Saturday, March 28, 2015

Ballerina Dreams and Vegan Cheese

When I saw Sesame taking over the chair, I thought she was dreaming of being a goofball. My friend Jenni, however, said she was dreaming of being a ballerina. I like Jenni's description better than mine.

I've been dreaming of vegan cheese since tasting the lovely non-dairy cheeses from Miyoko's Creamery. Cheesemaking has always been something I wanted to try, but the boy is allergic to dairy and raw milk is hard to come by (and a pretty penny). Nuts, however, store better and are a bulk bin away.

I checked out Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Schinner, and I've made two cheeses from her book. The first was the basic cashew cheese mixed with sun-dried tomatoes. It was good, and it would have been even better if I mixed in basil and some pine nuts. Since I had so much cheese, even after halving the recipe, I used some of it to make raviolis, and those were delicious! The filling held up well to boiling.

The second cheese was the vegan Gouda. This cheese was air dried, with a little bit of salt spread on the outside to keep it from molding. It's now been aging for 4 days, and although I want to age it longer, I don't know if it is going to last. It is so delicious! The texture is creamy on the inside with a semi-hard rind. For this recipe, I made my first batch of soy/cashew yogurt, and that yogurt is also a treat, especially when mixed with lemon verbena marmalade. As a side note, my Vitamix and my foldable proofer box (incubator) are two kitchen tools I cannot live without.

Today's experiment is going to be a vegan truffled brie, this time from Miyoko's website. I don't see the recipe currently up, but I was able to find a link to it on the Wayback Machine (update: link no longer works because I suspect this recipe is very similar to the truffled cheese sold my Miyoko's). I have high hopes for this brie!

While at Berkeley Bowl, there were two of us staring at the 6 different truffle oils. The other person had his smart phone out and was furiously typing away, and he was still trying to figure out which truffle oil to get for his scrambled eggs when I left. I wonder if he's still there? I grabbed the second smallest bottle that was around $10, because in my experience, I don't use the stuff up fast enough to pay anymore than that for my oil. The volatile compounds that make it so good dissipate after a few months. I also found agar powder, bulk cashews, and an economy sized jar of refined coconut oil.

The boys are hanging out a lot together, I think mostly because they are stubborn. Greaseball was the first one on the couch. He barely cracked an eye open when Mingus wanted to get on the couch, so I think they've assumed these positions before.

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