Saint Benoit Creamery French-Style Yogurt

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I don’t hawk products very often – if at all – but this fucking yogurt is so amazing, I just had to give them a shout out.

As a person who eats vegan about 90% of the time (vegetarian always) – I very seldom eat yogurt.  Typically, I am underwhelmed by it anyway & can think of more fun ways to eat those calories.  But – I am a sucker for yogurt in glass packaging.  I spotted this stuff on the shelf at the Hollywood Gelson’s yesterday & both the glass & the red “grass fed” caught my eye.

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So – I bought that big jar of vanilla & a baby jar of the Meyer lemon & took them home.  I opened the vanilla after dinner & was immediately blown away.  First of all – there seemed to be a thicker cream layer on the top – which I mixed in.  The yogurt is pretty thick but insanely creamy.  And the taste!  So subtle!  Almost like eating clotted cream or a very sweet, soft butter.  Unlike any yogurt I have ever had.  Absolutely the height of quality.

Curious – I about the “grass-fed” claim & more detail about the company – I looked up Saint Benoit Creamery.

It seems to be owned by the man below & his family.  Gorgeous photos and – if you can believe what they show you – happy cows in a gorgeous, green & rolling environment. (Photos below from their site.)

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Their philosophy is “terroir.”

“Terroir” is a French word describing food “of a place”, food that reflects the character of the land from which it came. By extension, it defines a lifestyle that emphasizes the benefits of using local products.

Saint Benoît’s ‘terroir’ is Sonoma County. From this coastal land’s unique climate, geography, history, traditions and diverse population comes some of the best wine and food on the West Coast.

In western Sonoma County, we found a family dairy of many generations that produces the richest and healthiest milk we have ever tasted. This exceptional Jersey cows’ milk is the key element to the unique flavor of Saint Benoît yogurts.

We also found fruit orchards and fruit growers who hand make fruit preserves. The preserves we use in our yogurts are made with organic tree-ripened fruit using significantly less sugar than commercial jams.

Last but not least, we make Saint Benoît yogurt in small batches right on the farm. It is indeed food “of a place” – its freshness is exceptional!

Here is their posted story:

“I wanted to make a product I could feel good about giving my children.”
– Benoît

When my brother David and I started our company back in 2004, we were on a mission to: “create healthy, “terroir”, gourmet products from the San Francisco Bay Area in order to satisfy consumers’ curiosity for local artisanal products and for new food experiences.” We created a unique package for our product, the ceramic brown container featured in our logo, and brought our French-style yogurts to Bay Area farmer’s markets. Our small batch approach to yogurt making was well received by our local audience.

Today, here we are ten years later, and our small batch creamery has scaled to provide a low-heat, vat pasteurized, organic, whole milk, as well as an entirely new series of yogurt packaged for national distribution.

We still sell our products at many Farmer’s Markets in Northern California, and we love engaging with our customers and hearing how they are using our products.

While our original ceramic container and ball jar packages are now retired, we remain steadfast in our efforts to keep plastic out of our landfills and have designed new glass containers to support standard recycling programs around the U.S.

In 2008 we began our renovations to build a clean room, sustainably and for future product development. We’re really proud of the green approach we were able to take with our partners.

Doing things right

We have always been located in Sonoma, but initially were unable to produce the yogurt on the farm which meant we had to haul the milk a short distance to make the yogurt. In July of 2008, we began transforming an old milking parlor on the Mattos farm into our new creamery. With a little help from people like Whole Foods and John Mattos (dairy partner) who believed in us, some ingenuity, many months of planning and forethought, our seeds have grown into a thriving and sustainable creamery. Uncle Bill helped bring the project to fruition, making sure the creamery reflected our mission and philosophy of respecting the land and food shed we cherish. He helped us design a system that reuses water from yogurt production for irrigation and reduces energy costs. He repurposed old materials from building sites such as doors and windows that he hand fitted into the existing building. Together we chose a new type of wall covering that is not only state of the art, it also just happens to be made from recycled plastic milk bottles. We kept the old cement walls that conserve the cool air, which will help us save energy when we install our new walk-in cooler. And best yet, the milk is right there… the girls are creating it from those lush organic pastures beneath our very eyes, every day, right outside the new-old windows of our new-old creamery.

There is a very interesting video at the bottom of THIS PAGE talks about the fact that they use environmentally-friendly packaging & process their products as little as they can & keep it within regulations.  Watch the video – it is really interesting.

Here is what they say about the yogurt:

Saint Benoît Creamery is excited to introduce a new line of yogurt featuring glass packaging. The new glass package is recyclable, much lighter than our ceramic jars, which will help us significantly reduce carbon emissions during transportation, and offers a better seal, which will help us deliver our high-quality yogurts nationwide.

Unfortunately, this means an end to our returnable yogurt program. While we are sad to see it go (and say goodbye to our ceramic containers), we’re excited about our new packages and hope you are as well.

Our Yogurt is made solely from Jersey cow’s whole milk and is cultured with Bulgaricus, Thermophilus, Acidophilus and Bifidus, the yogurt making bacteria. We use wholesome pasture-fed organic cow’s milk from John Mattos’ family farm in Two Rock in Sonoma county. Our Yogurt culture comes from France where it has been used for decades to produce sweet, mild and smooth yogurts. Unlike most producers, we add no thickeners, stabilizers or preservatives. Just milk and culture, that’s it!

All of our fruit-spreads are made from whole, locally-grown organic fruit and handcrafted for us by our partner farm Lagier Ranches. We use the whole fruit peel and all, so look for the little bits of zest floating around in the Meyer lemon. The fruit is at the bottom, so just mix—or dig! We do not use imported fruits, frozen purées, or commercial “yogurt jams.” This guarantees the freshest tastiest product with the least amount of waste. It also means that the flavor, texture, and color may vary according to the season. We never change the recipe, but good old Mother Nature has to have her say in how it turns out!

The Four Seasons

The cows’ milk naturally varies according to the season. For example, at some points of the year the cows’ milk contains more carotene and therefore the cream layer is a buttery yellow color. At other times of the year, the cream is whiter. Because the lovely ladies are pasture-fed, this greatly affects their milk. In the hot summer months, the girls get quite thirsty and drink more. This means their milk may also contain more water and make the yogurt slightly thinner. January also brings this about, but it’s because the grass in the fields is so rich, green, and waterlogged that they get more water from the grass itself. The same processes can affect the cream content. Because we do not remove the fat and re-inject it into the yogurt (as most companies do) and do not add milk powder to thicken it, our yogurt has a seasonal quality to it. Two benefits are that you have a product that is closer to the original state of the ingredient, and that delightful new mixtures occur. For example, when the milk contains more water and the bees are buzzing away in heavy-pollen season, all the factors align to give a whole new twist to our honey yogurt. The milk flavor is slightly less prominent, the rich honey comes through even more, and you can even find a slight dusting of pollen on the cream layer!

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Seriously.  This looks to be as close to an old-fashioned & humane farm as a company could hope to be.  Look HERE to see where you can buy it near you.  And if it is available & you eat yogurt – you simply MUST try this stuff at least once!

CHEF’D – White Pizza with Broccoli & Mushrooms

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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vromans back

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There has been a huge rise in food services that send either already-prepared meals to your home for you to heat up and, more interestingly, ones that send pre-measured fresh ingredients & recipes & you make the food at home.  I tried Blue Apron – which is the latter service – and was not totally impressed.  One issue was the lack of selection for vegetarians (and nothing for vegans) & the fact that there was no option for a single person.  Their subscription plan meant I would get 3 meals – for two – each week – which meant six of my seven dinners were decided for me each week – with me eating the same thing twice – three times in a row.  Also – if you happened to LOVE a dish – you could not order it again soon – but had to wait – indefinitely – hoping it would eventually reappear in the cycle.  And – while the meals were tasty, they were pretty labor-intensive – some taking an hour to prepare.

Chef’d has solved those problems.  No subscription – meaning order what you want & when you want it.  Get the same thing every day for two weeks – or just get one thing – different things – a few times a month.  Additionally, so far, I have found their recipes fresh & interesting but fast & easy to prepare.  Great for date night!  Here is how they work:

Choose from Famous Recipes

Browse through hundreds of recipes from your favorite chefs, and cook them in the comfort of your own home!

From Our Kitchen to Yours

Fresh pre-portioned Ingredients delivered to your door. Reorder what you like, when you like. No subscriptions!

Cook, Love, Live

Enrich your life by creating memorable delicious experiences of love through our hand-cultivated recipes.

And look at the various tastes & lifestyles they accommodate

Shop Meals

LIFESTYLES:

FAMILY FRIENDLY
GOURMET
VEGETARIAN
GLUTEN FREE

PROTEINS:

BEEF
CHICKEN
SEAFOOD
LAMB
PORK
TURKEY
VEGAN
HERE is the list of the famous chefs contributing recipes.  And HERE are the vegan & vegetarian meals currently offered (kind of amazing looking).  I was given the opportunity to try the service & jumped at the chance.  I am a long-time fan of Beyond Meat & the pairing of these two companies is exciting to me.  I got the Beast Burger & Tacos & posted about the burger HERE – and the tacos in another post HERE.  I also posted about the Fig Pizza with Arugula & Goat Cheese HERE and the Tofu Parmigiana HERE.  They can be seen below, respectively.
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OK – so this is my third post about my box of three meals that I ordered from Chef’d in my second delivery from them.  It is their White Pizza with Broccoli & Mushrooms and Arugula Salad with Lemon Mint Vinaigrette.  Arugula salad is my favorite thing ever & I am also a huge fan of lemon & mint – but – I had this box delivered Saturday & did not get to this recipe until Thursday.  As a result – through no fault of Chef’d – my arugula had passed its edible period.
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I considered using the wilted arugula on the pizza but it was too far gone.   Sad.  I love arugula!  But – I just didn’t get to it on time.  MY fault!
But everything else was still fresh.  The recipe called for (and provided) real milk.  While I am still not totally off cheese or butter (vegan butter is so far ahead of vegan cheese – so far) – I am trying really hard to be entirely off eggs & milk – so I just substituted almond milk & vegan butter.  Made no difference – as in – was just as good.  I did use the real cheese, though.
My experiences with the Fig & Goat Cheese Pizza & the Tofu Parmigiana were that I found that they probably were not enough to realistically feed two American adults – for dinner.  That was not the case with this pizza.  I had accidentally used one of the pizza dough balls provided by Chef’d for my two pizzas on a separate pizza altogether – so I used my own (peppered) homemade crust when I made this.  Also – I only made  half pizza (using half the ingredients) and I was STUFFED!  So – I think this pizza actually might satisfy two adults.  Here is the nutritional info:
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At 2480 calories (including, I assume, the salad that I did not even make) – this is a hearty meal!  And it was DELICIOUS!  Again – I found the Chef’d recipe to be less labor intensive than other companies that I have tried – less labor intensive BY A LOT – and the result more satisfying.  I only ate half of the half recipe I made.  Rich & filling & yummy! And easy.  The white sauce came together quickly.
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Mushrooms & broccoli cooked up fast & easy & the pizza assembled without incident.  I did add crushed red pepper but I add that to almost all things not served in a glass.  That peppery crust you see is my own homemade crust.  But – the result was a pizza with lots of flavors & textures.  While I have found all of the dishes I have tried from Chef’d to be easy to make & really tasty to eat – this one is the current champion of full-blown decadence.  So – if one night – you eat this entire decadent meal – maybe the next night – you compensate with the far lighter tofu parmigiana?
Whether eating light is your concern or getting a rich & wintery meal into your pie hole is your goal – I think Chef’d has you covered.  And I don’t eat meat – so I can’t even get into sampling what those dishes offer.  But I recommend these Chef’d meals with complete enthusiasm.  Even for the most novice chef – and especially for novice vegetarians.  Lots of folks who want to cut more meat out of their diet fear only salads in their futures & Chef’d can quickly dispel those fears – and leave almost everybody feeling more empowered in the most important room in their homes – the kitchen!
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CHEF’D – Vegetarian Tofu Parmigiana with Arugula Salad

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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12-9-15 (77)

12-9-15 (72)

BathingandthesinglegirlCover

vromans back

There has been a huge rise in food services that send either already-prepared meals to your home for you to heat up and, more interestingly, ones that send pre-measured fresh ingredients & recipes & you make the food at home.  I tried Blue Apron – which is the latter service – and was not totally impressed.  One issue was the lack of selection for vegetarians (and nothing for vegans) & the fact that there was no option for a single person.  Their subscription plan meant I would get 3 meals – for two – each week – which meant six of my seven dinners were decided for me each week – with me eating the same thing twice – three times in a row.  Also – if you happened to LOVE a dish – you could not order it again soon – but had to wait – indefinitely – hoping it would eventually reappear in the cycle.  And – while the meals were tasty, they were pretty labor-intensive – some taking an hour to prepare.

Chef’d has solved those problems.  No subscription – meaning order what you want & when you want it.  Get the same thing every day for two weeks – or just get one thing – different things – a few times a month.  Additionally, so far, I have found their recipes fresh & interesting but fast & easy to prepare.  Great for date night!  Here is how they work:

Choose from Famous Recipes

Browse through hundreds of recipes from your favorite chefs, and cook them in the comfort of your own home!

From Our Kitchen to Yours

Fresh pre-portioned Ingredients delivered to your door. Reorder what you like, when you like. No subscriptions!

Cook, Love, Live

Enrich your life by creating memorable delicious experiences of love through our hand-cultivated recipes.

And look at the various tastes & lifestyles they accommodate

Shop Meals

LIFESTYLES:

FAMILY FRIENDLY
GOURMET
VEGETARIAN
GLUTEN FREE

PROTEINS:

BEEF
CHICKEN
SEAFOOD
LAMB
PORK
TURKEY
VEGAN
HERE is the list of the famous chefs contributing recipes.  And HERE are the vegan & vegetarian meals currently offered (kind of amazing looking).  I was given the opportunity to try the service & jumped at the chance.  I am a long-time fan of Beyond Meat & the pairing of these two companies is exciting to me.  I got the Beast Burger & Tacos & posted about the burger HERE – and the tacos in another post HERE.  I also posted about the Fig Pizza with Arugula & Goat Cheese HERE.  They can be seen below, respectively.
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So – as you can see from that big, orange box – I am posting yet another recipe from Chef’d – their Tofu Parmigiana with Arugula Salad.  I haven’t eaten meat since the eighties and the question I get most (after, “Where do you get your protein?”) is “Do you eat a lot of tofu?”
That used to get me disproportionately cranky because it implied that the only thing vegetarians ate was tofu – and sort of excused meat eaters from examining the truth because, after all, nobody should have to live on tofu!  But – I have never been a huge tofu fan and, frankly, have never bought into the whole protein “myth.”  Most of the largest animals on Earth – from elephants to rhinos & gorillas – are primarily vegan or vegetarian – and I am pretty sure they don’t take protein supplements.  At any rate – I was never a huge fan of tofu (unless it was fried) and, therefore, had very little tofu (if any) in my diet.  Then a vegan friend requested a vegan scramble recipe – so, I broken down & made one – my Vegan Tofu Chilaquiles with 5-Minute Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce – seen below.
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I was SHOCKED at how delicious tofu could be & by how convincingly it replaced eggs.  This success led to Vegan Tofu Scramble Breakfast Burrito with Mixed Vegetables & CheeseVegan Tofu Quiche with Chard, Spinach & CheeseVegan Sausage, Broccoli & Cheese Quiche with Tofu & Fried Sage and even my Vegan Spicy Orange & Sriracha Glazed Tofu with Pomegranate Seeds – seen below, respectively.
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I have come to really love tofu!  So, when I saw the Tofu Parmigiana on Chef’s menu – I had to try it!  And am I glad that I did!  It might have been the easiest to prepare of all the Chef’d dishes I have tried so far & it really was delicious.  I made no changes to the recipe (though I did accidentally break one of my tofu patties) – and it came out very well.  There was a little arugula, cherry tomato & pine nut salad that was crazy easy to make and, since arugula is my favorite of the lettuces out there, I found it to be delicious – and clean & lite.
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As you can see – I overcooked the cheese a bit – likely because my oven needs calibration – but Chef’d had supplied more mozzarella than the recipe called for so I just added a bit more & baked it another 2 minutes or so – until it melted.  The golden cheese was actually quite yummy!  In fact – the entire dish – including the salad are definitely worth repeating.  But – while I was photographing it – I decided a bit of fresh basil would be a nice touch – so I went on my balcony to get some.  And look who met me out there!
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Cutie, little lady bug!  I tried to get a better shot but she scuttled away.  So – I picked some basil & continued to photograph.  And then I ate it up.  But – like with the CHEF’D – Vegetarian Fig Pizza with Arugula & Goat Cheese – I found this meal to be quite light – maybe too light to serve two for dinner.  I made this for lunch & easily killed the salad alone and scarfed three of the tofu Parmigiana cutlet thingies and had to stop myself from eating the fourth.  Granted, I had just done a heated spinning class that burns about 1000 calories but – still.  I think there is no way two MEN could share this meal & call it dinner – unless they were looking to restrict portion size & trying to lose weight (and who isn’t trying to lose weight?).   And – maybe I am just a good ole-fashioned American glutton – but I nearly ate all of this for lunch – all of a meal planned to feed two.  I would definitely eat it all at dinner – all of both portions.  I mean – the tofu seemed to be about 1/2 lb (notice the label is the label for almost a pound but is cut in half) –
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meaning that the 1/2 pound block supplied only has 225 calories.  Add the sauce & cheese & even the salad and you increase the calories a bit but still – if feeding two – within the calories range of your average Lean Cuisine.  I don’t know about you – but although I used to eat Lean Cuisine – ALL THE TIME – I never found them very filling.  That said – there are likely more people out there looking for a truly light but still delicious vegetarian meal & this dish supplies that in spades.
After writing that – I realized that Chef’d must supply nutritional info – and they do.  Here it is (below) showing more calories than I guessed – at 495 per diner.   I think 500 calories for a dinner – for most people – would result in weight loss.  Since most of us need to lose a few – that could be a very good thing.  Still – I think it is unrealistic to think most Americans would find this meal substantial enough for two adults – for dinner.
That said – it really was easy & it really was tasty & I really am glad I did not eat the whole 2 portions for lunch – like I wanted to.  Primarily, because I still have an entire Chef’d pizza – a White Pizza with Broccoli & Mushrooms and an Arugula Salad with Lemon Mint Vinaigrette – downstairs.  Waiting to be cooked.  By me.  And eaten.  By myself.  Tonight.  Alone.  Whole pizza.  Yup.
Don’t judge me!   🙂
VEGE23.2 Label
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PS – Chef’d has two holiday dinner options that you can customize – to serve 4 or 8.  Smoked Goose & Prime Rib.
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CHEF’D – Vegetarian Fig Pizza with Arugula & Goat Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

images (1)download (1)

12-9-15 (21)

12-9-15 (35)

BathingandthesinglegirlCover

vromans back

There has been a huge rise in food services that send either already-prepared meals to your home for you to heat up and, more interestingly, ones that send pre-measured fresh ingredients & recipes & you make the food at home.  I tried Blue Apron – which is the latter service – and was not totally impressed.  One issue was the lack of selection for vegetarians (and nothing for vegans) & the fact that there was no option for a single person.  Their subscription plan meant I would get 3 meals – for two – each week – which meant six of my seven dinners were decided for me each week – with me eating the same thing twice – three times in a row.  Also – if you happened to LOVE a dish – you could not order it again soon – but had to wait – indefinitely – hoping it would eventually reappear in the cycle.  And – while the meals were tasty, they were pretty labor-intensive – some taking an hour to prepare.

Chef’d has solved those problems.  No subscription – meaning order what you want & when you want it.  Get the same thing every day for two weeks – or just get one thing – different things – a few times a month.  Additionally, so far, I have found their recipes fresh & interesting but fast & easy to prepare.  Great for date night!  Here is how they work:

Choose from Famous Recipes

Browse through hundreds of recipes from your favorite chefs, and cook them in the comfort of your own home!

From Our Kitchen to Yours

Fresh pre-portioned Ingredients delivered to your door. Reorder what you like, when you like. No subscriptions!

Cook, Love, Live

Enrich your life by creating memorable delicious experiences of love through our hand-cultivated recipes.

And look at the various tastes & lifestyles they accommodate

Shop Meals

LIFESTYLES:

FAMILY FRIENDLY
GOURMET
VEGETARIAN
GLUTEN FREE

PROTEINS:

BEEF
CHICKEN
SEAFOOD
LAMB
PORK
TURKEY
VEGAN
HERE is the list of the famous chefs contributing recipes.  And HERE are the vegan & vegetarian meals currently offered (kind of amazing looking).  I was given the opportunity to try the service & jumped at the chance.  I am a long-time fan of Beyond Meat & the pairing of these two companies is exciting to me.  I got the Beast Burger & Tacos & posted about the burger HERE – and the tacos in another post HERE.
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That big orange Chef’d box is so exciting!!!  Digging out the ingredients feel like a little foodie Christmas.  Today, I am posting about Fig Pizza with Arugula & Goat Cheese.  I am a bit of a pizza fanatic and – honestly – a bit of a pizza snob.  I have posted LOTS & LOTS of pizza recipes – which can be seen HERE.  At any rate – as you can see from the recipe cards (above) – I opted to try both of their vegetarian pizzas & the tofu Parmigiana.   Randomly, I selected the Fig Pizza with Arugula & Goat Cheese to try for dinner last night – probably because I had never heard of or seen dried figs.  Look at the – below.  Like tiny, hard & wrinkled little figs.  I was intrigued!
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I continue to be entertained by the teeny portion ingredients provided – as I am delighted when they send way more than you need of some things.
As it turns out, I had leftover pizza dough of my own in the fridge & had accidentally used one of the two dough balls provided by Chef’d for a pizza I had made the night before (so I will be using my own dough to make the second Chef’d pizza).  No biggy.  The Chef’d pizza dough is fantastic & very close to my own so it will not make a huge difference.
Anyway – last night I rolled out the Chef’d dough & prepared the pizza as suggested with only three changes: 1) I only caramelized one of the two onions provided (because – while I love caramelized onions – I think they can get overpowering) and 2) I added crushed red pepper to the pizza (because I add it to almost everything) and 3) I did not add the arugula until the pizza was done – rather than wilting it in the oven.  A change I would make if I made this pizza again – and I might, because it was delicious – is that I would not add the sliced figs until the pizza was done. Goat cheese needs a lot of heat to get melty & my oven (likely needing calibration) burned them a bit.
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Sorry about the shitty, blurry photo!
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So – overall – I give an enthusiastic two thumbs up to this pizza.  It was REALLY easy to make, came together fast & the flavors worked very well together – with the added benefit of being sort of exotic.  Dried figs?  Who knew?
Here is my one caveat – I was able to eat this entire pizza – meant for two – all by myself without a lot of effort.  It had a nice, dense crust & might fill a person not suffering from my level of seasonal self-pity & not also inclined to self-medicate with food – but I shoved this entire fucker into my pie hole, in short order.  Sure – I was very full after that.  Maybe even a tad uncomfortably full – but, I think, had there been a person there sharing it with me last night, keeping me honest & shaming my gluttony and insisting on their half – I would have finished dinner a tad unsatisfied.  So – I would say this is more of a lunch portion for two.  Or suggest that folks maybe serve it with a robust side salad at dinner.  I mean – I am 5″5′ and – yes, FINE – fatter than I want to be – but I can still get into a 6.  I imagine that if my dining partner were to be a hungry, large man – he would have bitten my hand off if I’d tried to even taste this pizza.
On the other hand, swallowing feelings is an ugly business when manifested by swallowing food – so – maybe a little portion control is in order around here?   Lord knows I need to lose  few LBs and the holidays have just begun.  Having a delicious but finite amount of food to eat could be a really good thing.  Or, maybe if I loaded this bad boy up with BOTH the onions & used the double portion of goat cheese that was provided (the recipe only suggested using half) – maybe that would ratchet this yummy pizza up into the “dinner for two” range.  I don’t know.  All I do know is that there is another Chef’d pizza in my future & I am already emotionally prepped to want to eat the whole Goddamn thing.
And – fuck the world.  I just might!  I will report back when I have the pertinent information.
Until then – next up?  Tofu Parmigiana!
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PS – Chef’d has two holiday dinner options that you can customize – to serve 4 or 8.  Smoked Goose & Prime Rib.

Chef’d & Beyond Meat Smash-Up – Part 2 – Beyond Beef Vegan Feisty Tacos with Black Beans

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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vromans back

There has been a huge rise in food services that send either already-prepared meals to your home for you to heat up and, more interestingly, ones that send pre-measured fresh ingredients & recipes & you make the food at home. I tried Blue Apron – which is the latter service – and was not totally impressed. One issue was the lack of selection for vegetarians (and nothing for vegans) & the fact that there was no option for a single person. Their subscription plan meant I would get 3 meals for two each week – which meant six of my seven dinners were decide for me each week – with me eating the same thing twice – three times in a row. Also – if you happened to LOVE a dish – you could not order it again soon – but had to wait – indefinitely – hoping it would eventually reappear in the cycle.

Chef’d has solved those problems. No subscription – meaning order what you want & when you want it. Get the same thing every day for two weeks – or just get one thing – different things – a few times a month. Here is how they work:

Choose from Famous Recipes

Browse through hundreds of recipes from your favorite chefs, and cook them in the comfort of your own home!

From Our Kitchen to Yours

Fresh pre-portioned Ingredients delivered to your door. Reorder what you like, when you like. No subscriptions!

Cook, Love, Live

Enrich your life by creating memorable delicious experiences of love through our hand-cultivated recipes.

And look at the various tastes & lifestyles they accommodate

Shop Meals

LIFESTYLES:

FAMILY FRIENDLY
GOURMET
VEGETARIAN
GLUTEN FREE

PROTEINS:

BEEF
CHICKEN
SEAFOOD
LAMB
PORK
TURKEY
VEGAN
HERE is the list of the famous chefs contributing recipes. And HERE are the vegan & vegetarian meals currently offered (impressive – no?). I was given the opportunity to try the service & jumped at the chance. I am a long-time fan of Beyond Meat & the pairing of these two companies is exciting to me. I got the Beast Burger & Tacos & will post about the tacos here – the burgers are in THIS post.
Here is what showed up (for the tacos – enough to feed 4):
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As with the Beast Burgers – I am very familiar with Beyond Meat‘s Feisty crumbles & I am already a fan.  And again – as with the Chef’d Beat Burger meal – this meal came together quickly & easily & everything tasted fresh & delicious.  In this case – there was a lot of extra vegan cheese (I am not complaining!) and more than enough chipotle Vegenaise (again – not complaining – especially as it came in the tiny condiment jars I am so fond of).
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The recipe called for guacamole with crushed red pepper in it.  I am a guacamole purist (just avocado, lime & salt, please) – so – I opted just to slice the avocado & use it naked and I added all the crushed red pepper supplied (enough for 4 tacos) into the beefy crumbles meant for two (I like spice).
The black beans come together in 5 minutes & the lime & cilantro make them taste light & fresh & clean – not lard-heavy or mushy.
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And the feisty beef crumbles also only took about 5 minutes.  Because I added lots of crushed red pepper – they were also very spicy.  I forgot to add the chipotle Vegenaise until after I had taken most of the pictures but it was a nice flavor layered in with the tortillas, crumbles, lettuce & avocado.
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And again – like with the Beast Burgers – this meal was flavorful, robust, filling and SO EASY to make!  What a great pair of options for any vegan or vegetarian – especially a newby not sure where to start – and for anyone looking to cut back on meat but not on flavor or protein.
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taco

Chef’d & Beyond Meat Smash-Up – Part 1 – Vegan Beast Burger & Cucumber Dill Salad

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

images (1)download (1)

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BathingandthesinglegirlCover

vromans back

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There has been a huge rise in food services that send either already-prepared meals to your home for you to heat up and, more interestingly, ones that send pre-measured fresh ingredients & recipes & you make the food at home.  I tried Blue Apron – which is the latter service – and was not totally impressed.  One issue was the lack of selection for vegetarians (and nothing for vegans) & the fact that there was no option for a single person.  Their subscription plan meant I would get 3 meals – for two – each week – which meant six of my seven dinners were decided for me each week – with me eating the same thing twice – three times in a row.  Also – if you happened to LOVE a dish – you could not order it again soon – but had to wait – indefinitely – hoping it would eventually reappear in the cycle.

Chef’d has solved those problems.  No subscription – meaning order what you want & when you want it.  Get the same thing every day for two weeks – or just get one thing – different things – a few times a month.  Here is how they work:

Choose from Famous Recipes

Browse through hundreds of recipes from your favorite chefs, and cook them in the comfort of your own home!

From Our Kitchen to Yours

Fresh pre-portioned Ingredients delivered to your door. Reorder what you like, when you like. No subscriptions!

Cook, Love, Live

Enrich your life by creating memorable delicious experiences of love through our hand-cultivated recipes.

And look at the various tastes & lifestyles they accommodate

Shop Meals

LIFESTYLES:

FAMILY FRIENDLY
GOURMET
VEGETARIAN
GLUTEN FREE

PROTEINS:

BEEF
CHICKEN
SEAFOOD
LAMB
PORK
TURKEY
VEGAN
HERE is the list of the famous chefs contributing recipes.  And HERE are the vegan & vegetarian meals currently offered (kind of amazing looking).  I was given the opportunity to try the service & jumped at the chance.  I am a long-time fan of Beyond Meat & the pairing of these two companies is exciting to me.  I got the Beast Burger & Tacos & will post about the burger here – and the tacos in another post HERE.
Here is what showed up (for the burgers):
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The box included everything I needed to make 4 Beast Burgers & the Cucumber Dill Salad.  I take childlike delight in tiny condiment bottles – to the degree that I didn’t want to open these & used some existing condiments I had.  So goofy.
Anyway – everything is outlined very clearly & the ingredients are pre-measured so – no measuring & no extra ingredients to leave around, unused, forever.
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The Cucumber Dill Salad came together in five minutes & was tangy & crisp & light.
And – no surprise – the Beast Burger was huge & meaty & delicious!  I have had many Beyond Meat burgers in the past but – it was nice to have all the things I needed right there – including just 4 buns for the 4 burgers.  My freezer is jammed with freezer-burned buns that I stuck in there after buying a whole bag but only wanting one burger.
Assembled – the burger really is a beast & just as messy as any burger ad you see on TV – in the best possible way.   I feel like this is a great choice for a family of four on a night when there is minimal time to get dinner together – OR – to bring to a meat-eaters BBQ.  With this meal plan – you can walk into a BBQ with everything you need to provide 4 vegans/vegetarians with something as tempting as anything else likely to be served there – no fuss & no waste.
Be sure to check out their TACO dinner (seen below) HERE.
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VEGAN10.2 Label

Vromage – A West Hollywood Vegan Cheese Shop

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015 (except some here I took from Vromage’s site)

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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vromans back

OK – so – I am about 75% vegan – in that I eat vegan about that often or more.  I have not had a hard time giving up meat or fish (except for sushi) but the one thing that I still occasionally indulge in is cheese.  I have been experimenting extensively with vegan cheeses with mixed results.  I reviewed these cheeses below HERE.

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NOTE – THIS LISANATTI CHEESE  (below) IS NOT VEGAN!  IT CONTAINS CASEIN!

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And these from Miyoko’s Kitchen.

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You can read that blog post for my opinions of those cheeses but if you live in LA and you are vegan – have I got news for you!

Behold!  VROMAGE!

(PS – Vromage SHIPS – so you can get it – even if you are not in LA – VROMAGE online store.)

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I had long heard there was a vegan cheese store in West Hollywood but I always imagined it on Santa Monica Blvd in an area with heavy traffic & non-existent parking.  While I wanted to try the cheeses – I loathed the idea of driving west of La Brea & circling West Hollywood for hours – looking for some non-resident parking.

Then, last Friday, I had a photo session for a 90210 interview.  Here I am with the make-up artist, Noa Bolozky, and alone in a selfie in my bedroom afterward.  Noa does the MOST beautiful make-up!!!!  I will show some images from the session once the article runs.

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Anyway – as I looked out the window from the photo studio – I spotted Vromage!  It is in the strip mall – a block east of the mall at Sunset & Crescent Heights – the one with a Crunch.  It is in that plaza on the left (NOT The Crunch mall) – and it nestled near the elbow of the mall.

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So – as soon as I got out of that photo session – I headed directly to Vromage!  Noa beat me there & left swinging $70 worth of vegan cheese & a wearing a huge grin.   I braced myself for what promised to be a vegan adventure.

My mom & I were greeted by Youssef (seen below – in a photo I took from his site).

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Isn’t he cute?  He was so excited to let us try his cheeses – it quickly became overwhelming.  In a good way!  If you look at the second picture from the top  – that was the selection he had available that day & we still must have tasted 7-8 cheeses.  Once I had that many flavors going on – I lost my ability to keep them straight.  I THINK – I left with a mozzarella, a truffle brie, a pepper jack and a Gorgonzola (Veganzolla below).

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I added this video so you can see how outrageously creamy & spreadable Vromage’s cheeses are.  The truffle brie (the top picture – first in this post) came the closest to matching both taste & texture (as this Gorgonzola was way creamier than real Gorgonzola – but I am not complaining!).  The mozzarella – seen center, below – was mild & light & creamy & Youssef advised that, if I was making a pizza, to add this cheese at the very end & just flash-bake it.  I did not make a pizza but I will soon & I will report back.

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The pepper jack is the yellow cheese with the red on it – not sure what spice(s) that might be but the cheese is peppery & yummy!

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Those are kiwi berries, by the way.  They are about the size of large grapes & are just like tiny, hairless kiwis.  I recommend trying them if you ever come across them.

Youssef also offers sandwiches etc.  See below.  My mom tried the caprese sandwich & raved!

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Because my photos do not do Youssef’s whole situation & products any justice – here are some photos I nabbed from his site.

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So – for my money – Vromage has produced the best vegan cheeses I have tried, to date, and by a wide margin.  Most will not fool a real cheese eater (though the brie really might) but these guys are SO fucking creamy & bursting with flavor – I think they really hold their own.  And if you are a long-time vegan – these cheeses will make you lose your shit.  They truly are creamy & decadent & just BEG to be spread on a crusty baguette with some jam or veggies & basil.   Treat yourself and run – don’t walk – to Vromage.  And be sure to engage with Youssef – the owner.  He is kind & accommodating & very proud of his product & will let you sample anything you want.

And remember!  Vromage SHIPS – so you can get it – even if you are not in LA – VROMAGE online store.  Whatcha waiting for?  Get your ass some cruelty-free cheeses!