Showing posts with label product reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label product reviews. Show all posts

Monday, December 17, 2012

Trick Your Omni Friends (and Your Vegan Ones, You Meanie) with Beyond Meat

I got a tip-off that Beyond Meat's chicken-style strips are now available at the Whole Foods in Pittsburgh, as well as at Whole Foods stores across the country.

Have you heard about Beyond Meat?  I first read about it in the article Fake Meat So Good It Will Freak You Out on and I remember thinking that, although I was not really in the market for vegetarian meat (I've never tried Gardein or Tofurky, for instance), I was intrigued. A lot of people, especially vegetarians or other folks trying to reduce their consumption of animals, rely on vegetarian meat.  And it's often useful when cooking for people who insist upon eating meat all the time. 

You find it in Whole Foods' prepared food section, and it's sold by weight.

I'm going to post a second picture so you can see what it actually looks like, since I failed to take a picture of it after I'd bought some.  It's down in the bottom center.
Weird, it looks like grilled chicken, right?  I feel like meat eaters probably buy this by accident sometimes.  I'm not one of these people who gets grossed out at the idea of eating something that resembles meat, but I've been cooking vegan long enough that I don't actually have a lot of recipes that require a meat imitation.  That said, I think Beyond Meat is a really great alternative for people who don't make their own seitan, choosing instead to buy it from the store, or for someone who avoids gluten.

It tastes really plain, not unlike, well, unseasoned chicken.  This is made for you to put into other dishes, not eat alone.  It feels and looks like chicken, and I do believe that, put into a recipe, you can completely fool a meat eater (or freak out a vegan).  I'll admit, though, I didn't buy much of it.  I just wanted to try it.  Before I move, I'm trying to use up what I have on hand, buying only fresh veggies.  I have way too much stuff to use up, you have no idea.  And also, the prepared food section at Whole Foods is kind of expensive.  Certainly not more expensive than buying pre-made seitan, but more expensive (by weight) than, say, a container of tofu.

I decided to throw together a curry.  I had a couple potatoes leftover still from Thanksgiving (umm, this was over two weeks ago).  Then I also have a few cans of Maesri Curry Paste, which is really the key to making restaurant-quality curries. 

Plus, I have still just lots and lots of frozen diced tomatoes from my garden this summer and cans upon cans of organic coconut milk.  It's really easy to make restaurant quality curry!  I peeled and cubed my potatoes, then boiled them until they were soft.  Then, I sauted some onion, garlic, and ginger with a little water (I chose to not put any MORE fat into this by using oil) in my large saucepan, added the potatoes, an entire can of red curry paste, a can of coconut milk, 1.5 cups (1 can) cooked chickpeas, and 1.5 cups diced tomatoes from my freezer.  I also put lots of frozen peas in and some kale because I had some and although it's not what is normally in a curry, who cares?  There really wasn't enough liquid, so I added a bunch of coconut milk beverage (Trader Joe's brand), although any non-dairy milk will work.

Then, you guessed it, I added the Beyond Meat diced really small.  It would have been better with more of it in larger pieces, but I didn't have a lot, so I cut it tiny.    I added just a bit of salt and, viola!
This would have been great with or without the Beyond Meat, but I must admit, it was pretty excellent when I'd get a little piece of it in the curry.  It would be better with more--I'm aware it's not even visible in the picture.  At the same time, I think this would also be great with, well, you know, tofu.  Tofu is a friend of curries.  But you're sure not going to trick any meat eaters with tofu like you can with the Beyond Meat!  It's definitely something to try in place of seitan or in place of chicken.  I'd actually love to dice it tiny and make chicken salad with it.  Not that I ate chicken salad before I was a vegan (I've always been skeeved by mayonnaise), but somehow it sounds good to me to make a vegan version.

Hey, don't forget to go over to this entry here and leave a comment if you want to enter to win a copy of The Global Vegan Waffle Cookbook, which is totally worth owning just for the savory sauce recipes alone!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bee-Free Honee (VEGAN MOFO: DAY 14)

I've never come down definitively on the old is-it-OK-for-vegans-to-eat-honey-or-not debate, probably for one main reason: I've never been a honey-user.  I mean, my family growing up didn't keep honey, and it never occurred to me to keep honey either.  Once I got to cooking from books, I only ever had vegan cookbooks, and they never called for honey, so I just went straight to agave without issue.  The only honey product I missed was honey-mustard dressing, but I really stopped eating honey-mustard dressing because it's made from mayonnaise, which I think is the less-controversially logical vegan reason to stop eating that particular food item. 

Whatever your opinions on the matter, I don't think you can argue against the absolute brilliance of the product Bee-Free Honee.  Why?  Because it's made from domestic agricultural products: apples, beet sugar, and lemon juice.  I mean, we know we're getting agave from abroad and that it's highly processed (I'll leave the googling about that to you), but Bee-Free Honee is made really by one woman's small company that puts forth a serious effort to source locally.  I mean, rad, right?  
So, how does it taste?  Like honey?  Well, I don't really know, because I've never been a honey-eater.  But it tastes sweet, but not too sweet--the way I remember honeysuckle tasting--and a little fruity, and it's got the texture of honey.  I mean, it's really, really tasty. 

The first thing I thought to do with it was to look up a honey-mustard dressing online, use some vegan mayo in place of the regular mayo, and use some Bee-Free Honee in place of the honey.  This was, like, two months ago, when strawberries were still in season, hence the strawberries in the salad.
This was good, but I have to be honest.  Things that I know are made from mayonnaise, either regular or vegan, just gross me out.  Even though I enjoy vegan mayo on a sandwich!  I mean, I know it makes no sense, but it's just true.  Still, I got past it and ate the salad and the dressing and it tasted just as I remembered honey-mustard dressing tasting before I knew it contained mayo and was grossed out by it.

Oh, but here's where I really let that Bee-Free Honee shine: in oatmeal.  Here I could taste it for sure and tell you it's the perfect sweetener for oatmeal, and probably for tea also, but I cannot say for certain, because I'm also just not a tea-drinker; rather, I'm an alien from outer space, apparently.
If you are a honey-lover but you want to quit using it because of sustainability reasons, reasons relating to honey belonging to bees and not to people, or because you simply wish to draw a hard line in the sand and say, "I am vegan, so I will not use any animal products," this is possibly the best alternative out there.  I'd love to buy a huge jug of it and use it in place of agave most of the time!  Cuz, you guys, it's made from apples.  That's awesome.  Vegans (and vegan-supporters) are so friggin' creative.

***The folks at Bee-Free Honee gave this to me to sample and review when I simply wrote to them to ask where I could get some, which was totally awesome of them, as well as a first for this blogger.  That said, I was in no-way compensated for this review, and if I thought it was crap I'd totally tell you, because loathing is kinda how I roll.***
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