When I first received a copy of Karen Page’s ‘The Vegetarian Flavor Bible’ last year, I was truly amazed at how much information she packed into this gigantic 7 lbs. book. New to cooking? New to Veganism? This book is the perfect companion for you. It is page after page of foods, by category – cheese, greens, legumes, citrus etc., all organized to get you the most information about those foods in the most complete package. A few recipes, but fabulous details on which foods go with what, the best ways to prepare, where to find them in restaurants and so much more.
After delving into the ‘Cheese’ section of Karen’s book, I had to try out the Popcorn with Nutritional Yeast sprinkles she suggests. Cheeses are my most missed dairy food, far more so than any meats I used to eat. I know this ‘Cheezey’ treat is a tried and true snack in the Vegan world but somehow, I’d never tried it out. I’m hooked! Cheese never tasted so good. If you’ve never tried this tasty treat be sure not to wait too long cause it’s simply a rare gift to non-dairy eaters.
Karen has kindly written up a special piece for my readers based on her cheese knowledge and the book. She’s also providing one of my readers with their own copy of this gigantic encyclopedia of food facts, history and fun.
Be sure to leave a comment at the end of the post here if you live in the U. S. for your chance to win a copy.
Footloose and Dairy-Free
by Karen Page
“When I interviewed legendary cookbook author Deborah Madison, founding chef of San Francisco’s famed vegetarian restaurant Greens, for THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE, she told me, “Greens in 1979 [the year it opened] was a very stylish restaurant…In the early days, the food was pretty cheese-y. Of our early customers, there was only one who didn’t eat dairy, which was so rare that he had his own nickname: Non-Dairy Jerry.”
As Madison acknowledges, today that part has really flipped. There are, of course, growing ethical concerns as the public comes to realize that an estimated 99 percent of dairy products consumed in the United States were created via “factory farms.” But there is also more widespread acknowledgment of lactose intolerance, which the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) estimates affects as much as 75 percent of the population worldwide. PCRM’s Dr. Neal Barnard has pointed out that the lot of us are starting to be referred to as “normal” and those who are able to digest lactose as “lactose persistent”!
As someone who has become increasingly lactose intolerant over time, I stopped drinking milk more than a decade ago and more recently have virtually eliminated other dairy. But cheese had admittedly been one of my last holdouts – and is often what gets in the way of other vegetarians going vegan.
I’m sorry to admit that I have never met a Daiya-cheese-based dish I ever liked, although I know this popular vegan cheese brand has its admirers. I did have a slice of whole-wheat vegan pizza in Sebastopol last week that I enjoyed, which I was told was made with Follow Your Heart brand mozzarella.
Above: Cheezehound’s peppercorn-flavored Brie-style cheeze
But the first-ever vegan cheeze that I really, truly loved was the peppercorn-flavored Brie-style cheeze made by Lori Robin of Cheezehound, located in Fleishmanns, New York (cheezehound.com or facebook.com/veritablevegan), that was served to me and my husband Andrew Dornenburg last summer when we were houseguests at the home of our friend Susan Dey.
Lori Robin handcrafts her Route 28 Peppercorn cheeze from a blend of hemp seed and macadamia nut milks. Her Qasbah cheeze uses the same base, but infuses the cheeze with 10 freshly-ground spices, including anise, cardamom, cayenne, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, and paprika. She recommends serving both at room temperature.
Lori’s jalapeno and hot red pepper Catskill Fire cheeze is meltable, so it’s ideal for burritos and other Mexican dishes – or for making good old-fashioned grilled cheeze sandwiches.
Umami lovers will take note that she’s also started making her own vegan paté from 100 percent raw cultured cashews and stout plus Northwest Pacific wild mushrooms (e.g., lobster, morels, porcini) accented by a hint of tarragon. As each pound of cheese is made from a half-pound of wild mushrooms, you can imagine the intensity of its flavor.
Thanks to the growing league of dedicated artisanal vegan cheesemakers like Cheezehound’s Lori Robin (above), I have tasted the future of vegan cheese. And it’s absolutely delicious.
The next time anyone you love is trying to kick their dairy cheese habit, just share the handy chart in Chapter 2 (pp. 76-80) of THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE adapted here for other ways to tame the crave:
IF YOU ARE CRAVING….
This Try This Instead
cheese cashew or other nut-based cheese
cheese, chive cream Kite Hill Artisan Almond Milk Product –
Soft Fresh Truffle, Dill & Chive
cheese, cream soy cream cheese
soft fresh cheese made from almond milk
cheese, Parmesan Parma brand vegan “Parmesan”
cheese popcorn popcorn sprinkled with nutritional yeast
cheese, ricotta ground almond, cashew, macadamia or pine nut “ricotta”
half nondairy cream cheese + half firm tofu, mashed
tofu “ricotta,” made from crumbled tofu
cheese, smoked smoked tofu (e.g,. on sandwiches, in salads)
The heart of THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE is its A-to-Z guide to the herbs, spices, and other seasonings that best enhance the flavor of hundreds of ingredients, from acai to zucchini blossoms.
This indispensable book also features:
– Flavor profiles of hundreds of foods — along with their peak seasons, botanical relatives, possible substitutes, nutritional profiles, flavor pairings and affinities, dish ideas, and other cooking tips for each
– An alphabetical list of idea starters — including cuisines, ingredients, meal occasions, seasons, and tastes — to inspire your next sweet or savory creation
– Techniques that today’s leading-edge vegetable-loving chefs use to maximize flavor
– Tips for making vegetarian versions of standard dishes and for veganizing vegetarian dishes
– A chef’s-eye-view of the subject, thanks to more than a hundred four-color photographs by Andrew Dornenburg
To enter to win a copy of Karen’s book,
‘The Vegetarian Flavor Bible’
Leave a comment on this post for your chance to win before midnight, February 5th.
U. S. residents only please.
I received a copy of Karen Page’s ‘The Vegetarian Flavor Bible’ for review although I was under no obligation to do so.
More from my site
- A visit with Mandy @Be Sol-Ful
- Cara Reed’s “V-Day Raw Cake Pops” Entry #1 in the Canned-Time.com’s 2015 “Family Favorite Desserts – Veganized” event