Grilled Cheese Sandwich for Grownups: Aged English Smoked Farmhouse

No matter how old I get, my love for a perfectly browned and crispy grilled cheese sandwich never fades. It seems kind of silly, but even when I found a fancy cheese like Miyoko’s Creamery Aged English Smoked Farmhouse on sale at Whole Foods, the first thing I thought of was making a grilled cheese sandwich!

Grown-up Grilled Cheese with Miyoko's Smoked Farmhouse | Orthodox and Vegan

The round thing that looks kind of like a burger is the smoked cheese!

I grabbed a variety of olives and teeny tiny pickles from the olive bar, and Tofurky Bologna slices. Believe it or not, before I went vegan, I used to love fried bologna and cheese sandwiches (and I also really loved spam). So I think even when I eat vegan junk food it’s a big step up from the way I ate before 😀

The cheese from Miyoko’s Creamery is hardly junk food, though. It’s made with cashews, chickpea miso, nutritional yeast, salt, and cultures to ferment it. Miyoko describes it as “Semi-hard with rich, smoky, sharpness that lingers.”

It’s so good I could just slice it up and eat it on its own. Luckily I saved some for this sandwich, though 🙂

Grown-up Grilled Cheese with Miyoko's Smoked Farmhouse | Orthodox and Vegan
Grilled Cheese Sandwich for When You Adult
2 slices of bread
Approx 1oz Miyoko’s Creamery Aged English Smoked Farmhouse, sliced*
5 slices Tofurky Bologna
1/4 C sliced olives
margarine
garlic powder

Lightly spread margarine on one side of each slice of bread, and sprinkle that side with garlic powder. Place one slice margarine side down on a skillet. Layer on half the sliced cheese, olives, bologna, remaining cheese, and top with the second slice of bread margarine side up.
Cook over medium heat until bread is browned, then very carefully flip the sandwich and brown the other side.

*You don’t have to weigh the cheese, just make sure it’s enough to cover each slice of bread.

Cashew cheese doesn’t get gooey when it melts, but it does soften and is delicious warmed, no matter if the box says it’s best served cold or at room temp!

What’s your favorite way to dress up a grilled cheese sandwich?

Life Hack: Vegan Nacho Cheez

Vegan Nacho Cheez Sauce | Orthodox and Vegan
Have I told you how much I LOVE tahini sauce?! It is simple to make, includes few ingredients, and is quite versatile. The variation I use for vegan nachos is my favorite. I pay about $7 for a 32oz jar of tahini, enough to make approximately 25 large plates of nachos! It doesn’t really taste like cheese*, but it does taste pretty wonderful.

*UPDATE* So a friend of mine made his own little variation based on my recipe and had some friends totally believing they were eating a very non-vegan cheese sauce! SO THERE.

Lenten Tahini Nacho Sauce
And the rest of the ingredients for the nachos are just as simple: finely chopped veggies – I prefer bell pepper, onion, and tomato, and sometimes fresh garlic. Black beans and corn would also be great. Simply drizzle the tahini sauce over the chips, add toppings…

Vegan Tahini Nacho Sauce
and bake!

Vegan Tahini Nacho Sauce
The sauce thickens and keeps the toppings from falling off.

Lenten Recipes: Vegan Tahini Nacho Sauce
When the sauce begins to brown you know it’s done.

Lenten Recipes: Vegan Tahini Nacho Sauce | Orthodox and Vegan
Tahini Nacho Cheez Sauce
2 heaping Tbsp tahini
Lemon juice, salt and garlic to taste.
Add water until desired consistency is reached.

Additional seasonings recommended for nachos:
Frank’s Redhot Sauce
black pepper
cumin
smoked paprika
chili powder
turmeric for color

Now, you can use this sauce as a dip (or eat it with a spoon, I won’t judge!), but for vegan nachos:

Preheat oven to 400.
In a small bowl, stir together tahini, water, and lemon juice. Season to taste with spices and hot sauce, adding turmeric for color if desired. Finely chop toppings of choice.
On a baking tray or large oven proof plate, arrange tortilla chips in a single layer. Drizzle with tahini sauce. Sprinkle with toppings.

Bake 10 – 15 minutes, until tahini sauce thickens and begins to brown.

Oh, and this sauce is also perfect for chili cheez fries! What’s your favorite way to spice up tahini sauce???

Pizza Week 2016, Day 2: Tomato Basil VioLife on Ultra Thin Crust

Vegan Tomato Basil VioLife Pizza
Tonight’s pizza: the lazy woman’s Tortilla Pizza, smothered in Tomato Basil VioLife cheese, topped with thinly sliced onion and tomato, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with nutritional yeast. Tortilla pizzas remind me of the ultra thin crust pizzas I had in Rome, it made it easy to eat an entire pizza yourself. In this case, I ate two! To get a nice crunchy crust, I placed the tortillas under the broiler, turning every so often until both sides were nice and firm, and just starting to brown.

When the tortillas are firm enough that you could add the toppings and stick your pizza straight on the rack without fear of it falling apart, it’s ready! I skipped the sauce and went straight for the cheese since the cheese has a tomato flavor anyway. And I didn’t use any seasonings because the basil really comes through beautifully.
Besides having a wonderful flavor, the olive oil helps the cheese melt. VioLife isn’t the meltiest vegan cheese out there, but under the broiler it gets bubbly and soft. I only put two torn up slices on the first pizza, but on the second pizza (pictured) I did four. Yes, I’m admitting to eating six pieces of this cheese in one meal. It’s that good.

How is your Pizza Week shaping up?

Unboxing: VioLife Cheese

I’ve been saving this bit of happy news for so long, I thought I was going to explode! But now that Cheesefare Week is upon us (and therefore, PIZZA WEEK!!!! Starting tomorrow, March 7), I can finally share. A few weeks ago I posted some tracking information on my facebook page and asked people to guess what was being delivered. You can bet I was checking the tracking multiple times a day, I was so excited…because…I was getting samples of VioLife vegan cheese, all the way from Greece! I made another silly little unboxing video so you can experience my joy.


This time I just completely drowned out my voice with the music, I really don’t add anything :p

VioLife Vegan Cheese
Originally I was going to save all this glorious cheese for Cheesefare week, but then I realized…this is a LOT of cheese! I don’t think I can eat it all by myself in one week. So I’ve already sampled some and have a few things to share. But I’ll also be trying it out on pizza all week long.

I hope you are all prepared for Pizza Week, and I hope some of you will join me in enjoying at least one piece of pizza every day until (Orthodox) Lent begins. I’m going to get my dough rising for pizza crust right now. See you tomorrow, for the first day of Pizza Week!

Unboxing: VioLife Cheese

I’ve been saving this bit of happy news for so long, I thought I was going to explode! But now that Cheesefare Week is upon us (and therefore, PIZZA WEEK!!!! Starting tomorrow, March 7), I can finally share. A few weeks ago I posted some tracking information on my facebook page and asked people to guess what was being delivered. You can bet I was checking the tracking multiple times a day, I was so excited…because…I was getting samples of VioLife vegan cheese, all the way from Greece! I made another silly little unboxing video so you can experience my joy.


This time I just completely drowned out my voice with the music, I really don’t add anything :p

VioLife Vegan Cheese
Originally I was going to save all this glorious cheese for Cheesefare week, but then I realized…this is a LOT of cheese! I don’t think I can eat it all by myself in one week. So I’ve already sampled some and have a few things to share. But I’ll also be trying it out on pizza all week long.

I hope you are all prepared for Pizza Week, and I hope some of you will join me in enjoying at least one piece of pizza every day until (Orthodox) Lent begins. I’m going to get my dough rising for pizza crust right now. See you tomorrow, for the first day of Pizza Week!

Daiya Cheezy Mac Review

I want to tell you about a very exciting experience I had a few months ago. I follow Daiya Cheese on facebook, and there I learned about a new product: Daiya Cheezy Mac. I love Daiya products, and this one sounded particularly interesting because basically all you have to do is boil macaroni, drain, squeeze, stir. EAT. Did I mention the macaroni is gluten free? It’s made with brown rice and rice bran.

Vegan Mac n Cheese
The packaging itself is pleasing to the eye. I didn’t want to throw the boxes away – I’m a hoarder, so I kept thinking, “There must be something I can do with these boxes!!!!!!!” I haven’t come up with anything yet, but one day…oh yes, one day I will.

Vegan Mac n Cheese
“Rejoice,” they say. And I did!
Vegan Mac n Cheese
Now take notice, the orientation of the image and text is different on the front and back. Prefer landscape to portrait? Daiya has you covered.
I tried the Deluxe White Cheddar Style Veggie first because more is better when it comes to cheezy mac.

Vegan Mac n Cheese
These are the contents right here, everything you need but the pot and water. The ready-to-use cheez sauce comes in a handy squeeze pouch.

Vegan Mac n Cheese
The veggies don’t look too impressive at first, but if you have seven to eight minutes worth of patience…

Vegan Mac n Cheese
they will plump right up.

Vegan Mac n Cheese
Now add that sauce! STIR.

Vegan Mac n Cheese
Each box claims to make three servings. This is what one serving looks like in my soup bowl.

Vegan Mac n Cheese
And this is the amount I thought I would actually eat, it’s about half the box. In reality, I ended up eating the whole entire thing, 900 glorious calories, in one sitting.

Basically it tastes like the sauces I’ve made myself by melting down the Daiya shreds in almond milk and seasoning it with salt and pepper (except no pepper in this one). So I have a food blog, obviously I don’t mind cooking, but sometimes even I need a break. Now instead of eating a candy bar for dinner, I can have a real meal in 10 minutes. And it provides a good dose of calcium & Vitamin B12, plus a little protein and iron.

And now you can enjoy pictures of me squeezing the cheez sauce into the macaroni.

Daiya Cheezy Mac

Daiya Cheezy Mac 4
There was *just* enough cheez sauce. The macaroni wasn’t swimming in it, but it wasn’t skimpy either. Now, you only need 10 minutes to have a meal straight out of the box, but if you have 20 minutes you can fatten this up all kindsa ways. Later this week I’ll share my breakfast skillet recipe.

Did your mom ever put weird stuff in your mac n cheese when you were a kid? Mine did, and I’m going to recreate that recipe and see if it’s as gross now as I thought it was back then (sorry mom, I love you!). Have you tried Daiya Cheezy Mac yet? What did you think?

vegan nut cheese, day 2

So, I took the nut spread out of the (cool) oven today to change plates and paper towel. The paper towel was starting to look a little sketchy, so I would def recommend changing it at least once every 24 hours. You lose a little of the spread when you change it because it will stick, but it’s better than moldy cheese. Although…I guess some people like that.

This is the “whey” that dripped out of it so far. If you decided to use a fermenting agent, it will be in this liquid and you can reuse it if you’re going to use it right away. It doesn’t have the most pleasant smell, but maybe it smells kind of cheesy, I guess I don’t remember. The spread already has a nice tangy flavor, but I’m leaving it until tomorrow because I want it a little stronger. Here’s what it looks like so far:

I’ll post more after dinner…

vegan nut cheese, day 1

I started my nut cheese today! I decided to go with the cashews first because that’s the one I’ve been the most hungry for. The process is simple, it’s the waiting that’s hard.

This is another loose recipe, where I just kind of dump things in until it seems about right. You will need:

raw cashews (I used, according to the bag, 0.66 lbs)
fresh lemon juice
salt
some sort of fermenting liquid (optional, you don’t have to ferment)

The sauerkraut juice I’m using to ferment, as I mentioned before, is from my mom. You can also buy raw fermented sauerkraut at some health food stores, and use that liquid. Apparently there are pickles made the same way, but I haven’t tried them yet. Just so you know, most sauerkraut isn’t made by fermenting any more, it just has vinegar in it to give it a fermented flavor. That kind of sauerkraut juice won’t work for fermenting.  I’ve made this “cheese” a bunch of times without actually fermenting it, though, and it’s still good.

So, you can start by soaking your nuts over night. I didn’t do that because I didn’t think ahead! I’ll do it tomorrow with the almonds, though. Last time I soaked mine covered in water with 2 Tbsp of the sauerkraut juice, but plain water is fine, too.

This time, I just put the nuts in the blender right out of the bag, added a few teaspoons of kosher salt, covered them with water and added about 5 or 6 tablespoons of sauerkraut juice and 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. I had to add more water a couple times so it could blend properly, I had it on Liquify to get it nice and super smooth.

I think I must’ve added a total of about 1 cup of liquid. Next, get your colander out and sit it on top of a plate. You can line it either with cheese cloth, or with damp paper towel. I used six connected sheets of paper towel folded over three times, so it was two sheets wide. As I am typing this I kind of wish I had only used four sheets, to make sure the excess liquid can get out easily, but we’ll see what happens.
Pour the mixture onto the paper towel. Mine looks extra wet because after I got most of the mix, I added more water to the canister and used the Easy Clean button to get the rest out.


It doesn’t look very pretty…. Then fold the paper towel over the mixture.

Now find something heavy to sit on the mixture, to press the excess liquid out. I think the easiest thing is to put a small plate on top, then sit some soup cans on it, or mason jars filled with water. The liquid will drip out onto the plate below the colander. Find a place for this to sit at least over night. I’m sticking mine in the oven.

I’ll probably leave mine until Wednesday evening when I get home from work. I just checked it and it looks like it’s draining well, but I’ll probably change the paper towels tomorrow at some point anyway, just to keep them fresh.