Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Vegan Blue Cheese Recipe


I know, I know.. I've been teasing you guys forever with this recipe.  Originally, I had planned on keeping it for my book, but let's face it..  I don't think a cookbook  is going to happen for me any time soon... and since I get at least 3 emails/comments  asking about this, I figured I might as well post it!

When I worked at the Wine Bar, I used to make a very non-vegan Blue Cheese Cheesecake on a shortbread crust topped with homemade cranberry/apricot chutney, candied walnuts and a balsamic reduction. I want to try my hand at a vegan version soon.

So.. the secret ingredient is Fermented Tofu.  I think I originally got the idea to use it from Bryanna .  She has been an inspiration for more than a few of my recipes.


This bottle is 4 oz and I divided it in half and used it all for the recipe. I drain the liquid and use it to thin out the nuts if needed.  It's super smelly! Which is why it makes great blue cheese!

OK... here ya go!  I really hope that this is not a let down recipe.  Part of the reason I haven't posted it is that I don't want to disappoint people... but I KNOW It's good because I've served it to quite a few people and whenever it was in the salad bar at the health food store I worked at, people went nuts over it. 

Blue Cheese
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 4 oz  jar fermented tofu 
  • ½ cup sauerkraut, drained VERY well
  • 1 teaspoon acidophillius culture
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 T miso
  • 1 teaspoon blue green algae powder (or chlorella) 


  1. Blend the cashews with ¼ cup sauerkraut, 1 T miso and 1/2 jar tofu and the liquid along ½ teaspoon culture. Set aside for several days (on the counter is the best)
  2. Blend the pumpkin seeds with ¼ cup sauerkraut, 1 T miso and 1/2 jar of tofu and the liquid along with ½ teaspoon culture  and the algae. Set aside for several days (on the counter is best)
  3. Mix them together and salt to taste.
  4. The longer this sits, the BETTER and cheesier it tastes. 
You can spoon the mixture on a dehydrator tray or sheet pan (in a warm oven) and dehydrate at 115 for 5  hours to create a crumbly texture.

So.. there it is! Now go make it and tell me what you did with it!

Some ideas:
  • Buffalo Tofu Salad with Blue Cheese
  • Arugula Salad with Blue Cheese, Dried Cranberries and Walnuts
  • Blue Cheese Cheesecake
  • Pizza! (chutney, blue cheese, arugula)
  • Pasta with creamy blue cheese sauce and roasted apples and walnuts
  • Stir it into soups 
How will you use your Blue Cheese?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Auntie's Dal

This recipe is courtesy of Auntie, the matriarch of the family I work for.  I am so lucky that she has shared so much of her food knowledge with me.  She is from Pakistan and cooks amazing, yet simple food.

Her favorite spices are turmeric, coriander and chili powder.  She also uses dried onions.

This dal comes together in under 30 minutes and is a crowd pleaser.  I am going to share exactly how she does it and then give you some additions if you want to jazz it up... but do try it as is. I was surprised how good it was.

Please try to find red lentils from an ethnic store if you can.  In a pinch, you can use the Goya brand.

Auntie's Dal

  • 1 lb red lentils
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons dried onions
  • 1.5 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon mild chili powder 
  • 3 tablespoons ghee (traditional) or coconut oil 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped 
Method:
  1. Place dal, water, salt, onions, turmeric and chili powder in a saucepan. Bring to a boil
  2. Lower heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes
  3. Chop garlic and saute in the oil until very fragrant and golden brown.
  4. Add the garlic to the cooked lentils and stir in cilantro
  5. Taste and adjust salt if needed
Variations: 
  • Add  1 teaspoon cumin seeds and 1 teaspoon ground coriander, chopped tomatoes and lemon juice.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of garam masala and juice of 1 lime
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon cardamom and 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds 
Here's another delicious Auntie dish.. stuffed Roti with Mint-Cilantro Chutney..  sooo good!  She made me some for lunch and then sent some home with me to give to my boyfriend. So good! 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tomatillo-Cilantro Sauce

It's been a while since I've posted.  What else is new?

A lot has happened in the last couple months!  I have moved into my own apartment with no roommate!  It's great having my own space again.  Not that my last roommate wasn't a great person.. she was.. I am  just the type of person who needs her own space.

I am so happy in my newish life in Boston.  I have lost 80 pounds since Sept 24th...  without much effort to be honest.  I walk all the time.. usually at least 5 miles a day... which I have worked up to.  I love walking.  It has become my stress reliever and a GREAT way to avoid the bus. lol.

I also have a great boyfriend.  I spend most weekends with him and he is a total foodie.  He's not even close to vegetarian, but appreciates the food I cook for him.  I have also been known to cook him meat now and then..   but mostly, I make him vegan food.  The stew in the picture was part of our dinner last night and was super yummy.  It was a black bean and bulgur stew that I seasoned with a fresh Cilantro Sauce.

Several weeks back, he took me a local restaurant so I could taste this sauce and re-create it for him.. he has an amazing palate and we both took turns figuring out what was in the sauce.  I admit, I think his palate may be even better than mine.. because he picked up tomatillos which is super obvious now that I realize that is what was in the sauce...    I love tomatillos and actually make a sauce very similar to the one I made for him last night..

This sauce was kept super mild...(although we both love spicy food)...  I served it over chicken for him, but also used it to finish the black bean and bulgur stew we had for dinner.


Tomatillo Sauce
  • 6 medium tomatillos (blanched for 3 minutes, cooled and cut into quarters)
  • 4 tablespoons earth balance or olive oil
  • 2 bunches scallions, chopped
  • 10 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
  • 1 knorr veggie bouillon cube
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 large bunch cilantro, washed and chopped
  • Salt/pepper to taste
Method:
Saute all of the above for 10 minutes, then puree in a food processor or blender until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings.. but wait until the sauce is cooled for the final verdict.  Fresh sage is an amazing addition.


What is your favorite way to use tomatillos?