Pesto Potato Cakes with Mozzarella Teese
Recently Chicago Soy Dairy put a challenge out to vegan bloggers to come up with some unique ways to use Teese, their vegan version of cheese. They’d send some complimentary Teese your way, and asked that in return you’d find a fun way to use it and post about it on your blog.
I’m a big fan of Chicago Soy Dairy. I use their Dandies marshmallows in a couple of products for C’est La V, and I’ve enjoyed Temptation non-dairy ice cream when I’ve been back home. (And of course, being a Chicago girl, I can’t help but love a vegan company that’s headquartered there!) I was really excited about this challenge because the only flavor of Teese that I’d had a chance to try was the cheddar, but I’ve been dying to try the others.
The one thing that I found difficult about this challenge was coming up with something “different” to use the mozzarella in. Honestly, I’m so tired of not being ably to make recipes that call for mozzarella (like pizza, lasagna, etc. – the exact things that are so overdone when it comes to Teese), that it was hard to not just go hog wild making things that I normally am not able to.
But I did want to try to honor what they were asking for, so I went to one of my favorite sources of Italian recipes (which you have to do when dealing with mozzarella, if you ask me!), Michael Chiarello. Now if you saw the “vegan” episode of Top Chef, you might have a low opinion of him since he was so totally stumped on what to make. The irony for me is that I love his food and cookbooks, and I’ve easily vegan-ized many of his recipes. He also has plenty of recipes that happen to be vegan already, like his marinara sauce, which is my absolute favorite and my go-to tomato sauce.
I looked through his recipes and found these Potato Cakes with Mozzarella and Pesto. The only adaptation needed to make these vegan was using Teese instead of dairy mozzarella, and making sure to use a dairy-free pesto – I like the non-dairy pesto from Basiltops. I thought these might be difficult to make, but they really weren’t. They’re just a bit fussy, and you have to be careful because the potato cakes are very delicate. I found these to be pretty hearty – maybe it was all that olive oil! But if you’re a potato fan, which I am, these are pretty awesome.
So how was the Teese? It was so good in these! It added a nice amount of flavor and salt, and I think I would definitely add more to the middle of the cakes next time. I ended up broiling the Teese on top because it was taking a while to melt in the oven, but you could probably just put them in at a higher heat and it would melt just fine.
Stay tuned to see what else I made with my Teese!