Tag Archives: cheddar

The Maple

Is an outrageously decadent – almost to the point of incivility – brunch sandwich enough to atone for my absence of the past month? I can only hope so. (This is NOT an April Fools’ joke.)

When Marly of Namely Marly asked me to join a panel of 10 vegan bloggers whose mission, should they choose to accept it, would be to veganize Endless Simmer’s America’s Top 10 New Sandwiches, I immediately responded not only “yes,” but that I desperately wanted to do “The Maple,” a brunch-time beast consisting of two slices of maple-currant bread pudding loaded with savory sausage, chipotle cheddar cheese, and tangy shavings of fresh fennel. Not only does this sandwich hit the sweet/savory note that we all know and love, but it’s from Portland – irrefutably known to be the best city in the country. And, as a gluten-free vegan, I could not resist veganizing a meal from a restaurant called Meat Cheese Bread. There’s something irresistible about such blatant irony.

Although I’m quite a competent (dare I say talented?) chef, I’m not exactly known for my recipe-creating abilities, so I tried not to push my luck. I made Maple “Bread Pudding” with millet bread, using Isa’s recipe for “Fronch Toast” in Vegan with a Vengeance, as well as her recipe for “Tempeh and White Bean Sausage Patties” from the same book. I substituted some Maple Caramelized Onions for the fresh fennel because, as far as I’m concerned, fennel is a villainous vegetable – a regular Mr. Wickham of the plant kingdom, if you will.

I did, however, venture into the world of cheese sauce, devising my own recipe for Chipotle “Cheddar” Sauce, which I will provide here for your pleasure! It makes plenty of extra to be used on nachos, in burritos or quesadillas, or as a topping for veggies!

Without further adue, here is my recipe for Chipotle “Cheddar” Sauce, one element of my sandwich. For the full recipe and assembly instructions for The Vegan Maple, head over to Marly’s blog – you’ll find the nine other sandwiches in the series listed immediately following my recipe.

So close your eyes, pretend you’re huddled up for brunch in a cozy lodge somewhere in New England’s maple country, and enjoy! And don’t forget to schedule an hour or two for digestion after eating this sandwich! ;)

Breaking news: America’s Best Sandwiches – Veganized! is now featured on the Huffington Post! Please go comment/like it/share it/tweet it to spread the word and score some points for vegankind. Can’t hyperlink (thanks, WordPress), so: http://huff.to/e3XDhr

Good ‘Ol Tempe(h)

So last week I was home in Tempe again for less than 24 hours. Why, you might ask? Well, I was lucky enough to get a cancellation appointment at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale to address my general malaise of the past seven months, and if you’re the Mayo Clinic, you know you don’t let three or four hundred miles prevent your attendance. In the world of doctor visits, that there is prime real estate, yo.

Of course, the whole thing was a hassle, but I certainly ate well during my short visit home. First of all, my dad is super adorable, and prepared an Indian feast–both of our favorites–for just the two of us. He made two dishes, along with brown rice.

Ginger chickpeas

And a potato/cauliflower/pea dish.

The chickpeas were phenomenal. We both agreed that the second dish was just mediocre, but my dad said the recipe was weird, and he had to doctor it up. Still, it was Indian food, so it can only be so bad, right?

P.S. The only thing cuter than my dad making this dinner for us was that, when I was about to take the above shot, he was like, “Wait, wait!” and made sure there was enough cilantro garnish. :) Oh, dad.

We scarfed down our meal in order to make our 10:30 showing of Avatar in IMAX 3-D. I loved the movie, and even though it was just my dad and I, I sort of felt like my sister Olivia was there because she looks exactly like Neytiri:

I’m sorry. I got carried away. She’s going to KILL me when she sees that.

Before I flew home the next day, I hit up my favorite (and Tempe’s only!) vegan restaurant, Green! My Mayo physician had just told me to eat a lot of gluten in the next month to make sure that my upcoming tests for gluten intolerance would be accurate, so I knew I was getting a sandwich. I chose one that I’ve always avoided because it seemed boring: The “Green” Burger. House ground and packed oats and barley veggie burger with fresh lettuce and tomato, vegan mayo, ketchup and pickles.

Lots of gluten! :) Oats and barley in the burger, and wheat in the bun.

To spice things up, I requested Cheddar Daiya and caramelized onions, and got it on an Ezekiel bun. Unfortunately, they forgot my onions, but I was able to forgive them since the Daiya rendered this sandwich one mean vegan cheeseburger.

Bean and Corn Tortilla Lasagna

There’s been some Mexi-love going down in my house lately, first in the form of the Bean and Corn Tortilla Lasagna with Avocado from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan.

This is another recipe I’ve wanted to make as long as I can remember, so I’m glad I finally got around to it. Alternating layers of spicy beans and tomatoes, avocado, corn tortillas, and Daiya cheese make this dish a veritable fiesta!

Cooked avocado is different, but I’m always pleasantly surprised by how good it is.

My dad commented on how light and fresh it was, especially considering that lasagna is usually pretty heavy. I think that lightness is attributable not only to the fact that this lasagna is vegan and loaded with veggies, but to the lime (squeezed on between layers and on top) and cilantro.

More lime please!

We still had a lot of Daiya hanging around the next day, so nachos it was! These were even better than my Teese-y nachos from over the summer! Actually, MUCH better.

The great thing about living in Arizona is that you can eat al fresco in the middle of the winter:

TJ’s Reduced Guilt Tortilla Chips, Refried Black Beans (I made my own using the recipe in Yellow Rose Recipes!), Cheddar and Italian Daiya “cheese,” guacamole (also made from scratch, but just off the top of my head), and lotsa salsa. My dad and I devoured this lunch.

On an entirely different note, I’m running my 2nd half marathon tomorrow morning: the P.F. Chang’s Arizona Rock ‘n’ Roll 1/2.

I got 2:10:47 in my first half last September, so I’m going for under 2:00 this time. Wish me luck! I’m gonna get started on my carbo-loading dinner from the Vegan Yum Yum cookbook!

Happy Halloween! Quesadaiya and Chocolates!

Happy Halloween, everyone! After Thanksgiving, it may be my favorite holiday. Okay, so I really like Christmas and Hanukkah too–shoot me!

My costume this year is GREAT – I’m being one of my favorite characters in all literature/pop culture: Alice (in Wonderland). I’m so excited to get ready and go out with my friends, although the big 5-college party here, Harwood Halloween, is pretty disgusting (Imagine thousands of drunk, sweaty, scantily clad students in a dark, underground parking garage; liberties are taken). I won’t be getting crunk, as it were, but I do plan on having a lot of fun and looking illegally cute.

What’s the perfect Halloween treat? Orange and black quesadilla, of course! Or should I say, quesaDAIYA?!

Cheddar Daiya cheese +black beans + Food for Life Whole Grain Gluten-Free Brown Rice Tortilla = not only appropriately festive and absurdly delicious, but absolutely allergen-free! Daiya, made of cassava root (a.k.a. tapioca) is free of soy, casein, lactose, gluten, eggs, corn, and nuts, and the tortilla is as it’s named–gluten-free! In other words, move over casein-dillas! There’s no one who can’t enjoy the comforting richness that is a quesadilla! I swear I’m done with quesadilla wordplay.

Of course, being the good little vegan that I am, I added some veggie power in the form of bell peppers, red onions, and fresh cilantro.

I’ve had Daiya on zpizza before, but this was the first time I’d used it myself. I picked up a pack of both the Cheddar and Italian at Whole Foods yesterday, along with the tortillas, craving the microwave quesadillas of my childhood after-school snacks.

Daiya definitely delivered. It literally melted exactly like cow’s milk cheese in the microwave, and tasted phenomenal. The tortillas were great too! I’ve never had them before.

Stringymeltylovelovelove.

CHOMP.

Of course, you can’t have Halloween without candy. But I’m classy, so I went with some fancy vegan chocolates that my wonderful vegan superstar friend Stephanie got me from Whole Foods.

One.

Two.

Three.

The first one was your basic chocolate caramel. Except better, because it definitely had a hint of warm autumn-y spices. The second was also caramelish, but with a nice, crunchy almond in the center. My favorite by far, however, was the raspberry jam-filled apostrophe! (Haha, isn’t that the best way to describe that shape?!) It was not only printed with a gorgeous design, but the gooey, sugary filling was to die for. Plus, it reminded me of oozing, bloody guts, which is perfect for Halloween.

Teese-y Nachos and Stuffed Mochi

This is a multicultural post, I guess! And who knows – maybe Mexican and Japanese will be the next ethnic fusion cuisine fad.

Okay, so I didn’t actually eat my nachos and mochi together…

If y’all recall my camping post, I had about one-third of a log of Cheddar Teese to use up. It was great in the chili bake and tofu scramble, but I wanted to make something quintessentially “cheesy” with the remainder. I’m also a true Southwestern gal, meaning that my first thought was…NACHOS! And who am I to doubt my gut?

I laid out some Trader Joe’s blue corn chips on a baking tray, plopped on some vegetarian refried beans, and finally – the most exciting part – whipped out the grater and brought on the Teese! Here it is pre-baked:

I popped it in the oven at 325 F for a bit before broiling it for the last couple minutes. I wasn’t sure how well the Teese would melt at those temperatures, but I was pretty happy with the results! I finished it with a little shredded lettuce, guac, and a boatload of salsa.

Then I dug in!

As you can see, the Teese melted pretty freaking well, and it tasted awesome right outta the oven.

Moving on to the mochi! For anyone not in the loop (I wasn’t until recently), mochi is Japanese rice that’s ground into a thick paste and molded into little cakes. When baked, they puff up into little pastries! I bought my mochi at Whole Foods : the brand is Grainaissance, and I chose the Raisin & Cinnamon flavor.

I was skeptical about their puff potential when, after 8 minutes, they still looked pretty flat; but a couple minutes later, upon beholding their inflation. I was squealing with excitement, as my dad, who was working in his office down the hall, could easily confirm.

They’re not very sweet on their own (the ingredients are just brown rice, cinnamon, raisins, and salt), so I took the package’s advice and stuffed ’em!

I subbed Tofutti for the regular cream cheese and agave for the honey called for, and, well, pecans are already vegan! These little love packets were amazing! Because I stuffed them fresh from the oven, the “cream cheese” and agave got all oozy on the inside, and the flavors combined perfectly. I definitely think the mochi would have been a little plain without the filling. Speaking of the mochi, my dad and I were surprised at how chewy it was! The outside was crisp, but the bulk of it was just…ridiculously chewy.

That’s all I got, but I’ll leave you with a photo of one of the four mochi that came out just a tad bit deformed. It’s Quasi Mochi, the hunchcake of Notre Japan!

Why am I so weird?