Follow Your Heart’s new slices make the perfect vegan grilled cheese! »
I am a Follow Your Heart vegan cheese loyalist. It was my first melting vegan cheese, it makes the perfect baked vegan mac ‘n’ cheese (don’t even come to me with that saucy nonsense, mac ‘n’ cheese has to have a crust), and I can’t stomach Daiya. Naturally, I was pretty excited to try FYH’s new vegan slices. FYH sent me two slices each of American, provolone, and garden herb to sample.
What I did, obviously, was make a glorious grilled cheese. Actually, I first tried a garden herb slice alone, fresh out of the fridge, and honestly, it wasn’t so great. It’s plasticky and unyielding to the tooth, and not super flavorful, either. Disappointing. However, the very properties that make it unsuitable for eating raw raise it to glorious heights when melted.
I make an excellent vegan grilled cheese. I know that when using the standard FYH “wet block,” the tricks are to slice it thin, overlap evenly, and broil the sandwich open-faced till the cheese nears melting before slapping it together and grilling the exterior of the sandwich. This is super-annoying, but if you want a flawless grilled cheese sandwich using the vegan cheese that doesn’t nauseate you, these are the steps you must take.
However, with FYH’s new formula, making a vegan grilled cheese is as easy as working with standard torture-cheese. You put it on the bread, you put the bread in the pan, you fry until golden brown. Within the crunchy fried bread, the Follow Your Heart cheeses will be soft and melting. The above pictured sandwich was made with one slice of each of the provolone, American, and garden herb. It tasted of salt and fat and childhood. Do you miss the blandly comforting grilled cheeses d’antan? Here they are, once more within your grasp.
Follow Your Heart’s brand new cheeses come in provolone, American, garden herb, and mozzarella flavors. They come in blocks and slices, and the provolone and American also come in singles. They will be available nationwide in “early 2015,” we’re told. In the meantime, we can dream of the perfect vegan grilled cheese.
How to, yo: VEGAN PIZZA! Tips and tools from start to finish! »
I wish I could explain this logically, but it’s not really a logic desire. Here’s the thing: for as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pizza. Something about that cartoon pizza, it just looked so good, and pizza in real life never quite measured up! I know I’m not alone in this.
Something changed once I started making vegan pizzas; they just had that ooey-gooey look to them, the very look I’d been striving for my entire life! Something about how the cheese melts and the vegan pepperonis bake in, it’s a visual and tasty delight! Of course, using vegetables on your pizza is much healthier, and I highly recommend it (I take mine with mushrooms, spinach, roasted garlic and sometimes pineapple). Or you can make your own vegan sausages with this recipe!
That’s enough waxing poetic about my favorite 80s/early 90s cartoon, let’s get to the pizza dough part! I don’t like working with dough. THERE I SAID IT. I will always go for convenience when it comes to bread, pastries, pie dough and pizza dough! That is, until I stumbled across this pizza dough recipe by Bobby Flay! It’s really easy and you don’t even need a stand mixer to make it!
If you do have a stand-mixer, you can follow the recipe as it says, but if you don’t, here’s my method:
In a small bowl, mix the yeast, sugar, warm water and olive oil. Let sit for a couple of minutes.
In a large bowl, add 3 1/2 cups of the flour and salt. Mix, make a well in the center and then add yeast mixture. Knead until all the flour is incorporated, adding the last 1/2 cup of flour if too wet. I find I usually don’t need it. Now follow the rest of the directions in terms of letting it rise! (When I make my dough, I add just a pinch of extra salt and about a tablespoon of dried rosemary.)
When it came time to bake my pizza, I did at 450F, on a baking sheet, for about 10 - 15 minutes, until the bottom was nicely browned. If your oven smokes at high temperatures, you can bake at 400F for a longer period of time—just check the bottom of the crust periodically. If you have a pizza stone or fire brick oven, what are you reading this for? You are probably a pizza wizard and could be giving me tips!
Now, if you choose to use vegan cheese, Daiya is probably the easiest in terms of melt and go. If you are a FYH soy mozzarella fan, but are exasperated by it’s melting abilities, I’d like to help you! You gotta melt it in a double boiler first (I shred it, or cut it up real small, then melt it). Once it’s melted, spoon it onto your pizza. Yeah, it’s an extra step, but it’s worth it! I like Daiya alright, but I get tired of it. Every time I use melted FYH soy mozz, at least three people on Instagram tell me I’ve been duped, that there’s no way my pizza is vegan. That my friends, I call a success! I have been thinking this homemade tofu chèvre would make a tasty addition for a very sophisticated pizza!
I have some tips on shaping pizza dough here! Basically, it’s easiest to work with when at room temperature and DON’T TOUCH THE OUTSIDE CRUST!
As far as pizza sauce goes, I usually use jarred marinara sauce. The other night I made my own, and it was really easy! I sautéed, in olive oil, half a diced onion, three cloves of minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste (1/2 tsp of each, maybe) and 1 TB of Italian herbs. I added a can of diced tomatoes, and about 1/2 cup of white wine (totally optional, and red is great too), then let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Add a tsp of sugar if it’s too tart. I like my pizza sauce smooth so I blended it, but you could also just use canned tomato sauce!
Sick of the same ‘ol, same ‘ol? Here’s my recipe for BBQ “chicken” pizza!
As always, we love to hear from you! What are your favorite toppings? Do you have a recipe for a great gluten-free dough? Did you love the Ninja Turtles as much as me? Let us know!
How to, yo: Mold the best pizza crust! »
I just had a pizza party with my family! And I broke my mom’s pizza stone, the night before Mother’s Day. I’m a terrible person! I’m not sure the iTunes gift certificate, coconut wax candle and cock blocker I gave her will make up for slamming her stone in the oven and demolishing it. It was an accident! But since she is a great person, she didn’t even get mad at me. My mom is the best.
I want to give props to Chef Mitch at Source for giving me the inside scoop on molding pizza crust. I was a pretty good home cook before; however, working side by side with him every day has taught me so much. If you come into Source, tell him you love the hints on Vegansaurus. It might render him speechless, which is no easy feat—that guy loves to talk! But I love listening, so it is a match made in restaurant heaven.
Now, whether it’s homemade or store-bought pizza dough you are working with, it is the easiest and best to handle at room temperature, so let your dough sit out for an hour or so. That way when you stretch it, it will stay where you put it. Also, play with the outside edge, which will be the uncovered crust, as little as possible. If you can get away with not touching it at all, that is great: It will make for a wonderful, light, “eggshell” crust that will rise beautifully and impress everyone. Shape and stretch your crust from the inside out. However you do this, DON’T TOUCH THE VERY OUTSIDE PART! That’s it. That’s all I’m trying to say.
This outside crust here is a little extreme, as in, it’s HUGE. But the dough was cold and I had a hard time stretching it. You don’t have to go this big, but you know what they say: Go big or go home! The outside crust was so light and fluffy, I felt like a pro. Do you like how I made myself a half-cheese, half-veggie combo? I need options! And remember when some of you were like “Daiya is gross, it tastes like glue”? Well, I really like it. Follow Your Heart soy mozzarella is my numero uno, but Daiya is my mistress! They better not make me choose, because I love them both so much.
Vegenaise coming out with some bomb new flavors! »
Here are the new Vegenaise flavors, pictorially, because I’m sick and you should feel bad for me. I tried them all at the Fancy Food Show because I’m fancy and they were all outrageously delicious. Specifically the barbecue, which would make one damn fine bbq potato salad. And the pesto vegenaise, holy shit. UGH IT WAS ALL SO GOOD. I can’t think about it right now because they’re not all right in front of me and I’m already sick — what’s the point of being sick AND sad? HUH?
Anyway, they should be showing their faces soon in grocery stores near you, let us know if you see them and then also, send them to us!
Yummy vegan breakfast time! »
Today we’ll be making the quick and easy cream cheese and jelly on toast! I forgot how much I loved this stuff! And boy, so simple: toast two pieces of pumpernickel bread, spread with vegan cream cheese, then top with your favorite jelly! Voilà! Yummy vegan breakfast time!
Today I used Follow Your Heart vegan cream cheese but sometimes I use Tofutti cream cheese. I can’t decide which I like better but I think maybe Tofutti. No, never mind, I can’t decide! Stop pressuring me!
To complete your morning, I suggest watching the Gummi Bears like I used to do every morning before school:
[Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!]
Vegan Pizza Day! Praise Be! »
So! You’re vegan and you love pizza? WHAT IS NEXT, you ask yourself? Well, the answer is: CELEBRATE VEGAN PIZZA DAY! Organized by our blogging BFF’s quarrygirl and the delightful Chicago Soy Dairy folks, this is sure to be an event to remember! Or, at least the extra 5 pounds on your ass will be all, “thanks, bitch!”. Kidding, fat asses are THE BOMB. Anyway, get ready for January 29th, 2011 when the vegan pizza eating, it shall commence! Oh, and if you see any vegan pizza places missing from their list, be a doll and add it!
Calorie count cage match: KFC Double Down vs. Vegan Double Down »
Everyone and their dog knows that the KFC Double Down is cardiac arrest in sandwich form, and our vegan version isn’t doing much better. But we at least would never lie to you. Kill you, quite possibly, but never lie.
Unlike KFC, who would do both. Their marketing materials had clocked their version in at a lean-and-mean 540 calories and 32 grams of fat (practically diet by fast food standards), and now CityRag is calling bullshit. By their math, using published nutritional data, the KFC Double Down’s real calorie count? 1190 calories and 86 grams of fat—over twice as much as advertised.
So, not that you should care, I thought I’d run the numbers for one serving of our version to see how it stacks up.
- 2 Gardein Chick’n Scallopini patties: 180 calories, 4g fat
- 2 Tbsp Vegenaise: 180 calories, 18g fat
- 25 percent of the batter recipe (plenty for one sandwich): 225 calories, 25g fat
- 2 oz Follow Your Heart Monterey Jack: 140 calories, 14g fat
- 3 strips Smart Bacon with cooking oil: 60 calories, 8g fat
Grand total: 785 calories, 69g fat. I think that means, we win! Or, we lose! Also, let’s be realistic. Neither of these counts include the vat of fryer oil we’re using. So add another 300 to 500 calories to both those numbers.
Moral of the story? There is none. Life isn’t Beatrix Potter, and sometimes we eat stuff that might kill us. The end. As long as it’s only killing ourselves without dragging any animals along for the death ride, I don’t see the problem. You know what, I think there is a moral after all. Mentos!
[link via Bacon-loving Hipsters Can Kiss My Vegan Ass]
KFC to unleash the Double Down sandwich, we celebrate by cracking the code »
Over at The Consumerist, they’ve been following KFC’s new (and revolting) Double Down sandwich. In case you’re new to the story, the Double Down is a bacon and cheese sandwich, with two slabs of fried chicken replacing the bread, and a mystery yellow substance they’re calling “The Colonel’s Sauce” (a name that implies more intimacy with the Colonel than, we hope, is actually involved). After months of rumors and marketing teasers, the Double Down is finally real, with a scheduled release date of Monday, Apr. 12 at a KFC near you.
As vegans, we’re of course bound by blood oath to be outraged by meat surrounded by meat and drizzled in dairy, especially when mass-produced by a megacorp dedicated to poisoning as many people worldwide as possible. But sometimes something is just too ridiculous to hate, and like a game of culinary marry-fuck-kill, we saw the Double Down and chose “fuck.” So with that, I present:
It’s actually good! And by “good” I mean “not good.” Or a word that means a mix of good and not-good, where “not good” describes how you feel after downing this fistful of instant regret. Here’s how you can make your own and share my suffering. You know you want one.
First thing’s first. Start by getting your kitchen stocked with vegan substitutes.
- Gardein Lightly Seasoned Chick’n Scallopini
- Lightlife Smart Bacon
- Follow Your Heart Vegenaise
- Energ-G Egg Replacer
- Earth Balance Natural Shortening
- Follow Your Heart Monterey Jack
You can replace the shortening with canola oil or even Crisco, if you feel like taking your life into your hands. Before doing anything else, I fried up about six pieces of Smart Bacon, and thinly sliced the Follow Your Heart Monterey Jack using a mandolin. If you don’t have a mandolin, a cheese slicer will do the trick, or a sharp kitchen knife if you’re really patient. You should also thaw out the Gardein patties, which are usually kept frozen.
The Colonel’s Sauce
No one has any idea what’s in this stuff, so I basically went for “yellow”.
- 4 Tbsp Vegenaise
- 1 tsp mustard
- 1 tsp agave nectar
- 1 tsp turmeric
Mix it up until it looks yellow. Adjust as needed.
- 1 Tbsp sage
- 1 tsp ginger root
- 1 Tbsp rosemary
- 1 Tbsp oregano
- 1 tsp marjoram
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp chili powder or cayenne
- 1½ tsp thyme
- 2 Tbsp garlic salt, or mix 1 Tbsp salt + 1 Tbsp garlic granules
- 2 Tbsp onion salt, or mix 1 Tbsp salt + 1 Tbsp onion granules
- 3 Tbsp dried parsley
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp powdered vegetable bullion from Rapunzel, or any vegan “chicken-flavored” bullion.
- 1 pack of McCormick Thick & Zesty Spaghetti Sauce Mix (available at Safeway), or 1 packet of any vegan tomato powdered instant soup.
Grind into a fine powder using a food processor or blender, and set aside.
Making the batter and deep-frying it all up
- 3 Tbsp Ener-G egg replacer
- 4 Tbsp water
- 1 Tbsp canola oil
- ½ cup unsweetened, plain soy milk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
In a mixing bowl, beat together the egg replacer, water, canola oil, and soy milk. This is your “eggs and milk” batter.
Now is a good time to get your deep-frying apparatus into gear. If you own a deep fryer, you know what you’re doing here. For everyone else: melt the whole box of Earth Balance shortening in a wok or cast-iron pan on medium heat. Top it up with canola oil if the pool of oil isn’t deep enough.
Next, thoroughly mix together the flour with the “secret” herb and spice mix that you made earlier. Spread out the flour mix onto a long sheet of baking paper.
You basically want to coat the living hell out of the Gardein patties, then deep fry them until your kitchen smells like KFC. So: take a patty, dip it in the batter, then roll it in the flour/spices until it’s completely coated. Then take the same patty and repeat; you want to coat the coating.
Finally, drop in your patty and deep-fry it for a few minutes, until golden brown. You can test out your oil beforehand with a small glob of batter and flour. You really don’t want to cook them for too long!
Putting it all together then nomming the shit out of that
Now you’re ready to assemble your Vegan Double Down: two slabs of fried fake chicken, stuffed with fake bacon, fake cheese, and fake “Colonel’s Sauce”. Make it look pretty.
You will eat about half of this before realizing what a mistake it’s been. But until that moment, it will taste like sweet, deep-fried heaven.
Product review: Reduced Fat Vegenaise! »
Follow Your Heart’s new Reduced Fat Vegenaise has been floating around health food stores for a few months now, but is totally lacking visibility on the internets (well, besides here). It deserves more love! Made with heart=healthy flaxseed and olive oil, this stuff has about half the fat and calories of original Veganaise. This means you can put twice the amount on your sandwich/nachos/toast/spaghetti!
And what’s more, its taste is seriously on par with the traditional stuff. Weird, huh?! Find it at your local health food store. It has a yellow label. It’s adorable! A perfect dip for steamed artichokes!
This Vegansaur gives it five stars out of five.
[photo by Bryan!]
Fake meats and smug vegans, elephant geniuses, killer snakes, your very own puppies AND MORE in today’s link-o-rama! »
They are few, but crucial: Your vegan events!
Fun times at the San Francisco Public Library! On Saturday, Mar. 6 from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Noe Valley branch (451 Jersey St. at Castro Street) Maya Donelson will host a workshop on rooftop gardening. And on Tuesday, Mar. 9 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Bernal Heights branch (500 Cortland Ave. at Moultrie Street), you can learn all about urban composting. Both events are free and open to the public.
On Thursday, Mar. 11 Blood and Sunshine will release their latest E.P., Change Is in the Weather, at 9 p.m. at Thee Parkside in San Francisco. Why should you care? First, because half the band, Joseph Macrino, is vegan and loves your Vegansaurus. Second, because he and James Brennan (the other half of the band, no doy), have decided to plant a tree for every 200 miles they travel on tour. See how much they love the environment? A LOT, is how much. The show costs $6, which in this economy is basically nothing, so go already!
Next Saturday, Mar. 13 from noon to 2 p.m. the PETA Pack—which includes Friend of Vegansaurus’ Cinnaholic—is having a bake sale in front of the PETA Oakland office, at 538 Grand Ave. The proceeds will benefit PETA’s Investigations and Rescue fund.
Also on Saturday, Mar. 13 is the next meeting of the Bay Area Vegetarians book club! The book is Slaughterhouse by Gail Eisnitz; be at Vegi Food at 2085 Vine St. (at Henry Street) in Berkeley at 1 p.m. to discuss it. RSVP here.
Farm Sanctuary’s California Country Hoe Down is coming! Friend of Vegansaurus’ Melisser (of Sugar Beat Sweets) went in 2008 and had a great time, and photos from 2009 look pretty great as well. Tickets are on sale for the May 1 through 2 event right now, and I hear they go fast, so if you’re interested you should probably buy them soon.
Help the great state of Indiana end live bait dog training by sending an email to Natural Resources Commission and Governor Mitch Daniels. This practice is seriously vile: people throw a wild-caught coyote or fox into a pen with a pack of dogs to “train” the dogs for hunting.
It is lengthy, and debatably important: Your vegan weekend reading!
Well fuck, salmonella’s been found in MORE FOOD. This time it’s in hydrolyzed vegetable protein that was made in a Basic Food Flavors plant in Las Vegas (Woo!). I guess HVP is a food, however much it dyslexically looks like HPV? Anyway, the products being recalled include some from Follow Your Heart, so be safe and check your packaging, OK?
Problem: we’re all Fat and awful. Solution: extrapolate results from experiments on fruit flies, because science!
But Michael Markarian, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, believes in a “pathway to end animal testing” and needs your help making this a priority for lawmakers.
Vice interviews the Rosaire family, who run a circus-cum-exotic-animal-sanctuary. Vice would like you to know that this issue is not as simple as “circuses are bad, free the animals,” you small-minded PETA assholes.
Meanwhile, elephants are proving themselves even smarter than anyone thought, most recently at math. Probably elephants have greater math skills than me, because they weren’t societally conditioned to hate and fear it.
According to a survey by Canadian bacon company, 43 percent of respondents would rather eat bacon than have sex. Ugh, that’s cool ‘cause I’d rather not have sex with you bacon-crazed grossies. Arguably, this is a reason against moving to Canada.
You’re kidding—poop from all the animals crammed into “megafarms” is a major pollutant? It’s causing huge environmental problems? And agricultural interests are fighting every effort to regulate the disposal of all this poop? I AM SO SHOCKED RIGHT NOW.
Continuing the fucked-up news, the Grayson County Humane Society/SPCA shelter in Leitchfield, Ken., was broken into last week. The perpetrator(s) “brought a very cat-aggressive dog into the office, beat her severely, and then released two cats from their cages.” the perpetrator(s) took money from the shelter and left; the dog killed the cats. Here is further information about the crimes and donating to the organization.
Hey everybody! Starting today, it’s open season on wild Burmese pythons in Florida for the next six weeks! If you have a Florida hunting license, you can chop a snake’s head off with a big knife! It’s totally cool, though, because thanks to irresponsible snake-buyers, Hurrican Andrew, and participants in Florida’s “active exotic animal trade,” plus the pythons’ crazy-high fertility, there are snakes EVERYWHERE, ruining Florida’s natural ecosystem and begging to be murdered. Anyway, they are naturally vicious—one time a family pet got out of its cage and strangled a toddler! KILL ‘EM ALL BANG BANG BANG.
Thanks to officials in the Obama cabinet, the U.S. government supports the international ban on Atlantic bluefin tuna. Sorry, sashimi-crazies. May I suggest learning to enjoy vegan sushi? It is delicious and environmentally friendly!
Smokey and Petra, two lops, make Oscar predictions!
Cow philosophy: thought-provoking, or obnoxious wanking? Really, you tell me; I can’t decide whether it’s an interesting way to make point, or if I just want to slap the dude because the answer is so obvious, even asking is angering. UGH.
Poor old Knut: first he’s the tiny star of screen and song; then he’s reviled as “anti-social” and “dangerous;” now the Berlin Zoo is trying to mate him with his first cousin, which PETA Germany advises against because of the extra risk of their offspring inheriting genetic abnormalities. Just neuter him, and it’ll be all right, they say! But: “The castration of Knut would cause dismay among his fans around the world and would reduce his market value.” I think the first problem here is referring to the procedure as “castration,” but what do I know, I’m a lady.
A fox-hunt-supporter got too close to a “gyrocopter,” the blades of which vertically split his head in two. The world has lost another hero, you guys.
Jonathan Kauffman likes Enjoy Vegetarian more than I do, but not nearly as much as Laura does. But that bitch likes everything and I am always in a bad mood/have indigestion, so can you really trust either one of us? (hint: probably not)
Emily Stokes is the most put-upon reporter on the Financial Times staff: she had to eat at a vegan restaurant with Jonathan Safran Foer, where the food was awful and JSF was smug, telling her about how he wouldn’t even use his own fork to move the meat off his plate when it was served to him in a Ukranian restaurant 10 years ago. I feel like this opportunity might’ve been better appreciated by Mark Rowlands, who seems like less of a sourpuss. Bourdain, of course, is the same old big-talking doucheface he’s always been.
JSF “shuns” fake meat (including seitan, which, what?); Anneli Rufus think it’s “like having sex with a blow-up doll.” PLEASE PLEASE tell me what you think, I AM DYING TO KNOW. For reals, let’s discuss.