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Posts Tagged ‘gluten-free’

After eight years as a vegan, I’d come to accept that cheese substitutes would never be as yummy as the cruelty-derived animal milk pus stuff.  As various plant-based “cheese” substitutes have entered the market, they’ve each confirmed my feeling that vegan cheese could be decent, palatable, and functional (i.e. melt, spread, etc.), but certainly would never be truly gourmet. We could never compete with the so-called cheese gourmands who fill pages of magazines waxing poetic about the stuff.

Until now, there just haven’t been vegan cheeses that even came within the ballpark of real gourmet cheese. Again, I’m not talking about the waxy, bland American cheese that can easily be substituted with Daiya or Teese–I’m talking about the kind of cheese sold by fancy cheese shops and counters, the kind that command a high price point and can be served with fruit for dessert. As I said–all of this was true until now. Enter: Kite Hill cheese.

Kite Hill sent me generous samples of some of their much-hyped artisan vegan cheese.

Kite Hill sent me generous samples of some of their much-hyped artisan vegan cheese.

Touted as “artisinal nut milk cheese of remarkable craftmanship,” Kite Hill has received significant hype from foodies of all stripes in the past few months. Created by vegan chef mastermind at the helm of Crossroads, Tal Ronnen, Kite Hill is truly gourmet vegan cheese that embodies the bold flavor notes and textures of animal product-derived cheese. Through expert techniques,  macadamia nut milk and almond milk are aged with enzymes to somehow becomes blocks of firm, complex, flavorful and rich real-tasting cheese.

The company sent me generous samples of their White AlderCassucio Soft Fresh, and Cassucio Truffle, Dill & Chive to try. Though I’d heard the hype, I was completely blown away.

White Alder plant-based cheese created by artisan cheese company Kite Hill.

White Alder plant-based cheese created by artisan cheese company Kite Hill.

Let’s start with the White Alder, my favorite of the cheeses. According to Kite Hill’s website, “White Alder is a soft ripened velvety cheese with a white, fluffy rind. It has a tangy mushroomy flavor profile with a rich, silky texture and pungent aromatics. This cheese is best served straight from the refrigerator and pairs well with white grapes.” The website also suggests wine pairing options for each of its cheeses–for White Alder, it recommends “A dry white wine such as a Chardonnay with fruit or citrus notes or even Champagne.”

I found the White Alder to be rich in flavor, and I loved the white rind. It reminded me of (non-vegan) Brie in texture and taste, and was delicious spread on crackers and enjoyed as a gourmet appetizer. I love the wood container it comes in–it’s obvious that from the packaging to the presentation to the flavor, this is a really lovingly crafted product.

Next, I tried Cassucio Soft Fresh cheese. I found this cheese to be the least tangy of the bunch, similar to a (non-vegan) mozzarella. According to Kite Hill’s website, “Cassucio Soft Fresh is a supple, creamy soft fresh cheese, rich and complex with sweet and balanced aromas…The lactic flavors pair well with fresh greens, so this cheese is beautiful when sliced into a salad.” I agree with Kite Hill’s assessment–while enjoyed atop bread, I could have easily seen this gracing a hearty salad or rounding out a raw vegetable dish. Kite Hill suggests pairing it with spicy, red wine–I’d love to try that combination sometime.

Lastly, I tried the Cassucio Truffle Dill and Chive. According to Kite Hill, “The Truffle, Dill & Chive Cassucio is a supple, creamy, fresh cheese with earthy, black truffle overtones. The curds are hand mixed, combined with fresh truffle oil and a mixture of herbs, and then shaped and pressed immediately before packaging to ensure ultimate freshness.” They recommend pairing it with a dry white wine.

This cheese was a crowd favorite among my vegan guest tasters, as it has its own tang and rich flavor notes. Truffle oil was all the rage a few years ago, and I’d love to see this cheese bringing it back into vogue. I think this cheese would go well with vegan Caviart at a swanky party. While my friends and I enjoyed this with beer, they really do deserve to be paired with fine wines or kombuchas–I can easily see myself orchestrating a wine and cheese party to wow even my non-vegan friends.

Kite Hill cheese paired with gluten-free and non-alcoholic beer at a recent dinner party.

Kite Hill cheese paired with gluten-free and non-alcoholic beer at a recent dinner party.

In sum, I highly recommend Kite Hill cheese for vegans who have been missing truly gourmet, artisan cheese. This is the best in class, by far. At the risk of sounding dramatic, Kite Hill has made me feel like we we vegans have truly “arrived”–we no longer have to “go without” in order to live cruelty-free and forgo dairy. We can now saunter up to the cheese aisle and say, “I’ll take few ounces of the White Alder, please,” with the same air of connoisseurship as those who stake their claim as non-vegan cheese gourmands.

Currently only available at select Whole Foods, in the future, Kite Hill will be more widely available. They also make a gourmet Ricotta and a beautiful, paprika and fennel-rinded cheese called Costanoa which look absolutely fantastic. Learn if Kite Hill cheese is available near you on their website and check out their Facebook page for updates on future availabilities.

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Greetings, dear readers. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for your outpouring of generosity and support for The Queer Vegan Food Cookbook and Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. Thank you SO much for helping make this vision a reality, and for helping the animals of Woodstock! I feel so blessed that this project is helping the sanctuary, and am glad to hear that folks are loving the fun, unique and inspiring recipes by the finest vegan chefs, authors and bloggers.

I’ve been hesitant to post since introducing the cookbook (how can you follow that?!) but I’m thrilled today to share a recipe that I’ve been hinting about recently on social media:gluten free vegan chocolate chip cupcakes, which I am pretty sure will totally rock your world. I’ve also been waiting to share this recipe until I was sure I’d gotten it just right, tweaking for texture and sweetness variables.  I think they are really delicious and delightfully chocolatey without being overwhelmingly sweet, but I wanted to get these to the point where even omnivores would love them.

Last night I whipped up a batch for eight dinner party guests, and seeing how quickly and enthusiastically these got gobbled, I can confidently say that the cupcakes are ready to be introduced to the world and perhaps your kitchen some time very soon.

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Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Serves 12-14

Ingredients:

Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups gluten free flour

1 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup sunflower or coconut oil

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup applesauce

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 cup water

Frosting (optional)

1/2 avocado

6-7 dates

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 tsp cacao powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp chia seeds

1/4 cup fair-trade organic chocolate chips for garnish (optional)

1/4 cup water (if making in a Vitamix)

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Paper liner or grease a dozen cupcake/muffin pan. Mix together the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately. Stir in the liquid to the dry until properly mixed. Add the cupcake batter to tins and bake for 25-28 minutes. Allow cupcakes to cool and, if using frosting, mix all ingredients in a high-powered blender or food processor (I used my Vitamix and it did the trick). Frost and garnish, and serve with a tall cold glass of nut mylk.

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These New Year’s Eve inspired chocolate molasses muffins were born of a desire to make a rich, hearty chocolate muffin including the iron-rich goodness of molasses to celebrate a brand new year! I am grateful to be on this vegan adventure and grateful to be sharing this superb recipe! These muffins are gluten-free, soy-free, and delicious. Will they become a NYE tradition?

Gluten-Free Chocolate Molasses Muffins (Makes 16 muffins)

Ingredients:

1 tbs molasses

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup oat flour

1 cup gf all purpose flour

1 tsp acv

1/2 cup applesauce (or 1 medium apple vitamixed)

7 drops stevia

1/4 cup xylitol

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup nut mylk

1/2 cup warm water

2 tbs ground flaxseed

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup cacao powder

1 pinch salt

1/4 cup coconut oil

Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tins. Add ground flax seed and hot water to liquid ingredients. Mix dry ingredients. Add liquid to dry.

 Add mixture to tins or greased muffin tray. Bake for 25-28 minutes. Enjoy, and happy 2013! Thank you for reading!

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My good friend Aviva is in rabbinical school. Aviva writes a fantastic blog about her rabbinical school journey called Becoming Rabbi, which you can read by clicking here. I’m currently in LA visiting family and friends, and Aviva and I decided that we would catch up while making loaves of the traditional Jewish Sabbath bread challah. Aviva lives in Bel-Air, a gorgeous neighborhood in Los Angeles made famous by The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. I’m currently living in West Philly so visiting Aviva at her beautiful Bel-Air home to make challah seemed especially appropriate!

Aviva is a whiz at making all kinds of challah. She knows how to craft perfect loaves of crunchy yet gooey raw vegan challah (we worked together at the raw vegan retreat center, where Aviva honed her craft), traditional (non-vegan) challah, and glutenous vegan challah, but never before had Aviva made (cooked) gluten-free vegan challah!

We were both up for the challenge and spent several hours making the bread and waiting for it to rise while gabbing, catching up with her wonderful hubby, listening to music (Aviva always has the latest and coolest mixes), and just enjoying the spirit of making Shabbos bread. Here’s the recipe we used, adapted from several challah recipes to include our gluten-free twist. I hope you enjoy making it and sharing it with loved ones, whether you celebrate Shabbat or just want some seriously awesome gluten-free vegan bread!

Gluten Free Vegan Challah

(Serves 6-8)

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The braided challot prior to heading to the oven.

Ingredients:

Dough part 1:

2 1/2 tsp gluten-free rapid rise yeast

1 cup warm water

4  1/4 cups gluten-free flour

1/3 cup coconut palm sugar, xylitol or regular raw sugar

1 tsp salt

4 Tbs canola oil

Dough Part 2 (Egg substitute):

3 Tbs canola oil

3 Tbs warm water

2 tsp baking powder

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pour the yeast into the water along with a pinch of sugar in a large bowl. Mix these until well combined. Let the mixture rest for a couple minutes until bubbly and creamy. Add the sugar, salt, and 4Tbs of canola oil and mix. Beat the “Dough Part 2″ egg replacement ingredients with a whisk until it fizzes and pour this into the yeast mixture. Add the flour, one cup at a time, until the mixture is thick and difficult to stir. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it until it is springy and elastic (about 5-10 minutes).

The ingredients for “Dough Part 2″ work as the binding agent or “egg”.  Add part 2 to part 1 right before you mix the flour. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a slightly damp cloth or plastic wrap and set in a warm place for an hour and a half. After this, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and separate the dough into equal portions, depending on how many challot you care to make. We made 4 pieces and 4 challot. Divide each piece into 3 pieces and roll out into 3 equal-sized strands. Pinch the ends together and braid the dough.Place on a baking sheet or greased pan and bake for 30 minutes. Enjoy! :)

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Aviva and I, holding our freshly baked gluten-free vegan challah!

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While living and working at an all-raw vegan retreat center, I enjoyed my fair share of raw vegan pizza, which some might argue has a better nutrition profile than any cooked gluten-free pie. Perhaps this is true, but I’ve tried tons of raw pizza combinations, since the center served it more or less weekly and I worked there for almost two years, and I got pretty tired of dense nut-, flax- and seed-based crusts, especially when frequently adorned with hearty nut and seed cheeses.

If you also love gluten-free (or just delicious) vegan pizza but don’t have a ton of extra time or cash to spend on it, this may be your new mana. It’s easy to make, filled with protein in the quinoa, and can be made with whatever local organic veggies you have on hand. Hope you like it!

Gluten-Free Vegan Quinoa Crust Pizza

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup Quinoa

1/4- 1/2 cup water

1/4 cup Gluten-free flour

1 tsp Salt

1 tbs Olive Oil or Coconut Oil

Fresh Basil

1 cup Chopped Vegetables (squash, green onions, fresh basil leaves, artichokes, etc.)

1/2 cup Tomato Sauce (store-bought or homemade or BPA-free canned crushed tomato)

Instructions:

Soak quinoa for 3-8 hours or overnight in 4 cups water. After, drain quinoa and blend in vitamix with water and flour into a dough. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees, and spread some flour and a touch of oil on the pan to keep the dough from sticking. Then spread the dough onto the pan evenly (about 1/8-1/4 inch thick, depending on your crust texture preference. Bake for 8-10 minutes, then flip over and bake for another 8-10 minutes. Add tomato sauce and veggies and bake for another 4-5 minutes. Enjoy!

What are your favorite pizza toppings? ;)

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This glorious veggie medley was spawned from the delicious CSA my brother gifted us. Pre-soaked goji berries and pistachios topped this lightly sauteed treat. Experiment with whatever veggies you have on hand.

Ingredients:

Farmers’ Market Veggies or CSA veggies – whatever you can get your mitts on

1 Tbs Coconut Aminos

1 can or jar crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce

1 Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar

1 tsp Coconut Oil

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp garlic powder

Pre-soaked goji berries (optional)

Pistachios (optional)

Instructions:

Sautee veggies and add sauces and spices. Cook for 5-20 minutes, depending on how cooked you like your veggies! Garnish as you please.

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To celebrate moving into a new apartment, this morning I baked a celebratory batch of gluten-free, low-glycemic chocolate chia morning muffins! These muffins are sweetened only with coconut nectar, and contain only amazing, hearty ingredients that are sure to boost your energy in the morning, or whenever you crave lots of fuel. Hope you enjoy them!

Chocolate Chia Morning Muffins (Makes 16-18 muffins)

Ingredients:

GF flour (1 cup, or 1 1/2 cup if you plan to omit almond flour)

Almond flour, optional (1/2 cup. If not using, see above)

Vegan chocolate chips (1/4 to 1/2 cup, your call!)

Cacao powder (1/4 cup)

Raisins, optional (1/4 cup, more if desired. Goji berries also work!)

Unsweetened applesauce (3/4 cup)

Coconut oil (1/2 cup)

Coconut nectar (1/2 cup, more or less sweetener if you desire)

2 Tbs flax + 1/4 cup hot water

Hemp seeds (1 Tbs)

Ground chia seeds (1 Tbs)

Baking powder (1 tsp)

Cinnamon (1 tsp)

Salt (pinch)

Instructions:

Add flax + hot water to liquid ingredients. Mix dry ingredients. Add liquid to dry.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tins. Add mixture to tins and put desired toppings on muffins (additional dried fruit, chocolate chips, etc.) Bake for 22-25 minutes! Enjoy! ;)

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