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Monday, June 16, 2014

Pimento Cheese Biscuit Sandwiches + Mosaic Garden Art

Pimento-Cheese Biscuit Sandwiches (Dairy-Free Version)
(photo by Judy Lyness)

Our recent Los Angeles Food Bloggers' potluck theme was "picnic", and I turned to a recipe that I wrote for Melissa's The Great Pepper Book for inspiration.  Actually more like imitation, because I pretty much recreated it ingredient for ingredient, with one slight variation.  I took the dairy ingredients and replaced them with non-dairy, plant-based  equivalents, and not that I make a habit of fooling people, but the bloggers were smacking their lips, totally surprised, when I came clean.

So whether you need to go dairy-free for health reasons, or want to try dairy-free out of culinary curiosity, you'll find that with a little creativity, ingenuity, experimentation, and all those other reasons why you like to cook in the first place, there isn't anything you can't recreate.  I'm not saying that the new version will taste exactly like the old version, but I will say that it will taste good, very good.
Buy This Book!

Here's the original recipe from Melissa's The Great Pepper Book, with substitutions in parentheses.  These little one-handed sandwiches would be perfect on paper plates at any picnic, or on a silver platter at your next potluck.

Pimento-Cheese Biscuit Sandwiches
1 can refrigerated buttermilk biscuit dough (dairy-free biscuit dough)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened - about 1 cup (Tofutti cream-cheese)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese - about 2 ounces (Follow Your Heart Vegan Shredded Cheddar)
1/4 cup mayonnaise (Follow Your Heart Vegenaise)
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 fresh cherry bell chile peppers, stems and seeds removed, finely diced - about 1/3 cup (or sub red Fresno chiles)
1 large shallot, finely diced - about 2 tablespoons
3/4 cup watercress or arugula (I used arugula)
Fresh cherry bell chile peppers, thinly sliced (optional)
Smoked paprika to taste (new ingredient)

1.  Bake biscuits according to package directions; cool to room temperature.
2.  Place cheeses and next 5 ingredients, through shallots, in a food processor or blender; pulse to combine.
3.  Add smoked paprika, 1/4 teaspoon at a time, pulse to combine, and add more if desired.
4.  Cut biscuits in half.  Top biscuit bottoms evenly with cheese mixture and watercress or arugula, and sliced chiles, if desired.  Top with biscuit tops.  Serve on a silver platter or paper plate - whatever.

                                                        GARDEN ART   

On an arts & crafts note, I've been making garden mosaics using cement pavers
with broken china and tiles.  Here's the latest one, plus a few others from my succulent growing front yard.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Little Free Library, Melissa's and More

Melissa's Sugar Cane Swizzle Stix Giveway at Camp Blogaway

I'm baaaaaaaack!  Yes, another lost-my-will-to-blog episode has come to an end.  Thanks Camp Blogaway and all my fellow bloggers for inspiring me to write on.

Lemongrass-Ginger Cooler and Vegetarian Bahn Mi
While I still plan to write about food on this blog, I'm happy to announce that I am going to be a featured blogger on Melissa's website.  As you know I've been a member of the culinary team at Melissa's for several years and now I'm going to be able to reach so many more people with my plant-based eating message.  Please check out this month's feature at Plant-Based 411, including 2 great recipes from Melissa's "The Great Pepper Cookbook".  If you already have the book - thanks so much!  If you don't, please buy one asap.

Sweet as HONEY!

Another exciting announcement is much more personal.  I have a new BFF, her name is Honey, and she's sweet as honey.  It's been 4 years since I lost my Poochie, and I'm so glad I waited for Honey to come into my life.  I hope you all have sweet friends too.

Little Free Library Grand Opening
Last Saturday I was honored to cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the Little Free Library in my front yard.  Neighbors brought books and enjoyed cookies, extra crunchy peanut butter and guava marmalade sandwiches, and limeade.  For those of you who haven't heard about LFL's, they are smallish structures, often built from recycled materials, that house books for you and your neighbors to share on a take-a-book, leave-a-book honor system.

I built mine with a lot of help from Transition Mar Vista, plus a repurposed picture frame/glass door, old paint, broken china mosaic tiles, and a little hardware help from a couple of nice handymen.
LFL in process (those are cutting boards for shelves)

Camp Blogaway was about supporting your fellow bloggers .  Plant-Based 411 is about sharing recipes and tips on how to eat in a more healthy, endlessly creative, produce centric way.  A Little Free Library is about
reading, sharing, and feeling more "howdy neighbor" than a lot of us do.  And a new BFF, like my Honey, is all about compassion, companionship, cuddling, and making sweet memories to always remember.