seitan en Croƻte
A juicy, savory seitan wrapped in a flaky pastry crust… Need I say more?

Seitan en Croute

Inside Shot:

Seitan en Croute

The Recipe:
2 cups (288 g) vital wheat gluten flour
1 cup (120 g) whole wheat flour
1/4 cup (30 g) nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup (235 ml) beef flavored vegetable broth (or plain veggie broth)
1/2 cup (120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (60 ml) soy sauce or tamari
3 tablespoons (50 g) tomato paste
1 tablespoon (45 g) prepared stone ground mustard
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
2 sheets vegan frozen puff pastry

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4).
Have ready a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat such as Silpat.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together, gluten flour, wheat flour, nutritional yeast, parsley, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper.
In a separate bowl, mix together broth, oil, soy sauce, tomato paste, mustard, and liquid smoke.
Add wet to dry and knead together until well incorporated and until moist dough forms.
Let rest 20 minutes.
Thaw puff pastry according to package instructions.
Form into a loaf (similar to a meat loaf shape) and place in the center of the baking sheet.
Bake, uncovered, for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
Increase the oven temperature to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5).
Cover the loaf entirely with one of the pastry sheets, tucking the edges underneath the loaf.
Slice the other sheet into 10 even strips for weaving. Weave the strips, on the diagonal across the top of the loaf. Tuck loose ends under the loaf.
Sprinkle a little paprika and parsley on top for color.
Return to the oven and bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until pastry is fluffy and golden brown.
Allow to rest about 15 minutes before serving.

Yield: About 8 servings

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mo Betta Chedda

I am now on a quest to find the best vegan cheddar available on the market.

Here's what I picked up today (all at one market!):
mo betta chedda

Clockwise from the top:
Galaxy Rice Vegan Cheddar, Daiya Shredded Cheddar (I may also add in a review of the block Daiya Cheddar as well), Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Cheddar, Vegan Rella Cheddar, Teese Cheddar, Wayfare Cheddar, Galaxy Vegan Soy Cheddar

Still needed:

Dr. Cow doesn't have a "cheddar" per se, so they won't be tested in this round, although I have had the Aged Cashew and Crystal Manna Algae Cheese and it is so good, so I thought I'd mention it here.

I am going to judge the different cheeses according to the following criteria:
Taste: Cold, alone, right out of the package on a cracker.
Taste: Cold sandwich with Tofurkey or Yves Slices and Vegenaise
Taste: Hot on a simple grilled cheese with Earth Balance
Meltability: On pizza of course!
Stretch: On same pizza
Mixability: In mac and cheese
Availability and Cost: Is it easy to find and is it a good value for your hard earned buck?
Overall Performance and Taste

So, with all of these cheeses to taste and test, it may be a week or 2 before I post the final results, but until then, save your money and make your own cheese!  Home made tastes better than ANY of the store bought ones anyhow, right?

Nutty Cheese
Appears in 500 Vegan Recipes:

Nutty Cheeze

*Soy Free
*Gluten Free
Nonstick cooking spray
1 ounce (28 g) agar flakes or powder
3 cups (705 ml) water
2 cups (275 g) raw cashews, finely ground into a powder
3 tablespoons (45 ml) fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons (30 ml) sesame oil (olive oil will work too)
1/4 cup (30 g) nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Prepare a loaf pan (or other deep rectangular container) by lightly oiling or spraying with cooking spray.
Place agar in water and bring to a full boil, boil for 5 minutes. Whisk regularly.
Place all other ingredients into a food processor and blend smooth.
Pour into the water-agar mixture and mix until creamy and smooth, remove from heat. Quickly pour into an oiled loaf pan and refrigerate until hardened.

Yield: 1 loaf

Variations: Add fresh herbs and spices to the mix. If you want a Mediterranean flavored cheese, add about 8 chopped sun dried tomatoes and 5 or 6 chopped leaves of fresh basil. If you want a Mexican flavored cheese, add one teaspoon of cumin and 6 or 7 chopped up pieces of nacho sliced, jarred jalapenos. If you want a smoky cheese, add a little bit, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon, of liquid smoke flavoring. It’s limitless!

Monday, November 8, 2010

VeganMofo Giveaway: a 2fer!

Tonight's dinner was completely uninspired.  A soggy sandwich that I forgot to bring to work for lunch today and a bowl of cereal.

So...tonight's post is a GIVEAWAY!  Leave a comment (on the Blog or on Facebook) telling me your favorite Thanksgiving dessert (because I am feeling uninspired for that meal as well) and I will pick 1 random winner to receive 2 copies of 500 Vegan Recipes...yep, 2.  That's one for you, and one to give away! 

Yes, I will ship international.  I will pick a winner, at 10 pm PST on Friday 11/12/10.

Inspire me, people.

500 Vegan Recipes: An Amazing Variety of Delicious Recipes, From Chilis and Casseroles to Crumbles, Crisps, and Cookies

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Be a barrista at home! (on the cheap!)

So I went and bought myself an espresso maker...for $20!  I absolutely love thrift stores.  I am guessing that almost everyone who registerd for wedding gifts probably registers for an espresso maker.  Most of those people probably never even made a decent latte with it, and it sat gathering dust on the counter, if it ever even made it out of the box!  Needless to say, at Goodwill, there were plenty to choose from, and the one I chose, not only had all the parts, but had the original instruction manual too!  I spent $30 for everything you see here.  $20 for the maker, and $10 for the metal pitcher and 2 little demitasse-like cups.

Espresso at home

Although I have never owned my own home machine, I am no stranger to the coffee bar.  There is one at work and I make lattes, mochas, and cappuccinos all day long.

Here are a couple of recipes for those of you who have never done it on your own:

2 ounces brewed espresso
8 ounces nondairy milk
Flavored syrup or powder, if desired

Brew the espresso according to your maker's instructions.
Add the milk to a metal frothing pitcher.
Steam the milk to about 160°F, by placing the steam nozzle just under the surface of the milk, tilting the pitcher just slightly away from you so that the nozzle is up against the side of the pitcher closest to you.
(If you are using a liquid sweetener or flavored syrup, add it to the milk before steaming.  If you are using a powder, dissolve it directly into the espresso.)
Once the milk is frothy and foamy, gently tap the pitcher on the counter top a few times, and set it aside.
Pour the espresso into your mug. (If you can brew your espresso right into the mug, do that!)
Hold the mug at an angle and slowly pour the steamed milk liquid into the cup, trying to reserve the foam, so the milk pours alongside the mug and mixes wth the espresso by flowing into and under it.
Leave about an inch of space in the top of the mug.
Top with extra foam.

2 ounces brewed espresso
1 heaping tablespoon of your favorite hot cocoa mix
8 ounces nondairy milk

Brew the espresso according to your maker's instructions.
Add the milk to a metal frothing pitcher.
Steam the milk to about 160°F, by placing the steam nozzle just under the surface of the milk, tilting the pitcher just slightly away from you so that the nozzle is up against the side if the pitcher closest to you.
Once the milk is frothy and foamy, gently tap the pitcher on the counter top a few times, and set it aside.
Pour the espresso into your mug.
Mix the hot cocoa into the hot espresso until dissolved. 
Hold the mug at an angle and slowly pour the steamed milk liquid into the cup, trying to reserve the foam, so the milk pours alongside the mug and mixed wth the espresso by flowing into and under it.
Leave about an inch of space in the top of the mug.
Top with extra foam and sprinkle with a little extra cocoa mix.

And now I need TP for my Bunghole!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


So it seems these bad boys have been bumped out of the Hearty Vegan book, due out next fall, but that's okay, because now I get to share them with you here instead!  Seriously, these are donut-shop-dangerously good, and if they didn't make the final cut, well then, you know the stuff that did must be insanely good, right?

Apple Fritter
Just like the ones at Ye Old Donut Shoppe! A deep fryer works best here, but if you don’t have one, a pot filled with 2 inches (5 cm) of oil heated to 350°F (180°C) will do the trick just fine. Also, a wire rack comes in handy for drips and such. Be sure to place a kitchen towel or a few paper towels underneath it to catch the mess.  This recipe calls for quick rise yeast to avoid a second one hour rise and get those warm fresh fritters in your belly faster!

For the dough:
1 cup (235 ml) water, heated to lukewarm
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup (75 g) evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar, divided
1 envelope (1/4 ounce, or 7 g) Quick-Rise yeast [[it can’t be quick-rise and active dry]]
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil
1 cup (235 ml) soymilk
4 cups (500 g) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the apples:
2 cups (220 g) cored, peeled, and finely chopped apples (about 2 medium apples)
1/2 cup (100 g) evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the glaze:
2 cups (240 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/4 cup (60 ml) nondairy milk
Vegetable oil, for frying

To make the dough: Combine the water and 2 tablespoons (25 g) of the sugar in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat until lukewarm, about 30 seconds. Stir in the yeast and let sit for a few minutes until bubbles appear, to ensure the yeast is active. Mix the oil and milk into the yeast mixture.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, remaining 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, mixing until combined.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, add more flour as needed, and knead for 8 minutes, until the dough is smooth and pliable. Alternatively, use a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. The kneading time will be the same, mixing until the dough forms a ball.

Place the dough ball back into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, and let rest for 20 minutes, while you prep the apples.

To prepare the apples: Add the chopped apples, sugar, and cinnamon to a resealable bag or container with a tight-fitting lid. Close and toss to completely coat the apples. Set aside.

After the 20-minute rise, work the apple mixture into the dough (in the bowl), distributing the apples evenly. The dough will become wet and sticky. That’s okay. Once the apples are thoroughly folded in, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let sit for 1 hour to rise.

To make the glaze: Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and milk in a shallow dish until smooth. Set aside.

Using your deep fryer or a deep pot, heat the oil to 350°F (180°C). Scoop about 1/2 cup (140 g) of dough out of the bowl (yes, it is slimy and slippery!) and form into an oblong disk shape with your bare hands. Carefully place in the hot oil. Fry until dark golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes, flipping halfway through using tongs. Transfer to a wire rack to drain off the excess oil.

Once the fritter is cool enough to handle, but still warm, dip in the glaze and return to the rack. Once the glaze has hardened, flip over and dip the other side, then return to the wire rack. Enjoy warm.

Yield: 1 dozen fritters

Inside Shot:
Apple Fritter Inside Shot

2012 Copyright/Permissions/Disclaimers

All recipes written by me, Joni Marie Newman, unless otherwise noted. Please feel free to refer to or link back to any of my recipes, but please ask for permission, and remember to give credit when reprinting recipes in their entirety. I do provide links to affiliate programs (such as Amazon) in which I receive a small commission for items purchased. I do not provide paid reviews. All reviews done on products or books are of my own unsolicited opinion. On occasion I may receive a book or product to review. I will note when this is the case, but rest assured, it will not affect the authenticity of my review. Thanks!--Joni