Reddi-Wip Non-Dairy Almond Milk Whipped Topping

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Making dairy-free whipped cream is relatively easy: You just beat the hell out of some coconut cream. But if you don’t like the taste of coconuts or you just want the convenience of store-bought whipped topping, Reddi-Wip now has one made with almond milk.

It’s hard to tell the difference between this and the regular version of Reddi-Wip. It has a similar look and consistency — light and fluffy, filled with air. It’s super-sweet, just like the regular stuff. And it doesn’t taste like almonds.

Here’s a big dollop on top of my homemade gingerbread:

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I’ve tried a few non-dairy whipped creams, and Reddi-Wip’s is a million times better than Soyatoo!, one that’s made with rice milk. I would say it’s on par with Trader Joe’s Coconut Whipped Topping, but that one has a distinctly coconutty flavor not everyone enjoys. (Reddi-Wip also makes one with coconut milk.)

Here’s Trader Joe’s Almond Nog topped with Reddi-Wip Almond Milk Whipped Topping. Almonds galore and totally dairy-free!

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Daiya Vegan Cream Cheese

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Searching for a dairy-free cream cheese that tastes like the real thing? Me too.

Unfortunately, Daiya Cream Cheeze Style Spread isn’t it. After trying it a long time ago and hating it, I was hoodwinked into trying it again because the label claimed this recipe was “new and improved.”

Here’s what it’s made of:¬†Filtered water, coconut oil, tapioca starch, coconut cream, vegan natural flavors, pea protein isolate, sea salt, chives, white onion, xanthan gum, potato protein isolate, lactic acid (vegan), vegan enzyme, lemon juice concentrate, guar gum, locust bean gum.

Here’s what it looks like on a bagel.

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Its texture isn’t bad. Less creamy than real cream cheese, but not too grainy.

The problem is the flavor. Simply put, it tastes like bleu cheese. This is the same problem that Daiya Caesar Salad Dressing has. Bleu cheese is fine in certain contexts, but on a bagel? Uh, no.

So I’m going to make this short. Daiya vegan cream cheese: Don’t do it.

For more of my reviews of dairy-free cream cheese products, click on the “cream cheese” tag below. The search continues…

Dairy-Free Chicken Curry Pizza

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Many years ago, California Pizza Kitchen used to make a tandoori chicken pizza that I loved. It had a regular pizza crust, mozzarella cheese, and tomato sauce, but the toppings were Indian-inspired: tandoori chicken, onions, and cilantro.

If you’re a New York pizza snob like I used to be, you’re probably saying, “That’s not pizza!” True, but when you’ve been dairy-free as long as I have, you learn to broaden your definition of pizza.

I made a variation on the CPK pizza using Patak’s curry simmer sauce instead of pizza sauce, Daiya mozzarella style shreds instead of cheese, and Stonefire roasted garlic naan instead of pizza crust. These ingredients can be purchased at most supermarkets.

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You can usually find read-to-use curry sauces in the international foods section. Patak’s makes several sauces that contain no dairy: Jalfrezi, Rogan Josh, Vindaloo, and Dopiaza. They range from mild to spicy.

The instructions on the jar will tell you to cook the chicken in the sauce, but I like to simmer the chicken in water because poaching keeps the meat moist and tender.

DAIRY-FREE CHICKEN CURRY PIZZA RECIPE

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 jar Patak’s curry simmer sauce of your choice
1 package Stonefire roasted garlic naan (2 pieces)
1/2 cup Daiya mozzarella style shreds
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 tablespoon minced cilantro

Place chicken thighs in a saucepan and fill with enough cold water to cover chicken. Bring water to a boil, then lower heat and simmer chicken gently for 10 minutes. Remove chicken from water. Shred meat using two forks.

Drain water from saucepan. Pour Patak’s curry simmer sauce into pan and cook over medium heat until hot. Add shredded chicken and stir. Turn off heat.

Spoon chicken curry evenly onto two pieces of naan, spreading sauce to the edges. (You will have some leftover curry.) Sprinkle Daiya mozzarella style shreds over both pieces of naan. Top with sliced red onion.

Broil naan for 5 to 7 minutes, or until Daiya “cheese” is melted and edges of naan are browned. Remove from oven and sprinkle with minced cilantro. Makes 2 servings.

G&B Coffee at Grand Central Market

I have a fear of Grand Central Market, a popular food emporium in Downtown Los Angeles, because I always assume it’ll be jam-packed with tourists and I’ll have to stand in line for hours. But if you’re in the neighborhood and you’re hungry, it’s kind of irresistible. There are tons of choices, both old-school and new.

One of the older vendors is G&B Coffee, which has been there since 2013. It’s hard to miss because it’s a large stand-alone coffee bar right at the Hill Street entrance. Because their vibe is so annoyingly hipster, I’ve never been interested in trying their coffee — until I saw that they had Almond Macadamia Lattes. I’ve had almond milk lattes, but almond mac nut? Sign me up!

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As you can see, the prices at G&B are high, even for L.A. It’s hard to justify putting a “market price” on a cup of tea; it’s not like a live lobster flown in from Maine. But you have to hand it to them, names like “Business & Pleasure” and “Fizzy Hoppy Tea” are bound to make people curious.

Mostly I was curious about the house-made almond macadamia nut milk. When I tried a sample straight up, I was pleased to find that it has a mild, natural taste. And it isn’t sweet, even though it contains dates. When frothed, it doesn’t create huge pillows of foam, but it was thick enough to give me a dairy-free milk mustache.

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The coffee itself is smooth, not at all bitter. I like my coffee more robust, but G&B’s expresso blend is sure to please a wide range of palates. The almond mac nut milk gives the latte a slightly nutty flavor that you’ll enjoy if you like hazelnut coffee.

My husband tried the Fizzy Hoppy Tea, which is a carbonated iced tea with a hint of hops. It tastes kind of like if you added a shot of beer and tea to a Dry Sparking Soda. Weird. If you’re craving an iced tea, this beverage won’t hit the spot.

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Overall, I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to hit G&B Coffee. You can certainly get better coffee for less elsewhere. Plus, their ordering system is chaotic. There’s no line; you can order anywhere at the bar, which causes all sorts of confusion, and then they don’t call out your name, so you have to just hover anxiously as you wait.

But if that doesn’t deter you, by all means give it a shot. The almond mac nut milk is an unusual find for us dairy-free folks.

G&B COFFEE, Grand Central Market, 317 S. Broadway C19, Los Angeles, CA 90013