Miyoko’s cream cheese

Midge Raymond

Midge Raymond is a co-founder of Ashland Creek Press. She is the author of the novel My Last Continent and the award-winning short story collection Forgetting English.

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As ever, Miyoko’s Creamery is always trying new and amazing things. We were thrilled to see a new cream cheese available, and we ordered it right away. (It’s not currently on the Miyoko’s website, but join the mailing list to be notified of new cheeses!)

miyokos-cream-cheeseThe cream cheese doesn’t have the smooth texture that others (such as Daiya) have, and it’s also quite sweet.

mcc2There’s a very pleasant nutty flavor, but there is also slightly chalky aftertaste. As one taster pointed out, “It doesn’t finish well.” In the end, we were split on the bagel factor, with half of us finding this new cream cheese lovely on bagels and the other half not so much.

m-ccIn the interest of further research (this is all for science, people), we decided to see how it would work in a recipe. The good news here is that it’s brilliant. Behold this double-layer, peanut butter-chocolate cheesecake (all vegan, naturally).

cheesecakeThis cheesecake turned out to be quite delicious — though keep in mind that this was a no-bake recipe, so we haven’t yet tried baking with this new Miyoko’s cream cheese. Still, given the success of this recipe, we’ll likely give it a try soon.

Most of all, you should give this new cream cheese a try yourself soon, and see what you think.

Coconut Bliss Dark Chocolate Bars

Midge Raymond

Midge Raymond is a co-founder of Ashland Creek Press. She is the author of the novel My Last Continent and the award-winning short story collection Forgetting English.

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In our continuing ice-cream coverage during this sweltering summer…Coconut Bliss Dark Chocolate Bars.

IMG_3096This coconut-milk ice cream bar is as delicious as the dark chocolate ice cream that comes by the pint from Coconut Bliss — but of course, in the summer it’s fun to eat ice cream on a stick.

IMG_3097And these bars feel a little lighter and fluffier than the amazing dense chocolate of the dark chocolate pints … which, again, is perfect for summer.

IMG_3098The chocolate is rich and creamy and flavorful … we can’t think of a better way to beat the heat. In fact, we’d enjoy them even in winter.

We hope to try out every Coconut Bliss bar flavor before summer’s end, but in case we don’t, you can check them out here. Flavors include naked coconut, strawberry, latte, and coconut almond in chocolate. And you can see our review of the Salted Caramel in Chocolate here.

Coconut Bliss Salted Caramel in Chocolate Bars

Midge Raymond

Midge Raymond is a co-founder of Ashland Creek Press. She is the author of the novel My Last Continent and the award-winning short story collection Forgetting English.

Latest posts by Midge Raymond (see all)

So, Coconut Bliss is not exactly cheese, but it’s in the triple digits here this week, and so we are eating much vegan ice cream. And we feel it’s our duty to inform you of the deliciousness of these coconut-milk ice-cream bars.

IMG_2909Already huge fans of Coconut Bliss ice cream by the pint (which are available in flavors including Chocolate Peanut Butter, Salted Caramel, Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge, Mint Galactica, Mocha Maca Crunch, and Ginger Cookie Caramel, among others), we could not resist trying out the bars.

IMG_2910The bars are not as large as they look on the package (are they ever?), but they are a good size and very satisfying.

IMG_2913The Salted Caramel coconut-milk ice-cream is sublime by the pint, and it is only more delicious wrapped in chocolate and delivered on a stick.

IMG_2919I couldn’t possibly recommend this more …  it’s the perfect summer treat. Stay tuned as we sample other varieties…

Kite Hill Artisan Almond Milk Yogurt

Midge Raymond

Midge Raymond is a co-founder of Ashland Creek Press. She is the author of the novel My Last Continent and the award-winning short story collection Forgetting English.

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While traveling this summer, we were able to find Kite Hill in local groceries, and we found a product we haven’t yet tried — its almond milk yogurts. (While this is officially a cheese-tasting blog, we’ve clearly been expanding to include all non-dairy vegan products — it’s a tough job, but we are here for you.)

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We sampled the Kite Hill strawberry yogurt, which was smooth and creamy, and a tiny bit tangy (a good thing for this flavor).

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The texture is nice and light — and super smooth! — and it has none of the chalkiness of some vegan yogurts. It’s perfect for eating plain, with museli or cereal, and for using in smoothies.

IMG_2435We look forward to trying the other flavors and hope we can soon find them locally!

Fabanaise Chipotle Mayo

Midge Raymond

Midge Raymond is a co-founder of Ashland Creek Press. She is the author of the novel My Last Continent and the award-winning short story collection Forgetting English.

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We were delighted to see a new brand of chipotle vegan mayo out there and immediately brought home this jar of Fabanaise, a new vegan mayo that is made with aquafaba.

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Aquafaba is a miracle in vegan foods, especially for baking. Comprised of the liquid from cooked chick peas, its egglike quality makes it perfect for certain recipes…and, apparently, for mayo.

And this vegan mayo, while a bit thin, does basically have the consistency of the real thing.

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However, we wished the chipotle flavor had more of a kick. (The Vegenaise Chipotle Mayo from Follow Your Heart is still our favorite for its perfect consistency and kick.)

And while Sir Kensington’s has myraid other products available, be aware that not all of them are vegan, which is a shame. We hope to see their Dijonaise, Sriracha Mayonnaise, and other products available soon without eggs and with aquafaba instead.

Daiya Cheezy Mac Deluxe Alfredo Style

Midge Raymond

Midge Raymond is a co-founder of Ashland Creek Press. She is the author of the novel My Last Continent and the award-winning short story collection Forgetting English.

Latest posts by Midge Raymond (see all)

After tasting Daiya’s Cheezy Mac Cheddar, we were intrigued by this Alfredo-style variety.

Like the cheddar, this is quick and easy to fix (no more than 10 minutes), and the box contains everything you’ll need (well, except the boiling water). And because the macaroni is brown rice pasta, it’s gluten free.

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The sauce for this Alfredo-style variety is a bit stickier than the cheddar style, and it also has a stronger chemical flavor than the cheddar, as well as a slightly sweet, orange-zesty taste as well.

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So while we wouldn’t call this the best Alfredo-style pasta we’ve ever had, we were glad it was in the cupboard for a quick, simple meal.

Trader Joe’s Vegan Cream Cheese

Midge Raymond

Midge Raymond is a co-founder of Ashland Creek Press. She is the author of the novel My Last Continent and the award-winning short story collection Forgetting English.

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Cream cheese is one of those foods that is really hard to replicate, and I finally found a cream cheese I like in Daiya’s Chive & Onion. Then I heard that Trader Joe’s has a vegan cream cheese.

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This TJ’s version was recommended by a friend who doesn’t like Daiya and hadn’t found a palatable cream cheese until this one. So, I was very eager to try it.

IMG_7437The texture is quite good — softer than you might expect of “real” cream cheese — and the flavor is wonderful: very creamy, with none of the tang that Daiya has (which made the plain style too sweet for me). So this is a much mellower, milder cream cheese.

IMG_7442Because the texture isn’t as smooth, I made my bagel with half Daiya and half Trader Joe’s — and while I like the smoother and thicker Daiya texture more, I prefer the Trader Joe’s flavor. So…I will probably continue to enjoy both (though maybe not half and half every time).

Whatever your vegan cream cheese preference is at the moment, it’s well worth checking out the Trader Joe’s version — it’s among the best around!

Treeline Chipotle Serrano Pepper

Midge Raymond

Midge Raymond is a co-founder of Ashland Creek Press. She is the author of the novel My Last Continent and the award-winning short story collection Forgetting English.

Latest posts by Midge Raymond (see all)

We love Treeline‘s French-style cheeses, and while our local co-op only has one variety, we found this Chipotle Serrano Pepper flavor at a California Whole Foods.

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The texture of this variety is ever-so-slightly chalky (probably not noticeable to most), but the spices are fantastic — hot and a little smoky.

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This cheese would pair very well with a light, crispy white wine, a sparkling wine — or any cool drink, for that matter — and due to its heat, it would be even better with veggies than with bread or crackers.

Follow Your Heart Parmesan

Midge Raymond

Midge Raymond is a co-founder of Ashland Creek Press. She is the author of the novel My Last Continent and the award-winning short story collection Forgetting English.

Latest posts by Midge Raymond (see all)

We have one word for this new vegan Parmesan from Follow Your Heart: Finally.

IMG_9921Another that comes to mind is: Yum.

This shredded Parmesan is different from any other vegan Parmesan we’ve seen (usually sprinkled varieties made of nutritional yeast and nuts). While many of these are quite flavorful, nothing can really come close to the shredded variety.

IMG_9923These shreds are wonderful — creamy and flavorful, though we do wish the taste were a bit sharper and more tangy. But the flavor is lovely enough to sprinkle directly on any pasta dish.

IMG_9924We chose to sample it in liberal quantities when we tried it on homemade pesto, and it was delicious. Again, it would be even better with a sharper flavor — but we are thrilled to have it.

IMG_9929We suspect it would be amazing in any recipe — as well as on garlic bread and sprinkled on popcorn — and look forward to trying it out in different scenarios.

Soledad Cheddar and Cracked Pepper cheeses

Midge Raymond

Midge Raymond is a co-founder of Ashland Creek Press. She is the author of the novel My Last Continent and the award-winning short story collection Forgetting English.

Latest posts by Midge Raymond (see all)

Here are two more cheeses from the Sanctuary at Soledad Goats.

The first is cheddar style, which was not what we expected, since the website’s photo of this cheese is white, not orange, and sliceable, not spreadable.

IMG_1561Yet the flavor of this variety is nicely cheddar, though there is a hint of sweetness, which may not be for those who are looking for something sharper. And unless the cheese has changed a lot since we ordered it, it doesn’t fit the websites description of being great “on a cheese board”; it’s far too soft. But it does work on crackers, as shown below.

IMG_1562The cracked pepper chevre style, however, does fit the website’s description (“a smooth, creamy, spreadable soft vegan cheese”), and is delicious.

IMG_1569The cheese bears no resemblance to its photos (it’s so soft, there’s no way it could be sliced) — but the texture is lovely and the cracked pepper offers a great kick.

IMG_1570This is a wonderful, flavorful cheese that’s perfect for bread and crackers.

IMG_1572Do keep in mind that we were among the first to order Soledad’s cheeses, and we expect that with experience, they are only getting better at what they do. What we like best of all is that a former goat farm is now a sanctuary that rescues animals instead of exploiting them. So Soledad is well worth our support.