Monday, December 21, 2015

Philly's Phinest: Vegan Philly Cheesesteak (now Wit Cheese)

Z-Bot had the wonderful idea of decorating our newly purchased six foot Christmas tree with mushrooms. These weren't the magical kind that regrow brain cells or cure depression, they were just your typical portobellos on a moldy ass stem. I played along by putting some hooks through the mushrooms and hanging them just out of her reach. After showcasing the portobellos for a few hours, I removed them from the tree with the intention of breading and basting them in hot sauce for some buffalo flavored 'shrooms. But, when the time came, I didn't have the motivation. I stuck them in the back of the refrigerator and told myself that I'd do it tomorrow. Tomorrow came and went. So did the next day and the next. Pretty soon calendar pages would be falling off the wall and those 'shrooms would join forces with even more mold and wind up mutating into god knows what. My veggie cheesesteak was easy enough, so I decided to take that route to get the mushrooms out of my refrigerator. 

The only problem with the veggie cheesesteak route is the cheese. Since I quit dairy, I haven't found a competent replacement for the cheese on cheesesteak. It is bad enough that I bastardize the thing with mushrooms instead of steak. But cooking one up and not putting any cheese on it frankly defeats the purpose. I mean can you have a cheesesteak without cheese and steak? So I set to work trying to find a vegan cheese that would work. I stumbled on a sweet potato, coconut milk and nooch version by Connoisseurus Veg. I have a pretty good idea what you are thinking. No fu**ing way can sweet potato, coconut milk and nooch make something that tastes like Cheez Whiz. Well, my friend, you are absolutely right. This doesn't taste like Cheez Whiz. It won't confuse you. You won't bite into this sandwich and think you are on the streets of Philadelphia eating at Pat's or Geno's. On the other hand, it tastes good. It exists as it's own thing. If you just take the mindset that this is a completely new type of cheese, one that you have never sampled before, you will find that it isn't too shabby. What's better is this cheese sauce can go where no vegan cheese has gone before (at least in my house). I'm talking soft pretzels, nachos and fried green tomato sandwiches.

Vegan Cheesesteak (Wit Cheese)
(printable version)

-1 onion, diced
-1 green pepper, diced
-3 large portobellos, diced
-steak sauce
-olive oil
-sub rolls, toasted

for the cheese:
-2 sweet potatoes, cubed and boiled until soft
-1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
-3 Tbs. Nutritional Flakes
-3 Tbs. olive oil
-2 Tbs. soy sauce
-2 Tbs. lemon juice
-1/2 tsp. garlic salt

1. Make the cheese sauce by placing all the ingredients in a blender and blending until smooth. Set aside.

2. Saute the green pepper and onions in olive oil until they are fragrant and beginning to caramelize. Add the mushrooms and a bit of steak sauce. Cook until the portobellos have softened, released their juices and the juice has cooked off.

3. Spoon the mushroom mixture into a sub roll. Drizzle the "cheese sauce" overtop. Add your favorite condiments. Eat it.

In musical form this sandwich is akin to a big helping of lemon.