Friday, March 20, 2015

Vegan Cheese Club Meeting #2

So, I've been thinking about the direction in which this blog is going, and I think it's time to come to terms with this: I am basically a Vegan Cheese Blogger.

Yes, I eat tons of salads and vegetables and tofu scrambles every day...but so does everybody else, and I don't suppose you particularly need to see pictures of mine. And don't get me wrong! I believe that everyone should absolutely be mostly eating nature's glorious bounty (and I'll definitely post more about it during the summer when the veggie garden is producing)...but for now, consider Stuck In Your Beard to be your one-stop source for all of your Vegan Cheese Fantasy needs.

That said, our Vegan Cheese Club has had two more meetings in the past two weeks, making that a total of 3 meetings thus far. Livin' the dream!

We ordered more Miyoko's, and it was every bit as wonderful as the first time. And this time we cooked with it! (If you missed my first set of reviews of Miyoko's Vegan Cheeses and would like more info, you can find that here!)

First order of business was Smoked Farmhouse Baked Mac&Cheese. Can you hear the angels singing?!

And before you go thinking that I'm a fancy lady, we made the crust on top with these mixed with a little oil and salt:

All I did was melt one wheel of the Smoked Farmhouse down with some unsweetened almond milk. Just enough to make it saucy, and cut the EXTREME richness of the cheese. It was absolutely delicious.

BUT. That wasn't even the main event. The star of the evening was Chris' Chili Cheese Dogs! Chris, my partner, is our resident chili master. (I am a lucky lady)

He makes his own chili powder (this time with 3 kinds of dried chilies [chipotle, guajillo, ancho], cumin, and Mexican oregano---all hand ground, not powdered) and that makes a world of difference between okay and GREAT chili. The rest of the ingredients were pretty standard: kidney and pinto beans, onions, tomatoes, and Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles.

Bubbling Chili Action Shot:

The hotdogs we used are the only vegan dogs I will ever buy, because they are above and beyond the BEST: Field Roast Frankfurters! And these aren't the floppy, pink, wimpy veggie dogs of the past---they're substantial and juicy and flavorful. I highly recommend them.

And here's the exciting part: Miyoko's Farmhouse Cheese is shreddable! I used a regular box grater, and achieved this:

VERY EXCITING. And now for the results! Here is my personal chili dog. It had diced onion and jalapeno, mustard, chili, cheese, and cilantro:

I had actually never had a chili dog before being vegan. I didn't even think I was interested in them! But when I met Chris about three years ago, he totally converted me. I AM A BELIEVER. This whole time we had been using Daiya, but now that Miyoko's exists....NEVER AGAIN. (Sorry, Daiya, I appreciate all you've done for me, but I'm just not that into you.)

And for a chili dog that's way better than mine, I give you Elizabeth's:
Yes, you are seeing that correctly. That is indeed mac & cheese ON a chili dog. We thank you, Elizabeth, for expanding our horizons.

And (yes, another AND) on top of all of that, while we were cooking everything, we snacked on a variety of Miyoko's we'd never tried before: the Double Cream Sundried Tomato Garlic

In my opinion, it is the best of the soft, flavored cheeses she makes. It is super creamy, with both the tartness and rich umami flavors that the sundried tomatoes bring. So good. We also had some Kite Hill's Cream Cheese, which was okay, but still had some of that weird plasticky aftertaste that Tofutti has. I'd still like to try their other cheeses, but this is the only of their products sold in our area so far.

As you can see in the picture, we also had dessert. Cupcakes from Red Velvet Cupcakery in Reston---the Black Velvet and White Velvet options you will see on their menu. They were so good that I am just now realizing that they were gluten free! I had no idea. We also had Eat Pastry's Peanut Butter Cookie Dough (which incidentally has the COOLEST website of all time) but we didn't eat any that night. Too much food! 

This all happened last week, but I think I was still too full to even write about it. And then we went and had Meeting #3 last night. I will report on that very soon! Thanks for reading, and best wishes for all of your vegan cheese endeavors. 

Wednesday, March 04, 2015


 I want to start this off by assuring you that I'm a pretty healthy lady. I eat a lot of vegetables, multiple times a day. I swear. But one thing that I really LOVE to do is make foods that people would never believe are vegan. Things that people think they'll miss if they were to go vegan. Like Baconators.

If you are like me, and have never had a Baconator, please allow me to explain.

According to Wikipedia: "The Baconator sandwich is a hamburger sold be the international fast-food restaurant chain Wendy's." Thanks, Wikipedia. What a helpful explanation. Okay, so according to my partner, whose coworker eats these every day: A Baconator is bun, cheese, burger, cheese, bacon, burger, bacon, cheese, special sauce, bun. Basically a bacon cheeseburger, with triple the burgers, bacon, and cheese. (Fun fact that Wikipedia DOES give, even though they don't have a description of a Baconator: The Baconator is the official burger of the Canadian Football League!)

So even though that is completely NOT up my alley (I don't even like burgers), I like to impress. So we made them.

Our ingredients: The new Beast Burger by Beyond Meat, our two old favorites Field Roast's Creamy Original Chao Slices and All Vegetarian Inc.'s Vegan Imitation Bacon Slices, sauce (which is apparently just ketchup and mayo mixed together... for the mayo we use Hampton Creek's Just Mayo because it is the BEST vegan mayo) and some organic buns. Also some pickles because I like crunchy. And caramelized onions because I am a living, breathing human who knows what's good.

Aaaand, it was AWESOME. Even as a burger hater, this was something I'd recommend. Cheesy, salty, saucy goodness. And the Beast Burgers themselves are great! Definitely one of the better store-bought vegan burgers available these days.

Better proof of melty cheesiness:

How does one fit that in their mouth, you might be wondering? You smush it. Smush it real good. (One party member said, "If you want to recreate the real fast-food experience you should step on it." And while I might be inclined to agree, I'm a nice blogger lady so I didn't say it myself. Hear that Wendy's? I'm open-minded! Now make all of your food vegan, and I'll write about it!)

Smushed and half eaten:

Smushing is key, both for authenticity and 'cause these things are HUGE. Here's what it looks like, unsmushed, near an average human sized-head:

Huge, right?! Yeah, so as you can tell, I thoroughly enjoyed it. And then promptly lapsed into a night-long food coma. I'd recommend it. Try it yourselves, and let me know how it goes!