Thursday, August 11, 2016


B E A U T Y   B I T E S  |  V E G A N   C H E E S E   B O A R D
Putting together our wedding registry has made me feel slightly left out in the culinary game. Kitchen essentials and, consequently, dinner parties at newlywed homes seem to always include some sort of cheese platter. A picking or two of slate boards, cheese knives, smooth walnut wood boards galore . . . 
I was quick to realise in a wink, though, that being dairy-free does not mean missing out on cheese. Two claps and a cheer for a guide to raw vegan nut cheese brands, how to lay a cheese board, + a quick homemade recipe!

R A W  V E G A N  C H E E S E S | s t o r e - b o u g h t
There are many brands on the market that offer alternative cheeses—this is not a new phenomena to hit the market. Think toffuti . . . it is dairy-free but also full of @#$% (read hydrogenated soybean oil, maltodextrin, and the devil's breastmilk SUGAR). If you wouldn't be buying Kraft Singles if you could or are eating dairy, shake out that extra penny from your pocket for vegan cheese. Buy only organic varieties and raw that are also preferably sprouted. Having the cheese raw means that it has been properly fermented and contains a good 'ol dose of gut healthy probiotics. The probiotics are lost when the cheese is heated or processed unless it's low-temperature dehydrated. Below are my favourite brands. 

p u n k   r a w k   l a b s | This line has the most incredible nut cheese offering. If you do yourself the favour of indulging in these morsels, I recommend making some of my grilled peaches with coconut caramel alongside it.
m o o n   j u i c e  | The umami flavour of their shallot cheese is what tickles my tastebuds first any time I crave vegan cheese . . .
t r e e l i n e | If I find the words to describe the delicacy of their aged nut cheese, I'll reward myself with another slice—get it, unpack/rip it, have a relationship with it
d r . c o w | This little shop is the motha of nut cheeses—the O.G. shop—teeming with a rotation of selections spiked with tongue-twisting and appetite whetting additions like blue-green algae and reishi on the rind. Make sure to get their Annademide hazelnut mylk made with Sun Potion provisions while you're there.

R A W  V E G A N  C H E E S E  | h o m e m a d e  
1/2 cup filtered water
1 lemon
1 probiotic capsule or powder | I love Prescript Assist, Moon Juice, and Sunbiotics—you can get 20 PERCENT OFF (!) with the code SBTHIRLBY20 with Sunbiotics

D I R E C T I O N S 
Soak the cashews in water and the juice of one lemon + a dash of pink salt overnight, which activates the nuts and reduces absorption- and digestion-blocking anti-nutrients such as phytic acid
Drain the cashews the next day and blend in a high-speed blender until creamy and add the contents of the probiotic capsule
Transfer the 'cream' into a nut bag or thick cheesecloth nestled in a glass bowl to drain on the counter at room temperature, but away from direct light
Let it ferment for at least 24 hours, at which point you can taste test it for tanginess and can possibly ferment it for longer depending on your home's temperature
Once ready, refrigerate your cheese!

C R E A T E   Y O U R   B O A R D 
Balance out or compliment the tangy and savoury flavours of the cheeses with dried fruit like dried mulberries; crackers like Jilz Crackerz,  Doctor in the Kitchen, or nibbles like these Turmeric Lime Pepitas; olives such as castelvetrano or botija; crudités such as  cracker-esque slices of beets or fingers of zucchini; a sprinkling of dried herbs; and a side of grain-free cake or bread for a heartier way to carry the cheese to your mouth . . .