Tag Archive for vegan cheese

Truffled Cashew Cheese (Vegan)

A few weeks back, I had to travel to Victoria to give a presentation at Social Media Camp. It was a blast–I love going to Victoria. It’s one of my fave foodie cities. They have the second highest per capita number of restaurants there (second only to San Francisco), and they take their cocktails and brunches very, very seriously.

So it’s no wonder I love going there–it’s charming and beautiful and foodie friendly.

We were flying back to Vancouver via Helijet around noon, but had a little time, so my friend Chantal picked us up for brunch. She took us to Nourish, the cutest little place, housed in a heritage home in James Bay.

Cultured Cashew Cheese Nourish

What I loved about Nourish, besides the fact that it was incredibly charming, is that it was incredibly vegan and gluten-free friendly.

You can read Chantal’s review on Brunchcouver here, but I had this cultured cashew cheese that just knocked my socks off–and I’ve been trying to recreate ever since.

This is not a super challenging recipe, but my first batch left me feeling a little meh. So the second time around, I added everyone’s favorite secret ingredient: truffles. You have to be careful with truffles because they are so strong, they can overwhelm easily.

This is a cultured cashew cheese, as instead of using water, you use liquid that’s been fermented; in this case, either kombucha or the pickling liquid from sauerkraut (or both). Throw in some nooch and miso for umami, and the final result is decadent and creamy. The truffles give it that earthy, unctuous yumminess.

FYI, you really need a good blender for this–your magic bullet isn’t going to cut it. Literally.

Truffled Cashew Cheese

Truffled Cashew Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashews
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • 1 tbsp plain kombucha
  • 1 tbsp sauerkraut pickling liquid (or use two tbsp of just one if that’s all you’ve got)
  • 1/2 tsp truffle salt
  • 1 tsp truffle oil

Method

  1. Place the cashews in a mason jar and top with water. Screw on the top and allow to sit overnight.
  2. The next day, drain the cashews and rinse them. Add them to the blender with the rest of the ingredients. Blend on high for one minute, stop, scrape down the sides, and blend on high for an additional minute at least. Cheese should be creamy and smooth.
  3. Line a 125ml ramekin with plastic wrap, and scrape the cheese into it. Smooth the top, wrap it up, and place in the fridge to set for 24 hours.
  4. Serve with crackers, bread, and additional sauerkraut.

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Cookbook Update #2: A Cheesy Breakthrough!

Okay, so the cookbook was off to a bit of a rough start, but I’ve had a breakthrough.

Cheese is, by far, the most difficult thing I’ve tackled to date. There are few other toughies on the list: namely marshmallows and macarons. I’ve tried making marshmallows several times, and it’s been all failure, all the time, and I’ve not even attempted macarons yet (thought I have made the non-vegan version). I’ll get to those eventually.

For now, I’ve been experimenting a lot with vegan cheese.

Now, for those of you who are vegan, you’ll probably know that most vegan cheeses are nut-based. There will be recopies for these in my book. You basically soak almonds or cashews in water overnight, then you blend them up with some nooch and some other stuff, and it makes a cream-cheese, dip-like consistency “cheese” that’s quite tasty.

I, however, because I do like a challenge, decided I wanted a. my cheese to be nut-free for those who have allergies, and b. to be more like the kind of cheese I’d sit down and eat with crackers and a glass of wine. I wanted something resembling an aged, nippy cheddar. Maybe something smoked.

vegan cheese aquafaba

I’ve been working with chickpea flour a lot since I started writing this book. Not only is the main ingredient of the book chickpeas, but chickpea flour is pretty darn amazing. It’s gluten-free, and it also has a kind of cheesy taste. It makes a great alfredo sauce. And–it makes great cheese. I can’t give away the recipe, you’ll have to wait for the book but I think this one could be a game-changer.

Cheeses I’ve made in the past had a kind of spongy consistency, but this one slices clean, and has a nice, flaky consistency, just like an aged cheese. I’ve added a few dashes of hickory for a smoked flavour, and I gotta say, it’s pretty darn good.

One of my vegan taste-testers: “The cheese was great! It has been so long since I’ve tasted something actually like cheese.”

I’ll take that as a win.

This week, I worked a ton on breakfast stuff and quick breads. There will be recipes for pancakes, waffles, banana bread, muffins, zuchini bread, and actual bread in the book–all made with aquafaba!

Progress is being made. Slowly, slowly…

I have to take a break from the book for a week, however. I’m off to Chicago for a conference next week, so you won’t hear from me for a while. But I’ll be eating my way through Chicago, and hopefully that will lead to some inspiration.

Until next time, cheers!

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