Cheddar and nacho teese

I was very excited to come home to a box of teese's new cheddar and nacho vegan cheeses. I thought I would take a day or two to decide how best to use them, but the moment shane saw that nacho log, it was decided that we would have nachos for dinner.

We went to the store to get some chips and salsa. I sauteed minced garlic in olive oil, then added a can of black beans, cumin, lime juice, 1/2 a chipotle pepper in adobo, and a pinch of salt. Cilantro and sliced green onions finished things off.

For the teese, I recommend whisking it in a small saucepan over medium heat until smooth and melty. This worked better than some quick nachos I made a few days later in the microwave, where the oil separated from the solids, much like I remember conventional cheese doing. Whisking and stove heat is the way to go!

shane went down to visit family in Arizona for a couple days, so I decided to wait until he returned to make a meal out of the cheddar. I did sample some in a grilled cheese sandwich in the meantime, which was delicious. I even tried a bit of teese straight off the log; it tasted exactly like those individually wrapped cheese slices of my youth. Not quite my thing, but if you like cold cheese, the resemblance is uncanny!

The afternoon of shane's return, I tried to think of the best way to use the cheddar teese. The great melting quality of teese made pizza seem like a good solution, but tomato sauce and cheddar didn't quite sit right. I saw the last of a bag of soy curls on the counter and it struck me. BBQ pizza!

My laziness turned into much more work than I had originally planned, following a bike ride to Trader Joe's for premade dough and BBQ sauce, where I discovered I had left my wallet at home. Not wanting to ride home and back again, I figured I should just make my own. I used the pizza dough recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance with whole wheat pastry flour, and made sauce from tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, mustard, sriracha, water, and liquid smoke. After soaking, I precooked the soy curls in canola oil, with a bit of soy sauce and pepper. Sliced red onions were added before the pizza went into the oven, and cilantro and green onions topped it off when it came out.

It was one of the best pizzas I've had in a long time!

If you want to pick up some teese of your own, check out locations on their website. Rainbow Grocery also carries teese, for those of you in the Bay Area.

Butterscotch pecan cookies

I was never a big chocolate fan growing up; these were my go-to cookies instead of classic chocolate chips, but it's probably been almost ten years since I've made them. I had been on an ongoing search for accidentally vegan butterscotch chips for a long time when I learned there are a few locations on the east coast that sell these dairy-free morsels (Price Chopper and Food Lion). Some gracious folks were willing to mail some over. It's probably for the best that I don't have regular access to butterscotch chips. They're filled with partially hydrogenated fats, artificial flavorings, and all sorts of things I would generally avoid, but as a rare treat, I don't mind indulging in these soft, chewy cookies.

This recipe is just the basic Toll House cookie with a couple modifications: soy yogurt for eggs and doubled-up brown sugar for an extra molasses chew that matches well with the butterscotch chips. Buttery pecans finish things off with a smooth crunch.

Butterscotch pecan cookies
2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup margarine, softened
1 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
3 tbs. plain soy yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 c. butterscotch chips
3/4 c. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375F. Line cookie sheets with parchment.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt, and set aside.

Cream the margarine and sugar together until slightly fluffy, then add the yogurt and vanilla and beat until combined. Slowly stir in the flour mixture, then once combined, stir in the chips and nuts.

Drop rounded tablespoons onto your prepared cookie sheets and use a dampened finger to flatten slightly. Bake for 8-10 minutes until just barely turning golden. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on the sheet for about 2 minutes, then slide the entire parchment sheet to a wire rack to cool completely.