Spreadable, salty, a little funky, and loaded with umami?


 

A good friend of mine sent me an article from the New York Times highlighting a food called misozuke.  I read the description from the article which mentioned three of my favorite words:  spreadable, funky, and umami.  I was instantly intrigued and consulted our in-house Japanese expert for more details and a potential recipe.  Apparently misozuke is the result of aging tofu in a “marinade” of miso anywhere from 2 months to 2 years.  It produces something that resembles cheese, but with an extremely unique flavor. I quickly followed the link from the article to Rau Om, which is an online purveyor of the product.

 

Without any hesitation, I order both original and kombu flavors and have already found myself brainstorming all the dippin’ and spreadin’ possibilities.  I also found a recipe that I intend on trying after I get a good taste of what misozuke should taste like.  A full review of the product will follow the misozuke feast.  If anyone has experience eating or making misozuke, we would love to hear from you!

Our Storm Kit

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We’ve been watching our fair share of the super storm coverage out east, and can’t help but think about what we would do if we knew a massive storm was barreling our way.  We were used to the occasional snow day back in Iowa, where we typically spent the day at home cooking, baking, and watching movie trilogies.  We would watch the weather the night before, track the storm path, and secretly hope we would get dumped on.

Apparently Southern Oregon doesn’t have to deal with any kind of weather phenomenon like that.  It still got us thinking:  What if we knew we would be “stormed” in and needed to stock up on necessary provisions to wait out the weather.  Here is our top 5 list of shitty weather must-haves.

1)  Some sort of non-dairy milk.  Assuming we have power, baking WILL happen and all our favorite recipes call for some sort of rice, almond, or hemp milk.

2)  Daiya cheese.  We consider ourselves chili connoisseurs and tend to fire up the slow cooker when the weather turns sour.  Daiya tends to be the go-to toppin’ for chili.

3)  Beans, beans, all types of beans.  Whether it be hummus, soup, chili, salads, or burgers, having a selection of beans makes all of these possible.

4)  Bananas.  We are big smoothie fans, and also like freezing bananas and blending them in the Vitamix to create a sorbet/ice cream concoction.

5)  Beer or wine.  No good reason other than Southern Oregon produces some of the best craft beer and wine in the country.  Nothing says snow/storm-day like doing some cooking, drinking, and movie watching.

After going back and reading this list, it’s fair to say that we might actually miss our Midwest snow days.

After going back and reading that last sentence, it’s fair to say that’s effin’ crazy!

When Vegans Eat Cheese: White Bean Quesadillas with Sweet Potato Fries

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Hayley: Under what circumstances would you eat cheese again?

Evan: None.

Hayley: Seriously? Not even if you were in Switzerland?

Evan: Nope.

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!”

I make this same face too. Now that I think about, I own that shirt too. Coincidence?

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

Topped with fresh, farmers market salsa and jalapenos. Awesome Sauce.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 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

A staple at our hiz – oh, and if you haven’t eaten with Veganaise yet, you are Missing.Out.

 INGREDIENTS:

  • 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.

Keep it weird.


There is something about the vibe of Portland OR that makes me feel inadequate in a moderately condescending yet strangely desirable way.  I feel like Portland is a fat middle schooler who won’t stop shoving me in the back for my lunch money, except what Portland wants is your best effort at creative zeal (only zeal in the most apathetic/chill form).  Portland just want’s me to burn my copy(s) of Eat Pray Love, repurpose old furniture into art, perfect a track stand, get an ironic tattoo, sell my car, and shave one side of my head…all things that I seriously consider until I pass some magical line south of Eugene on the way out of town. And of course, we can’t resist a trip to Food Fight to stock up on sweet treats!

Noms.

A big thanks to Happycow and all it’s patrons, and we have now discovered for ourselves the magical lil dive for GF/V pizza: Sizzle Pie.

I knew when we walked in that we would have to be real assholes not to enjoy ourselves here.  The line was seriously like a cast of characters for the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie and I had to reflect on the last time I had a tetanus and/or hepititis shot before sitting at a booth – but we’ve learned that the best food comes with a little risk.  The staff looked like Billy Bob Thorton and The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo had a lovechild and started a band with Freddie Mercury, Perry Farrell, and any protagonist from a Wes Anderson movie.  Anytime the names of food can tap into the 70% emotional part of my consumer brain I am sold, and with pizzas like “Let us play your party”, “Hawkwind”, and “The ‘Ol Dirty” I can order irrationally to my hearts content.  When we ordered the large “New Maps Out of Hell” we had no clue that we would be chomping on soy curls and cashew spread, but man oh man was it delicious!  Sarah said her “Ace of Spades” was the best gluten-free pizza she ever had – then proved it by eating it for breakfast and as a snack the next two days.

SIzzle pie in movement and glory…mustaches required (rides optional)

Save some for me birthday boy.

In recap, the lessons we learned this weekend are that you should eat as much (vegan) food as you want then wash it down with beer then eat some cake then sleep then wake up and do it again for two more days…then, you need to stop.  Or, like in our case, run a race after said weekend and experience gurgle gut at the 1k mark followed by sting ring around mile two – and that is enough to get you back on track for at least a few weeks.

Cheers to 32 years Evan. Here’s to living large and eating plants with the goal of another 70 years!

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