As bloggers we tend to show our best sides, most of the time. We post our prettiest pictures, our most successful recipes, the menu plan we hope we’ll make rather than the (more limited) one we’ll probably end up making.
I love this, because it means I can visit all my blog friends and check out their sexy photos and know the recipes I’m making will actually work and taste delicious. But lately a few folks have been posting some of their “everyday” creations, which is also pretty fun to see, so I thought I’d follow suit.
Being both vegan and gluten-free is hard because, as far as I can tell, cheese and wheat-based foods are the most convenient foods in the world. Grab a hunk of cheese and a piece of baguette, that’s dinner. Throw on a really good tomato and you’ve got yourself a gourmet meal. And so I’ve basically been missing that completely for the last nine months, the ability to eat something fast, simple, and filling. However, in the last few months, Rainbow Grocery, the vegetarian food coop where I do most of my shopping, has really expanded their selection of vegan cheeses. They used to carry just the Follow Your Heart stuff, then expanded to the dreadful Teese and Daiya, which I bought with hope in my heart and composted with bile in my throat.
But now there are even more new treats to try. On my last shopping trip I bought Cheezly “mozarella,” which I liked so much I bought it again this time. They also now carry Sheeze, the vegan cheese from Scotland that I’ve been hearing people go gaga for but have never been able to try myself. I bought a package of their “blue cheese” to try this time as well. They are both delicious. I haven’t tried pizza, and no, they don’t melt that well or get stringy, but they taste great and have a terrific texture, which is really what I care about most.
The blue cheese has been so much fun to play with. I got pears in my last box so I made myself a pear, blue cheese, and toasted walnut salad. That was some deliciousness! The texture and taste of the Sheeze were perfect, even standing alone as little hunks in my salad. Last week at the farmer’s market I bought a bunch of gorgeous dry-farmed tomatoes but was kind of at a loss as to what to do with them. Then one day I was craving something hot and filling (as I so often do!) so I toasted up some sesame-garlic mochi squares and stuffed them with blue cheese and those perfectly sweet, explosion-of-flavor tomatoes. YUM! Everyday food. Three ingredients, made in 8 minutes (that’s how long it takes the mochi to puff up in the toaster oven), unbelievably satisfying.
The mozarella has just been great for adding a bit of richness to things. The other morning I had leftover rosemary potatoes (is there anything better than waking up and already having potatoes made?) so I just had to make my favoritest total-indulgence breakfast ever, decadent breakfast tacos. This was the first time I’d made them since becoming vegan, so no fluffy yogurt-boosted scrambled eggs and no double-layer tortillas with aged goat cheese smeared between the layers. Instead these were stuffed with grated Cheezly mozarella, leftover kale with kale sauce, rosemary potatoes, tempeh bacon, and dry-farmed tomatoes. Sprinkle on a little Frank’s Ohio hot sauce and it basically doesn’t get any better than this. Vegan life is a life of indulgence, not a life of deprivation, I am here to tell you!
So that’s some everyday eating around here, the stuff that there’s no menu plan for, the stuff that gets made when I’m hungry and wander through the fridge looking for something to eat. As much as both vegan and gluten-free eating are, for me, about the amazing array of foods I can eat, rather than artificial recreations of those I can’t, I do have to admit that having “cheese” back in my life again makes this process much, much simpler.