Ah, cheese. You're creamy, tangy, salty, melty, and stretchy all at the same time. You make everything delicious. But you also come out of a cow's boob. It will never cease to amaze me that so many people get super freaked out by the thought of drinking human breast milk, but cow breast milk is A-OK. When people are confused about veganism, I tell them I'm a vegetarian who prefers not to eat anything that came out of another animal's boob or vag.
Ah, vegan cheese. You can be chalky, waxy, bland, and gritty all at the same time. Sometimes you smell like crayons. Or vomit. Sometimes you don't melt, and sometimes you melt too well, forming a pool of molten-hot liquid that slides right off my pizza. You're expensive and full of preservatives. But you don't come out of a cow's boob, and sometimes you're creamy, tangy, salty, and (maybe a little bit) melty and stretchy.
I have a love-hate relationship with vegan cheese. I kind of miss real cheese, but only as a cultural thing. After three years as a vegan, I can't even remember what cheese tastes like, and I never crave it. But what about pizza parties? Fondue parties? Wine & cheese parties? Fortunately, there are vegan cheeses (store-bought and homemade) that are up to these tasks.
Last night I tried out a few homemade cheeses, and we had a little wine and cheese party. Check it out.
This is the macadamia nut brie from The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions. No, it doesn't taste like brie, but it's creamy, slightly sweet, and delicious.
This is another macadamia nut cheese from The Conscious Cook. It's suppose to get tangy and cheesy from a one-night stand with some probiotics. Unfortunately, I think I killed my probiotics by overheating them in the Vitamix. Drat! Still good, though.
This is a garlic and herb cream cheese dip partially based on the macadamia brie recipe. Blend 12 oz extra firm silken tofu with 3 oz cashews in a Vitamix (or other hardcore blender) until smooth. If you don't have a hardcore blender, start by soaking the cashews overnight. Add 2 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp italian herbs, and 2 cloves garlic (use a microplane grater or mince). In the back you can see sweet basil pesto tapenade from Veganomicon.
Slow-roasted tomatoes to go with all the cheesy goodness. This is my mother-in-law's recipe (loosely), and I'm not sure where she got it. Take 4 lbs roma tomatoes (12-15), slice in half, and place cut side up on a cookie sheet. Drown them in olive oil, sprinkle with plenty of garlic (5-6 cloves), oregano, salt, and sugar (you need a couple of big pinches for each tomato half, though this will depend on how sweet your tomatoes are). Cook at 300 degrees for three to five hours.
We served everything up with rosemary crackers, toasted and untoasted bread, red peppers, and blueberries.