Product Review: Amy’s Daiya Cheese Pizza

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

null

Shane and I decided to extend our Halloween junk food/horror movie marathon tradition to Valentine’s Day, since once a year is not enough. We got a later start than usual, and only managed to fit five movies in, instead of our usual six or seven: Citadel, The Returned, State of Emergency, The Awakening, and Fido. Thanks to a spring roll and lo mien-fueled carb overload, I started nodding off during Citadel, which actually wasn’t half bad (Aneurin Barnard, meow!); but of the five, The Returned proved my favorite by a long shot. But I digress.

In honor of the occasion, we finally broke out those Amy’s brand Daiya cheese pizzas that we scored from Natural Grocers waaaay back in November. You know what that means: frozen pizza review time!

When I first cracked it open, I have to admit that I was a little underwhelmed. More cheese, please!

2015-02-14 - Amy's Daiya Cheese Pizza - 0002 [flickr]

And then Shane gently and somewhat bemusedly reminded me that we tend to load up our pizzas with a ridic amount of cheese, and maybe this frozen pizza is being more reasonable than me? I begrudgingly agreed, and then proceeded to load it up with more cheese (mozzarella and cheddar), along with a heaping helping of veggies: onions, Kalamata olives, mushrooms, and red peppers.

I baked it as directed, and then five or ten minutes longer. I forget, because Bridesmaids was on and commanding my attention. Basically I let it go until the crust got nice and crispy and the cheese was bubbling like a Jacuzzi.

2015-02-14 - Amy's Daiya Cheese Pizza - 0003 [flickr]

Amy’s crust has always been my favorite – that is, up until I tried the Vegan Harvest pizza from American Flatbread. Now it’s first runner up, but with a very honorable mention. (I mean, flatbread. There’s just no beating that.)

So it’s tricky to accurately rate a pizza after altering it so drastically, but I’ll try. The crust, as we’ve already established, is aces. I would have liked to have seen more cheese, but it’s more or less (okay, slightly less) in line with other frozen pizzas. The pizza itself has a very strong basil taste – so much so that at first I thought they’d hidden a layer of pesto in there somewhere. But nope, it’s just basil. Potent like whoah. Not bad, but a little obtrusive maybe? Especially if you aren’t in the mood for it.

Size: 4/5. As per usual, the pizza is slightly smaller than the box. Still large enough that I was only able to finish 3/4 in one sitting.

Crust: 5/5. Like it, love it, gotta have it, wanna be it.

Sauce: 4/5. Enough to get the job done.

Cheese: 4/5. It’s a Daiya Cheese Pizza, y’all! Emphasis on Daiya. Load ‘er up!

Toppings: 3/5. Ease up on the basil, mkay?

Overall: 4/5. Daiya cheese + Amy’s crust = my OTP. Replace the basil with more cheese and you’ve got yourself a perfect 5-star rating.

And now, because we were talking movies earlier, this is usually how movie night goes down at the Garbato-Brady house:

2015-02-05 - Popcorn Time - 0003 [flickr]

One bowl of popcorn for me, one bowl for the dogs. (They don’t really care for my salt and vinegar seasoning.) Shane? He’s on his own.

Mini-Review: The Pizza Bible, Tony Gemignani (2014)

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

A Vegan Perspective

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Blogging for Books.)

I went vegetarian in 1996, vegan in the mid-aughts, and have been allergic to milk my entire life. And I love pizza! (Yes, vegan pizza exists. And it is glorious!) Whether it’s a quick pita or French bread pizza, or a complicated, labor-intensive original gourmet dealio (mac & cheese pizza, anyone?), my husband and I enjoy pizza at least once a week. I have a tumblr dedicated to vegan pizza (along with my other favorite, vegan ice cream), and Vegan Pizza Day is a legit holiday in my house. Some of my coziest childhood memories involve making pizza from scratch with my mom, a routine we revisit every time I return home.

I picked up a copy of Tony Gemignani’s The Pizza Bible in hopes of upping my pizza game. While I didn’t have any illusions that the recipes would be vegan-friendly (although, in a book dubbed the Bible, I don’t think it’s altogether unreasonable to expect the author to at least mention alternative pizzas, whether they be vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, or raw; “Bible” implies exhaustivity, no?), I thought that perhaps some of the dough recipes might be accidentally vegan. I’m happy to report that I was not disappointed on this front!

(More below the fold…)

Cookbook Review: The Cheesy Vegan, John Schlimm (2013)

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

It’s easy being cheesy!

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: The publisher sent me a free copy of this book for review at my request.)

Vegan cheese! No two words in the English language are able to arouse the excitement, the vociferous debate, the unbridled passion of vegans quite like “vegan cheese.” (Except – maybe – “free pizza”!) Whether arguing about the merits of Daiya vs. Teese or swapping our favorite cheesy sauce recipes, us vegans love to cut the cheese. (Sorry I’m not sorry.)

John Schlimm’s latest cookbook, The Cheesy Vegan, doesn’t disappoint. Filled with recipes for cheesy sammies and cheesy pizzas and cheesy pasta dishes and cheesy soups and sides (and an entire chapter of mac & cheese! ONE WHOLE CHAPTER!), there are also a ton of recipes for homemade cheeses: Cheddar. Mozzarella. Brie. Swiss. Feta. Ricotta. Blue. Jack. Muenster. Wine. American. Cottage. Cream. Parmesan. Nooch cheese. You name it! If it’s cheesy, it’s in here.

Better yet, the cheeses are all pretty easy to make: just blend and chill. I’ve been on the fence about whether I should give Artisan Vegan Cheese a try, since (from what I’ve seen) some of the recipes border on alchemy. But these are actually recipes that homemade cheese novices like myself can pull off with some ease!

While choosing recipes to test for this review, I tried to select dishes that would allow me to experiment with a variety of the homemade cheeses. Six weeks, seven cheeses, and thirteen (plus!) meals later, and I think I’m finally ready to do this!

For what it’s worth, I’ve been allergic to milk my entire life – so I’m not exactly the best judge of whether vegan cheeses taste or even behave like their non-vegan counterparts. Luckily, my husband was more than happy to help with the taste-testing and opinionating. (We’ve both been vegan since the mid-aughts and consider ourselves connoisseurs of vegan cheese.)

With that disclaimer out of the way – let’s get cheesy!

(More below the fold…)

Cookbook Review: Vegan Pizza, Julie Hasson (2013)

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Heck Yeah Vegan Pizza!

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: At my request, the publisher sent me a free copy of this book for review.)

I just had to laugh when I spotted some reviewers questioning the necessity of a cookbook devoted solely to vegan pizza. Pizza is pretty much the perfect food; potential toppings and topping combos run the gamut, and are really only limited by one’s imagination. Some of my own personal creations of which I’m particularly proud include a Thanksliving Pizza (topped with mashed potatoes, carrots, green beans, Tofurky, gravy, stuffing, and cranberry sauce), a Cheddar Bacon Cheeseburger & Fries Pizza, a Mac & Cheese (with bacon!) Pizza, a Kalamata Olive Crust Pizza, and a Lemon Pepper Bruschetta Pizza. And don’t even get me started on pizza variants! (Pizzadillas, dessert pizzas, pizza fries, taco pizza, pizza soup, pizza bread…I could go on and on!) It’s wonder there aren’t more vegan pizza cookbooks on the market!

Maybe I’m biased – I run a vegan pizza tumblog, after all – but yeah. I think this is one niche that deserves more attention than it’s gotten to date. Julie Hasson’s Vegan Pizza is only the second vegan pizza cookbook of which I’m aware – the first being Mark Sutton’s Heart Healthy Pizza, published in 2012. (For those who found the recipes in Vegan Pizza too unhealthy/reliant on processed cheeses, check out Sutton’s book – all the ingredients are homemade!)

Vegan Pizza is roughly divided into four sections: Dough and Crusts, House-Made Meats, Cheesy Sauces and Spreads (including tomato sauce and pesto), and THE PIZZAS (with 32 total pizza creations, five of which are dessert pizzas). I like that Hasson provides recipes for diy meats and cheeses; this is especially helpful for those looking to save some money, or who don’t always have access to the store-bought stuff. The pizza recipes range from “the classics” – Tomato-Basil; Spinach, Onion, Mushroom, and Pepperoni; and Garlic, Sausage, and Onion Pizzas – to more imaginative fare, such as the Tomato, Cucumber, and Caper; Chili Mac; and Muffuletta Pizzas.

So far I’ve tried about sixteen recipes (give or take), including:

(More below the fold…)

Product Review: Daiya Dairy Free Pizzas

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

2013-07-24 - Daiya Roasted Veg Pizza - 0003

The Fire-Roasted Vegetable pizza before.
——————————

While Shane was visiting Austin (He got to meet Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes! But he brought me vegan donuts so it’s all good!), I liberated our freezer of the last of our vegan pizzas: namely, the Daiya brand dairy free pizzas, in Fire-Roasted Vegetable and Mushroom & Roasted Garlic flavors. (They also make Margherita and Cheeze Lover’s varieties, but sadly I have not been able to find them in stores.)

2013-07-24 - Daiya Roasted Veg Pizza - 0007

The Fire-Roasted Vegetable pizza after.
——————————

So this proved to be a pretty interesting experiment. The Fire-Roasted Vegetable Pizza was fucking amazing. The crust – which only after the fact did I realize is gluten-free and made of brown rice flour – was paper-thin, with crispy edges and an inside that’s just soft and floppy enough. The crust is awesome, period; doubly so for a gluten-free version.

While I thought the toppings could’ve used a better mix – they include red onion, green and yellow bell peppers, tomatoes, and garlic – there’s a decent amount of ’em. Also, just about the perfect amount of cheese: not too little, not too much. I was super-impressed.

2013-07-26 - Daiya Mushroom & Garlic Pizza - 0002

The Mushroom & Roasted Garlic pizza before.
——————————

Two nights later, I tried the Mushroom & Roasted Garlic pizza. What a disaster. Though I didn’t bake it any differently, the outer crust came out dry and hard. On the other hand, the inner crust wasn’t just floppy (like a good NYC thin crust pizza), but falling apart; the pizza completely bottomed out, the inner portion tearing away from the outer ring. The cheese, while bubbly in the oven, cooled off and firmed up within minutes of reaching my place.

2013-07-26 - Daiya Mushroom & Garlic Pizza - 0005

The Mushroom & Roasted Garlic pizza after.
——————————

I’m pretty sure I ended up with the case reject. The crust was kind of funky even before I unwrapped the pizza; I could clearly see two cracks at about 6 and 9 o’clock. Plus the thing was covered in frost – a lot more than on the previous pizza. And it’s not like I’ve been hoarding them; I bought them each at the same time, about a month and a half ago.

2013-07-26 - Daiya Mushroom & Garlic Pizza - 0009

Note the tears in the lower-left and lower-middle portions of the pie.
——————————

So it’s kind of weird. I don’t know how to rate them, whether I should chalk the dud up to bad luck, what have you. My instinct says that these pizzas rock, and I should give them two thumbs up. Or 5/5, on my own rating scale.

I feel like further experimentation is necessary. Thoughts?

fwiw, as per usual, one pizza = one meal, even though the packaging claims otherwise (in this case, one pizza supposedly serves three. LOL!).

Oh, and hey: I resisted the urge to add extra toppings on both pizzas. Yay me!

Product Review: American Flatbread Vegan Harvest Pizza

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

2013-07-15 - American Flatbread Pizza - 0002

I’ve been dying to try American Flatbread’s vegan pizza ever since it started popping up on tumblr – but it wasn’t until Shane and I traveled south of the city for a library book sale that we found a natural foods store which carried it. (In our case, Whole Foods.) Man oh man, was it worth the wait! Hell, it just might be worth the drive – a bold statement when you consider that it’s an hour, one way.

The highlight of the pizza is definitely the crust. The company bills it as a handmade, artisan flatbread baked in “earthen ovens formed with clay.” All I know is that it’s delicious. And they aren’t skimpy on the cheese, either – in this case, Daiya.

I made the mistake of adding extra mozzarella Daiya to my pizza (I never thought I’d use the words “mistake” and “Daiya” in the same sentence!), along with grape tomatoes and Kalamata olives;

2013-07-15 - American Flatbread Pizza - 0006

as it turns out, more Daiya? Totally unnecessary. American Flatbread is more than generous with the cheese.

Well done, American Flatbread. Slow clapping, I’m doing it.

So here’s the breakdown:

(More below the fold…)

Product Review: Bold Organics Vegan Cheese Pizza

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

2013-07-11 - Bold Organics Pizza - 0002

While Shane was away at TAM last week, I took the opportunity to empty our freezers of all that vegan pizza we picked up the last time we traveled south of the city. While there are a few natural foods stores in north Kansas City, their vegan options are usually lackluster, bordering on shameful.

(Price Chopper, I’m looking at you! There’s no way you can justify wasting an entire shelf in the frozen section on frozen bananas [FROZEN BANANAS! CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT SHIT?] when you don’t carry a single quart of vegan ice cream. No way! But I digress.)

On the menu: Bold Organics Vegan Cheese Pizza, American Flatbread Vegan Harvest, and not one but two (TWO!) varieties of the new Daiya pizzas. Sadly, I am still searching for the Amy’s brand Daiya cheese pizza. Frowny face.

First up: Bold Organics. Since I planned on reviewing these from the outset – for fuck yeah vegan pizza, if nothing else – I’d promised myself that I wouldn’t add any extra toppings. Of course, that lasted all of five seconds: as soon as I saw the pizza, in its nearly naked state, on went the extras.

For pizza numbero uno, cheddar Daiya cheese, grape tomatoes, and Kalamata olives:

2013-07-11 - Bold Organics Pizza - 0005

The first time around, the crust didn’t crisp up as much as I’d anticipated. In fact, it was pretty floppy, like a good NYC thin slice. And totally not up to the task of supporting all the extra toppings: I needed a fork to eat up the stray pieces. (Blasphemy!) Tasty but very, very messy.

So for the second pizza, I opted for a little extra mozzarella Daiya and a few handfuls of french fries. The cooking times on the pizza and fries are roughly the same, so it worked out well.

2013-07-12 - Bold Organics Pizza 2 - 0003

Interestingly, this second crust was much crispier and more rigid than the first. I can’t think of a difference between the two save for the toppings – perhaps all the extra (moist!) toppings on pizza #1 made it thick enough that it didn’t fully cook through in the middle?

Anyway, here’s the breakdown:

(More below the fold…)

Pizza Shells & Parmesan

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

2012-11-12 - 365 Pizza Crust - 0001

 

A while back, I won a nifty little pizza kit from Galaxy Foods. (Pro tip: enter every vegan giveaway on the internets and you’re bound to win sooner or later!) The kit came packed full of goodies: an apron, oven mitts, a pizza cutter, some free product coupons from Galaxy Foods (we got cream cheese for bagels!), pizza sauce, Galaxy brand parmesan cheese, and pizza shells from Whole Foods (the 365 brand). All vegan, of course!

We finally got around to trying the shells last week; normally I prefer making my own dough (so good! and easy!), but we were in the middle of a huge landscaping project and thus super busy and pressed for time.

On the plus side, the shells are thin and crispy, just how I like ’em (but can never seem to do on my own. Good thin crust recipe – anyone? Bueller?) They’re also quite large, about the size of the Amy’s and Tofurky frozen pizzas, possibly even a tad bigger. One pizza’s about enough for two people; easy peasy if you enjoy it with a side. (Fries, anyone?)

But the shells are also surprisingly bland and tasteless, even for a white crust. I guess you could maybe consider this a positive, since you can add all the flavor you want with toppings? idk, I think I prefer pita pizzas. Tasty and inexpensive!

 

2012-11-13 - Vegan Parm - 0003

 

The Galaxy Foods vegan parmesan, on the other hand? EPIC WIN! I’ve never had dairy parmesan, so I can’t say with absolute certainty that it tastes like the “real” thing – but the husband swears that it does, and it has the same “dirty socks” smell of non-vegan parm, so that’s enough for me. At the rate we’re using it, we will have flown through a bottle in under two weeks. Seriously addictive.

At ~ $5.00 a bottle, though, it’s one expensive habit! Probably I’ll go revert to homemade parmesan once we finally polish off the fancy store-bought stuff. That’s okay. Still yummy!

(fwiw, the Galaxy parmesan got some pretty awful review on Vegan Essentials, but I think they’ve since changed the formula. Whatever, I like it. Send your unwanted parm to meeeeeee!)

Cookbook Review: Cooking Vegan, Vesanto Melina & Joseph Forest (2012)

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Cooking Vegan: You Know It!

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: the publisher sent me a free copy of this book for review.)

The second collaboration between (vegan) dietician Vesanto Melina and (not-vegan) professional chef Joseph Forest, Cooking Vegan: healthful, delicious, and easy is a nice introductory vegan cookbook, particularly for newbie vegans and skeptical omnivores, as well as veteran vegans who want to eat a more healthful diet.

With chapter headings like “Vegan Nutrition” and “Vegan Ingredients,” the first fifth of the book is devoted to describing the basic building blocks of a vegan diet: fats, sweeteners, nondairy milks, soy foods, thickening agents, etc. (Spoiler alert: the age old question “But where do you get your protein?” will be answered!) There’s also some more general info about organizing your workspace, following recipes, and the like. Twelve suggested “theme” menus (Children’s; Super Simple; North American; Japanese) provide additional guidance for overwhelmed cooks.

Now for the food! The recipes in Cooking Vegan are divided between nine categories: breakfasts and beverages; dips, spreads, snacks, and sandwiches; soups; salads; salad dressings; entrées; sauces and gravies; side dishes; and sweet treats. Each recipe is accompanied by detailed nutritional information, and many come with suggested variations.

Before I begin reviewing a cookbook, I leaf through the recipes and come up with a list of dishes I’d like to try, so that I can check my pantry for ingredients and update my shopping list accordingly. For Cooking Vegan, this meant about thirty recipes, give or take – roughly enough to fill up a sheet of legal paper. At this point, I’ve tackled about half of them – enough that I feel comfortable writing a review.

With few exceptions, I enjoyed nearly all of the dishes I tried. In particular, the Scrambled Tofu, Marinara Sauce, Tapenade and Pesto Pizzas (including the pizza dough!), Good Morning Granola, Mac Uncheese, Light Mushroom Gravy, and Vegan Dazs Ice Cream stand out in memory, and all will be joining the regular rotation here in the Garbato-Brady household. (Actually, the Vegan Dazs already was a staple, just under another name: One-ingredient banana ice cream. Look it up!) The sole dud? The Holiday Pie Topping, which has a rather unpleasant aftertaste.

Still on my to-do list: Gooda Cheez (for which I bought a bag of agar, all special!); Heart Healthy Hummus; Black Bean Soup; Tuscan Minestrone; Wild Rice Salad; Shepherd’s Pie; Mushroom Lentil Patties; Corn with Bell Peppers; Scalloped Potatoes; Cashew Cheeze Lasagne; Blueberry Muffins; Almond Butter Balls; and the Cashew Cream Topping. I’ll blog these as I get to them, so keep an eye out!

Based on my experience, the recipes found in Cooking Vegan are straightforward and easy to follow, with few unusual or hard-to-find ingredients required. While some of the recipes (such as the Mac Uncheese) call for a second recipe (in this case, the Gee Whiz Spread), this is kept to minimum, with one added recipe at most. (One notable exception are the pizzas, which reference recipes for dough and a topping. Both of which are super-easy to make!) When referring you to another recipe, the authors include a page number, which I really appreciate. (All that flipping back and forth to the index when you’re trying to cook dinner? No thanks!)

My main complaint is that Melina and Forest are rather light-handed with the seasonings. With the Scrambled Tofu, for example, I found myself doubling – even tripling – up on some of the spices. Likewise, before I worked my magic, the Mediterranean Lentil Soup could best be described as “bland.” Still, the fix for this is easy enough: taste, taste, taste! as you cook, and don’t be afraid to adjust the ingredients to fit your own style.

As someone who’s been experimenting with banana ice cream for a while now, I do have to point out one glaring error in the Vegan Dazs Ice Cream recipe. While the primary recipe uses a juicer to blend the fruit (I’ve yet to wrap my mind around the logistics of this…not a big juicer, me), one variation gives these instructions for using a food processor: 2 cups of frozen bananas to 1 cup nondairy milk; serve immediately. In my experience, it’s best to use as little liquid (be it nondairy milk, creamer, or water) as possible, since the liquid will form ice crystals as it freezes. While it’s clear that Melina and Forest don’t intend for this version to be frozen and enjoyed later, there’s no reason why it can’t be!

Either way, one part liquid to two parts bananas is still excessive, even if you’re enjoying it immediately as soft serve. Better to leave the frozen bananas to defrost on the counter for 30 to 60 minutes prior to making the ice cream – this will give you a richer, creamier dessert, whether eaten soft serve or frozen ice cream styley.

Under the jump: photos and summaries of all the dishes I tried. Feast your eyes!

 

(More below the fold…)

Vegan Junk Food Cookbook Review: Riots, not diets!

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Vegan Junk Food by Lane Gold (2011)

 

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review from the publisher.)

Lane Gold’s Vegan Junk Food is my new favorite cookbook. (The previous title holder? Wheeler del Torro’s The Vegan Scoop – which should tell you a little sumthin’ sumthin’! Namely, that I like my vegan food filled with empty calories.) At my request, I was lucky enough to receive a review copy – along with two copies to give away – from the publisher, Adams Media. With a name like “Vegan Junk Food,” I figured it couldn’t disappoint.

Whether you like your junk food sweet or savory, chocolaty or cheesy, Lane (can I call you Lane?) has got you covered. The 225 recipes in this collection are divided into ten categories: breakfast foods; deli favorites (i.e., sandwiches, wraps, burgers, and sliders); comfort-meets-takeout foods (entrees); crusts and carbs (pizzas and breads); festive grub (party foods!); dips, hummus, and sauces (including sundae toppings!); savory treats; cakes; candies and cookies; and grab ‘n’ go sweets (brownies and bars). As you can see, the recipes are roughly divided between meal-type items (entrees, main courses) and snacks/desserts.

The husband and I tried out about twenty recipes before I sat down to write this review; and, while I don’t usually review cookbooks, this is easily the largest number of recipes I’ve sampled for a cookbook review, like, ever. (I just couldn’t stop myself; everything looks so good!) Possibly it’s the most recipes I’ve made from a single cookbook, period. Though I own a ridiculous number of them, I don’t use cookbooks with much frequency; more often I cook from memory or pull recipes off the internet. But Vegan Junk Food? Most definitely joining my repertoire!

The book’s obvious strength, of course, is the food: oodles and oodles of junk food! Pizza. Pasta. Tacos. Pot pies. Casseroles. Cupcakes, pies, and brownies. Empty calories as far as the eye can see! Wait, that’s not entirely fair: some of these foods aren’t all that bad for you. Ironically, many of the recipes in Vegan Junk Food are actually healthier than my own versions. The Mac and Cheese Bake, for example, uses a vegan Velveeta-like cheese sauce made of potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, nutritional yeast, and soy milk. Even factoring in the additional vegan cheese shreds in this dish, it’s still way better for you than my own mac & cheese recipe, which is basically just pasta and processed vegan cheeses (namely, Daiya and Follow Your Heart). Don’t let the book’s title fool you: while these foods may look and taste like junk food, they’re not all super-trashy.

With options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert, Vegan Junk Food is versatile. Mix and match the recipes for something new – or experiment to make them your own. For example, I used leftovers from some of the recipes to create new banana ice cream dishes!

While some of the recipes call for pricey vegan meats and cheeses, Gold doesn’t rely on these products exclusively. (Unlike the PPP blog, Vegan Junk Food doesn’t read like a Lightlife ad!) In fact, she offers diy recipes for many of these vegan staples so you can make ’em your own bad self, oftentimes at a fraction of the price! See, e.g., gravy (page 61); ricotta (pg. 120); sour cream (pg. 120); cheese sauce (pg. 121) basil pesto (pg. 124); and ranch dressing (pg. 126), to name just a few!

My complaints are few and relatively minor. Some recipes reference other recipes – to return to the Mac and Cheese Bake, the Cheese Sauce is its own recipe, located in a different section of the book – but don’t include a page number alongside the recipe title, thus forcing the reader to consult the index in order to find it. A minor annoyance, compounded by the index’s lack of user friendliness. (I find it counter-intuitive and difficult to use.) An estimated cook time and rating for difficulty on each dish would have been nice too, but I suppose both are easy enough to gauge by reading through the instructions.

I also ran into issues with two of the recipes – the Almond Joy Bar Cake and the Red Pepper, Caramelized Onion, and Hash Brown Quiche – which I’ll explain below. Still, out of twenty recipes, two small glitches? Not so bad! Especially when you consider my lackluster track record with baked goods. Brownies, why you no like me?

What follows is a run-down of all the dishes I’ve tried thus far. I’ve only tackled about half the items on my to-do list, so I’m far from done with this cookbook! I’ll post additional pictures as I take them, so keep an eye out for those.

 

  • Pesto Chicken Pizza with Creamy Garlic Sauce (page 85)

    2012-02-18 - Chik'n Pesto & French Fry Pizzas - 0009

    This was the first recipe we tried out, and quite possibly it’s also my favorite! The pureed white beans, seasoned with vegetable broth, nooch, and garlic, makes for a savory and filling pizza sauce, and the Basil Pesto is simple yet delicious. Enjoy this pizza with a fork and bib, though – it’s a messy one!

    (More below the fold…)

  • randomness: dicks, donuts, girls, books, ice creams, pigs and pizzas!

    Thursday, August 5th, 2010

    Fan Junk Shots - Ralphie 01

  • www.schlongs4seals.com is now open and ready for business!

    Currently, only the blog – where I’ve already logged more posts in August than I managed to write for this here blog in the entire month of July – is fully functional. I’m still working on the promised interactive photo gallery and discussion features, but hope to have these done soon. (To this end, WP-compatible software recommendations would be most appreciated!)

    That said, the template and static/informational pages are all finished and look, if I might say so myself, kickass. I found a template that mimics Facebook almost to a M (for misogyny, natch), so it’s almost like we never left. (And by “left” I mean “were kicked off.”)

    Additionally, I created a temporary set of photo pages to house all the “man meat” I’ve “processed” thus far: VAPETA PSAs, promotional materials, junk shots, celebrity cock shots, South Park avatars, brother campaigns, etc. Browse, bookmark and check back often, because there’s more in the pipes.

    If you’re still out there and, um, excited to participate (excited! get it!?), send me your package at schlongs4seals [at] gmail.com and I’ll be equally excited (tee hee) to feature it on the appropriate page.

    Also, if you visit the front page, you’ll see a little Facebook “like” button in the left-hand sidebar (right under the hot white torso wearing the hot red boxer briefs). Click it, won’t you? We need friends! And sharing! On Facebook!

    Fan Junk Shots - Baby Kelly 02

    I’ve been a connoisseur of men’s briefs since early childhood.
    Behold the rapturous glee on my chubby chipmunk cheeks!
    ——————————

    SeaL Shepherd may have succeeded in removing our page from Facebook, but he can hardly prevent us from sharing content in the form of links.

    Can’t stop the schlong, yo.

    (A note for the newbies and occasional readers: if all this cock talk has you flummoxed, go here for some background.)

  • Tofurky Pizza with Daiya Cheese has finally made its way to Kansas City!:

    2010-08-05 - Tofurky Pizza - 0003

    The Whole Foods in Overland Park, to be more specific. And now it’s in my freezer. Nom nom nom.

  • As if this isn’t already more awesomeness than the KC metro area can handle, Kansas City is now home to a brand-spanking-new vegan bakery. Gluten-free, to boot. And, if you live in the KC area, they deliver!

    Shane ordered a box of Golden Girls – the vegan feminist version of “real” Twinkies, if you will – for delivery to his office Monday.

    2010-08-02 - Golden Girls - 0010

    They are super-yummy – a little denser than Twinkies (according to Shane; I’ve never partaken), with a sponge- or angel food cake-like consistency. The creamy filling is the bestest, though methinks the cakes could use more. I say the same of Ronald’s Donuts and Newman’s O’s, so grain of salt.

    Egads. In all my excitement, I almost forgot to name drop. Brody’s Bakery is the name of the biz – hit ’em up on Facebook, and if you’re ever in the KC area, shop team vegan, mkay? Jasmin of Our Hen House also did a nice writeup on Brody’s this week; see Brody’s Bakery Bakes Up Compassion. (Color me jealous, btw.)

  • (More below the fold…)

    Vegan Gourmet Pizza: Melty!

    Sunday, March 1st, 2009

    The husband and I finally (!) tried Follow Your Heart’s Vegan Gourmet soy cheese last week (don’t ask me why it took so long – I’m already kicking myself). We’ve been searching for a suitable vegan soy cheese for some time now, so when Shane spotted Vegan Gourmet during his last Whole Foods run, he picked up a few bricks of the cheddar and mozzarella flavors. We (ok, he) made two homemade pizzas last Saturday, in anticipation of a Lost marathon – one topped with mozzarella, the other, cheddar. As you can probably surmise, it was effin yummay!

    Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet soy cheese

    Admittedly, I haven’t sampled many of the newer vegan cheeses (Teese, Sheese), but Vegan Gourmet is the best I’ve tried thus far. The mozzarella has a bit of a salty taste; Shane says it tastes very much like “real” (read: cow’s milk) mozzarella (I wouldn’t know; I’m allergic). The cheddar isn’t as salty (though it contains more sodium – go figure), but has a “cheddary” taste. (Again as per Shane; a direct quote: “They’re very reminiscent of real cheese.”) Since I don’t have any experience with dairy cheese, I’m having a bit of trouble putting the taste into words; suffice to say, both the mozzarella and cheddar and very tasty. Though, I do have a slight preference for the cheddar, probably because it isn’t as salty as the mozz. (The cheddar is healthier, too, what with less fat and more protein – yay!)

    True to Follow Your Heart’s promise, both cheeses are uber-melty: They Melt! Almost too well, actually: it’s really difficult to slice a large pizza right out of the oven, because the cheese is so melty. It practically liquefies under heat! We had to let the pizzas sit for about ten minutes before we could cut and serve the slices, and even then, it proved messy.

    Naturally, we made a second batch of pizzas last night. (I expect it’ll be pizza 24/7 round these parts, now that we’ve found an edible soy cheese!) This time, we tried “pressing” the bricks of cheese like tofu, in order to draw out some of the excess water – the suspected culprit in the greasy/watery/liquid-y consistency of melted Vegan Gourmet. We also spread the shredded cheese on a large baking pan, and let it sit out on the counter for about an hour prior to making the pizza, hoping that any excess water might dissolve into the ether. All this helped a tad – the melted cheese wasn’t quite as watery – but it was still a lil’ messy to work with. Still, it’s a huge improvement over the alternatives, namely, cheese-less/-free pizza, or pizza laden with cruelty (i.e., dairy cheese). 4.9/5 stars!

    (More below the fold…)