Well, why not? This version of cashew cheese is my own, though heavily indebted both to Ann Gentry and the Real Food Daily Cookbook and to Joanne Stepaniak's crock cheez recipe from Vegan Vittles. If you don't have annatto seeds, you can still make this recipe; it will taste the same but the cheese will be a pale yellow-white.
Sharp orange cashew cheddar
makes about 2 cups
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tbsp annatto seeds
1 1/2 + 2 tbsp unsweetened plain soymilk
3/4 cup raw cashews
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp powdered mustard
3/4 tsp sea salt
up to 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional; I didn't use it)
2 tbsp yellow miso
2 tsp red miso
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
A note on agar threads: agar comes in many forms, and one of the reasons I'm doing a step-by-step is to show you the right kind to use, and how much, since that gave me a lot of grief until I had worked it out by experiment. I've made cashew cheese dozens of times by now and you can trust me. This is what you need:
Apart from the amusingly random alphabetization, agar actually isn't delicious: it has no taste at all. The little recipe on the package is for making vegan jello in case you want to try that, though I'd recommend using juice instead of water for your liquid, or at least adding a little sugar. The important part is that it comes in strips or threads. Six Fortune is my favorite brand and you can see it comes in a 1.4 oz packet. You need half the packet for this recipe. Just cut it in half with sturdy scissors and put the other half away for next time. Don't use powder, which has additives that make it good for other recipes but not this one, and I can't vouch for the perfect success of your cashew cheese if you use the lighter, rectangular agar "boxes" (when you see those you'll recognize them at once).
Start by tinting the oil. Pour the canola oil into a medium saucepan and add the annatto seeds:
Heat over medium-high heat until the seeds are sizzling, then turn the heat down to medium-low and continue to cook about three minutes, until the oil appears coloured and the seeds are dark brown. Strain out the seeds (being careful: this is, after all, boiling oil):
The tinted oil looks red at this point, but don't worry. Carefully pour it back into the saucepan, and add the soymilk and the agar threads:
You can still see the threads, and the mixture still wants to separate a bit. Watch that it doesn't boil over, and do stir to keep the agar from congealing on the bottom of the pan and burning there. Meanwhile, get out your sturdy blender or food processor, and process the cashews until they're powdery but not butter. Add the spice powders, and pulse a few times to blend:
Up to now, you've been working at a gentle, relaxed pace. That is about to change. The agar mixture is now well-incorporated. When you stir it, you'll find it beginning to congeal on your spoon. The idea that these cookbook authors are always putting out there that you can use the warm cashew cheese mixture as cheese sauce is, in my experience, a bad one, unless, perhaps, you add a lot more soymilk to the recipe. The instant this agar mixture begins to cool, it solidifies. In block cheeze, that's a good quality. In a cheese sauce, I'd imagine not so much. Use another recipe that doesn't contain agar for sauces. Anyway, your agar mixture now looks like this:
You may see a tiny piece of an agar thread or two, but that's okay. The important thing is that the agar is activated and starting to congeal. This mixture is thick but the real test is if you have to push solids off the stirring spoon and you start to get nervous that you're not going to be able to pour it into the blender fast enough. Pour it into the blender, fast, and turn the blender on. Blend or process until the mixture is as smooth as you can get it. The friction of the blades should keep the cheese in more or less liquid form while you're doing this. Scrape down the sides frequently and make sure all the cashew-spice powder is being blended in.
Now add the lemon juice and yellow and red miso and continue to process until they're incorporated. Again working quickly, pour or scrape the mixture into a glass or ceramic container (you do not have to oil your container):
Usually I get one pretty one like this and one much smaller ugly one with all the scrapings, which are, you guessed it, pretty much in solid form already. Cover the container and refrigerate until the cheese is completely cool.
You can do pretty much anything with this cheese except, of course, melt it...