Sunday, April 13, 2008
MeatOut! And Cashew Cheese Changes My Life
Today was the VegMichigan MeatOut, conveniently held like 4 blocks from my house! I was really looking forward to it because one of my vegan heroines, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau was a speaker. I got to see her give two presentations! It was awesome. I also got her to sign my copy of The Joy of Vegan Baking and chat with her for a few seconds (whereby I gushed like a teenage girl over her favorite New Kid on the Block. I just dated myself, no?) Anyway, her talks were great, and if I haven't beat it into your heads enough already, you should definitely check out her podcast - it really did inspire me to go from vegetarian to vegan, and has kept me there. She does amazing work.
I also got a chance to watch a cooking demo put on by the founders/owners of the new Detroit Evolution Laboratory, Angela Kasmala and Gregg Newsom. I've been hearing a lot of buzz about them from friends (Jennifer took one of Angela's cooking classes - read about it here; and my friend Brooke has tried their food offerings and had great things to report!). Anyway, their presentation was great, they demonstrated how to make some DELICIOUS Artichoke-Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms. The cashew cheese is the secret weapon for this. I've seen cashew cheese around in different cookbooks, but I've never gotten around to trying it (cashews are kind of expensive and I don't tend to have a lot of them on hand). I was pretty skeptical as Gregg described how he went from a "cheesetarian" to vegan with the aid of this cheese - I've just never really been too happy with any non-dairy cheese. That all changed today! This stuff is so good, I can't believe that anyone wouldn't love it. And it couldn't be simpler to make! Since they said they would post it on their website soon, I hope that they don't mind me reprinting it (plus they handed out fliers of the recipe at the demo). This is just the cheese recipe; check out their website for the whole Stuffed Mushroom recipe - I can't wait to try my hand at it!
Cashew Cheese to Die For (my name, not theirs):
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp sea salt
1 C. water
3 C raw cashews or macadamia nuts
Mince the garlic in the blender, then add the remaining ingredients in the order listed and blend until smooth. Add more water if necessary, but you want the mixture to be thick and creamy.
So as soon as I got home from the MeatOut I told Chad we had to go straight to Trader Joe's to get more cashews, because I had to make this cashew cheese TONIGHT!
So I wanted pasta, not mushrooms for dinner, so here's what I did: I blended up my cheese (which seriously takes 3 minutes, tops!), boiled my pasta, cooked my broccoli in the pasta water for the last minute and chopped up 4 canned artichoke hearts. Tossed it all together with some of the cheese (that recipe makes a lot of cheese! I have a bunch leftover) and served alongside a batch of the Sauteed Collards from Vcon. It was sooooo good! Like super creamy mac and cheese. I can't wait to try this stuff in everything - Angela said that she uses it as ricotta, on veggie burgers, for enchiladas - you can even ferment it and make it into cream cheese or sour cream! So many possibilities. I think our next version of mac and cheese will involve sundried tomatoes...maybe pine nuts...mmmm, food.....
As you can see, this "past-ee" was a big hit with our intrepid food tester, Silas T. He gobbled it UP!
All in all, the MeatOut was great. It provided me with some real inspiration and hope and an infusion of energy that I really needed (Did I mention that it was snowing when I woke up this morning?!?! That is so wrong.) I'm really looking forward to exploring more of what the Detroit Evolution Laboratory is offering, and I definitely am going to sign up for one of Angela's cooking classes! And it was great to see Colleen up close and personal. Good times!