OK — so everything fried is delicious, I know that. My friend Jackie says she would eat her own arm if it was deep-fried. (She’s an excellent cook. I would eat her arm too if she deep-fried it!)
Nevertheless, I find vegan cookery to be extremely difficult. Quick shout out here to my friends Jenn and Barry, a married couple who run an East Bay Vegan Catering service, with the unlikely name of Local Love Services. Misleading name? Not if you know Jenn and Barry. They met while Barry was the Chef at the Ravens’ Restaurant in Mendocino and they are the happiest couple I know. Thus, the love.
On a dog-related side note, the Ravens’, an excellent vegan eatery in the Stanford Inn By the Sea, just south of Mendocino Village, allows you to eat with your dogs at your feet, in front of a roaring fire (if the season allows it). And the food is good too! Especially the breakfast.
Barry has mastered the art of vegan cooking, i.e., making things nutrient packed, healthy and delicious without animal products. As a bonus, he also cooks gluten-free and organic. I am not at that level. I never will be. But I can grill the hell out of a dairy-free cheese sandwich and make it so good you won’t miss the real cheese, and that is not easy.
So if you want vegan, organic and gluten-free great food, from regular meals to a dinner for two to for an event of any size, call Barry at 510-917-0190 or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org. They also do cooking classes.
But if you aren’t bothered about gluten — just dairy — try my recipe for kick-ass vegan grilled cheese. My keys are using enough grease and picking the right bread. I like a widely spaced crumb white bread such as San Luis sourdough. It says it’s cracked wheat but it looks pretty white to me and something about the way this bread is built causes it to caramelize properly upon frying and yield the desired crunch and flavor of an ideal grilled sandwich.
World’s Best Vegan Grilled Cheese
2 slices open crumb bread
3 slices (or about 4 ounces) vegan cheese, such as Veggie American slices
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon vegan mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Earth Balance
Yes — that is 6 tablespoons of fat, not even counting what’s in the fake cheese. Do you want it GOOD or do you want it healthy?
Heat the olive oil in a skillet that is bigger than your slices of bread. While you are heating, spread the mayo one side of both pieces of bread. Put the cheese in the middle and create a sandwich. Then, spread the Earth Balance on the top of the sandwich and when the oil is hot, place the sandwich in it, unbuttered side down.
After it has grilled for a few minutes, flip it over, allowing the Earth Balance-covered side to grill.
It should look like this:
This blog post is dedicated to my Mother’s wonderful across the street neighbors, who not only rescued me when I fell down the stairs and broke my foot a week or so back, but make and sell my favorite pajamas for hanging around the house with a broken foot in. Check them out at www.thecatspjs.com. You don’t have to break a bone to enjoy them. They are simply the comfiest PJs on earth!