Hello September! Did anyone wake up this weekend and have that holy-crap-time-is-moving-too-fast moment? I did. I think I do every September. It's like someone just hit the "play" button after the slow-moving sorta-lazy summer. Like BAM, get-a-move-on because the holidays are going to be on top of us any minute now. Maybe that's just me, prepping for my busy season and the psychology of the shift in seasons happening. Leaves were totally falling from the trees this weekend!
I'm down-right psyched for Fall. Bring it on. I've been feeling that itch to be in the kitchen again (after trying to avoid it in the heat of the summer), to organize my space and purge, and to work on five different projects all at once. That desire to cook and bake things again is exciting and as a result I bought a few new cookbooks recently. One of those was Artisan Vegan Cheese, by Miyoko Schinner, and I am having sooo much fun with it. I've made two of the cheeses so far, Fresh Mozzarella and the Sharp Cheddar. Both are made from culturing cashews, using the homemade Rejuvelac (also in the book.) The Fresh Mozzarella is very soft (like a soft tofu texture), very easy to spread, but stays in those little ball shapes nicely too. It has a really mild and creamy flavor that was pretty amazing paired with some fresh tomatoes, basil, olive oil/balsamic dressing. Like whoa.
The Sharp Cheddar is my favorite on it's own, and the author says this just keeps getting better with age. I'm heading out of town for a week on Thursday, so I'm really curious on how the taste will change when I'm gone. I cultured this one for four days and it was so fun to taste a little bit each day and see how much the flavor changed. It tasted very much like miso and nutritional yeast the first day and then it magically took on this very tangy cheesy taste after a few days. The texture changed, creating little pockets of air. It didn't get super-firm after refrigeration, but that's okay. It's tasty on it's own and spread on some homemade bean burgers in a wrap. I need to make some crackers to spread it on!
Next up, I am planning on trying one of the air-dried cheeses, perhaps the Brie, and the meltable mozzarella and muenster (just need to locate or order an ingredient). Nik was super-weirded out by my strange kitchen experiments, but he liked them both after I forced him to try them! I'm not really sure how close these taste to their dairy versions, but I do know that they are damn tasty in their own right and that they are super-fun to make. I will update on them as I make more!