BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

The Big Cheese (Aged to Perfection, Part Two)

21 Comments

For fear of inadvertently turning a little review post into a long, drawn-out novel, the urge to insert flowery prose was kept in as close check as possible. Still almost double the girth of the average article around here, it was a behemoth alright, providing plenty of info to chew on over the weekend. Countless tiny tasting notes abbreviated or discarded, I was ready to call it a day, mark this book done, and revisit it at leisure. Cleaning files and photos, it was with horror that I discovered my omission. Shortened text is one thing, but an entirely forgotten recipe trial and photo? Not on my watch.

Slipping through my fingers for a second time, I suppose, there’s a very good reason why the Air-Dried Cheddar (page 30) missed the boat on the original posting; it was ugly as sin. So ugly, in fact, that I couldn’t manage to capture any remotely appealing picture of it whole. Greasy to the touch, crackled and flaking on the outside, it was the only block of cheese that somehow picked up a little spot of mold as well. Gamely cutting out the offending fuzz, at four days in, it smelled more like yeasty bread dough than cheese. I did not have high hopes for this experiment. Although not nearly firm enough to shred or slice as promised, it was pleasantly musty in a ripened cheese-sort of way. Tasting more like traditional vegan cheeses of yore, it leaned heavily on the nutritional yeast addition, skewing it further from an authentic flavor than the previous recipes. Admittedly, I may have enjoyed it more straight out of the pan prior to aging, but it still had great potential once cured.

Making the first thing that comes to mind when anyone mentions the word “cheddar,” a lightning-fast batch of mac and cheese saved the day. Thickly coating al dente pasta in a creamy blanket, any small disappointments could be forgiven, bringing out its full culinary potential.

Easy Cheese Sauce

8 Ounces Air-Dried Cheddar from Artisan Vegan Cheese (page 30)
1 1/2 Cups Unsweetened Non-Dairy Milk
Pinch Smoked Paprika
Pinch Turmeric, Optional (For Color)

Break the cheddar into chunks, and puree all of the ingredients thoroughly until completely smooth. Transfer to small saucepan and heat, stirring occasionally, just to warm it through.

To make an almost-instant mac and cheese, toss one batch of sauce with about 1 pound of cooked pasta and serve immediately.

Makes About 3 Cups

Printable Recipe

Finally, because a recipe is a terrible thing to waste, I feel duty bound to share my approach to the famed aligot. Take my word though, it’s no mere variation on mashed potatoes; these spuds are far richer than any mere mashers could hope to be, even in the hands of Paula Deen. Dole out conservative portions, if you dare…

Aligot

2 Pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes, Peeled and Diced
1 Clove Garlic, Sliced
2 Tablespoons Non-Dairy Margarine
3/4 Pound Emmentaler from Artisan Vegan Cheese (page 32), Diced
1/4 Pound Brie from Artisan Vegan Cheese (page 12), Diced
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to Taste
2 – 3 Tablespoons Unsweetened Non-Dairy Milk

Fill a large stock pot with water and toss in the prepared potatoes and garlic. Set over moderate heat and bring to a boil, cooking until the spuds are fork-tender. Drain thoroughly before transferring the cooked potatoes to the bowl of your food processor.* Toss in the margarine and both cheeses, pureeing until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste, and thin out with non-dairy milk if necessary. Continue processing for an additional minute or two, until silky, ribbon-like strands form when scooped up with a spoon.

Serve immediately while still hot.

*Yes, I did say food processor. This breaks all the known rules of mashed potato-making, but remember, this is aligot, not mashed potatoes. You want them to end up rather sticky, stretchy, and gooey.

Makes 8 – 10 Servings

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah Kaminsky

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

21 thoughts on “The Big Cheese (Aged to Perfection, Part Two)

  1. That cheesey goodness looks so sinful! Such a good fall dinner idea.

  2. WOW. That is all.

    so much cheesy goodness :)

  3. I refuse to believe there’s ANYTHING you can’t take a lovely picture of :)

  4. That cheese sauce is just so creamy & beautiful! I would hardly even call it potatoes! That’s pure cheezy-goodness right there!

  5. Wow. I could fall into that pot of cheesy spuds.

  6. I’m feeling some serious cheesy overload and loving it :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  7. So was that cheddar less than stellar? I once made kefir cheese (back in the day) that was pretty much what you just described and ended up in the bin. It might be like making bread…you just have to mess about with it. I noticed that lots of people had problems with the cheddar (as it was obviously the first recipe in the book that most people wanted to replicate) and Miyoko has put some hints and tips on her blog to show people how to make it more attractive and cheese like. At least the results look amazing :) Good save girl! :)

    • Yeah, that would be a fair statement. It turned out fine in the end, but I don’t think I would make it again, especially considering how incredible so many of the other recipes are to begin with. Glad it’s not just me!

  8. thats a lot of cheese deliciousness! thanks for the pointer about the cheddar. i have never been a fan of aged cheese. i cant imagine leaving the cheese on t he counter for so long:)

  9. That mac and cheese looks heavenly! Worth the cheddar stress for sure.

  10. I must admit that I am very intrigued with vegan cheese after your posts. The aligot looks so smooth and creamy! i like it that it calls for the food processor! Sometimes i get so lazy trying to mash up potatoes.

  11. I really want to check out this book! I’m hoping I lay my hands on a copy soon!

  12. Potatoes and cheese… there are so many great combinations, but I mult confess this was the first time I heard of Aligot and it sounds tempting.

  13. Oh my, these are the perfect combinations if you ask me!

  14. Now I’ve got to get a copy of that cookbook, I’ve heard so many good things about it. Never heard of Aligot before though but it sure does look good and sooo creamy. :-)

  15. Beautifiul images!

    Cheese sauce with cheddar is just a winner, like you show here.
    Unfortunately, l’aligot is not a favorite in our house, but a good cheddar with a glass of wine and bread after dinner sure is..
    Ronelle

  16. Wow, your cheese sauce looks great…thick and so creamy…yummy!
    Hope you are having a great week Hannah :)

  17. oh my gosh Hannah. that mac and cheese is positively glorious. I just got The Book, and haven’t even started my rejuvalac yet… but I can’t wait. Sharp Cheddar is the first one I want to try because I really used to love sharp cheeses most of all.

  18. I’m salivating! Looks really yummy! :D

  19. Pingback: Friday Recipe Round-Up « Delicious Knowledge

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