Hayley: Under what circumstances would you eat cheese again?
Hayley: Seriously? Not even if you were in Switzerland?
Hayley: Okay, what about if we decided that every leap year we researched a place in Switzerland we could go where we could meet a native who love their cows and makes Swiss cheese just for their village’s consumption and for one single meal we allowed ourselves to eat cheese?
Evan: Why does it have to be a leap year?
Hayley: Because it’s not technically a day.
Evan: Oh, in that case – no.
Hayley: What if you were dying and…
Evan: Hayley, I will never want to eat cheese! But, by all means, if you want some cheese – just eat some damn cheese!
Hayley: *exasperated exhale*
This is the cliff notes transcript of an actual conversation that Evan and I have more often then I want to admit to the vegan guild. See, I LOVED cheese. No, I don’t think you understand. When I even talk about cheese my hand instinctively does that move you always see Italian dudes do in movies when they talk about fine wines or meats “I lika da sharp chedda! Muah!”
Needless to say, giving up cheese was NOT easy.
Just when I was about to buy a plane ticket to Europe and do some Mayan calendar calculations to find a new non-day Evan may agree to, VegNews released a whole issue dedicated to vegan cheese. Recipes to make my own cheese and reader’s favorites and places that serve the stuff and ways to overcome the constant negotiator in my head (I call her Giovanna). I could tell that Evan was totally relieved as new ‘cheesy’ dinner ideas began to take shape and the planning for upcoming vacations shifted to a rational space where concerns like “will the farm have indoor plumbing” and “what is the line between an effective and a lethal dose of imodium” became non-issues.
Last night, Evan was faced with a code red Jekyll & Hyde situation, AKA a Hayley & Giovanna situation. To suppress Giovanna’s wicked cravings and general poor attitude, Evan poured the red wine, frantically searched VegWeb, and concocted a delicious, cheesy meal that brought peace back to our home.
I will prepare you now, there may be an excessive number of cheese-themed posts in the near future, including a post on our favorite cheeses. Stay strong cheese lovers – it’s totally worth standing in a place of peace, principal, and loving-kindness to overcome those momentary cravings. Oh, and you HAVE to make these Quesadilla’s – seriously delish.
SMOKY WHITE BEAN QUESADILLAS WITH SWEET POTATO FRIES
- 1 cup white beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- few drops liquid smoke
- garlic powder, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- pepper or cayenne pepper, to taste
- 4 whole wheat tortillas
- cilantro, to garnish
- salsa, to garnish
Blend together the white beans and tomatoes until very smooth. Add nutritional yeast, liquid smoke, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Blend again until well combined and smooth.
Heat a dry nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Put a tortilla into skillet, and spread 1/2 the bean mixture on the tortilla, then top with another tortilla. Cook over medium heat until crisp on one side, then flip and repeat on the other side.
Once it is cooked and the bean mixture is warm and gooey, remove from pan, slice into 6-8 wedges. Repeat with the other tortillas. Serve with cilantro and/or salsa.
SWEET POTATO FRIES
- 2-4 sweet potatoes
- Kitchen spray (you can use oil for a crisp, but we love the guilt-free version although they are still soft)
- Seasoning of choice (i.e. curry powder, salt & pepper, cayenne, paprika, or garlic)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Line a sheet tray with parchment or foil. In a large bowl toss sweet potatoes with spray to coat. Sprinkle seasoning of choice. Spread sweet potatoes in single layer on prepared baking sheet, being sure not to overcrowd. Bake until sweet potatoes are tender and just beginning to brown, turning occasionally, about 20 minutes. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving.