A few weeks back, on February 5th, I had the privilege of introducing 20 enthusiastic people to great plant-based, vegan alternatives to cow's milk ( and diary products ) at The Common Market in Frederick, Maryland. A two hour class can barely cover all the pre-made products available to buy , such as cheeses, cream cheese and sour cream, much less the dozens of vegan cookbooks ( with more coming out every month ! ) to make your own AND all the online resources....but we tried ! I could not have done it without the help of Zoe, their Programs Manager. Her experience with managing many past classes warned her that I was trying to cram too much in to too short a time, so she reined me in and stayed ( worked ! ) the whole two hours portioning, serving and generally keeping things going smoothly. Thank you, Zoe !
We started off with bags of popcorn, sprinkled with Nutritional Yeast ( for it's cheesey goodness ) as we sampled chilled commercial oat, hemp, almond and soy milks and a coconut kefir. I whipped up a cashew milk from just cashews soaked overnight, a teaspoon of agave nectar and some cold water. Then we had Tortilla chips with melted Daiya cheese, both the Cheddar and the Mozzarella styles. In a blender I made a double batch of MacnCheese sauce using half for people to see how it would be on pasta ( we used saltines to dip...pasta too hard with our set up ) and half got mixed with a salsa to create a fantastic Queso Dip ! We finished off with a fantastic Lemon Teasecake, from the must-have cookbook, The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook , by Jo Stepaniak.
I do hope the participants got a feel for all the delicious vegan dairy alternatives out there, and some reassurance that we do not need cow's milk for calcium or any other nutrient. Dairy cows must endure some of the worst abuses in the animal-use industries, and it's completely necessary...so let's give them a break and explore more humane ways to feed ourselves :)
Next post will include a link to get all the handouts we used in the class...including the recipes!