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Sheese and Vegan Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Posted by trktos on 23-November-2009

I was a bit surprised, a couple of days ago, to see a few flavors of Sheese at my local Whole Foods. Although I’m pretty much over dairy cheese, I decided to buy a block since we’d never tried it and it’s nice to “support” stores’ carrying of vegan products.

So I picked out the medium cheddar. It was $6.49 / 8 ounces. Quite pricy, but cheaper than the $9+ I seen it priced at previously.

 

(And yes, it does re-seal fairly well. The label was a little worse-for-wear, here, from already being opened.)

I’d read reviews of Sheese a few years ago, about how great it was – good enough, in fact, to have, sliced, with crackers, wine and cheese, etc. So I was quite surprised to taste this only to find it tasted AWFUL. It started out with a rather sharp, Cheddar flavor but ended with some weird flowery, vanilla, almost sweet after-taste. I was shocked.

So, then the question became – what the heck do I do with this stuff? And the hope was that, once melted, it may be edible. Thanks to maryam for suggesting biscuits (and confirming that, yes, this was not very good raw). I was willing to waste a little flour on something that might have to be tossed.

Being a little perturbed from seeing the Facebook fan page for Cheddar Biscuits from Red Boiled-Alive-Lobster, I decided I’d give a copy-cat recipe a try.

Shredded Sheese:

Compared to Follow Your Heart, Sheese is very hard, very dry and almost difficult to shred. It was a bit crumbly.

However, in these biscuits, it was great! No hint of that funny after-taste, not even after the biscuits had cooled off some (I fully expected the after-taste to return.) My biscuits spread a little more than I would have liked. But that’s ok, I have enough Sheese to try another recipe or adjust this one!

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups Bisquick (300 grams – and yes, it really is vegan. Not even any questionable ‘mono – and diglycerides’)
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1 tbsp Better than Milk powder
  • 1 heaping cup of Medium Cheddar Sheese, shredded
  • 2 tbsp Earth Balance, melted
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance, melted

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix together 1st 4 dry ingredients.
  3. Fold in cheese.
  4. In another bowl, combine last 3 ingredients to brush over biscuits.
  5. Add 2 tbsp melted Earth Balance and water to Bisquick mix. Stir until well combined.
  6. Drop about 1/4 cup’s worth per biscuit onto a cookie sheet. I made 10 biscuits.
  7. Brush biscuits with Earth Balance/garlic/parsley mix.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on top.

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Posted in 0: Recipes, 1: Rants, biscuits, bread, cheddar, dairy subs, food review, products, services | Comments Off on Sheese and Vegan Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Vegan Pizza

Posted by trktos on 25-October-2009

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Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything. And no, we haven’t been fasting for a week. Just a little busy. And more than a little tired of blogging. Today, I’m going to attempt to catch up. And may even post about my awful apple pie from last night. Ugh.

Anyway, Friday, we made pizza. I’d been wanting to use my italian sausage crumbles on pizza for months. Finally got around to it. And, to be honest, I was a little disappointed – they lost a little flavor (I guess 20 minutes at 450 degrees and 5+ minutes under the broiler will do that.) Anyway, the pizza turned out otherwise-ok.

Crumbles on the stove-top:

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Follow Your Heart (FYH) / Vegan Gourmet Mozzarella Cheese … see, it shreds just fine, straight out of the package. I’m a little miffed, lately, on behalf of this vegan cheese. When it first came out, people were crazy for it. Now there’s a few newer vegan cheeses and FYH seems to get dumped on all the time. I haven’t tried Daiya but I tried Teese – I went all the way to MD, paid more than for FYH, and to be honest, it was very plasticy and processed. These new vegan cheeses contain palm oil, too. FYH doesn’t. (Edit: Just looked up Daiya and they currently do not list palm oil in their ingredient list, online at least.) Anyway, we eat maybe 1 block of FYH every 2 months. I’ll continue to pick it up right down the road and pay a reasonable price for it.

Shredded cheese:

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Pizza sauce – we like this brand from Don Pepino. Mostly because the ingredients are tomatoes, corn oil, salt, spices and powdered garlic.

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Sauce, going onto crust:

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Toppings – onions, bell peppers and mushrooms:

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Sausages join the party:

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And finally, FYH cheese. I don’t know what other vegans do with their FYH, but it does melt. For pizza, it helps if it goes on last. This time, I also brushed with a little canola oil. FYH is much lower in fat than dairy cheese, so this may play a factor in its melt-ability. (Next time, I’ll coat with a touch of oil BEFORE putting the shredded cheese on the pizza!)

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Pizzas in the oven:

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See, I told you the cheese melts:

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Blog Action Day and Vegan Mofo

Posted by trktos on 15-October-2009

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The topic for this year’s Blog Action Day is Climate Change. What’s this have to do with a primarily-food-blog, you may wonder? Well, in one sense – not a lot. I’ll admit my veganism has very little to do with climate change and environmental issues – as far as personal reasons for choosing not to exploit animals. Animals are the reasons I don’t exploit them. However, veganism has this wonderful side effect of being one of the best things anyone can do – right now! – to help the environment. Our food choices are so mundane that we often overlook them entirely, don’t think too much about them or the power we have to be compassionate AND reduce our carbon footprint with every bite of food we eat.

I follow Vienna Teng on Twitter. She has recently tweeted a few questions about “what’s worse for the environment – chicken or cheese?” and made some references to trying to go vegetarian for environmental reasons, as an effort to reduce her carbon footprint. It’s funny, how, even as we get closer to caring about an important issue, like climate change and our environment, it’s still so easy to overlook the primary players – I’d answer that the cheese is worse for the dairy cow, chicken is worse for the chicken and neither are good for our environment. The great thing is, by going vegan, everyone’s stake is considered! And it’s a mistake to think of veganism as a list of things you can not eat – although, don’t get me wrong – I’m not going all flexitarian-Peter-Singer or anything. But I mean that a vegan diet is not in the least depraved and no more difficult than trying to cook and eat a healthy diet. You’ll learn about lots of delicious foods you’d likely never encounter otherwise. Is it a little more effort than bellying up to the drive through? Well, yes. But that’s a good thing – good for your health, good for the animals AND good for the environment.

Besides, climate change and warmer oceans cause sea snot, and who wants that?

So, on to the Vegan MoFo part of this post …

veganmofo2009Today, I picked up a new-to-me product from WholeFoods – So Delicious Coconut Milk. I have the hardest time getting a truly plain, truly unsweetened, no-hint-of-vanilla-at-all soy milk. And nothing sucks more than not realizing you have even-slightly-vanilla-flavored ‘milk until *after* adding it to mashed potatoes or some other savory dish.

So, this ‘milk was on sale today and I picked up a carton. I tried it with some cornflakes and a tad of splenda because that’s a pretty good test for ‘milk, in my opinion. And, to be honest, this ‘milk had a really weird, hard-to-describe after-taste. It was “open” and “fresh” taste, and not in a good way. Almost chemical-like … I mulled over it, for a while, wondering what was wrong. And then I realized what it needed – salt! And sure enough, salt isn’t listed on the ingredient list, although I think it’s added to most commercial soy milks? Just the tiniest pinch cut the weird taste out completely.  (It should be noted that I have a super-strong sense of smell and this weird taste may not be detectable to anyone else everyone.) This ‘milk hould be great for cooking with. And for cereal, too, once a pinch of salt is added.

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For dinner, I was craving something simple and familiar. And something that used some of our newly arrived 10 pounds of sun-dried organic tomatoes (from the best-ever store for sun-dried tomatoes and other tasty stuff). And yes, in case you’re wondering, we can eat 10 pounds of sun-dried tomatoes long before they go bad.

We had eggplant, onions, tomatoes, tofu and rice.

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Eggplant may very well be one of my favorite vegetables. Old folks frequently ask me what I’m going to do with eggplants, when they see me buying them. Or if I’m going to fry it. Perhaps it’s because I’m usually buying so many, maybe they think I’m doing my own Close Encounters re-enactment or something.

Oh, and if you’re wondering about cooking tofu, be sure to check out this page about dry cooking. I typically dry-cook my cubed tofu until no more liquid comes out when pressed. Then I fry a little more with added oil, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, onion and garlic powders. Yum.

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Update on the broken Bosch

Posted by trktos on 7-October-2008

Last Wednesday, I think it was, our new Bosch arrived. We planned to compare the two mixers this weekend and give Evin a chance to hear the broken one.

Well, we made some bread Saturday … to my surprise, the “broken” mixer sounded just fine! I was a bit upset and felt a bit guilty – here they’d sent a new one, an extra bowl and a return shipping label and ours sounded fine. So, we decided to push the “broken” one with a batch of seitan today (Sunday).

Again, the mixer sounded “fine” – fine in quotes because, to be honest, neither of them sound that great to me … for the amount of money, I don’t know, they should just sound better, stronger. As Evin said, he should be able to mix cement in this thing … for the record, we have not tried that. But I was beginning to doubt what I heard before … and maybe all that gunk was food?

Anyway, although the broken mixer sounded fine while mixing a batch of seitan, I noticed later, more oil is now practically pouring out … did I mention, before, this stuff burns like candle wax? So, it’s spewing more mysterious substance and I know nothing else has magically seeped through the bottom of my solid bowl! If this were some accumulation of food stuff – how has the rest of my mixer, especially the path-way the food would travel, to wedge itself into this crevice, remained clean?

So I feel a little better … maybe what I was hearing was the mixer not sufficiently stuck down to the counter. It has little suction cup feet – note to self, never buy another kitchen appliance, no matter how pricey, that has suction cup feet. Actually, this was my initial intuition but I convinced myself, somehow, that little suction cup feet didn’t preclude “quality”. Apparently, I learned nothing from all the suction-cup-shower-crap I’ve purchased.

But there’s clearly a problem with this mixer. I really want to take the thing apart and have a look inside but if we should be unable to get it back together, they might not accept it as a return.

I sorta expect the new one to succumb to the same fate as the first … we’ll see.

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Good customer service …

Posted by trktos on 25-September-2008

Okay, we’ve had a Bosch Universal Mixer for a little less than a year. When we got the thing, it had this white petroleum jelly stuff on it … ran it through the dishwasher, which helped to distribute the jelly and bake it into a glue-like substance that even the miraculous Goo-Gone couldn’t help. After many washings and a little concern – What was that oily, lard-look-alike stuff, anyway? And why was it on my mixer? – we discovered that a little rubbing alcohol worked wonders in dissolving it. Yay, clean mixer.

Well, throughout these 10 months, our Bosch has had a pretty easy life. We’ve used it maybe 20 times – quite a few times for easy tasks like mashed potatoes, using the blender, making cake frosting. The other times, for two-loaf batches of bread (this thing is supposed to handle, like, 5 or 6 times that) and twice for making seitan. This is a machine touted by the homeschooling faction – you know, mothers with, like 10 kids, who bake about 5 loaves of bread a day. Every day.

So, a couple days ago, I used it to mix bread. It sounded kinda bad – sorta like a metal-on-metal knocking sound. Wasn’t absolutely horrible but I did remove the bowl to see what it would sound like, without having any work to do. It sounded a little better but …

I noticed this gooey, dark substance, oozing up from around the moving part in the bottom. Not good. Figuring it was still under warranty and there was no way I was tossing my bread – flour, like everything else, has gotten really expensive lately! – I finished kneading. (Bread was really good, btw!)

I posted my predicament online, and was told by several, 20-30 year+ Bosch users that this wasn’t normal and I should call the company.

One lady told me, though, the same thing had happened to her and the company told her she wasn’t drying the bowl well, so water was rusting the metal. They told her there was no oil down there to escape. I needed to dry my bowl better. A solution I thought was plausible until I got home and inspected the mixer again.

Expecting great difficulty with a return, we took photos of the goop and photos showing it not-dispersing in water (like it should, if it were rusty-watery-stuff) … Evin even took a little bit and stuck it in the flame of our gas stove – it caught fire and burned like a Roman candle! By this point, I was convinced it was definitely some oil type substance, broken transmission seal …

With some hesitation, I called customer service. I had been instructed to ask for a specific guy and, surprisingly, was transferred to him directly. I briefly described the situation and he told me that the gunk was food – stuff I had been mixing – that gets down into that area and eventually looks like grease. He also said that my machine shouldn’t sound bad and he’d send me a new one. No real questions – he didn’t even ask for any proof that I had actually purchased a mixer. He said the two events – gunk and sounding bad – are not related because there’s no oil down there to escape. He said the gunk was normal and could happen again with the new mixer.

On the one hand, I’m happy (and a little shocked) about the 100%-no-hassle exchange. On the other, I feel like there’s a bit of dishonesty going on – this has to be some kind of lubricant, coming up out of the machine. Our mixer bowl is like a bundt pan – with a tall column in the middle and no holes or seams in the bottom – nothing’s been escaping and selectively filling one little crevice in the machine. And besides, mixed-up food would dry and flake and get crusty – this stuff acts like pure oil and doesn’t dry up at all.

I fear there’s a bit of “image preservation” going on here – Bosch; at least this mixer; has a superb reputation … although we do have the new, “improved” model and you know how that usually goes. I also fear getting another machine with the same faulty design or whatever and being stuck in an exchange cycle, when, eventually, I’ll wish I had my money back to invest in the other mixer that competes with the Bosch Universal.

You be the judge … and for the record, I’ve made cake frosting with it, but never *chocolate* cake frosting. Which is a shame, come to think of it … will have to remedy that soon!

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