Sure there are all sorts of vegetable substitutes for this staple food which vegans admonish from their diets. Sometimes it is the last animal product we let go of, maybe because it is so good, perhaps because it is truly addictive! What am I talking about here people?? Yes, CHEESE! (and dairy products too). The congealed secretions of bovine and other mammary glands, ICK! How did humans ever become so creative with food that we came up with cheeses? When we finally give up cheese and other dairy products, for good, many plant-based eaters go immediately in search of some fake food substitute. I was bound and determined not to go there for several years until the launch of DAIYA brand cheese substitutes. My curiosity took hold of me and I tried them. Now I admit to using these products occasionally and sparingly and this is how I recommend they be used. They are not an everyday food and certainly NOT healthy, nutritious foods. Much like animal cheeses, I have often looked at the ingredients in vegan cheeses and wondered how these products are made. I had made simple cheeses in the past from cow or goat milks but never even dreamed to attempt non-dairy cheese making with the exception of the tofu ricotta, a nacho or mac and cheese sauce made from squashes or my much-loved parma-non, a combo of nuts, nooch, & lemon zest.
Not until Miyoko Schinner's new book came into my hands. This book fascinated me and I immediately went to work recreating her recipes and sharing the product with anyone who would dare to try them.
|Miyoko's Book, a must have!|
The basic recipe uses cashews as the protein and in a similar technique to traditional cheese making, the protein (in this case nut or soy protein) is inoculated with a pro-biotic in the form of Rejuvelac (a liquid formed by sprouting grains). After you have made the rejuvelac and the basic cashew recipe, Miyoko gives you options for several cheeses. Because many home cooks would choose never to go down this road on their own or without guidance, and because most of us would never be able to attend one of Miyoko's classes, I decided to offer a Vegan Cheez-making class right here in Southeast Georgia. The class attracted people who are vegan and non-vegan as people avoid dairy for many different reasons these days. One attendee was there just because she loves food and was curious!
I started the cheez-making process ahead of time and had different stages of all ingredients for the attendees to play around with in class as well as take home. We had a great time!
|having fun making cheezes!|
|Wines from Vegan Sommelier, veggie-go's & J.K. Adams Wine & Dine boards|
While planning the class, I was looking through VegNews magazine and noticed the ad for Vegan Sommelier. Immediately the thought crossed my mind to have some vegan wines to taste along with the cheezes! I contacted John and Gina Trippi the compassionate owners of Vegan Sommelier who were kind enough to coach me through the wine selection process and tell me the truth about wine-making which regularly uses animal proteins such as fish guts and shrimp shells in the wine-making process, YUK!! The class attendees LOVED all of the wines! "Very Impressed" were the exact words from at least one cheez-maker. Thanks John & Gina! The wines are fabulous and will be featured at our holiday table from now through the New Year! These wines are small batch from independent growers and I highly recommend them! Most wines at VS are $20 or under and there are great tasting notes on the website to help with your selection. John & Gina are available by email too. In fact, there is a recipe of my own Smoky cheeze ball on their facebook page which you can find HERE. (remember to LIKE the page!!)
Ahhhhh, what a great day it was, and all of us were able to serve some delicious vegan cheezes at our Thanksgiving feasts, if they lasted that long! We sampled Veggie-Go's by the Naked Edge and each participant went home with a J.K. Adams Wine & Dine cheese board too. I can't wait to hold this class again and make more Cheez!!
Sláinte! (slawn-cha), Gaelic for Health!