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!


Jen said...

Isn't that cashew cheese amazing? In the class I took, Angela used it as the base for some unbelievable palak pander and a mango lasso. But get husband is allergic to tree nuts! So sadly cashew cheese will not be on my dinner table.

I bought Angela's signature Lioness Dressing and it's delicious! I can't wait to try more of her food, she is so talented!

It was nice to see you guys today!

Jen said...

Just saw all my typos, sorry! nak

carrie said...

Keeta, I'm so envious.....meeting Colleen in person, wow!! And, so envious of everyone who can eat and use nuts in their cooking.

Totally un-food related, my girlfriend and I were just talking about New Kids on the Block, isn't that hilarious (I think we were their biggest fans!!)

keeta said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Happy Herbivore! said...

adorable photo of Silas! and that cashew cheese sounds awesome!

keeta said...

Jen - It was great to see you, too! I know, Angela is amazing! I can't wait to get signed up for one of her classes. Oh and don't worry about your typos! Nak-ing is serious business!

Carrie - Colleen is awesome! So sweet and down to earth. If you ever get a chance to see her give a talk, definitely do. Most of the stuff she talked about was covered in her podcasts, but it was nice to see her in person and the things she said definitely bear repeating.

NKOTB rules! I saw them when I was in 5th grade. I can't believe they're trying to make a comeback!

HH: aww, thanks! And the cheese is so good that I only want to eat things that somehow utilize it from now on. Ok, that's a slight exaggeration. But just a slight one. ;)

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Wow, it sounds like you had a terrific time. I would've gushed like a schoolgirl too! And what an ADORABLE taste-tester you have!

Jenny said...

I am also a big fan of Colleen, her podcast has really helped me out. That's so great you got to meet her!

Thanks for posting the cashew cheese recipe! It looks great, I will definitely be trying it!

Heather (Where's the Beach) said...

Yum. I have some soaked cashews and was trying to come up with a way to use them tonight. This is a great idea.