I have been playing around. I wanted to know about agar-agar, also known as kanten. My room-mate brought me a package of two “logs” from Japan. I had read that flakes or powder were better, so I tore up the kanten (a lot) and reduced it to small flakes/powder in my coffee grinder. Then I waited for the right recipe to appear.
Reading through my library of vegan/raw vegan books, I came across a recipe for “Swiss Cheez” in a vegan cookbook , The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook, by Joan Stepaniak. . I made the recipe as described, but I did not initially like the taste of the mix, so I added in other spices. The result I got was still not what I want, but it tastes okay on a cracker (not on its own – no way – yuck!!!) The good thing about this recipe is that it produces a slice-able cheez with a texture similar to Velveeta.
SWISS CHEEZ (adapted from a recipe in The Uncheese Cookbook by Joan Stepaniak)
1-1/2 C water
5 T kanten flakes (not raw)
1/2 C cashews
1/4 C nutritional yeast flakes (not raw)
3 T fresh lemon juice
1 T onion powder
2 t Dijon mustard
1/4 t salt
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t mustard powder
1/2 t dried dill
Bring the water and the agar flakes to a boil in a small saucepan. Lower the heat and continue to cook for 5 mins. Stir frequently. After 5 mins, turn off the heat and allow to cool for 5 mins.
Place all ingredients, including agar solution, in a blender and blend until smooth.
Pour mixture into an oiled 3 C rectangular container. Cover and chill for 3 – 8 hrs.
Turn out of mold and slice.
Refrigerate in an airtight container.
When I took it out, the cheez was amazingly firm and slice-able, with a texture similar to Velveeta. When I tasted a piece of it, it tasted nasty. What can I tell you.
I left it in the refrigerator (heck! The ingredients cost me a pretty penny)
This evening, I went back to the concoction and put it on the new sunflower/flax seed crackers I made on Friday night. That was much better. Yea! I do not have to throw the whole thing out. I just need to figure out how to spice the next one. The basic part of this recipe is still valuable. I should add that my room-mate likes it as is.