Showing posts with label cream cheeze. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cream cheeze. Show all posts

Sep 19, 2015

veganmofo - to-go lunch + savory cream cheese

Day 19 #vgnmf15 is about lunch on the go.

I have three teenagers (one having just left for college) and a hubby and I have been around the inside of a lunch box many a time. Since we also homeschooled, there were lunches on the go for the four of us an equal amount of times.

Simple, fast and balanced is the key to lunch on the go -- and, of course, the person being packed for. I wouldn't pack the very same thing for my husband as I would for my oldest daughter; they simply have different tastes.

In addition, access to a microwave also needs to be taken into consideration. Packing leftovers that need to be reheated is possible when there is a microwave in the lunch room.

Let's take, for instance, lunch for a student without access to a microwave. Here is my daughter's lunch tomorrow:

An apple, sea vegetable, roasted almonds and a bagel with Savory Vegetable Cream Cheese with lettuce, tomato and slivers of onion.

Naturally, she won't eat all of this at once. My girls experience migraines and we've been following the advice in the "Migraine Brain" which recommends eating at a very consistent time.

For my youngest, that is every two hours (otherwise she gets very hungry and it triggers her migraine). She'll have the above lunch throughout her time away from home.

Let's focus on that cream cheese.

That cream cheese is really awesome and we have it for breakfast and snacks, as well. It really only depends on how long it lasts; not long at our house since this is a fast-moving spread. It is a store-bought tub of cream cheese with a few stir-ins that change it into something very tasty.

We've experienced other people bringing flavored cream cheeses to outings and we weren't about to be left in the dust. This cream cheese trumps their cream cheese any day!

I am hosting an International giveaway of the Kindle edition of my new cookbook, Vegan Bowls. Enter HERE. Contest ends Monday night, September 21.

Savory Vegetable Cream Cheese
Makes 12 ounces

8 ounces nondairy cream cheese
¼ cup minced scallions (about 4 or 5)
1 small carrot, finely grated
¼ teaspoon paprika
Sea salt and black pepper

1. Soften the cream cheese in a medium bowl using a fork.
2. Stir in the scallions, carrot and paprika. Season with salt and black pepper.
3. Transfer to an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator, where it will keep up to a week.

 © 2015 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

Dec 14, 2011

cream of spinach soup

Amazing how time flies! It has already been a week since my last post, so I better catch up.

I've always loved spinach creamed. My fondest food memories involve Sunday family suppers, right before our restaurant would open for business. My dad would always insist on us kids having chicken soup before we were allowed to dig into the Good Stuff. One of my favorites was, and still is, Spinach Fozelek, a sort-of creamed spinach. As Hungarians, we had a fried egg on top and served it with boiled potatoes and sauteed purple cabbage. For me, that was the epitome of a gourmet meal. So good!

 But I get side-tracked. I only meant to impress on you how I love spinach. Cream of Spinach Soup evokes that same feeling of spinach love. Easy to make and very tasty. Hungarians - or at least my family - never added nutmeg to any green leafy vegetables. In fact, the time I did suggest such a thing to my mother, she thought I had left my faculties somewhere far behind, but you can give it a few grinds. Mikel picked up on the 'odd' flavor of the nutmeg right away and pronounced it not his favorite. I actually enjoyed it, but most likely will go at it with a lighter hand in the future for the sake of the family. As with all new things, baby steps.

Cost Breakdown

spinach: $5
milk: $.75
stock: $1
onion, flour: $.50
cream cheese: $.75
Total to make 4 servings:

Oct 15, 2011

cracker barrel (MoFo 28)

The ol' country store. While driving on any highway, you cannot drive more than 30 miles without one of these crossing your billboard radar - they are everywhere! Cracker Barrel has only (and I mean that in comparison to the other mega-stores like McDonald's) 600 some-odd stores to its name, but they are ubiquitous on the road.

The original concept was created to pull people off the road to buy, not food or country junk, but gasoline. Dan Evans thought folks would pull over to eat and shop and, before heading back on the trails, fill up. Good call; that's just what they did. Nowadays there are no more gas stations in front of Cracker Barrel, but there are plenty of rocking chairs!

The Southern-comfort food of the Barrel is pretty off-putting to their vegetarian (do they have any?) clients since most everything has some part of an animal cooked in it. When I worked there about 16 years ago, the apples were the only thing (I think) that was clear to eat, but then perhaps even that had lard. Hard to tell. You know how the mind blocks out unhappy memories.

Hashbrown Casserole was a super popular menu item and their Chicken Casserole was also way up there. The Hashbrown Casserole is country hashbrowns with loads of cheese. The Chicken Casserole has cream of chicken soup with chicken and is topped with crumbled cornbread. I made a baked chicken-style tofu for this dish.

There is something highly annoying about a restaurant where even their vegetables have meat in it. The Barrel's Country Green Beans are cooked with bacon. Great. Grrr. 

I distinctly remember the Barrel making their green beans in the southern-style.. cooked until almost grey in color. To get this dish to be as close to the original as possible, I used frozen green beans (you can be more authentic and use canned green beans or more healthful and use fresh green beans. Oh! the choices.). Surprisingly good. Don't ask me why or how. Cook up a batch and try them. They make a great accompaniment to the Chicken Casserole.

Country Green Beans and Hashbrown Casserole

Chicken-y Setian Casserole


Oct 14, 2011

cheesecake factory (MoFo 27)

The first Cheesecake Factory restaurant was opened in Beverly Hills by Evelyn and Oscar Overton's son, David, because he wanted a place to sell his mother's beloved cheesecakes. Although she had been selling her cheesecakes to local restaurants already, most of her customer's weren't thrilled with the prices they were being charged. David thought he could help her out, and that he did.  By 2010, there were 150 Cheesecake Factories in operation. 

Hands down, the most popular dish on their menu, besides cheesecake, of course, is the Chicken Madeira, a sauteed chicken breast, topped with asparagus spears, mozzarella cheese and mushroom Madeira sauce. Veganize! Our mantra of the month!

Tender chicken-like seitan cutlets serve well here, asparagus is already vegan, mozzarella has many delicious non-dairy options and the mushroom Madeira sauce is as easy as finding a suitable Madeira wine. Serve these with mashed potatoes to soak up the sweet, tangy sauce. Vegetables already included. In fact, if I were you, I'd double and even triple the measly 2 spears of asparagus the restaurant offers per serving.

Certainly cheesecake cannot be ignored. Obviously. And here is where a lot can go wrong, and I am not referring only to the quantity of cheesecake that can be consumed in a single sitting. 

This was one of the many dishes that needed a redo. Surprisingly, when the correct chemical concoction for cheesecake perfection is achieved, the process is quite easy and quick. My first attempt was the Key Lime Cheesecake. While it came out tasting awesome, it was not firm and needed a redo. For the second time (not having the heart to ask the family to eat two of the same flavors of cheesecake in a row..what kind of mother would I have been?), I attempted to make the White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake, this time successfully.

I do not like tofu in my cheesecake, so this one is sans tofu, but does use about 3 tubs of Better Than Cream Cheese. Another alteration was needed since I did not have white chocolate and therefore used regular chocolate chips. 

To complete the whole Cheesecake Factory experience, get yourself a can of Soy Whip or some other whip substitute and squirt to your heart's content.. the Factory certainly does.

Seitan Madeira

Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

Sep 28, 2011

PPK american vegan kitchen apps

Tonight we enjoyed a trio of appetizers from AVK, by Tamasin Noyes.  We have a Halloween Party coming up and I figured since Tami has some great apps in AVK I would use my family as humane test-subjects. The kids asked if indeed this was dinner, but, my all-powerful-and-knowing-self knew they wouldn't need more food after these.

Baked Poppers with Lime Cream, Deli Reubenettes and Stick-to-Your-Ribs Pot-Sticker.
Quite a line up!

The Poppers are supposed to be jalapenos, but I wanted the kids to try them, so I used small sweet peppers. David and I really liked these and even some of the non-pepper-hating-kids (Cat) liked them. They turned out crispy and crunchy from the oven - just make sure to broil them a bit at the end if the panko seems to be too light. 

AVK Correction: The oil in the 7-in-1 Seasoning Recipe (p. 53) is not supposed to be in there, so omit it. 
(This has been confirmed with Tami.)

Next, the Pot-sticker. The filling was a breeze to assemble! That is when the wind was knocked out of me ... those little wrappers take a village to assemble, forget raising any kids... unless you raise them to help assemble their dinner. No wonder people who are in the know gather in groups to assemble these diminutive packages of food...tamales, stuffed cabbage, pot-stickers, raviolis, egg-rolls, steamed buns, etc. Good thinking, folks! Nevertheless, they are worth it! Stuff and seal..stuff and seal..stuff and...

Last, the Deli Reubenettes stole the dinner by a long shot. NONE of these were left over and I even made about 1/2 a recipe more than the book allocated. Call it a mother's intuition. I changed up the presentation (and therefore the assembly) of these since I was so tired of encasing food in small packages. Instead of stuffing the filling into a triangular package of puff pastry, I cut the pastry into rectangles, baked them, separated each square into two parts, topped each part with a tablespoon of filling and a dollop of the dipping sauce. The puff pastry goes a long way with this method, and my back is saved from a proportional amount of packing-pain. Win-win. And totally a do-again. Nice job, Tami. This is on the Halloween Party platter, but Cat suggested we add green food-coloring to the dipping sauce to make it festive. Ye-ah!

From left: Jalapeno Poppers, Reubennettes, Potstickers

Nov 16, 2010

greens (MoFo 10)

Greens is a renowned San Francisco fixture, on the bayside in Fort Mason. It is a vegetarian restaurant that has been patronized since 1979. Although it is vegetarian, vegans can find something to eat, albeit not as easily as their more frequent customers.

The restaurant boasts Chef Annie Sommerville, who daily chooses her menu based on the local offerings. The food is fresh, vibrant, local and delicious. It is time some of those wonderful dishes were veganized.

My first choice is a squash soup. I had given up on making any sort of squash soup, but since my CSA brought me squash and it has been almost a year since I've thrown in my squash towel, I figured I could give it another try; especially using a recipe from Greens. The soup is Kabocha Squash and Chestnut Soup. Outstanding. Finally a squash soup we liked. Maybe the secret was in the chestnuts or the stock the squash was cooked in or just because it was a kobacha squash...regardless, a winner.

Tarts and Filo pastries are a signature of Greens so I made their Red Onion, Goat Cheese and Walnut Tart. Goat cheese I had none of, but I did need to simulate the tartness, sharpness, and creaminess that it affords. I used a combination of Better Than Sour Cream and B.T. Cream Cheese with a splash of lemon juice. Nice crunch from the nuts, sweetness from the onions and creaminess from the nondairy sour cream and cream cheese. The tart dough was easy to make and turned out crispy and light.

I decided to make another dessert, since they use eggs and dairy. Another signature item on the menu is the Ginger Cake. The original recipe is a pound cake and calls for 6 eggs. I replaced the eggs with well whipped ener-G egg replacer and increased the bake time by about a half hour - it needed it. I also made poached cherries using dried cherries in a simple syrup that was decadent with the cake. 

My hubby worked almost next door to Greens in San Fran and while difficult to find something vegan right off the menu, what we did have was delicious. It was great to have now some of the dishes we couldn't have then.

And now for the cookbook, Sinfully Vegan, winner. I removed me from the count and the few who did not want to be entered in the contest for a total of 10 entrees. According to, the comment from Tender Branson is the winner. 
Thanks everyone for participating. Another contest on Friday or Saturday. 

Cost Breakdown:

squash, chestnuts: $6
stock, herbs: $1.50
Total to make 7 servings;

dough: $1.50
onion, nuts, spices: $2.50
Better Than sour cream and cream cheese: $3
Total to make 8 tarts:

Earth Balance: $2.50
flour, baking powder: $1.50
sugar: $2
cherries, vanilla, lemon: $3
Total to make 8 servings:

Squash and Chestnut Soup


Ginger Cake

Sep 22, 2010

strawberry dip

Dear daughter Kate loves strawberries and she chose to make a dip for some fall fruit.

The dip is really simple, with strawberry preserve, yogurt and Better Than Cream Cheese. Her biggest challenge was cutting the fruit - it kept rolling on her.

We received beautiful pears and apples in our box this past week, so the timing on her dip was great.

Nothing much to cook with this one, but it is on their list of things to make, the Lunch and Snack List.

Cost Breakdown:
apples, pears: $3
dip: $1
Total to make snacks for 3 kids:

May 12, 2010

spinach-artichoke, potato gratin

Thursday night is European/Potato night.

Again, a quick and easy dish to make. The inspiration was a recipe from 1000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson. I saw the recipe and my mind went "Spinach and artichoke dip!" So, I seared the sliced bottled artichokes in garlic olive oil (saute garlic in the oil and remove the slices before they burn), added the spinach to it, and cooked it until the spinach wilted, returning the garlic back to the pan. After thinly slicing about six Yukon gold potatoes, and making a layer, I added half of the spinach mixture, seasoning the layers as I worked. Another layer of potatoes, spinach, and the last layer of potatoes rounded out the dish. I then mixed about a cup of rice milk with 1/2 cup of Better Than Cream Cheese (I blended it to incorporate the cheese well.) and poured it over the gratin. Covering it very tightly, I baked it at 375 for about an hour and a half. The oven did most of the work. Verdict? All but my oldest daughter loved it. (Spinach is on her no-no list, as well as most of the vegetable world.) Sigh.

Letting the gratin sit for about 15 minutes lets the potatoes rest and the gratin comes out very clean. My youngest asked for some 'cheese' on the gratin, so I put about half a bag of Daiya cheddar flavor on the top and broiled it until it melted (not a necessary component, however). This was a huge hit - only one serving remained.