Tag Archives: #nondairy

strawburrry shortcake

yikes! it’s been awhile. life got in the way. but obviously not in the way of eating delicious things, just in the way of writing them all down! i like how this blog sorta-kinda holds me accountable for writing down my ideas. be it food ideas or yoga ideas. always nice to keep a record of the monkey mind & creations!

i got really frustrated with vegan/non-dairy deserts. every time my husband and i tried to make something, it turned out horrible! not to mention the ingredients are expensive, so you spend lots of mula (no money, no honey) on these fancy things, only to let the dessert vacate to the TRASH CAN. i came up with the brilliant idea to try something that is already dairy-free to begin with. i don’t know why i didn’t think of this sooner.

my creation was angel food cake with strawberries. since there is like NO non-dairy whipped cream, nor is there a good way to make this, i went with a dairy-free pastry cream. i topped the cake with some home-spun powdered sugar, via the vitamix.

*side note: we’ve tried using dextrose, coconut cream, soy cream, and tofu to create some sort of whipped cream-like concoction, only to visit our lovely  $5.99 trashcan.also, now that strawberries are about to be in season, this recipe will be perfect!

nice and light! this will be perfect on the porch in summer time with a glass of chilled pinot grigio.

nice and light! this will be perfect on the porch in summer time with a glass of chilled pinot grigio.


  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cake flour, sifted
  • 12 egg whites (room temp!)
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F
  2. in a food processor spin sugar about 2 min until it’s super fine
  3. sift half the sugar with the salt and the cake flour and set remaining sugar aside
  4. whisk together egg whites, water, vanilla extract, and cream of tartar. after about a minute switch to a hand mixer.
  5. add the reserved sugar and beat at medium speed
  6. you are looking for peaks to form. this can take about 10-20 minutes, and it varies on how close to room temp your eggs were.
  7. once you get the peaks (be patient!) add some of the flour mix to dust the top of the foam you just created. fold in with spatula. repeat until all is incorporated.
  8. add the mixture to (2) 8′ round pans. no grease required, please!
  9. bake for about 40 minutes, but check before you take it out.
  10. cool upside down for about an hour or two. you don’t want to rush the cooling down, and it must be upside down so that the cake won’t collapse on itself.
this is what it starts to look like once the peaks begin to form. this could use another minute or so under the beater.

this is what it starts to look like once the peaks begin to form. this could use another minute or so under the beater.


*NOTE: this cream can be used for ANYTHING your mind can dream up.

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup soy milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp butter/butter alternative
  1. in a saucepan, whisk egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt
  2. whisk in milk
  3. cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly until mixture is thickened. should take a couple minutes.
  4. remove mixture and whisk in vanilla, butter until mixture is melted and smooth.
  5. pour the mixture into medium bowl, cover, let cool in refrigerator for about 2 hours.
pastry cream about to go into the fridge to cool! nice a smooth (comfortable, easy and flexible).

pastry cream about to go into the fridge to cool! nice a smooth (comfortable, easy and flexible).


to assemble: gently take the angel food cakes out of pans. put one cake flat on a plate. the nice thing about angel food cake is you don’t have to cut the bottom to make a flat edge when you are stacking layers! gently add the cooled pastry cream. you’ll notice the cream has gotten pretty thick. you don’t want to make it too heavy on the angel food cake or else it will collapse. so just be mindful about adding the cream in the middle. layer the top layer on. add sliced strawberries and powdered sugar if desired! Mange!

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the story of: mysterious goats dairy, homemade pizza dough and baked ziti

trying to limit dairy is extremely hard! My GI told me about a year ago that I can have other animals milk, just not cows milk. Some people who have a dairy allergy can still eat the milk fat (like sour cream, cream cheese, heavy cream, etc) because there is only trace amounts of milk protein casein.  And then there are some who are allergic to dairy and they are allergic to ALL dairy – cow, sheep, goat, buffalo, whatever! My GI told me to avoid ALL cows milk products, so I have found satisfaction in a lot of goat products such as:

  • yogurt
  • cream cheese
  • brie & other forms of goat cheese like chevre, crumbles, slices (!!)

and soy dairy products such as:

  • creamer (for coffee/tee)
  • milk
  • cream cheese
  • sour cream
  • ricotta
  • shredded “cheese”

This dairy allergy thing is quite confounding. There are 3 different allergic reactions: digestive, respiratory, and dermal.  You either vomit/diarrhea, can’t breathe, or get hives – or a combination of all these.  I imagine that depending on how your body responds to the hypersensitivity reactions might make the allergy a little different for you.  I have also read that ALL milk from mammals (only mammals produce milk, anyway, but this isn’t regarding “milk” from cashews, almonds, soy, etc), contains casein and lactose.  Casein is the protein in milk and is what is thought to be the allergen in dairy products.  Furthermore, casein and lactose are found in different ratios among mammalian taxa. There are also different protein and sugar variants within a specific mammalian classes, which may make an individual allergic to the dairy product from a specific animal.  All of these differences and varieties among mammalian dairy add complexity to uncovering who is allergic and what specifically they are allergic too.  Clinically, it’s not of interest to uncover how or why you are allergic – if you develop a hypersensitivity reaction to dairy then JUST DON’T EAT IT!  To me it is just fascinating the varying degrees of hypersensitivity to dairy.  Interestingly I read from UC Davis that the casein found in goats dairy is the same amino acid sequence, but they are structurally very different. If you’ve taken any molecular biology/or organic chemistry class you can appreciate the fact that STRUCTURE = FUNCTION! That’s a common theme of biology/chemistry.

*quick note on proteins to further understand proteins on molecular level:

Proteins (such as casein) are made from amino acids (such as histidine, lysine, valine, etc), and amino acids are produced from genes, or more specifically, codons coded in mRNA.

Central Dogma of Biology: DNA –(transcription)–> mRNA –(translation)–> protein

Once protein is translated, it must be folded before it’s active.  There are four classifications for protein folding.  Primary is the amino acid sequence.  Secondary is the folding of that sequence into helices or sheets.  Tertiary is the sheets or helices folding on each other. and Quaternary is tertiary structures interacting with each other.  Not all proteins undergo Quaternary folding; an example of  this level of folding is seen in hemoglobin.

So potentially among these 3 or 4 stages of folding, there can be many structural differences that arise.


Hemoglobin is found in red blood cells and is what carries oxygen to tissues and carbon dioxide away from tissues
Image found from http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/H/hemoglobin.html

I mentioned all that, because once you can understand whats happening on the small scale, it’s easier to understand why there may be a difference between proteins among different species.  Specifically, if the casein in goats milk and casein in cows milk have a very similar amino acid sequence, but they are structural different (ie folded differently), they will most certainly have different functions and different effects as an allergen.

References & Further Reading:

I’m half Italian, so I grew up eating cheese.  When I was about 16 is when I started developing issues with it.  So it’s SO HARD to not eat cheese especially when I go home for dinner!  For the sake of my intestinal tract (as well as being less mucous-y and less breakouts, oh the benefits of no dairy) I try to go for vegan dairy options when I can.  Sometimes vegan cheese options just don’t cut it for me, so I will try to find other mammalian alternatives.  I’ve already stated a lot about goat but I do enjoy mozzarella from buffalo and Pecorino Romano which is from sheep.  I have two recipes we made up this week.  1) pizza made with vegan mozzarella, and 2) baked ziti made with Pecorino Romano, vegan ricotta, and buffalo mozzarella. 

  • Vegan Mozzarella found at Trader Joes.
  • Vegan Ricotta is made by Tofutti and found at Whole Foods
  • Buffalo Mozzarella can be found at an Italian grocery store, Trader Joes, and sometimes Whole Foods.
  • Pecorino Romano can be found just about every where! Just read the label to make sure it is not mixed with any other part of cows milk.

I have to say, if I have the choice between vegan mozzarella and buffalo mozzarella, could you guess which I’d choose? The choice is obviously buffalo.

Any of these recipes you can substitute for “real” cheese or whatever you want.  The possibilities are endless with different types of cheeses! I hope to provide some ideas for you to make your dishes vegan, cows milk free, or go all for it and use cows dairy!


dough should be made about a day before use.  recipe makes (3) 12” pizzas.

  • 4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  1. add flour, sea salt, yeast to bowl and whisk.
  2. slowly stir in water and mix gently until in a big ball (you can use your hands)
  3. transfer ball of dough to a clean bowl, cover with Saran wrap and let sit for about a day.  you will see little bubbles coming up, and dough will rise.
  4. once dough is done, separate into 3 equal balls.  Use all 3 right away, or pack what you don’t want into individual zip lock bags and refrigerate or freeze.
  5. to use the dough right then, flour the counter and use your hands to shape dough into 10-12” pizza.  Diameter differs based on how thick you like your pizza.

our pizza was made with the following vegetables & soprasata and no tomato sauce, but you can add whatever you like!

  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 “a thing” of Soppressata  (lol I don’t know what you call it that it comes in… a roll?)
  • 1 cup Trader Joes vegan mozzarella
  1. spread a little bit of Extra Virgin Olive Oil on dough
  2. add toppings then add vegan cheese on top
  3. preheat oven to 500 degF, put pizza on baking sheet, bake for 10 min. VIOLA!
vegan mozzarella.  big question - does it melt?!

vegan mozzarella. big question – does it melt?!


and the answer is ………… YES! yes it does!


Recipe from my dad, with my substitution of Tofutti Ricotta cheese.  Makes several servings in an 8″x8″ square dish.

  • 1 lb cooked ziti
  • 1/2 lb Tofutti Ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano
  • 1 quart sauce (make your own via my recipe in different post, or use my families 825 Main! delish)
  • 8 oz Buffalo Mozzarella
  1. Mix first 4 ingredients together
  2. Put 8 oz of sauce on bottom of pan, pour ziti mix on top, top the ziti mix with remainder sauce.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degF, bake ziti loosely covered with foil for 45 mins.
  4. After 45 mins, take off foil, add mozzarella, and cook for mozzarella to your liking.  Usually about 10-15 mins more.
Once I started getting everything together, I realized I had very little ziti, so I mixed ziti, farfalle and gemelli.  My 3 favorite pastas so I liked it!

Once I started getting everything together, I realized I had very little ziti, so I mixed ziti, farfalle and gemelli. My 3 favorite pastas so I liked it!

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eggplant yum

I love cooking with eggplant because it’s such a meaty vegetable. I have two eggplant recipes for you: “milk” honey eggplant & eggplant parmigiana. You can vegan-ize either recipe.

The “Milk” Honey Eggplant is good for a lunch or light dinner.  Eggplant parmigiana serves as comfort food for me! Note: I give you my tomato sauce recipe – it is not exact. I don’t really follow a recipe for this, just watching my parents make sauce over the years! I just kinda throw things in the pot, using different vegetables or herbs when I feel like it – maybe that’s why majority of my organic chemistry experiments failed in undergrad.  However, I wrote down what I did for this sauce just for you!

Side note: If you want some REALLY good jarred sauce, check out 825 Main Sauce.  I refuse to buy jar sauce in the stores, but this one is made by my family in NY and it’s just as good as fresh sauce!  My aunt and uncle started this business after they closed a family restaurant that had been cooking homemade Italian food for 50 years! Yeah, I trust their tomato sauce 🙂

GOOD VEGAN CHEESE ALERT! Regarding the eggplant parm, I have made a very exciting discovery.  My local Trader Joe’s has now started carrying VEGAN CHEESE!  For awhile I was buying their soy cheese, without reading the label, and I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t feeling right.  I read the label one day and saw it contains MILK PRODUCTS! What da hell. They advertise soy cheese, but it has milk in it. Makes no sense.  So my husband and I returned all the varieties of “soy cheese” we bought and complained. The next week we went in, and they had purely vegan cheese! I was so excited.  We bought the mozzarella kind, and it is pretty good.  I am not a fan of Daiya cheese.  I don’t know why, I just don’t really like it.  My friend said it looks/taste like mayonnaise  which made me like it even less. But I have found a brand at Whole Foods I like called Galaxy foods in a purple package.


Vegan Mozzarella from Trader Joes! Feels like Christmas to find a good vegan cheese.

Now for the recipes. I’ll do the easy one first:

“Milk” Honey Eggplant

4 servings

1 eggplants, peeled and sliced

2 c soy milk (enough to cover slices)

honey or agave to drizzle

olive oil

bowl of flour


goat cheese to top, optional

1. soak eggplant in soy milk for 1 hour

2. dredge eggplant in flour

3. put some olive oil in a pan and heat to medium

4. fry a couple of slices of eggplant in olive oil until golden brown. flip.

5. drizzle honey or agave on top

6. sprinkle goat cheese crumbles



“Milk” Honey Eggplant. I found these goat cheese crumbles, and I am kind of obsessed with putting them on everything.

Eggplant Parmigiana 

4 servings

1 eggplant, sliced thin

1/2 bag Trader Joes vegan mozzarella

1/2 box Farfalle pasta (or whatever pasta you desire, Farfalle is my personal favorite)

eggwash: 3 egg yolks in a bowl, 1 1/2 c flour in bowl

*to make this recipe vegan, soak eggplant in milk for an hour, then coat with flour like above recipe

sauce: 1 can (24 oz) crushed tomatos, 4 cloves garlic (minced), 1 mushroom (sliced), 1 Tbsp parsley (chopped), 1 tsp dried oregano or herbs de province, Salt and Pepper to taste (you use more salt than you think, but just taste as you go.  Hey, a good cook will taste their food!)

1. Put enough olive oil in the bottom of the pain so you can fry the eggplant.  Less is more.  Heat to medium, no higher or else you will get hot oil splattering.

2. Dip eggplant in egg yolk, coating evenly.  Wipe off any excess egg yolk, then dip in flour, coating evenly.  Put slice in oil.  Usually, you can put 3 slices at a time.  Fry until golden brown and flip, frying each side until perfection.

3. While you are frying slices, make your sauce.  Put some olive oil in the bottom of a big pot on medium heat, and saute minced garlic.  Don’t burn the garlic!

4. Once the garlic is starting to turn golden, dump the whole can of crushed tomatos. Simmer for 5 minutes.

5. Add mushroom, parsley, oregano/herbs de province, S&P.  Lower to low heat, and keep there until ready to use.  Taste from time to time to see if you need to add salt.

6. Sauce is done, eggplant is fried, so put another pot on the stove and boil water.  Once water is boiling, add half the box of Farfalle.

7.  While pasta is cooking, pre-heat oven to 350 degF.

8.  Layer fried eggplant in a baking dish, separating layers with tomato sauce.  Keep some tomato sauce to put onto of Farfalle.

9. Sprinkle Trader Joes vegan mozzarella on top.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

10. Serve eggplant on top of pasta, using remainder sauce to top.


eggplant is pretty and pretty delicious.

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