Tis the season for nog!
Hey, lovely readers! Happy Thursday! I bring you this bagel as part of a group blogging challenge entitled, “Gluten-Free Dream Day at Panera Bread“.
What’s a Gluten-Free Dream Day at Panera Bread?
Well, basically a bunch of us bloggers came together and we each re-created our favorite Panera Bread bakery treat into a gluten-free vegan version. Pretty cool, huh? Some very talented folks are participating, and I’m excited to be part of it.
When I was invited to work on this idea with Marly, of Namely Marly, the same genius who brought us Top Ten Sandwiches: Veganized , I was all about it. But, I have to admit…. I haven’t been to a Panera Bread chain in a very, very, very long time. In fact, I think the last time I was in one was about 4 years ago, and that was only to pick up some grub for my office friends’ lunches. I did however get myself a soy latte, and from what I remember, it was pretty tasty.
Once I finally took a looksy at Panera’s menu and realized they had a Jalapeño Cheddar Bagel, I decided I wanted to recreate it in my own gluten-free and animal friendly kitchen. I love bagels… so I thought this would be right up my alley. Even though I had never had the actual Panera bagel, it sounded like something I would totally be into. And, man, was I right.
Chewy, crunchy (once toasted), spicy, and cheesy, this is definitely my kinda bagel. I’ve always been much more of a savory breakfast kinda gal, and I could get used to waking up to this deliciousness each morning with a piping hot cuppa joe… couldn’t you?
So, this may not be the most glamorous food I have posted, but let me start with a word in it’s defense. This stuff is freaking incredible. I mean it. Sure, the sauce isn’t a brilliant bright red since it uses avocados and red wine (kinda pinkish orange), but once you taste it, you simply will not care how it looks. I promise.
Here’s a super easy and delicious way to use up that bag of cornmeal in your cabinet. It’s fun (and economical) to make your own polenta, and you can add all sorts of mix-ins. I just added the basics for a rich flavor, but feel free to mix in a medley of stuff at the beginning of cooking (sauteed veggies, peppers, herbs, Tabasco sauce, tempeh… you name it).
Looks, feels, and jiggles just like the stuff in the tube-bag from the grocery store.
Yay! I got some Daiya. I’ve topped pizza, grilled “cheese” sandwiches, eaten it straight from the bag, and each time I have been thoroughly satisfied. But, I wanted to test out its ‘casserole’ abilities -to see if the “cheese” could be crispy and melty at the same time. It has been quite a while since anything remotely close to cheese graced the top of one of my casseroles. It worked great! The Daiya was crispy on top, and the “cheese” directly underneath was ooey and gooey. I am sold, this Daiya stuff rocks!
For those of you who can not, or choose not, to incorporate Daiya into your life, this casserole is very yummy without it. A little bit of nooch would be awesome sprinkled on top. But like I said, I had to try it on a casserole. And, I suggest if you get your hands on Daiya anytime soon, you should too. This dish is perfect to make if you have some leftover mashed potatoes… but if not, whip up half a batch and treat yourself to something different. I’ll give you a basic run-down of how to make mashed potatoes below, if you aren’t quite sure.
I also happened to have corn and peas in my freezer, so that is what this recipe calls for, but some yummy sautéed mushrooms, or any other veggie you can think of would go great mixed in too. Ya know, it’s a casserole– anything goes.
Cheesecake has always been a weakness of mine. This recipe is called “version 1″ because I guarantee that I will be making many more cheesecakes in the near future. This version is slightly sweeter and wetter than your typical NY style cheesecake. It is more like a “Washington” cheesecake. When I served it to a group of omnivores and vegans, it received rave reviews. Beware: this cheesecake is so easy and delicious, you may need to make it more often than you think. In fact, I am pretty convinced I need to make one again right now.
So, I realize that there are a lot of recipes out there for vegan “mac and cheese”. But this one is too good not to try. Trust me. If you’re used to the real kind of mac and cheese, as opposed to Kraft, this is your recipe. It is prepared exactly like the wonderful homemade mac and cheese I grew up with. The only difference is, it’s made with vegan ingredients. I have never had a complaint when making this. In fact, I dare you to serve it to an unsuspecting omni and see if they even realize its vegan. Really, try it!