Daiya Margherita Pizza

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)

When we saw this in the freezer section, we couldn’t resist. Every once in a while, you just need to make something quick and easy … and Daiya always delivers (Daiya’s Cheezy Mac is another great quick meal).

IMG_9912This pizza was remarkably flavorful, and its simple and delicious basic ingredients make it perfect for adding fresh veggies.

IMG_9913The cheese melts and browns beautifully, and the crust was thin and crispy.

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I highly recommended keeping this fast and yummy meal in the freezer for those times when cooking isn’t possible (or when you’re just feeling lazy…like me). There are many other varieties (including spinach & mushroom, fire-roasted vegetable, and “cheeze lover’s”), and we look forward to sampling them all.

Soledad American and Ricotta

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)

These two vegan cheeses from the Sanctuary at Soledad Goats were not as lovely as the others we sampled.

In fact, these two were the blandest of the bunch. Also, due to the photos on the website, we expected the American Style cheese to be firm and sliceable, not spreadable.

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The American style cheese was fairly flavorless, and the texture a bit oily.

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The ricotta style cheese was also a bit flavorless, but this isn’t a bad thing when it comes to ricotta, since it’s meant for recipes more than spreading on crackers.

IMG_1563And the texture itself was very ricotta-like, so this cheese would be a great ricotta substitute for any plant-based recipe.

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So, while these varieties wouldn’t make our must-have-again list, check out Soledad’s other cheeses, as we’ve had some good ones, and we love supporting the great work they do for animals!

Daiya Chocolate Cheezecake

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)

First, happy National Cheese Lovers Day (who knew?). We are glad to be able to celebrate with such delicious, healthy, and compassionate options, and we hereby thank all those who are bringing such delicious vegan cheeses to the marketplace.

And, since we’re celebrating: Chocolate Cheesecake.

A while back we reviewed Daiya’s New York Style cheezecake, and we loved it. We couldn’t wait to sample the chocolate version, which we’re happy to report is even better (we didn’t think it was possible).

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This chocolate version has the same rich, delectable creaminess — along with the amazingness of chocolate.

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Remember these come frozen, so you need to give them at least 6 hours to thaw (it’s very disappointing when you don’t remember in time, as I have learned). After a few hours in the fridge, this beautiful cheesecake is ready to go…and it’s not likely to last long on the plate.

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This is a dessert any omnivore would love — it would be gorgeous drizzled with vegan chocolate, and impossible to tell from the “real thing.”

Soledad Truffle Oil, Garlic, and Dill

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)

Of the cheeses we’ve sampled from the Sanctuary at Soledad Goats, this one is my personal favorite.

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This Truffle Oil, Garlic and Dill spread was a bit watery (likely because the cheeses had arrived late and we’d had to freeze them before tasting), but it did freeze quite well and has a light, creamy texture.

IMG_1560This cheese is bursting with dill and truffle oil  … so if you’re a fan of these flavors, you’ll love this variety. It’s and rich and savory enough to be served plain on crackers and crusty bread — and yet it’s light enough to be used as a cream cheese replacement on bagels.

IMG_1559The cheese ordering website still appears to be a work in progress, but if you’re feeling adventurous (and patient), this is a flavor worth sampling. And, best of all, you’ll be able to support the sanctuary’s great work.

Daiya Jalapeño Havarti 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)

This Daiya Jalapeño Havarti Style cheese block is wonderful.

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While it’s not “artisan” cheese, it easily sliced for cheese and crackers, and the flavor and texture make it a great choice to nibble on with margaritas or sangria.

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This cheese wedge is also spreadable if it has a chance to warm at room temperature, and it would be delicious if shredded into tacos or in a tofu scramble.

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Overall this is a wonderfully spicy, versatile cheese — Daiya yet again has done a fantastic job!

Daiya Smoked Gouda 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)

As former gouda fans, we were excited to try this Smoked Gouda style cheese from Daiya.

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Yet we found, to our surprise, that this variety is not quite as delicious as Daiya’s other wedge-style cheeses.

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The texture was a bit chalky, and the flavor was a bit smoky but without the gouda spark we were hoping for.

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Daiya is currently in the process of updating its wedge-style cheeses (see Medium Cheddar Farmhouse Block) and so perhaps they’ll improve on this one. And, in the meantime, don’t miss some of the other fabulous Daiya products (especially the cheezecake!).

Miyoko’s Pub Crock Cheddar with Onions

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)

Now that winter is on its way — as well as the holidays — it’s time to think of what sort of cheese you can curl up with, as well as serve to guests. Miyoko’s Pub Crock Cheddar with Onions is another terrific Miyoko’s creation.

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This cheese comes not in a wheel like so many other Miyoko’s cheeses but in a tub; it’s far softer and very spreadable.

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This new spread, according to its website description, “combines our farmhouse cheese with Oktoberfest vegan lager from Iron Springs Brewery, just down the street from us here in Fairfax.” Along with onions and mustard seeds, the combination of ingredients is wonderfully flavorful and is perfect on crusty bread.

pub cheese2Don’t miss this new one, especially with Thanksgiving around the corner; this is a cheese vegans and omnivores alike will love. And remember, this month Miyoko’s will donate 1% of all online sales to Farm Sanctuary!

Parmela Creamy Treenut Original

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 finally found Parmela cheeses locally, which is a beautiful thing. (We tasted Parmela’s creamy black pepper a while back, which we’d found in another state.)

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This creamy treenut original is simple but has a nice light, fresh flavor. While it’s not as flavorful as other spreadable cheeses, it’s really lovely and would be especially tasty used on bagels as a replacement for cream cheese.

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And keep an eye out for other Parmela products. Parmela used to make a parmesan-style cheese we loved, though apparently it’s been discontinued, and I haven’t seen anything other than the spreadable cheeses in stores. You can order through Parmela’s website — but the site offers only brief descriptions of the cheeses, with no photos or ingredients lists. And, confusingly, Parmela’s grocery request form lists cheeses that are not on the website at all. But, here’s hoping all this gets sorted out because we’d love to try each and every one of these cheeses.

Daiya Medium Cheddar Farmhouse Block

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)

When we saw this in the grocery, we thought it might be a new Daiya variety.

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As it turns out, Daiya has simply updated its packaging (less plastic) and perhaps the recipe as well (“medium” is new to the label, which was formerly just “cheddar style block”).

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This is a wonderful cheese block and perfect for a variety of uses: shredding into recipes, slicing onto sandwiches, or simply slicing or cubing for crackers. It has a nice cheddar flavor and a very cheeselike texture — we served it to omnivorous friends who thought it was great.

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So next time you need a simple, versatile, and easy-to-serve cheese, this is a great one to have on hand.

Miyoko’s Sharp Cheddar-Style Cheese Sauce

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’s the thing about the very best Miyoko’s cheeses: You have to act fast. And when we learned that Miyoko’s had a new cheese sauce, we did just that. (It was then sold out for a while, and now it’s back! So…act fast.)

This Sharp Cheddar-Style Cheese Sauce is phenomenal. While many plant-based folks make homemade cheese sauce that is very good, I’m not among them, and, until recently, I had yet to find a truly incredible cheesy sauce that requires nothing more than pouring it over pasta to make a delicious meal.

But now, there’s this:

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As with other Miyoko’s cheeses, this ships in two days via FedEx, and it comes in smallish containers (one meal, basically, for no more than a pound of pasta, and less if you want it to be super cheesy).

IMG_4514Because it’s cashew-based, the ingredients separate a bit, so you have to give it a good stir, then heat it over the stove until it gets thick and creamy — about 10 minutes or so.

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The result is a beautiful, thick, cheesy sauce that is perfect for pasta shells. And, just for a little variety, we also tried it with macaroni, which was equally delicious.

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As many vegan cheese lovers know, consistency is among the toughest things to perfect when it comes to plant-based cheeses, but Miyoko’s nails it. And this sauce also has the sharp, cheddary flavor of any classic mac-and-cheese recipe.

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Don’t forget to ask your local retailers about carrying Miyoko’s cheeses … we are thrilled to see them in no fewer than four of our local stores, and counting, in many different flavors. But ordering online has its benefits, too — Mikoyo’s donates 1% of its online sales to an animal rights/vegan nonprofit.