Monday, September 12, 2016

Homemade Vegan Cheese & Ice Cream

There are a few vegan cheese books on the market now (with Miyoko's Artisan Vegan Cheese remaining the most popular, of course), and there are quite a few vegan ice cream books. But Marie Laforet may have written the first cookbook dedicated to both vegan cheese and ice cream. Her Best Vegan Cheese and Ice Cream Recipes book combines everyone's favorite non-dairy treats into one book.

You know those non-vegans who are all, "I can't give up cheese!" Or "I can't give up dairy ice cream!" Well, the recipes in this book should prove them wrong. Commercial vegan cheeses and ice creams have come a long way, and homemade versions are often even better.

The first half of this book is dedicated to homemade cheeses. Most have a base of cashews, almonds, beans, or tofu. Some, like the creamy almond cheese, are made with rejuvelac and aged. Others, like the Cheddar with Roasted Peppers, are ready to serve after a few hours setting in the fridge. Some, like the Spicy Gouda, are thickened with agar, which makes for a sliceable cheese, and others, like the Sauerkraut Cheese, are baked. I love that the book combines all these styles of cheese-making, from the Joanne Stepaniak Uncheese Cookbook days to present.

I chose to start with a retro-style, agar-thickened cheese. That was all I ever made in my early vegan days back in 2004, and it's been forever since I've made an agar cheese. Because I brew my own kombucha and always have it around, I knew I had to try the Kombucha Cheese.

This cheese isn't aged, but from the taste of it, you'd never know because the kombucha gives it a sophisticated tang. The kombucha is quick stand-in for rejuvelac, and I recommend using plain, homemade kombucha (no fruity stuff!). I make my booch with green tea and don't usually add fruit or flavor. The base for this cheese is cashews and coconut oil, which gives it a mild and rich flavor. The oil adds a fatty mouthfeel that really feels like dairy cheese on the tongue. I loved this cheese! It made about eight servings, and I devoured it (almost single-handedly) in less than a week.

I also made the Hummus Cheese Dip, which it turns out, was really just hummus with nooch and nut butter. But nooch and nut butter makes great hummus.

The recipe called for cashew butter, but I had lots of almond butter in my pantry, so I opted for that instead of buying anything new. The result was a thick, creamy, nutty, noochy hummus. Perfect with pita bread and lightly steamed veggies.

I couldn't review a vegan cheese and ice cream book without making some ice cream! But I'm so lazy when it comes to dragging down my ice cream maker from the closet. There are so many dreamy ice cream recipes that I wanted to try — pistachio ice cream, raspberry frozen yogurt, and a vanilla pear biscuit log made with homemade vanilla ice cream. But all required an ice cream maker, and I could have done that, but I got lazy and turned to the ice pops chapter. I'm going through a serious popsicle phase right now (that's all I want to eat!), and the Blueberry Banana Milkshake Pops caught my attention. They're basically a smoothie in popsicle form (frozen banana and blueberries, almond milk, agave, and vanilla).

These were perfect on a 95-degree day last week!

If you love vegan dairy subs, this is the book for you. It's full-color, and all of the recipes sound (and look) so delicious!


vegan peace said...

Kombucha cheese sounds so interesting! I need this book in my life, I really want to start making my own vegan cheese.

Hannah Teson said...

Oooohhhh kombucha cheese! I'm definitely intrigued, and also impressed. It seems like such an obvious pairing, but I've never seen anyone do it before.

Blake Fraina said...

Hey...can one buy unflavored Kombucha???? The cheese sounds incredible but I'm too lazy to make my own Kombucha (same reason I never cultivated my own rejuvelac).

Susan said...

I love cheese! I love ice cream!
Though my important question is, is there a lot of coconut oil used in the cheeses or coconut cream used as the ice cream base?

Jennifer said...

Blake- I know the major brand of kombucha (that most grocery stores carry) has an "original" kombucha flavor. That is probably your best bet.

I've been wanting to make a kombucha cheese for awhile but have been cheap and lazy (but mostly cheap XD all those nuts guys!)

Bianca said...

Thanks Jennifer, I somehow missed over Blake's question! And Susan, there is a lot of coconut in the book, but there are plenty of recipes that don't use it. One thing I love about this book is the ingredients are so different from recipe to recipe.

John Ocampos said...

Wow it looks delicious and yummy! I am sure my kids will defiitely love this! I will find time to make this this weekend. thank you for sharing this recipe. I also follow one website which talks about vegan food and fitness,