Friday, April 23, 2010

Welcome to Ontario, Daiya Cheese


I apologize, friends, for the lack of new recipes this week. I burned out slightly on the cooking front, given the weekend party food prep and my general state of being busy. I've still been cooking dinner every night, I've just been turning to simpler, tried and true recipes, rather than venturing into the unknown. A bit of a snore, I know. I have been feeling slightly uninspired.

So when Jill from Vegan Backpacker offered to bring me some special vegan treats from the Panacea Shop in Toronto, my answer was a giant YES.

Jill and I had never met before, but we are both from Ottawa and are fans of each other's blogs. Jill and her husband are spending this year traveling (and eating) all over the world, which makes for pretty interesting blog fodder. She came back to town for a few days via Toronto, and brought me the aforementioned, unavailable-in-Ottawa, vegan goodies. Marshmallows, chocolate bars, and, most importantly, some Daiya vegan cheese. We met up at Bridgehead coffee shop so Jill could give me my treats. It was fun to finally meet both Jill and her friend Valerie who came along too. I don't get to talk about food blogging with real live people very often. Very cool.

After that pleasant diversion, I went back to work and left the treats to be effectively refrigerated in my car (it was COLD today!) All the treats that is, except for the Mahalo bar which I tried to have just one bite of before heading to my afternoon appointment. This attempt at moderation failed miserably. That is one awesome chocolate bar. You'll notice the empty wrapper in the photo above.

When I finally arrived home for the evening, I felt the need to try at least a bit of the Daiya cheese before committing to the grilled cheese sandwich I had planned for dinner. With leftover corn chips from the party sitting on the shelf, nachos seemed a logical choice.


The cheese comes pre-shredded so it is wildly convenient to sprinkle it onto whatever you choose. I laid out a handful of chips on a cookie sheet, topped them with salsa and cheese, and stuck them under the broiler for three minutes. The cheese melted really well and the end product looked great.

nacho, nacho (wo)man

More importantly, it all tasted really amazing. I normally don't like non-dairy cheese because most brands end up with a really weird texture and I have to fool myself into eating them without feeling peculiar. Not Daiya. When melted it tasted remarkably like regular old cheese and the texture was perfect. Score!

I talked myself out of a second helping of nachos, but I was very much looking forward to that grilled cheese sandwich. I made some asparagus soup for dinner (recipe to come!) and the sandwich was the perfect accompaniment. Once again, the cheese melted perfectly and tasted great.

soup and sandwich

I predict my future will hold many more grilled cheese sandwiches.

Some Notes:

-Anyone done anything exciting with marshmallows recently? I was excited to eat a marshmallow for the first time in well over a decade, but now I have a whole bunch of vegan marshmallows and not the faintest clue what to do with them.

-I am excited to see vegan zinester and artist Nicole J. Georges when she comes through Ottawa as part of the Sister Spit tour this weekend. I love her pet portraits and I think she could do a great one of Sacha. Maybe someday I will commission her.

-I have switched my volunteer duties with the Shepherds of Good Hope and I will now be helping out in their impressive vegetable garden. The garden produces a whole lot of food for the free meals that Shepherds provides for the city's homeless population. I am looking forward to working with the very experienced gardeners who make up the committee. This summer is all about furthering my gardening education, it seems.


This Time Last Year: Improv Vegan Panzaratti.


Jessica said...

I love sweet & sara. I have tried their cinnamon pecan variety and those marshmallows were so good -- more like a complete treat in itself than other mallows -- that I just wanted to eat them by themselves.

The Kuntrageous Vegan said...

you could make a s'more pie with the marshmallows :) or just plain ol' rice cripie treats

Keri - I Eat Trees said...

Awesome! I have some Daiya too and I'm thinking a grilled cheese sounds pretty good! Oh, and I never get to making anything with vegan marshmallows because I always eat them all...

Lynn said...

You can make a sweet potato dish that has marshmallows as a topping. You peel and slice the potatoes and put them in a casserole dish, with a sauce made from either orange juice or pineapple juice. You bake it for a good long while then add the marshmallows as a topping for the last few minutes.

I'll dig up the recipe if you are interested.

Anonymous said...

vegan rice crispie squares - of course!:-)

eileen said...

dude, don't apologize--standard cooking is still quality! as for the marshmallows, I'd consider dipping them in melted chocolate and giving them a crunchy candy shell.

HayMarket8 said...

I still have not tried this. I hear such good things!

Jennifer (It Ain't Meat, Babe) said...

Jessica: Wow, pecan cinnamon! That sounds great. I find I can't eat these all by themselves without feeling like I'm going to fall into a sugar coma.

KV: I was thinking about some kind of a pie. We'll see. No rice krispie treats though. I never liked them. Though maybe I could make some for my officemates!

Keri: I've already had two more grilled cheese sandwiches. So good. I only stopped because I ran out of bread.

Lynn: I can't do sweet + savory dishes. But maybe some kind of sweet potato pie? Hmmmm.

Eileen: Now you're talking! Those would be fun treats to bring to work as well!

HM: I'm so pleased it's available in Canada now! You should totally try some. That said, it's a good treat, but I wouldn't have it all the time because it doesn't replace basic, nutritious whole foods for me.

XUP said...

If you want to meet a whole bunch of food bloggers you should attend the International Food Bloggers Conference in Seattle in August.

Jennifer (It Ain't Meat, Babe) said...

I got an invite for that, but sadly it is not in the budget!

Trinity (of haiku tofu) said...

Straight up S'mores it! That is the beginning and end of marshmallows for me.

saveyrgeneration said...

I just tried Daiya for the first times ever this week! I gotta say, I was impressed.

Jill said...

I'm glad to hear you liked the daiya cheese. I just ran out of my batch after making two huge pizzas and several cheese topped sandwiches and burgers. I missed out on the nachos. It's so simple but I just didn't think of it. I guess I'll just have to wait until next time...

You better be careful with the sugar coma inducing marshmallows :) I'm excited to see what you make with them.

It was great to meet you. I hope we can hangout again when I return in December.

Thanks for the link love <3

Pearl said...

a vegan cheese that works. that's worth trying.