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With all of the improvements to our "every day" cheeses (like you would use on a pizza or grilled cheese), we are finally experiencing a breakthrough in the realm of high-end gourmet cheeses. The first time I sampled Miyoko Schinner's cultured cashew cheeses was at the last Vida Vegan Con's Galarama (aka big party at the end of the conference). The entire party was abuzz, chattering about how delicious these cheeses were. They looked like cheese, they smelled like cheese, and they tasted like cheese. All of our taste buds were doing simultaneous double-takes, and it seemed that everyone in attendance was in one long line to get just a little sample from the beautiful platters that Miyoko had created.
But then the party was over, and the cheeses were gone. Would we ever have them again? Was this a one night stand we would tell our great grandkids about? Well, our questions have been answered, and our dream has come true. Miyoko's Kitchen is a reality. You can now have her stellar cheeses, or "cultured nut products" as they're called, delivered right to your door. Her initial offering of these gourmet cheeses include, Classic Double Cream Chive, Aged English Smoked Farmhouse, French Style Winter Truffle, Rustic Alpine, and that's just to name a few.
But they quietly called to me every time I opened the fridge. They looked at me seductively from their pretty packaging, and it wasn't long until I caved. I didn't cave fully, however. I said to myself, "I'll just taste a couple of them, and then wait for the Wife to get home to try the rest." That lasted for oh, about 43 seconds, because once I tasted one, I knew I had to taste them all. No bread, no cracker, just me, a knife and a mountain of cultured nuts. So I guess you could say I fully caved.
I first dove into the Sharp English Farmhouse, which is basically a sharp cheddar (watch the Veggietorials video below for explanation on why they can't "say cheese"), and once the little sliver I carved out rolled around my mouth, I dropped my knife and threw my arms up in disbelief. "No fucking way," I exclaimed out loud! Keep in mind I was alone, except for the dogs. And even though I had tasted them before, I had forgotten just how close to dairy cheese these were. I continued on, sampling the Winter Truffle, and the Double Cream Chive, and all the rest - each time dropping my knife and throwing my arms up in disbelief and saying things like "you've got to be kidding me" and "oh, good god." This may sound like I'm exaggerating, but it is absolutely true. If someone were watching me through the window, they would have called the funny farm and had me picked up. Although I imagine once the funny farm people tasted the cheeses, they, themselves would throw their hands up in disbelief, thus understanding my actions and not taking me away (ho-ho-he-he-ha-ha).
What I'm trying to say here, is that Miyoko's Kitchen Cultured Nut Products are UNBELIEVABLE! Nobody will believe you. When you tell them there are cheeses that taste and feel and smell just like dairy cheese, they won't believe you. When you show them pictures, and reviews like this one, they won't believe you. And when they finally get to taste them, they will throw their hands up in the air in disbelief, and say "No fucking way!" These are the big guns you call out for the holidays, for the dinner parties, and for those negative Nancies who are always saying "I could never give up cheese." These cheeses will change minds, change expectations, and most importantly change perceptions.
sexy vegan radidio show notes
FDA Standards of Identity for "mayonnaise": HERE
Andrew Zimmern Change.org: Sign the Petition
Wiener Wars: Oscar Mayer vs. Ball Park
Get Miyoko's Cheeses: http://miyokoskitchen.com/
Miyoko's Website: http://www.artisanveganlife.com/
Vegan Cruise Info: http://www.vegancruiseplanners.com/
Factory Tour with Cobi from Veggietorials...
I love lobster mushrooms for this dish because they add a chewy, meaty texture to an otherwise rich and creamy dish. They also have an amazing color, and complext flavor. If you don't have the lobster mushrooms, chanterelles, shiitake, or oyster mushrooms would be great here.
8 ounces elbow pasta
2 tablespoons vegan margarine
1/2 lb lobster mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 ounces Miyoko's Kitchen French Style Winter Truffle
6 ounces Miyoko's Kitchen Aged English Sharp Farmhouse
1 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and cook pasta until al dente, subtracting 3 minutes from the suggested cooking time on the package. Immediately drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside to drain.
in a medium saucepan, add the milk and cheeses, and melt them together over medium low heat. Occasionally stirring to break up the cheeses so they melt in more easily. Once it's thick and creamy, turn of the heat and set aside.
In a large skillet, melt the vegan margarine over medium high heat. Once melted add the mushrooms. Sautee for 5 to 7 minutes until browned and tender. Season with a healthy pinch of salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
Preheat oven to 400. Add the pasta and mushrooms to the saucepan containing the sauce. If it's not big enough, you can transfer everything to a mixing bowl. Mix the sauce, mushrooms and pasta together until everything is thoroughly coated in the sauce. Lube up the bottoms and sides of a casserole or 4 individual ramekins with olive oil or margarine, and add the pasta mixture. Cover with foil (making sure the foil is not in contact with the pasta) and bake for 30 minutes.
In a small bowl, stir together the breadcrumbs and olive oil until combined. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. After 30 minutes of baking remove the mac from the oven and remove the foil. Set your broiler to high, and sprinkle the breadcrumbs over top of the mac. Place, uncovered under the broiler for 30 to 60 seconds - KEEPING A CLOSE EYE ON THEM SO THE TOP DOESN'T BURN - remove when browned. Serve.