Vegan Mozzarella + Creamy Garlicky Alfredo

I find it kind of funny that I’ve been all “YOU DON’T NEED CHEESE SO  STOP TRYING TO MAKE CHEESE HAPPEN” and then I go out and make vegan cheese. Hah. What a hypocrite I am. Really, I did it in the name of food science and I want to reassure everyone that is second-guessing the vegan life because of cheese. Well, vegan cheese is a thing and it’s pretty cool to be able to make it yourself. Or you can find the good vegan cheeses in the fancy health food stores (or Whole Foods) and shell out the cash once in a while to pair with your grapes and vegan wine and french bread. Actually, that’s not a bad idea. I see a vegan cheese and wine night in our future, friends. Maybe I’ll grab a bunch and post a review here for you all.

Ok so I made cheese. Sort of. And it was really pretty easy. My blender did most of the work and watching this milky concoction turn into cheese was really exciting; much like my first aquafaba experience (I really need a recipe to share that uses aquafaba. Maybe a s’mores pie?!)!!

So slightly related to cheese. Ok, more like, tangentially related to cheese. I will make the connection to cheese, I swear. Last weekend we had a major power outage. There was a crazy storm and really high winds brought some trees down all over lower mainland BC resulting in over 500,000 residences without power over the course of 5 days. Luckily, we did not lose power at home and were only effected by things like my favourite Thai place had to close for the weekend (no take out!) and traffic signals were out all over.  Anyone who has ever experienced a long power outage knows to yell at anyone who opens the fridge because you don’t want the food to go bad. Well, over these 5 days there was A LOT of dairy lost. A family that I work with threw out 4 gallons of milk and 2 tubs of ice cream that they had just bought (why anyone needs that much milk is beyond me..). Another family was telling me that they were actually scrambling to eat their cheese and ended up having to throw it away. And don’t even get me started on the meat that everyone must have lost.

It’s truly bothersome knowing that all of these food items were repurchased the following day. Foods that are highly water-intensive (after a summer of droughts for the west coast), cruelly obtained, and overall not very good for your health. I try my best to put on my vegan blinders and live blissfully ignorant of everyone around me contributing to truly horrific things. I avoid certain sections of the grocery store, even! But when everyone is talking about this ‘crisis’ and food banks are getting the word out that they lost so much milk and eggs and need donations of these items, I just want to shake everyone and say YOU DON’T NEED THIS. You are better off without this food, the animals are better off without this food, the world is better off without this food. And this is not an exaggeration. If anyone spent a good half an hour on the internet doing genuine research on this topic, they would come to the same conclusions. Instead, they are falling victim to the over $550 million spent on advertisements to keep people consuming these products (and that’s just meat, dairy, and eggs, not all the other food items on the market that contain these things!)- and that’s just in the US. This is not a conspiracy theory either, this is real life. This is the result of capitalist America. It’s seeing people as ‘consumers’ rather than individuals and animals as ‘products’ instead of living, breathing, feeling, thinking beings. The ‘got milk?’ ad is not looking out for your health, it is looking out for people’s bank accounts. Period. SO I’m frustrated. Everyone was frantically eating their cheese and so I said ‘screw it’ let’s make some cheese.

And here we are. And by the way, nuts don’t spoil anywhere near as fast as cow milk does. Keep that in mind as we make cheese from cashews and a couple of other things.20150902_200808This photo seems a little blurry but whatever. Here is the finished product. A fairly large amount of some cheesy concoction it has a slight pull, though granted I didn’t get as nice stringiness as I’ve seen floating around the internet. But I was pretty happy with the texture! I sprinkled some dried basil leaves on top to make it look fancy.

I’ll take you through the steps.

cheese5After blending all the ingredients I’m going to give you in a minute, you get this milky mixture. We’re gonna heat it up and watch it cheesify.

cheese6Weird lighting throughout because it was that time of day where the sun is like still shedding light but not enough. Start mixing. Don’t stop mixing.

cheese7Starting to get clumps. This is weird, but it’s a good sign! Keep going!

cheese8And you’ve got something that looks like melted cheese. Take that baby off the stove when it looks like this. Let it cool down and it’ll get even more solid.

This is definitely a soft cheese, so I doubt you’ll be able to slice it or whatever.

I’ve made a couple of things with this cheese so far. The BEST was this pasta dish that I had last night. Oh man.

cheese2I will definitely include a recipe on this one. It was sooooo yummy!

I also tried doing a pizza, but that failed mostly because I threw a pizza dough together without measuring anything and then I also didn’t have any sauce. Oooooops. I will try pizza again with this cheese and give it a fair shot. I kind of want to do a whole post on pizza in general so stay tuned!

Vegan Mozzarella

  • 2 c raw cashews (soaked overnight in water, then drained)
  • 1/4 c tapioca starch
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 2 cups hot water
  • salt to taste, I used about 1 t
  1. Blend everything together until smooth. If you don’t have a high speed blender you may need to do this in 30 second increments.
  2. Pour mixture into a saucepan and heat on medium. Stir until you see lumps! Make sure you scrap the bottom so you don’t burn your cheese.
  3. Turn the heat the medium-low and keep mixing until your mixture sticks together (as pictured).
  4. Remove from heat and cool. Use however you’d like!

Creamy Garlicky Alfredo

  • 1/2 c vegan mozzarella
  • 1 cup nondairy milk
  • 1 generous squeeze of lemon juice
  • more garlic than any human ever needs (5 chopped cloves, and then a tablespoon of garlic powder..)
  • 1 chopped onion
  • cooked pasta
  • lemon zest
  • salt to taste
  • pinch of cayenne
  • optional add-ins (mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli, red bell pepper)
  1. Put the first 5 ingredients (plus whatever add-ins you want) in a pan over medium heat and cook through until onions are tender. You may need to add more nondairy milk if the sauce thickens too much!
  2. Mix in everything else.
  3. Get cozy with Netflix, a soft blankie, and some [vegan] wine.

netflixpasta

Happy Eating everyone! <3

 

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