Saturday, October 24, 2009

Vegan MoFo III: A Gathering of Sorts

Today was horrible and that's putting it lightly.  It started with a phone call that completely made me sad/angry and continued to get progressively worse.  This was a day that I should have just stayed in bed and shut my phone off.  I did have a good three hours of positivity, though.  My husband and I decided to scrap the idea of inviting our friend over because of today's craptasticness.

Instead we had a lovely cheese and wine filled evening in our backyard.  When I was running through ideas for MoFo this year, one of you suggested that I do a vegan cheese tasting.  I don't remember who, but THANK YOU.  This was super fun and put me in a brighter mood until it was once again deflated.  But I'm living in the good right now!

I have a special fondness for wine and cheese.  Not because I'm particularly familiar with either.  My favorite wine is pinot grigio, I think...?  I hate dry wines and am not a huge fan of reds.  Sweet dessert wines are the devil and my favorite pregan cheese was pesto jack.  But the first Festivus my husband and I had was born out of a small social gathering that was meant to be a wine and cheese type thing.  The only problem was that my husband had invited a gazillion people and forgot to tell them it was a small thing and the huge party we planned was going to be the following week.  So here's to traditions being born and my San Anto fam!

There were 7 (!) types of cheeses.  4 were homemade and three were Sheese.  I gotta tell ya: the homemade won!  In the above picture, the tray at the bottom left contains a raw Cashew Cheese Au Poivre.  I never use rejuvelac because that takes too much work.  It's still cheesy, peppery greatness!  On that little tray, I also have fresh bread.  (Sidenote: that tray is a pea pod and I got it for a quarter at the thrift store.  HOLLER!).

This tray has a lot going on.  Starting from the top and moving clockwise: Port Wine Uncheese from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook, garlic and herb multi-grain crackers, Bleu Sheese, multi-grain crisp bread, Smoked Cheddar Sheese, more crackers, Sharp Cheddar Sheese, and more crisp bread.  The middle is a raw cashew Herb Cheeze.  I always salt this to taste because it doesn't call for much at all.

In the middle of this tray is the White Bean Boursin from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook.  Also included: Spice-Roasted Almonds, red grapes, olives, dark chocolate and dark chocolate w/ crystallized ginger, pickled okra, and figs.  I bought the chocolate from Fresh and Easy.  They have this GIANT 1 lb, 1.64 oz chocolate bar.  I had to get it.  The ginger was calling my name too.  Ginger is my favorite!  The pickled okra is just because.  I don't think it goes well with wine, but the brand was Taste O' Texas or something hilarious like that so I bought it.  They were a little spicy.  And soooo good.

Basically, Era and I just sat outside drinking and talking for hours.  It was fun and something we don't do nearly as much as we should.  I highly recommend doing a cheese tasting.  It's so much fun to make your own and a hell of a lot cheaper.  So I'll get to the good stuff.  Here's my countdown to the number one cheese I had tonight.

7. Port Wine Uncheese-Blech.  This was so disgusting.  Granted, I hate red wine.  However, I usually don't mind if red wine is in something.  However, all the flavor combos made for a slightly sweetish red wine beany spread.  Roll that around in your mind.
6. Bleu Sheese-No.  I don't like it because it kinda reminds me of what I imagine plastic would taste like.
5. Sharp Cheddar Sheese-Not bad.  Not the greatest thing though.  I'm going to try it melted.  Wait.  Does Sheese melt?
4. Herb Cheeze-This is really good.  Super smooth and creamy.  Really good on the crisp bread.
3. Smoked Cheddar Sheese-I honestly had trouble telling the difference between this and the sharp cheddar.  I've had this one before and remember it being much smokier than it was.  Still good.  Love it on crackers or by itself.
2. Cashew Cheeze Au Poivre-This stuff is seriously amazing.  It is so cheezy AND raw.  I love it.  Plus the pepper adds a really good punch.
1. White Bean Boursin-Absolutely no contest.  It's the umeboshi paste that does it.  Such a salty tang (hee hee).  I love this stuff on bread.

Well, folks, there you have it!  So ends holiday week.  Tomorrow begins food memories.  Yay!


Jeni Treehugger said...

OOOh awesomness.
I love your little pea pod platter.
Sheese doesn't melt but it goes kinda crispy which I really like especially with the smoked cheddar, it's quite bacon-esque.
Hope you have a FAB Sunday Mo.

Bonnie said...

Ooh that is such a great idea. I'd love to have a vegan cheese tasting. You made so many kinds! They sound really good too.

I've made vegan cheese-like things myself in the past, but they usually took a long time to make so I've never made more than one or two at a time. Looking at the awesome collection of different kinds on your table, though, I think it might be worth it!

It's also good to hear that homemade cheeses actually beat the storebought ones - makes me feel better about the fact that I can't get Sheese over here!

And I'm really sorry your day was terrible! I hope you feel better soon (and that the cheeses helped).

kmouse said...

That looks wonderful! I want to have a wine and cheese party now!

jessy said...

i'm sorry your day started out so crappily, Monique. i'm glad it got better with the wine 'n cheeze yummies! i've never made my own cheezes before - i just printed off the recipes from the sunny raw kitchen blog - thank you! mmmm, chocolate - that's a huge bar 'o chocolate, and i would have purchased it, too. so yum! pickled okra, chocolate with ginger, figs & almonds - it all sounds most fantastical! i wish i was joining in on all the yum!

Anonymous said...

WOW! That sounds like so much fun! So glad you found some you like. I almost bought that blue sheese but in the end I didn't because it was really expensive and now I am glad I didn't!

Monique a.k.a. Mo said...

Jeni-Ooh. Crispy sheese sounds like it would be great on salad!

Bonnie-I like to make raw cheeses. It takes about two days but it's all inactive. I soak the nuts over night and blend the basic cheeze in the morning. Then the following morning I add the flavoring and refrigerate. After a few hours, I am in heaven!

Kim-Yes! Tea party in the afternoon cheese tasting at night!

Jessy-I seriously love those recipes. Hope you like them too!

Lazysmurf-Yeah. That cheese was so not good to me. I can't remember if I ever liked bleu cheese though.

Jessie (Vegan-minded) said...

Wow, that's my kind of party! I would be all over that cheese plate. As much as I love smoked cheddar Sheese, your homemade cheeses look so much better :)

Erin said...

There should be more vegan cheese tastings in this world. Awesome!