I wish I could take credit for this delicious, mind-blowing cheese recipe. But I'm a chef who understands that the beauty of food and its creation lies in the skillful hands of passionate crafters who turn their mindful conceptions into nourishment and love....and then share it with others.
Chefs feed. Its what we do. Some want fame and recognition in restaurants with soft glowing candles and ingredients flown in from remote islands, while others simply want to put a meal in front of their hungry children or watch their husbands face as he takes the first bite of his favorite pie. I learn from every cook I am in the kitchen with - professional or home cook. I always take something away from the experience.
So while this is my first foray into the AGED vegan cheese realm, I recognized greatness immediately in the passionate artistry of everything this woman creates. Building layers of flavor is also how I teach others to cook - and I soon became enamored of her YouTube channel, and inspired to re-create her recipes. You must visit this Italian Canadian's channel and subscribe at Connie's RAWsome kitchen! Be inspired by the flavors and complexity of this creamy, spicy nut-based aged cheese and you may never need dairy cheese again!
UPDATE: I will post a few more pictures and a slice into the center of the cheese after it has properly aged! :) These pics are all just detailing the initial process prior to aging.
Vegan Spicy Jalapeño Havarti AGED Cheese
1 cup blanched almonds, soaked overnight
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
1 clove garlic
3 heaping tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp white miso
2 cups cooked Basmati rice
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
9-10tbsp rejuvelac (see NOTE)
plus 2tbsp water if needed for blending
1 tbsp shiitake mushroom powder
3 jalapeños, finely minced
1 1/2 tsp hot chili flakes
cornstarch for forming cheese
parchment paper or wax paper
brown paper strips to use as cheese molds
twine to tie around cheese
small box for storing cheeses in fridge to age
Place soaked almonds and cashews, garlic, coconut oil, miso, basmati rice, sea salt and shiitake mushroom powder in the Vitamix. Add 9-10 tbsp rejuvelac. Blend on low speed, working up to higher speeds adding more water until mixture is super smooth and creamy but still very thick.
Saute' jalapeños until lightly browned, allow to cool. Place cheese mixture into a bowl and stir in jalapeños and chili flakes until well incorporated. Lightly tent with plastic wrap and allow to sit in the bowl overnight at room temperature to develop flavors and begin the fermentation process.
The following day, place cheese mixture in the fridge covered with plastic wrap and chill for 24 hours.
For aged Cheese:
When you are ready to form cheese, scoop out desired amount of cheese into a square of parchment paper layered with 2 tbsp cornstarch. Form into a small wheel with high sides, using cornstarch and the parchment paper to keep from sticking to your hands and coat the outside of cheese. Wrap brown paper strip around the outside of cheese to assist with formation and provide structure for the aging cheese, and tie some twine around the paper strip. Dust the top with additional cornstarch and place cheese wheel in small box lined with parchment paper.
Age in box, in the fridge for 2-3 weeks or longer. Cheese continues to firm and develop flavors as it ages.
For Fresh Cheese:
Place in a crock and store in the fridge, covered. Great as spread for bagels or as a vegan sandwich spread.
NOTE: Rejuvelac is made by fermenting grains until a natural probiotic is formed. I used wheat berries but you can use other grains. Go to Connies RAWsome Kitchen for information on making your own Rejuvelac.