How To Make & Serve The Perfect Raw Vegan Cheese Board
Today, the stunning owner of LA's Moon Juice, Amanda Chantal Bacon, talks to us about making raw cheese and how to create the perfect raw cheese board. We've tried Amanda's cheeses ourselves and can attest that even dairy lovers will appreciate the tanginess and rich, varied flavor of these delicious raw cheeses. Serve with sprouted crackers and fresh veggies for a great raw and vegan appetizer option for your next dinner party.
This cheese board is raw, vegan, gluten and grain-free, and medicinal. It's full of probiotics, plant protein, minerals and enzymes...and absolutely delicious. Trust me.
Buying Raw Cheese
If you're buying raw vegan nut cheese, make sure that it is actually a raw, unpasteurized product, and that it is organic. The tanginess of the cheese actually comes from the fermentation process, so be wary of acidic additives like lemon that are used as shortcuts. The fermentation process not only lends that beautiful tangy cheese flavor, but also the truly medicinal probiotic benefit.
Making Raw Cheese
This sounds scary but it's actually really easy and simple to make your own fermented cashew base that you can flavor with garlic, herbs and spices as you desire to create your own raw cheese.
Soak 2 cups of cashews overnight. Drain. Blend soaked cashews with 3 tablespoons of water in a high powered blender, like a Vitamix, until you have a thick and smooth puree. Then, depending on the strength and liveliness of your probiotic, add 1 pinch to 1 teaspoon of probiotics to your mix. Put in covered container and leave on the countertop overnight.
The key factors in the fermentation process are the strength of your probiotics and the ambient temperature in your kitchen. If you leave your cheese out overnight in a very cold kitchen the fermentation will be slower than in a warmer environment. For a faster and tangier cheese, leave out at room temperature for a longer period of time. Put it back in your fridge the next day.
Depending on what your intentions are, I keep a mother batch in my fridge that continues to slowly age and ferment. Meaning it will get stronger and tangier in taste, and become a harder stiffer cheese in texture as it air cures. I take out portions of this mother batch and flavor with salt fresh herbs and chopped shallots or in other moments will spread on piece of toast like cream cheese or may even add honey and cinnamon for a sweet treat.
The Health Benefits Of Nut Cheese
The powerful probiotics in the nut cheeses will nurture intestinal micro flora, heal the gut, and re-colonize intestines with organisms that defend against disease, viruses, and yeast. Probiotics boost nutrient potency and assimilation, and decrease sugar cravings. This cheese board is a big board of plant protein. These cheeses will feed muscles, tissues, and organs with essential amino acids and proteins for lasting energy focus and strength.
Assembling A Raw Cheese Plate
A cheese plate is all about beauty and ceremony. It's such an easy, quick way to entertain, even if you're only entertaining for one. I always use a wooden cutting board and lay the cheeses artfully upon it.
If you have a softer cheese spread, choose a beautiful little bowl and dazzle with a brass or wood knife or spoon for spreading. My favorite pairing option is a raw organic sprouted cracker to spread your cheese on. I also really like gluten-free baked crisps. Other great options for pairing with your cheese are raw olives, dried fruit, spiced nuts and more.
Artfully stack the different crackers on the other side of the board and garnish with whatever herbs or flowers you may have growing in your garden or lingering in your fridge. I personally always love to add a crystal or beautiful rock to the presentation as well.
Amanda Chantal Bacon believes that food is equal part art and medicine; as much about pleasure as healing; and that creativity and sustenance can be one and the same. Originally from New York City, Amanda first became enamored with the beauty of simple ingredients, culinary traditions, and a holistic approach to wellness while traveling the world and meeting healers, artisans, doctors and farmers along the way.
Having graduated from the New England Culinary Institute of Vermont, she went on to get hands-on experience under award-winning chef Suzanne Goin at her restaurant Lucques, followed by a turn as a Food and Wine Editor at the Los Angeles Times Magazine.
In January 2012, Amanda realized her vision and opened Moon Juice — a beautifully curated space where the community can eat, drink, learn and share in the most extraordinary holistic offerings. Today, Moon Juice includes three locations in Venice, Silver Lake and Downtown LA, a Moon Rover that travels throughout the city, as well as an online apothecary with global reach.