Wow, talk about a cheesy resource! With my focus on all things dairy-free, I was amazed that I had not yet picked up a copy of this cookbook. I think that two things held me back: I don’t really miss cheese, as I was never a big fan of the stuff; and I couldn’t imagine an entire cookbook focused on one type of food.
Well unbeknownst to me, this wasn’t just a book about making fake cheddar. Sure, it contains tons of made from scratch cheezes, from slicing Swizz Cheez, to the softer Brie, to a saucy Nacho Cheez. Yet, it goes so many steps further, reminding me just how many foods rely on that creamy and cheesy taste. Blintzes, fondue, pesto, pizza, quiche, alfredo sauce, cheesecakes, French onion soup, lasagna … you name it and the author Jo Stepaniak has the recipe answer. I was impressed.
Seriously, this is a must have book for any former cheese-loving vegan or dairy-free consumer. Sure, creating an exact duplicate sans dairy can be an uphill battle, and depending on each person’s tastes, one recipe or another may not be their perfect fit. But I would be truly shocked if you couldn’t find at least a handful of recipes in this cookbook to soothe your inner cheese-craving beast.
A few of the recipes from the Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook are also published in the recipe conglomeration within the Food Allergy Survival Guide, a book co-authored by Jo Stepaniak. I just happened to pick two of those recipes to trial when I tested out the Food Allergy Survival Guide, so the Chickpea Flour Pizza and Beannaise gave me a preview of the Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook.
Nonetheless, I still hadn’t sampled one of the truly cheesy recipes, of which there were so many to choose from. Feeling a bit overwhelmed with possibilities, I opted to go with the traditional, literally. I picked the “Traditional Macaroni and Cheez” for dinner one night. The “cheese” sauce turned out a bit too thick, but some additional milk alternative quickly solved the problem. The finished product was quite good, and has peaked my curiosity for the other recipes in this cookbook. Next up on my “to trial” list are the Calzones and the Focaccias (there are four varieties!).
Making the actual “cheeses” does require a few ingredients that may be new-to-you. Luckily, there really are just a handful of these special ingredients required, allowing you to buy a good sized package of each once, and then reap the rewards of various “cheeses” for months. Also, while tofu definitely makes itself known in this cookbook, a surprising number of recipes are soy-free. In a good majority of the recipes, Jo uses a variety of nuts, seeds, beans, grains, and seasonings to achieve the right consistency and flavor.
While the entire cookbook is vegan, true to the author’s book collection, this one has a decidedly dairy-free focus, perfect for those who have milk allergies, lactose intolerance, or who otherwise can’t or don’t consume milk products. Really, I couldn’t imagine a better gift to buy for any dairy-free consumer than this cookbook. Of course, if you really want to cover all of the craving bases, a dairy-free/vegan “ice cream” recipe book would compliment this book perfectly. Hint, hint. I sure hope someone in my family is reading this …