I am slowly making my way through the backlog of stuff I’ve been meaning to post! Soon you’ll also get to hear about a delicious raspberry cake batter smoothie I made and adventures in vegan Ethiopian cooking (a cookbook review).
Not too long ago I really wanted some comfort food, and I had been contemplating using the block of Daiya cheddar cheese I had in my fridge for poutine for awhile. So, I finally did it.
The gravy was spot on, but next time I will melt the cheese a little bit more on top of the fries in the oven so that when I pour the gravy on it all it will melt even better.
Here is the recipe:
- 6 tbsp Earth Balance or refined coconut oil
- 1/4 cup gluten free or regular flour (I used brown rice flour)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups No Beef Broth (from the Happy Herbivore cookbook if you have it, or from here)
- 1 cup vegan unchick’n broth, or vegetable broth–It’s fairly easy to find vegan unchick’n broth powder–several companies make it and I’ve even found variations of it in dollar type/discount stores near me! Just mix 1 tbsp broth powder with one cup water or veggie broth! Happy Herbivore also has a recipe for making your own broth powder
- 2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 1/2 tbsp water
- Black pepper, to taste
- About half a package of your favorite frozen french fries, or homemade if you want to get fancy. I used Alexia brand Straight Cut Fries
- 1/2-a whole block Daiya Cheddar, cut into 1 inch cubes
- Start by preheating the oven to the temperature the fries are baked at.
- Make the no beef and unchick’n broths, allow to cool slightly
- Prepare fries according to package…in the meantime prepare the gravy.
- Melt the butter or coconut oil in a large saucepan. Add the flour and stir constantly until a roux is formed. This is when it turns into a golden brown color. It takes about 5 minutes.
- Add in the garlic and cook for about 30 more seconds.
- Stir in the broth with a whisk.
- Bring to a boil.
- Whisk in the cornstarch and water, stir constantly and let simmer until thickened, about 3-5 minutes…it’s possible you might need slightly more or less cornstarch. I started with 2 tbsp water/cornstarch and then added the extra 1/2 tbsp later when it would not thicken to my liking.
- Keep gravy warm (this can be done by turning off the heat and covering, leaving on the stovetop that you cooked it on.
- In the last few minutes of cooking the fries, gather them up into the middle of the tray, and randomly drop the Daiya cheddar blocks on top. I’d say only do this for 5 minutes at maximum but do it however you like really.
- Take the fries and cheese out, place in a large bowl, and put as much gravy as you like, I probably put close to 4 cups on top. You will have extra gravy that you can use for more poutine or something equally delicious.
- Maintenant, nous mangeons! (That’s French for now, we eat!) Enjoy!
Okay, so this could have easily also went into Saturday’s theme, but I felt for some reason that having it in Worldly Wednesday was more fitting.
French onion soup with melty cheese on top of French bread croutons
French onion soup with melty cheese on top of french bread croutons
This recipe took a lot of research and was referenced to two different recipes, one vegan from the start and one not. The main recipe I want to give credit to is the recipe I based the cheese off of, http://vedgedout.com/2013/03/11/individual-vegan-margherita-pizzas-with-homemade-fresh-moxarella-cheese/. I tweaked it quite a bit because I wanted it to have a sharper flavor that tasted more like the cheese I remember from this dish and rewrote the directions based upon my own experience with making it.
My entire family (none are vegan themselves) all ate it and said it tasted like the real thing. My mom (although full disclosure: has not eaten real cheese since the 90s, longer than I have abstained from it) said the texture and melty-ness of the cheese was spot on and was of excellent flavor.
Here is the recipe:
For the soup:
- 1 stick earth balance (1/2 cup or 8 tbsp)
- 4 vidalia onions, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 cup vegan red wine (See barnivore.com to be sure the wine you select is vegan)
- 3 tbsp unbleached all purpose flour
- 2 quarts (8 cups) vegetable broth (I used Trader Joe’s Low Sodium variety)
- Salt and pepper to taste (I only added 1/2 tsp black pepper because I’m watching my sodium and it didn’t seem bland at all)
- 1 french baguette, sliced thick
- 1 batch melty tapioca cheese (see below)
For the cheese:
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup hot water
- 2 tbsp plus 1 tsp tapioca starch
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
For the cheese (it is best to make this first because it can sit while you cook the rest):
- Blend ingredients in a good blender until totally smooth/liquid.
- Pour into a saucepan and cook while stirring constantly on medium-high heat.
- After it begins to look as if it is separating (and is), turn the heat to medium and continue to stir until it becomes very thick and is a melty, stretchy consistency. It will also be bubbling quite a bit. Pretend you are a witch making a fancy vegan potion or a mad scientist doing a new experiment. 😛
- Set aside or place in the fridge when cool for use a bit later when the rest of the soup is done.
After the cheese is done
For the soup:
- In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the stick of Earth Balance.
- Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme sprigs and cook covered for about 20-25 minutes until the onions are browned, soft, and caramelized. Check about every five minutes or so and stir gently to make sure it doesn’t start to burn.
- Add wine, boil, and reduce the heat to simmer until the wine is mostly evaporated and the onions are somewhat starting to dehydrate. Leave the pot uncovered for this step. This will take at least 10 minutes, maybe longer.
- Add the flour and stir. Reduce the heat and cook for about 3 minutes or less if the flour really starts to stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Add the vegetable broth and stir the contents of the bottom of the pot to deglaze the flour and onions stuck to the bottom.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for at least 10 minutes.
- Add pepper and/or salt as desired. Don’t be tempted to add too much salt as the salt in the vegetable broth should be enough (unless you bought a salt free brand). I just added 1/2 tsp black pepper, you might like more or less.
To put it all together:
- Preheat the broiler.
- Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet, spray both bottoms and tops with cooking oil, and place a good sized dollop of the cheese (about 2 tbsp) on top.
- Broil for 3-5 minutes watching and checking quite carefully. Don’t let making the soup distract you because you could easily burn them beyond recognition if you don’t.
- Place soup in bowls or pretty ramekins and place the croutons on top of the soup, allowing the soup liquid to seep into the bread.
- If you have any leftover cheese, it might be a great idea to add a bit more to the soup and float it around for more of that gooey, stretchy, deliciousness.
First of all, most of the credit for this recipe’s delicious flavors go to my mother, who makes the non-vegan version. I just basically veganized it.
Second, I want to rave about how awesome soy curls are. I don’t know if any other companies make them besides the Butler brand, and whether I can find them locally (I usually buy them online when I make a veganessentials purchase) but they are the best. They have the best texture, taste, and are so versatile to work with.
I’ve made them breaded and broiled, in buffalo tarts, and probably other things I can’t remember prior to this. All were delicious.
This time I thought, hmm, I bet they’d make a good faux chicken salad!
So I put a vegan spin on one of the rest of my family’s all time non-vegan favorite recipes, so now I can eat it too!
This makes a lot, you can half it pretty easily I bet.
- 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- Whole package Butler Soy Curls
- 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning (the one I found is various spices and herbs and some salt and pepper in it–completely vegan)
- 21 grams (a small package at my grocery store in the produce section) of fresh tarragon
- 1 cup vegenaise
- 3 medium stalks raw celery, chopped
- 1 cup seedless red grapes cut into halves
- First, re-hydrate the soy curls. Basically what I did was pour the whole package of those weird looking things into a medium sized mixing bowl, and then poured in the vegetable broth. The vegetable broth didn’t cover them completely, so I added enough water after that to cover them. I think you could use just water for the whole thing, but the soy curls absorb some of the flavor of the broth which makes it extra tasty.
- Let the soy curls sit in the bowl and broth/water mixture for 10-15 mins until soft.
- Drain most of the liquid out with a strainer. You still want them wet but you don’t want a lot of extra liquid, maybe only like 3 tbsp extra at most.
- Take out your food processor. Pour the soy curls into it.
- Add the poultry seasoning.
- Pulse several times until the soy curls are chopped and the seasoning is combined into them. You do not want them mushy or pureed-like at all. Just kind of flaky and still a little rough. Keep your food processor out because you’ll need it again.
- Place the soy curls back in the mixing bowl.
- Add vegenaise and combine.
- Remove the stems from the tarragon, and place into the food processor.
- Chop them finely but leave them still slightly whole.
- With a spatula, fold into the soy curls and vegenaise mixture.
- Add chopped celery and grapes, fold.
- And voila! It’s done! Gobble it up and tell me how it is!
I’m going to place this unchicken salad over lettuce and add some raw almonds and eat this for my salad this week, so this is essentially my salad of the week post.