Friday, November 21, 2014

Fancy Vegan Cheese For Skinny Wallets

There seems to be a big move in the vegan cheese world. To me, it seems like the vegan cheese world was on stand still for a looooong time, and then bam Daiya hit the shelves, was a huge hit, and it seems like it's been taking off. It is really such amazing news, because again, I hate to be so crude, but everything always seems to boil down to money, so if there weren't a demand, none of these cheeses would exist. So, like I said, I could not be happier for the animals, but as a consumer, my happiness is from afar. Some of these cheeses I've been reading about sound so amazing, but amazing comes at a price. Daiya is a splurge item for me, and I keep my bag in the freezer and use it sparingly to make it laaaaast. I rely on nutritional yeast for a lot of my cheesy needs. And I dabble in making my own vegan cheeses. I made the cashew goat cheese that was in a Vegetarian Times eons ago, and although time consuming, most of the time was inactive, and it was pretty easy to make and MamaMia was it delicious! It was a log, and it was rolled in peppercorns, I drool thinking about it.
Like I said, it was somewhat easy, but still it was a two or three day process, so it isn't really a spontaneous recipe. I recently was flipping through my renewed copy of Veganomicon, and I spied a recipe for cashew ricotta, and I decided I would experiment with half cashews, half raw sunflower seeds, and I am happy to say it worked like a dream! I had to stop myself from eating it out of my blender. The recipe uses both tofu, and cashews which I think is wonderful not only for flavor, but for cost also, which is another thing I love about subbing sunflower seeds, because cashews are definitely costly. This ricotta is garlicky, and lemony, and the texture is creamy, more creamy than tofu ricotta, I'm guessing from the fat in the cashews. I used mine in a cooked dish, but as I was tasting, and re-tasting, for quality purposes, I kept thinking how great it would be as a spread for crackers, or toated baguette, or even as a spread for sandwiches, or again as a meal. With the holiday season just around the corner, I recommend this as an appetizer for vegans and non-vegans alike. I personally do not like the taste of raw tofu at all, when I make tofu ricotta, I taste a tiny amount for seasoning and that's it, but this stuff is creamy and rich, and the nuts, and seeds and of course garlic really mask the tofu flavor. And if you use sunflowers and cashews, you can double the recipe if needed, at very little extra cost, because all the moolah you're saving on cashews! I just had another thought, I bet you could put it in a little dish and bake it for a little, and serve it as a warm dip for veg, and bread. The possibilities are endless, and I think we can show non vegans that eating with compassion is so easy and delicious, and not weird, or expensive, or lacking in anything. And, we can all have fancy vegan cheeses without having to sell an organ.

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