Monday, May 28, 2007

Vegan Cheese

Had any bad vegan cheese lately? I've been wanting to blog about Sheese since trying it about a month ago. It's a line of Vegan cheese imported from Scotland. They have all kinds of flavors, as well as both hard and spreadable varieties (my personal favorites are the smoked cheddar and the blue). If you've been missing cheese, than Sheese just might be for you.

I had pretty much given up on the idea of vegan cheese up until this point. In my humble opinion, nothing has come close to the taste or texture of real cheese so I avoided them. I think that Sheese comes closest to the real thing. And I can once again serve cheese platters (with grapes, dried dates and crackers) when I entertain. It also seems to work well in recipes like beer bread, biscuits, panini and tacos. I haven't tried it in a sauce yet, but will test it out sometime soon.

It also seems that Bute Island Foods (the company that makes it) is pretty cool too. Four guys that were brought up as vegetarians and are passionate about producing vegan food (and they're cute too). You can find it online at Food Fight, or go to to get a complete list of where it's currently sold.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Fresh-Baked Cinnamon Rolls

Although I'm in the kitchen cooking all the time, I don't always have time to bake for fun. I love my job, but every now and then it's fun to bake something special that has nothing to do with work. Case in point...these home-baked cinnamon rolls. And yes, they're vegan too.

My son has this thing for cinnamon rolls, and he nags me regularly to make them. Of course, he has a few rules too -absolutely no raisins or nuts! I decided to oblige him and bake up a batch. I adapted a recipe of Bryanna Clark Grogan's for her awesome Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls (the recipe's in her subscription newsletter). I was out of pumpkin for the filling , so I rolled them up with some softened Earth Balance, brown sugar and lots of cinnamon. The icing on top is powdered sugar, vanilla and a little soy milk. These were absolutely delish, and my son was one happy camper.

Happy Baking!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Chocolate Chip Espresso Cookies

Did I mention that they're vegan too? These cookies are my son's favorite. They have a nice coffee punch, with a hint of cinnamon. Soft and chewy, they're actually even better the second day (if they last that long). If you worry about caffeine, you can use decaf, but there's only 2 tablespoons in the whole recipe, and it makes a lot of cookies. They would probably be wonderful with a handful of toasted pecans too. The cookies freeze well, which I love because then I have them on hand for a quick treat. What can I say but, start baking!

Julie's Chocolate Chip Espresso Cookies
Preheat oven to 350°F
Makes about 28 large cookies

3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon instant coffee
1 tablespoon finely ground espresso
1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup canola oil
2-1/4 cups packed brown sugar
Egg replacer for 2 eggs (I use Bob's Red Mill brand)*
About 1/3 cup soymilk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla
2 cups rolled oats (old fashioned)
2 cups chocolate chips or chunks

1. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, coffee powder, espresso, baking soda and cinnamon.
2. In bowl of stand mixer, beat together oil and brown sugar. Add egg replacer and vanilla, beating until smooth. Add flour mixture to oil mixture, beating just until mixed. Add soymilk, beating until mixed. If dough is too dry, add an additional tablespoon of soymilk. Stir in the oats and chocolate chips (dough will be pretty stiff).
3. Scoop mixture onto parchment lined baking sheets, lightly press tops of cookies with hand and bake in preheated oven for 14 minutes, or until puffed and slightly cracked on top (but still soft to the touch). Let cookies cool on baking sheet completely before removing.

*Make sure to blend egg replacer with necessary liquid before adding to batter

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Ginger Peanut Tofu Salad

If you're looking for a delicious lunch idea... this recipe's for you! The recipe and video can be found on the Everyday Dish website.

This salad has quickly become a family favorite. I'm always looking for healthy, protein-packed salad ideas, and this one fits the bill. I started by using peanut butter instead of mayo. Then I added ginger, garlic, Siracha sauce and, well, the rest is history. So good! It's great on a sandwich, with whole grain crackers, or even as a filling for sushi.

We went to the coast last weekend for my birthday, and knowing that there are usually few vegan options in restaurants, I brought a double batch of this salad. I'm really glad that I did. It hit the spot, and was fun to serve with Lebanese cucumbers and slices of baguette. And, I was happy that I didn't have to live on hummus all weekend.