Super Tasty Steamed Artichokes

It’s spring, which means artichokes!  Queenie requested that I whip up some artichokes yesterday for her and a friend, and I decided to poke around on the internet to see if I could find an especially fun recipe.  This one caught my eye, from the FoodNetwork website, and it was easy and delicious (and only required one tweak to veganize):

As you’ll see, the trick is to steam the artichokes in a tasty concoction.  But first, you need to prep them, which involves trimming off the prickly leaf points and then rubbing the cut areas with lemons to prevent browning.


Next, prepare the steaming liquid.  Use a pot that is the right depth that when the lid is placed on, it will hold the artichokes in place.  To that pot, add either veggie broth or water (or a combination of both, which is what I did), some cut lemons, bay leaves, garlic cloves, white wine, olive oil, salt and pepper and parsley sprigs.  Bring that to a boil.


Place the prepped artichokes into the boiling liquid, bottom side up.


Cover and boil/steam them for about 30 minutes, or until they are fork tender (mine were large and I had to boil for about 40 minutes).  Serve with your favorite dipping accompaniment.  Queenie said that the artichokes were so wonderfully flavored that when she dipped in plain mayo (Hampton Creek Foods “Just Mayo”), it tasted like aioli.  Yum.  Queenie and her buddy whisked the artichokes off and consumed them before I had the chance to snap a photo, but let this one show you how popular they were!


Enjoy!  xo


The Easiest Tacos Ever

These tacos are absurdly easy to make and they’re super tasty, the perfect thing to throw together when you don’t feel like spending a lot of time cooking.  All you need to do is heat a little oil in a pan and add a package of Yves Meatless Ground.  To this you will pour in the salsa of your choice.  I used Frontera’s Double Roasted Tomato this time, but I’ve also used all kinds of other salsas.  As long as you like the salsa, you will like the results. Start with about a half cup of salsa and see if you like the consistency.  Add as much as you want!  Cook this until it’s heated through.

Meanwhile, prepare the toppings of your choice.  On this particular day, I just chopped up a little romaine, sliced a few cherry tomatoes and cut up an avocado (I sprinkled a bit of lime juice and salt on the avocado).  You’ll also want the rest of the jarred salsa on hand for those who want a bit more.  You can put whatever you want on these things:  vegan sour cream, cheese shreds, super hot sauce.  Anything goes.


The final step is to heat up some crispy taco shells for about 5 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.  Once they’re out, fill them up and dinner is served.  I told you they were crazy easy!


Enjoy!  xo

Vegan Cheese Plate

Queenie and I had fun putting together a cheese platter recently, the goal of which was to sample some of the vegan cheeses we hadn’t yet tried.  It was quite festive and tasty, and I wanted to share our impressions.  Here are the brands we explored:


Cheese-wise, we tried Kite Hill’s almond-based Soft Truffle Dill & Chive, Treeline’s Herb Garlic Soft French Style, Heidi Ho’s Black Lava Ne Chevre, and two of the new slices by Follow Your Heart, specifically American and Provolone.  Our accompaniments were various kinds of crackers, apple slices, fig spread, olives and cornichons.  Once it was arranged, our plates looked like this:


The results:  my favorite cheese by far was the Treeline Herb Garlic.  In the photo above, it’s the middle dollop, below the white triangle of cheese (the Kite Hill) and above the one with the black stripe running through it (the Heidi Ho).  It had a terrific spreadable consistency and a delicious flavor and mouth feel.  This cashew-based cheese is not subtle.  It packs a wallop of flavor!  But if you appreciate a hit of garlicky, herbaceous yumminess, you’ll probably like this, too.  We enjoyed it on crackers and on the apple slices.  Yum.  I definitely want to try more Treeline cheese.  Their link:

I liked the cashew-based Heidi Ho Ne Chevre (aka “no goat”) quite a bit.  The Black Lava is a type of salt, and it adds a lot of visual interest, along with the hazelnuts that are in that black stripe.  Queenie noted that the after taste of this one is reminiscent of the flavor profile of Dr. Cow nut cheeses, so if you’ve tried those, you’ll have a sense of this one.  Not everyone likes that vibe (Mr. Man included), but I do so it worked for me.  Also, Heidi Ho’s line includes a fantastic range of jarred melty cheeses (“Chia Cheeze”) that are perfect for dipping and nachos, etc.  Definitely a brand to get to know if you don’t already.

I have to say that the Kite Hill cheese we sampled was a bit disappointing for me (Queenie liked it a little better than I did).  Kite Hill is a line of almond-based cheeses developed by Tal Ronnen, and I’ve tried a range of them at Crossroads in Los Angeles.  I enjoyed those very much, so I’m not sure what happened here.  For me, it was a consistency thing.  It says “soft” right in the title, but that made me think of either something spreadable or something like a triple cream, but that wasn’t the case.  It held its form when cut, which I guess made me think it would have a different mouth feel than it did.  It was squishy and funky to me.  I didn’t go back for seconds on that one.  I will try other Kite Hills because of my respect for its creator.  Will let you know how that goes.

Finally, we played around with the Follow Your Heart slices, which I’ve been hearing a lot about.  It’s not often that you can take a vegan cheese slice right out of the package and eat it happily.  These are pretty successful.  Slap some on a cracker with a bit of fig spread on top and you’re talking deliciousness.  The rumor is that they make divine grilled cheese sandwiches, which is how I’ll play with them next.

Enjoy!  xo