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To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all, for Sicily is the clue to everything. – Goethe

Italians are apparently great lovers, but the closest I ever came to experiencing the heat of an Italian was my daily encounter with a tall, goofy, mustached guy in his tight sweater. He’d approach my best friend and I as we walked down the cobblestone main road back to our little rented apartment, our arms filled with whatever the outdoor market had to offer that day — veggies, tomatoes, bread, olives — and usually an English language newspaper. He’d suddenly appear out of a doorway, amble over ever so nonchalantly, and mutter the same cheesy pick-up line: “So, what are you reading in the newspaper today?” We’d smile politely and continue along the way.

The year was 1977, the town Taormina, Sicily. I never did melt in his hot embrace, but I did surrender to the austere beauty of the town perched on a craggy cliff high above the Mediterranean. We had heard “seaside” when we first heard Taormina mentioned, not realizing it would be hundreds of steps down to the seashore. But those steps we grew to love, and we walked down daily. It was a cold December when we arrived, but Sicily was still bathed in light. Weary from our European travels, we were delighted to make out a “For Rent” sign posted outside a house. We used hand gestures and choppy Italian to communicate with the grandma and grandpa who joyfully rented it out to us for the month, and our daily excursions to the market, Greek ruins, and the sea began. We spent Christmas there, witnessing the celebration on the piazza and the big Christmas parade. We sat on stone steps outside the kitchen of the only nightlife, a supper club, where we’d click our fingers to the jazz rhythm wafting out from within – we were students, and couldn’t afford the cover charge. And of course, we enjoyed our predictable hot Italian. I was certain I’d be back next year.

Vegano Italiano 2016 in Puglia

Forty years later, I’m finally going back to Sicily! And this time, I’m taking some of you with me! The trip down memory lane will be wrought with new discoveries this coming October when I’ll lead my third Vegano Italiano tour. Two years ago, a small group of us got a glimpse into the heart of Italy when we spent a week in the Cilento region of Southern Italy, an area that almost seemed frozen in time. Last year, a slightly larger group enjoyed the varied treasures of Puglia in the heel of Italy. And this year, we’ll set off for the island where I left my heart as a student. Forty years is a little longer than I expected, but I’m more excited than ever.

Vegano Italiano – a joint effort of Green Earth Travel and Tierno Tours – takes small groups on intimate excursions to wondrous places in Southern Italy that are largely hidden to the average tourist. The past two years, we visited the castle home of a living duke, a beach with everything — pristine sand, aquamarine waters, stunning caves – lacking only tourists, a cooking experience with the “mamas” that had even the guys laughing and having fun, and amazing meals in restaurants off the beaten track you’d probably not find in Small Planet or Frommer’s. Vegano Italiano takes us into what I think of as the real Italy, showing us the true cultural gems – the way Italians live and love and work.

We witnessed the passion of a 3rd generation baker as he lovingly described different kinds of ancient wheat and how they go into his bread; we became rapt churchgoers at the sermon of wines conducted by an impeccably dressed winemaker who got us all to believe in the truth of the vine. We were in Italy, and we knew it not for the sights, but the passion of its people, and how it expressed itself in the flavors of the food, wine, language, and culture.

Sicily will be another opportunity to go deep into the country’s heart. In fact, the further south you go in Italy, the deeper you go into the heart of Italy. The scenes in the classic film by Giuseppe Tornatore, Cinema Paradiso, depict this well –even as the protagonist becomes a cool and successful Roman producer, in the end, he is Sicilian to the core. So, you’ve been to Tuscany, Venice, Milan, maybe even Rome. Now let’s go to Italy.

We’ll of course start in Taormina, and then head off to visit Mt. Etna, a living volcano. On the island of Ortigia, we’ll have a vegan meal created by a Michelin-starred chef and learn how to bake Sicilian bread. We’ll visit the chocolate museum in Modica and learn about its history. We’ll hike through ancient ruins, visit the marketplace, relax over a café in a piazza. The highlight of each day will be the sumptuous meals we share together as we talk and laugh and form friendships. And did I mention the wine? Yes, there’s some of that to go around, too.

Vegano Italiano is a culinary tour – yes, it’s all about the food! In Southern Italy, it’s not a stretch to make sure that it’s vegan, because the majority of the diet has been plant-based for centuries. We’ll try regional dishes made with beans, grains, and vegetables that aren’t on typical Italian restaurant menus in the US, and I promise, it just won’t stop. Somewhere between all of the excursions and meals, I’ll sneak in a few cooking classes as well, and we’ll even have time to shop and cook together. I might even bring some special cheese to share!

This tour is open to only 22 people. Some of the spots are already taken by returning guests – for a few, this will be their third tour. The word I’ve used in the past to describe these trips is just “magical.” I’d love to share the magic with you this year. To learn more about it, you can contact Donna at Green Earth Travel (donna@greenearthtravel.com) or see more details at https://vegantravelclub.com/tours/sicily/. This 7-night, 8-day trip runs from October 7 to 14, 2017. Yes, exactly 40 years from when I first went to Italy, I get to return – and I hope you can come with me!

Who knows – maybe we’ll see the guy with the cheesy pick-up line.


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Orecchiette
While in Puglia, Italy for our Vegano Italiano 2016 tour, we learned how to make this classic specialty from the "Mamas". A beautiful educational cooking experience that had even the guys laughing and everyone having a great time plus enjoying the fruits of our labor.
Votes: 4
Rating: 3.75
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Votes: 4
Rating: 3.75
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Instructions
  1. Put flour in a food processor. Put the lid on the food processor, turn it on, and slowly pour the hot water through the spout. The mixture will first look like cornmeal, then form tiny little balls whirling around the work bowl and, finally, after a couple of minutes, form a big ball in the middle. Let it go for another 30 seconds to knead the dough, then turn it off.
  2. Remove the dough. It will be quite warm and pliable. Cut the dough into quarters. Take one of your pieces and on a clean, dry surface roll the dough into a snake. Once the dough is about 1-inch diameter cut a little bit off the end. You’ll need to use a wooding cutting board for the following step. Taka a butter knife and using the non-sharp edge begin to press from one end of the piece and roll it down to the other end of the dough. (the sharp edge of the knife faces you). Pick up the piece with your hands and using your thumb press into the dough to flip it inside out. It will form a little ridge around the perimeter. Watch the demonstration from our former Facebook Live video below (start at about 21:00).
  3. Get a large pot of salted water boiling (about 8 cups), then cook the pasta for 2-3 minutes, until perfectly al dente. Using the sauce of your choice, toss al dente pasta in a pan with sauce and heat for another minute. Turn heat off. Optionally, fold in some VeganMozz into the pan, serve and eat right away!
Recipe Notes

To store the pasta, toss the uncooked pasta with a little semolina or flour to prevent sticking, then wrap in plastic wrap or put in a covered container and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days.

Watch how to make Orecchiette  from our former Facebook Live video:

 


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Recipe by Lani Muelrath

Friend of Miyoko’s Kitchen, Lani Muelrath,  is an award-winning, nationally recognized presenter and speaker who brings a passion about the plant-based, vegan, active, mindful living to the stage. Lani shares her simple yet completely satisfying recipe for Golden Turmeric Rice topped with a little smoky Aged English Smoked Farmhouse vegan cheese. A recipe from her book, The Plant-Based Journey, Lani recommends pairing this dish with a luscious fresh green salad.

 

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Golden Turmeric Rice with Smoked Farmhouse
I’ve always considered raisins and rice to be perfect taste companions. This simple recipe brings the combination to dinner, spicing it up with an antioxidant all-star: turmeric powder. The addition of chickpeas creates a robust presentation, a filling main dish. With a few recently purchased packages of MK Smoked Farmhouse - one of my favorites - I was inspired to add a bit of it's creamy, smoky qualities to my recipe.  Once the dish was cooked, just before serving I folded in the cheese - spectacular, as expected!  You can easily add more than I did if you like a richer finished product, or even fold it in in chunks rather than grated for a different effect.
Votes: 3
Rating: 4.67
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Course Main Dish
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Votes: 3
Rating: 4.67
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients except the cheese in a 1 1/2-quart or larger rice cooker, stir, place the lid on the cooker, and cook according to your model’s instructions.
  2. When the rice is done, fold in the cheese. Serve.
Recipe Notes

We had the pleasure of having Lani as a special guest on our Facebook Live series where she assisted Miyoko in making orecchiette pasta while they chatted about healthy living, being vegan & more!

Catch the replay of the Facebook video:

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Recipe by Jenny Bradley

Professional vegan baker Jenny Bradley developed this recipe to add VeganButtery creamy richness to these sweet chocolatey vegan & gluten-free Black Forest Brownies! Serve them with a coconut whip or even warm á la mode; bring them to a potluck or a holiday soirée!

 

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Black Forest Brownies with Coconut Whip Cream
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Course Dessert
Servings
Ingredients
Brownies
Coconut Whip Cream
Cherry Topping
Course Dessert
Servings
Ingredients
Brownies
Coconut Whip Cream
Cherry Topping
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
  1. Chill coconut cream overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 325F.
Brownies
  1. Lightly grease an 8 inch square pan. In a small bowl, whisk ground flax and warm water. Set aside for a few minutes to thicken.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, palm sugar, agave, and vanilla extract. Also whisk in flax mixture, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, sift flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt. Whisk in wet ingredients until there are no lumps, pour into pan and bake for about 20 -25 minutes, or until the brownie starts to pull away from the sides.
Coconut Whip
  1. If you are using coconut milk, open can, and drain liquid. You will only be using the hardened cream top. In a medium bowl, with a hand mixer, whip coconut cream and powdered sugar on high until the consistency of whip cream, about 1 - 2 minutes. Refrigerate immediately. Whip is easier to use the colder it is.
Cherry Topping
  1. In a small sauce pan, heat cherries, lemon juice agave, vanilla extract and salt on medium to medium high heat. In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch and water. When cherries comes to a light boil, add cornstarch and water mixture. Whisk until thickened, a few minutes.
  2. Let brownies cool completely before cutting, add a scoop of whip cream and slather with cherries!
Recipe Notes

Photo by Michael Mendoza

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Earlier this year we visited En Garde Winery nestled in the heart of wine country. There we had the great pleasure of meeting En Garde founder Csaba Szakál, a 4th generation winemaker, originally from Hungary. Csaba’s approach to winemaking is a blend of old-world tradition and new-world innovation. Csaba’s wines are all vegan as they do not use animal byproducts (such as isinglass or egg) in the production of fining process.

Not only did we sample several of En Garde’s wines, Csaba paired his wine with a selection of our cheese and the results were beyond words! Watch the replay of the our live video straight from their Kenwood tasting room in Sonoma County California to get the full experience. Wine and cheese pairings are listed below for guidance and reference.

For a limited time (until 12/25/16), En Garde and Miyoko’s Kitchen are offering a very special promotion so you can pair your own wine with vegan cheese:

  • Order $99 or more of wine and get free shipping! Order here: www.engardewinery.com
  • Plus we’ll include a coupon to redeem a FREE Miyoko’s Creamery cheese at your local store.
  • Use promo code: VEGAN

Pairings

 


Black Ash & Pear Crostini

Mt. Vesuvius Black AshWe conclude featuring one of our classic recipes that will pair magically with En Garde’s Tempranillo. Visually this appetizer is a beautiful and intriguing addition to any holiday gathering. The Mt. Vesuvius Black Ash’s black exterior with a slice of buttery pear and glossy red glaze will not only be a visual show-stopper, but hits the palate with a perfect harmony of flavors – tangy, sweet, savory, earthy. And yet it is oh-so-simple to put together!

 

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Black Ash & Pear Crostini with Red Wine Glaze
This elegant hor d’ouervres is easily assembled by topping a thin slice of baguette with a slice each of our Mt. Vesuvius Black Ash and fresh pear, baking it for about 10 minutes until hot, then drizzling it with an easy red wine glaze. It might not stop the show, but it will stop your guests in their tracts as they “ooh” and “aah” as they reach for one … and then another.
Mt. Vesuvius Black Ash
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Course Appetizer
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
2 per person
Ingredients
Red Wine Glaze (from Artisan Vegan Cheese)
Crostini
Course Appetizer
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
2 per person
Ingredients
Red Wine Glaze (from Artisan Vegan Cheese)
Crostini
Mt. Vesuvius Black Ash
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
  1. First, make the glaze. Combine the wine, sugar, thyme, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer to reduce to about ½ cup, about 20 minutes.
  2. Dissolve the arrowroot in the tablespoon of water, and stir into the wine mixture, and heat briefly until shiny, glossy, and lightly thickens. Set aside while baking the crostini.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350℉.
  4. Assemble the crostini by placing a slice of Mt. Vesuvius Black Ash on top of a slice of baguette, then topping with a slice of pear. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes until hot. Drizzle each one with a teaspoon of the glaze, and serve immediately.
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brownies-msWhen you love to cook, or if you cook often, you look for ways to streamline the processes for some of your most used or favorite items. I love having large batches of items already made that I can go straight to when needed, without having to stop and make them — sometimes just in the amount specified in a recipe.

With this Chocolate Baking Mix in the pantry, you’ll have no reason to deny yourself a chocolate fix when the mood strikes. If you’re looking for that perfect chocolate cake — rich, complex, but light — you’ll be able to whip it up in no time. How about deep, fudgy brownies? Look no further!

This recipe is my answer to when my husband asks for brownies at 10 pm, or when my kids used to tell me they needed cookies for a bake sale the next day. It’s super convenient, but more than that, it produces the lightest, most tender crumb in cakes with a complex flavor from the bit of coffee and cinnamon added, as well as chewy, deeply-flavored brownies, and anything else you might care to invent.

 

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Classic Brownies
This is the kind of brownie that is crackled on top, with a dark, fudgy center, deep in buttery flavor, and totally satisfying.
Votes: 2
Rating: 5
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Course Dessert
Servings
brownies
Ingredients
Chocolate Cake and Baking Mix
Brownies
Course Dessert
Servings
brownies
Ingredients
Chocolate Cake and Baking Mix
Brownies
Votes: 2
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Chocolate Cake and Baking Mix
  1. Sift together all of the ingredients into a large bowl, then using a wire whisk, mix well until the mixture looks perfectly combined. Alternatively, you can use an electric mixer or food processor.
Brownies
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and grease the sides.
  2. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter together.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the chia seeds and water. Put the cake mix in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour in the melted chocolate mixture, chia seed mixture, and syrup and mix well. Stir in the nuts.
  4. Pour the mixture into the pan. Bake for 20 minutes. It will look dry on top but will still be soft inside. Allow it to cool completely before cutting and serving.
Recipe Notes

Store the Chocolate Cake and Baking Mix in an airtight container or ziplock bags at room temperature for 3 to 4 months. Makes 12 cups.

Recipe from The Homemade Vegan Pantry by Miyoko Schinner.

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Green beans are a staple side dish at any Thanksgiving gathering. These buttery green beans will add that perfect fresh crunch to your dinner spread. The trick to beautiful vibrant green beans on your table is to dunk them in ice water right after cooking as directed in this recipe.

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Green Beans in brown VeganButter with Mushrooms
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Course Side Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Side Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. Before starting, prepare a large bowl of ice water.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil, and add about 2 teaspoons of sea salt. Add the green beans, cover, and bring back to a boil. Remove the cover and cook the beans for about 4 minutes until they are fork tender but still bright green in color. Immediately drain in a colander, and then plunge the beans in the ice water to chill and set the color.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to boil, and add about 2 teaspoons of sea salt. Add the green beans, cover, and bring back to a boil. Remove the cover and cook the beans for about 4 minutes until they are fork tender but still bright green in color. Immediately drain in a colander, and then plunge the beans in the ice water to chill and set the color.
  4. Meanwhile, melt all but a teaspoon or so of the butter in a sauté pan until it becomes brown and nutty in aroma. Add the mushrooms and sauté over high heat to brown. Sprinkle with a little salt. Drain the green beans well, then add to the mushrooms in the pan and toss and turn until coated in brown butter and are heated all the way through. Season with salt and nutmeg.
  5. In a separate skillet, melt the remaining butter. Add the almonds and cook, stirring, until golden brown. Put the beans on a platter and top with the almonds. Serve hot.
Recipe Notes

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Double Cream Chive Mashed Potatoes
Add pizzazz to your holiday table this year with our creamy mashed potato recipe! This simple dish serves 8 to 10 guests and is the perfect accompaniment to your holiday table.
Twice Baked Potato
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
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Course Side Dish
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Side Dish
Servings
people
Ingredients
Twice Baked Potato
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
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Instructions
  1. Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Add salt, bring to a boil, and simmer until fork-tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Drain. Return to the pot, and add the milk. Using a whisk, mash the potatoes well.
  3. Stir in the Classic Double Cream Chive until melted.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
    Classic Double Cream Chive
Recipe Notes

This same simple recipe makes an excellent filler for twice baked potatoes (shown). Simply bake six large fork-poked potatoes (an hour at 400°) and set aside to let cool. Cut each potato into a bowl shape, removing the top 1/3 of each potato, and scoop out the filling (don’t forget the extra potato in the “lid.”) Follow the directions above for mashed and using this mash, over-stuff each potato. Bake again at 400° for 20 minutes and top with your favorite toppings.

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February 14, 2017

Falling Under the Sicilian Spell

While in Puglia, Italy for our Vegano Italiano 2016 tour, we learned how to make this classic specialty from the “Mamas”. Learn how to make this beautiful ear shaped pasta. Simply add your favorite sauce. 

January 17, 2017

Smokey Sweet Potato Boats

These sweet potato boats are a sweet and savory balance of healthy decadence! Filled with whole foods and topped with a melty smoky cheese sauce made from our Aged English Smoked Farmhouse.

January 4, 2017

Well-Crafted Macaroni and Cheese Mix

There’s no shame in saying it— we’ve all had macaroni and cheese
 out of the box. But there’s no need to buy it, because you can make the instant cheese sauce mix yourself in just a few minutes!

January 3, 2017

Golden Turmeric Rice with Smoked Farmhouse

Friend of Miyoko’s Kitchen, Lani Muelrath, is an award-winning, nationally recognized presenter and speaker who brings a passion about the plant-based, vegan, active, mindful living to the stage. Lani shares her simple yet completely satisfying recipe for Golden Turmeric Rice topped with a little smoky Aged English Smoked Farmhouse vegan cheese.

December 30, 2016

Florentine Cookies

Florentines are a beautiful and delicious thin lacy cookie made with almonds held together with caramelized sugar and then drizzled with chocolate. They are incredibly easy gluten-free cookie to make and perfect for the holidays or even a New Years Eve celebration!

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