Monthly Archives: March 2009

Nut Cheese!

050

So, this will be my second blog in a row where I review a product. I hope that doesn’t alienate any of my faithful readers. But it begs the question- do I actually have any faithful readers? Better yet- why in the hell do I have faithful readers? Strange. Anyhow. Today’s item is something that is taking the vegan world by storm. I’ve been reading about it on every vegan blog and webzine out there so I had to check out the hype for myself. Here goes….

I first heard about Dr. Cow’s Tree Nut Cheese in one of my issues of VegNews magazine. Tree nut cheese is exactly what is sounds like- cheese made from tree nuts. But wait- there’s more. It’s raw, too. *in annoying Monica Gellar voice* I know!!

When I visited their website, I discovered they made a product called ‘cashew cream cheese.’ My heart leapt with joy. I checked out all the sites they claimed carried their products and none of them carried the cashew cream cheese. My heart sank. Plus, the one place I found that carried the regular cheese did not have any in stock. I was wicked bummed but I put myself on their mailing list to hear about when they got it in stock again. That happened about two weeks ago and pictured above is what I recieved via UPS last week. On the left is aged cashew and on the right is aged cashew with blue green algae. (I hear it’s good for you, that’s why I picked that one.) So, with shipping, these two little tiny itty bitty wheels of cheese were about $23. Ouch. The verdict? Worth every penny.

0021I tried each separately, then each on top of a cracker. I didn’t like the one with the blue green algae as much as I loved the one without it, and the opposite was true for my friend who was also tasting both, kind of like my wingman if I decided I wanted to cut and run the hell away from this stuff.  There was no need for that, however. The plain cashew cheese was smooth and creamy, with no gritty texture at all, which surprised me. The cashew with the blue green algae was also smooth and creamy, but with a certain tang at the finish. These were very delicious indeed.

Now, I want you take a couple things into consideration. First, I make a killer macaroni and cheese using pureed cashews as my ‘cheese’ sauce and it’s my favorite thing on the planet. So yes, this was right up my proverbial alley. Also, these little wheels are meant to be used as an artisinal cheese, not something you grate and put onto your tempeh tacos. Plus, it’s fairly pricey and in these uncertain economic times, you’re better off waiting until your Whole Foods carries it, or whatever your local health food store is. If you’re insistent, here’s where I got it from. It’s worth mentioning that I did not opt for the cold packs to be shipped with the cheese because when I ordered it, it was subzero outside my house. Naturally, when they arrived, it was seventy degrees out. It doesn’t seem to have adversely affected the cheese, or maybe it has and I just don’t know any better. Regardless, it’s yummy.

Thanks for reading and next time, a delicious recipe for coconut chocolate cupcakes with coffee buttercream! Yum!

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Keepin’ It Green

005First up, we would like to thank our friends over at ReusableBags.com for their generosity in sending one of these interesting little devices. (You rule, n8!) A few months back, I went to order two of these (one for me, one for my cheapo mother) and the website told me they were out of stock. Come to find out, they’re hand made by the hard working indigenous peoples of……..wherever, and they only make like two a year or some crap like that. Okay, so I *might* be exaggerating a bit. But they are definitely hand made from sustainable wood using fair trade and wage practices, so that’s pretty cool. And at $15.95 a piece, they’re also a steal, in this reviewer’s opinion. Here’s a fun fact pulled right from the product description on their website:

“If you purchased one box of plastic baggies and washed / reused each bag 30 times you’d save approximately $100.00. Plus you’d help save precious non-renewable resources by consuming nearly 1,000 fewer bags. It’s a win for you and for our environment!”

I know that sounds like a chore but have you seen Wall-E?  That’s the kinda crap we’re headed for if we don’t stop throwing stuff away like it’s no big deal. I don’t buy plastic baggies anymore, I stopped about 6 months ago. It’s driving my husband nuts because now I put his crackers or chips into plastic containers. We’ve discussed this before, he and I. As long as I’m the one who does the dishes, I will decide how many dishes I have to wash, and honestly, a few more plastic containers in my dishwasher do not bother me one bit. Now, to make things easier, when I stopped buying baggies, I went to ReusableBags.com and bought eight Happy Sacks, four in small and four in large.

007The large ones are sandwich sized and the small ones are perfect for a handful of wheat thins or a few chocolate chip cookies. They have an easy to clean inner lining that is not PVC and seriously, if your kids take lunch to school like mine do, you know just how many of those plastic baggies are getting tossed in the trash each year. To me, that’s sickening. Now, with shipping, all 8 of these were about $65 if i recall correctly, but they are super cute and you’ll save at least that in one year over buying those baggies, so they’ll pay for themselves eventually. Wait til your kid comes home and tells you about all the oohs and aahs they got at the lunch table over these!

The product details say that you can throw them in the washing machine but to make them last longer, you should hand wash them. That’s where the aforementioned bag drier comes in! When I went to order it, *this* is what I wanted it for. Of course, with all the baking that I do, it will also be nice to wash my pastry bags and let them dry on the counter. That’s what we like to call “awesomeness.”

The bag and bottle dryer is easy to put together and take apart. If you don’t like it sitting on your counter, there is an eye screw at the top where you can place a hook and hang it from your ceiling. Just remove the base and voila! When you’re not using it, it comes apart and fits nicely into whatever cabinet or drawer you feel like cramming it into.0081

I enjoy having one of these. Now I feel like I can buy those freezer bags again for my vegetables and fruits during the summer months. I tried so hard last year to use plastic containers to store my produce but it’s just not the same. I think the bag and bottle dryer is a great product and worth every penny. I would also like to say that both of my orders came with a complimentary ACME bag, a collapsible grocery tote with a loop for hanging on my keyring. I keep one in my car and one, well, on my keyring, dammit.

009Here is a picture of me that my daughter Carmen took while i was writing this blog. Can’t say I don’t love argyle, because you would be lying.

Until next time….

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Cholent

0041So, we’re coming up on Passover in about another month and while I don’t feel like going into all the customs and laws that the Jewish people must observe, I will tell you i found a pretty decent recipe full of yummy stuff to eat that does not contain chametz or kitniyot. That is, wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, rice, corn, or peanuts. It does have beans but you can just as easily leave those out and sub in more lentils or potatoes.

Essentially, Passover is when the Jewish people commemorate being “passed over” by God when He went on the warpath about Pharaoh being a dick to the Jews. The tenth plaque was death to all firstborn sons but if they had the blood of a spring lamb over their door, they got “passed over,” get it, smarty? When they left Egypt, they were obviously in a hurry and didn’t have time to let their bread rise, thus they remember this with the eating of unleavened bread, or Matzoh.

For more information on Passover, please visit Judaism 101. Passover starts April 9 this year, lasts about a week, and makes all the Jews I know fairly cranky because they pretty much starve the whole time. So fire up your Haggadah, stir the crap out of your charoset, and lets get ready to observe!

This recipe was taken from Veganomicon. I have made it several times and I’m pretty sure I even already put in on this blog, but it’s worth repeating. My kids love it, what more do you need to know? It’s cheap, easy, and feeds about 47 people. She has hers made with fake meat, but if you plan on serving this to others, leave it out. Fake meat gives people the willies who don’t eat it frequently, and I know plenty of vegetarians who won’t touch meat substitutes. Also, cholent is a traditional Jewish (beef) stew made for the Sabbath, so that makes it even more Jew-friendly.

002001

Cholent

2-3 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, cut into a medium sized dice

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp tarragon

1 tsp caraway seeds

1 tsp salt

several pinches of freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup red wine  or vegetable broth

2 bay leaves

1/2 cup lentils

1 cup peeled, diced carrots

4 medium sized potatoes, peeled, diced

1 15 oz. can tomato sauce(make sure yours doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup in it!)

3 cups water

1 cup frozen peas

1 15 oz. can light red kidney beans(or just cut up enough extra carrots and potatoes to equal a cans worth of beans and add them when you add the other carrots and potatoes)

Preheat a large soup pot over medium heat. Saute the onions in the oil until translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, tarragon, caraway, salt, and pepper. Saute about two or three more minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant. Deglaze the pot with the red wine/vegetable stock. Add the bay leaves, lentil, carrots, potatoes, tomato sauce and water. Mix together, cover and simmer about 30 minutes, or until carrots and potatoes are tender. Add peas and beans and heat through, about 5 more minutes. Done. I really hope I don’t have to tell you to not eat the bay leaves, but just in case, there it is.

003

Coming up in my next post, an honest review of this plastic bag/ pastry bag drier!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Potato Asparagus Soup

008I’m thinking of changing the name of my blog to “Just Soups.” Just kidding, but it does seem that I’ve been posting an awful lot about soups lately. Speaking of awful, here’s a recipe for some potato asparagus soup that looked a little like “dirty dishwater” as a friend of mine so lovingly put it. It didn’t taste horrible but as I post this, know that I am not posting the original recipe, but the recipe as I feel it should have been originally done. Any questions? Save it. I don’t care that much about this one.

Potato Asparagus Soup

3 lbs russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1 inch chunks

1 pound asparagus roasted (how i roast my asparagus to follow) then chopped

2-3 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion cut into fine dice

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp salt

few dashes black pepper

4 cups veg broth

2 bay leaves

juice of 1/2 lemon

How I roast my asparagus: wash and cut off about an inch of that rough end. Toss with about one tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp grill seasoning. I use McCormick’s Montreal Steak seasoning. You can leave off the seasoning and just roast the greens if you don’t want that particular  flavoring in your soup, but as you can see, this isn’t a heavily flavored soup. You can pretty much have your way with it and it won’t complain. So anyways, lay them nicely side by side on a cookie sheet, put your oven at 400 and roast for about 20 minutes. You want some of the tips to get a nice dark color. Black, if you will. Once finished, let cool and cut into smallish pieces.I suppose you could chop up the asparagus before roasting but I’ve never done that, so let me know how it turns out if you do.

In a large soup pot, bring the potatoes to a boil in a lot of water. Let boil until tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from pot, set aside. Rinse pot, then heat up olive oil in pot. Toss in onion and let sweat and caramelize for about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic, salt, and pepper and saute about 1-2 more minutes. Add broth and bay leaves, boil for about ten minutes. Discard bay leaves, add potatoes. At this point, you can use your immersion blender to puree the holy crap out of this, or you can put it in batches into your food processor like I did. (I have an immersion blender. I’m not sure why I didn’t use it. Anyways.)

Once the potatoes are all pureed, put the asparagus back into the pot. Add the lemon juice. Done.

I don’t hate it, I don’t love it, I ‘nothing’ it. On the other hand, here is a recipe for my new favorite dish. I’m calling it…

004Bow Tie with Nuts

1 lb bow tie pasta, cooked al dente

1/3 cup olive oil

6 cloves garlic, chopped (or more if you want)

1/2 cup pine nuts and walnuts, chopped (or just walnuts, if you think pine nuts are too pricey)

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1/4 chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley

Toast your nuts until fragrant, no more than 4-5 minutes. Heat olive oil in pan, add in garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes, add in salt, red pepper, and nuts. Remove from heat and stir into the pasta. Then add the basil and parsley. Best thing ever!! I have made this with dried herbs and it just isn’t the same so please, please use fresh basil in this one. Super easy and super delicious. Enjoy!


2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized