Monday, October 3, 2011

Vegan MoFo: Duo of cashew cheeses (C is for Caraway, Cumin, and Coriander!)

Oh my goodness. Are there ever a lot of delicious things that start with C or what? When I was making my list of MoFo dishes, I picked caraway for C because I love caraway seed and need to put it in my mouth more often. The first recipe I found when looking for something to use caraway in was a (non-vegan) cheeseball rolled in caraway seeds. That sounded really good to me, and I've been meaning to try the Vegetarian TImes Cashew Goat Cheese recipe for years. Literally years!

When I looked through the recipe and realized that I was going to be sinking 24 hoursish into making it, I decided to double the batch because hey, twice as much cashew cheese for the same amount of time invested seems like a good deal. On considering, I decided to roll the second cheese log in cumin & coriander seed because a) they're so delicious and b) they both start with c!

You know what else starts with C though? CATASTROPHE. Okay, that's an exaggeration, but I can't think of a word that starts with C for a minor calamity...

My cheese never really set up. The VT recipe is supposed to lead to logs of cashew cheese resembling logs of goat cheese. I think they're supposed to have a semi-solid skin on the outside, then creamy cheese inside. But I baked and baked and baked these... going for a full 20 minutes longer than the recipe called for... and it was no use, the cheese really didn't change in texture much at all during baking.

Oh well. I decided to just mix the spices in (since rolling was not going to happen) and eat these like creamy soft cheese spreads. They were still quite delicious.

Here's the caraway seed:

Caraway cashew cheese

I really liked the caraway flavor, though it was very straightforward. I think I should have either chopped up the caraway seed or toasted it or both though... the pieces were just a little big for this application.

And here's the toasted cumin and coriander:

Toasted cumin & coriander cashew cheese

I toasted them in a dry cast iron pan until fragrant, then whacked them with the back of a (metal) measuring cup in order to crack the coriander up a bit and release a little more of the cumin flavor/scent. I thought this would taste really odd alongside the caraway cheese, but actually, it was a nice compliment-- my brain kept telling me that there was something very similar between the two. Maybe the earthiness of the cumin reflected in the caraway? Dunno.

Since I sank so much time (okay, most of it inactive, but nevermind that) into the cashew cheeses, the rest of dinner had to be basically 0 effort. So here's our spread, replete with other delicious C foods-- carrots, celery, crackers (whole wheat and rice), chickpeas (in the form of leftover hummus), and Corning olives (olives from Corning, CA).

Dinner dips

Waaaay too much food for the three of us, even with a nice leisurely grazing dinner pace. That's okay. I'll take the leftover vegetables & olives to work with me for snack tomorrow, the leftover cashew cheese and hummus will go in the fridge and be snacked on, and the crackers can go back in the cabinet.

Not quite done yet though. We had dessert tonight. On a weeknight! You might think based on my MoFo posts this year that we have dessert at least 2/3rds of the time. This is, however, false. I am basically always too lazy to make dessert, it's just coincidence that we've now had it twice in a week. Today's dessert was inspired by the crummy weather... cold and rainy, right on the heels of an absolutely gorgeous weekend. C is for cheer up! and also cinnamon and cardamom and coconut milk, three key ingredients in this rice pudding:

Cinnamon-cardamom rice pudding

It's the Joy of Vegan Baking rice pudding (week 3 of the PPK Cookbook Challenge!) made with coconut milk, with a little bit of cardamom (scraped out of the inside of the pods... I don't seem to have any straight up ground cardamom) and cinnamon in it. Very tasty. I got about a 1/4 serving because the Emperor mooched all the rest of it.

Speaking of which, my dinner spread picture was missing one of the original ingredients today, as shown in your bonus picture. I had a dish of kalamata olives out while I was putting the other stuff on the table, and this guy invited himself up for a bite:

Kalamata contemplation

Olives all gone

He ate the entire dish, then asked for more. He's a kalamata monster.


Caity said...

These look good and love the idea of going through the alphabet for your blogs this month.

I may attempt a cashew cheese sometime soon. I hear it makes a mean feta.

Jackie Smith (the other one) said...

Oh, my goodness, he's so much bigger than last year! How awesome that he loves kalamata olives!

Vegan Coloradical said...

That is pretty much my dream dinner.

Jeni Treehugger said...

I made that cheese once and had the same "catastrophe" as you, mine didn't firm up at all. It was still delicious though. I read another blog yesterday who suggested baking the log for an extra 40 mins or so so I'll give this a go next time. There will be a next time for sure.
I love your sddition of cumin and corriander!

coldandsleepy said...

An extra 40 minutes! Fascinating. Maybe I'll try that next time (and there will be a next time here too, it's totally tasty and not hard beyond the waiting).

Joyfulgirl415 said...

I wouldn't say catastrophe. That creamy cheese looks pretty darn tasty! Perhaps just a clever creation.

JENNA said...

I too made this cheese once and baked and baked and baked it and it never truly set like it was suppose too. It was delicious though and I think I'll be making it this week now thanks to your post.

Jared said...

Hey! I was so excited to see a cashew cheese recipe featured, it's too bad it didn't setup properly. I made a cashew pumpkin dip last Thanksgiving that was a big hit...but I have yet to attempt a cheezeball of sorts. I also enjoy your theme! And if you couldn't tell by my post, we definitely share some semblance of laziness, haha. I definitely enjoy going all out on a dish or full meal on occasion, but sometimes quick is best.

michelle (meiji) said...

I love your theme, and I love that Kalamata Monster Emperor of yours. I am going to try the cashew cheese, and definitely going to try the apple crisp from American Vegan Kitchen (which of course I have, because that's my thang). I'm going to need to make the seitan from it, too. Dangit, I'll also need to get a tortilla press [I am shaking my fist up in the air at you right now]. Spiced Seitan Tacos with Bourbon Reduction? Daaaang. Bookmarking! Gracias! ~ michelle (meiji) {aka}

jessy said...

i love the kalamata monster. adorable! :)

i've always ohhhhed and ahhhhed over those cashew "goat" cheeze recipes, but i'm so afraid of failure i have yet to try them out. hoooray for giving them a whirl, and even if they didn't firm up at least they were still yummy! i need to be brave and give it a go 'cause i don't want to miss out any longer!

Leslie R. said...

Well, the cheezes still look really tasty!

Amey said...

wow, that looks great. I remember that I also had a hard time with that finicky cashew cheeze recipe.. but that it was tasty regardless.

and the little guy eating a whole bowl of olives?? amazing!

Monique a.k.a. Mo said...

Cashew cheese is one of my favorite things in the world. I just have to try it with caraway now.