Thursday, March 4, 2010

Teese Vegan Cheese Review: Teese Quesadilla

Teese Quesadilla w. cilanto and salsa

So this is a quesadilla made with Teese cheese (see below for long review and thoughts on this new product). I served it on a sprouted grain tortilla and garnished with cilantro. Green Mountain Gringo was also served with it. GMG is my favorite mass-marketed shelf-stable canned salsa, second only to Salsa Lisa which is a company based right here in Saint Paul. GMG has great flavor to it, and the "hot" is actually REALLY hot. Salsa Lisa always tastes really fresh and is kept in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. Salsa Lisa also has a hot flavor I like because it is actually very hot.

The quesadilla wasn't too bad, but overall I don't really care for Teese cheese.

And now a thorough review of Teese:

Teese is a fairly new (though old news by now) vegan cheese. When it first became available to the public, it swept across the vegan food blogosphere like wildfire. It finally came to my local Whole Foods late last year, so we had to try it out.

I've made and tried my fair share of vegan cheeses. There will never be a true replacement for "real" cheese. It's been so long since I've had cheese (over 5 years) that I don't really remember it. What I look for in a vegan cheese is something vaguely reminiscent of what I do remember. I tend to favor homemade or restaurant house-made recipes over the mass-marketed cheeses. The one vegan mass-marketed cheese I like are the rice slices from Galaxy Foods. The mouthfeel mimics the over-processed Kraft singles. My thought is, if you're going to eat something that processed, why not choose the vegan version?

Okay, back to Teese. Word out in the vegan food blogosphere was that Teese melted awesomely and had a great texture, taste, etc. I tried the nacho cheese sauce, the "hard" cheddar, and the mozzarella. The sauce was weird, and I thought pretty gross overall. Of course, I'm spoiled because The Triple Rock, one of my favorite restaurants in Minneapolis for vegan eats, has mastered a vegan nacho cheese sauce which is nutritional yeast based.

I can't remember what we tried the mozz on, but I seem to vaguely recall we put it on a cheeseless pizza from Papa John's or something. It was adequate.

So last, but not least, I made a quesadilla with the cheddar Teese and a sprouted grain tortilla. I placed the tortilla in a warm pan sprayed with some non-stick oil. I shredded a lot of the Teese and placed it on one half of the tortilla and folded the tortilla in half. I cooked it by placing a weight (like a heavy lid) on top of the tortilla itself. I also flipped the whole thing at least once. The Teese got melty, that's for sure. However, it did not stay that way for long.

[I expected this as the thing that makes cheese melty is a milk-derived protein called Casein. A lot of "non-dairy" and "lactose-free" cheese contains this protein and makes it not vegan.]

Unlike the other main mass-marketed cheese available, Follow Your Heart(aka Vegan Gourmet), the Teese solidified into a more plastic texture. It was not very appealing. I also felt that the Teese did not stay in it's melted state for very long, at least it was a much shorter time than FYH. The texture & overall mouthfeel in Teese's melted state was pretty good, and I would say even better than FYH. Teese is interesting because it didn't disintegrate and morph into a pool of oil if heated too much, which is a major downside of FYH. Again, I couldn't get over was. When bits of cheese fell out of the tortilla and onto the hot pan, it never turned to oil, it just became crispy and strangely plastic-like.

Overall, it wasn't too bad. I don't think I will be dropping that much money (something like $6-9 USD per what I believe are 10oz tubes). Those tubes are also a great disappointment compared to the resealable package offered by FYH. I'll stick to homemade stuff and my occasional indulgence of the rice-based single slices.

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