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105degrees, L2/W3/D1-2: fancy cheese platters

December 14, 2010

First of all, thank you guys so much for all your kind words on my team’s Academy Specials on Friday. I’m so happy everything looked as great as it tasted!

Yesterday and today, we worked a whole lot on putting together tasting plates for the cheeses we made last week. Last night, I’d made a loaf of bread, which finished dehydrating today.

What kind? Garlic bread, of course! Very similar to the one I made in Level I.

After cutting the loaf, I put the individual slices back in the dehydrator to “toast” them.

Remember my awesome 80’s-style cheese ball, modeled after my mom’s X-mas cheese ball recipe?

I’d made some plain salted flax crackers specifically to along with it, since the “real thing” would normally be eaten with Wheat Thins.

Anyway, the whole point of all this cheese business was to compose a cheese tasting platter fit for a king. So I did.

My plate contained a duo of Mexican gojiberry cheddar and plain cashew cheese, with a few drops of cilantro oil…

…a kalamata olive Brazilnut cheese with a swoosh of Romesco sauce…

…a honey-sweetened, balsamic-glazed-fig-topped pistachio cheese…

…and, finally, the famous cheese ball.

My garnishes included my “Wheat Thins” flax crackers, herbed garlic bread sticks…

…pear chips…

…and candied pecans…

…and walnuts.

GUESS what we got to end the night with.

A wine tasting! Pairing our fresh raw cheeses with a bevy of wine selections was the perfect way to end the evening.

40 Comments leave one →
  1. December 14, 2010 11:32 pm

    Looks amazing, Amber! I’ve been known to order real cheese platters (I’m sorry, I know how you feel about cow pus πŸ˜‰ ) at restuarants, but would order this instead in a heartbeat. Particularly as mine have never come with candied pecans (gosh, darn, there goes my sweet tooth again!)

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 28, 2010 11:41 am

      Heh, you know I don’t begrudge anyone a love of real cheese! Though that doesn’t mean I don’t get a little queasy at the thought πŸ˜› I feel confident in saying you’d LOVE my cheese platter! Especially, indeed, the candied pecans πŸ˜€

  2. December 15, 2010 12:13 am

    Oh my! You and I are soo in sync girly. I made a fruit and cheese platter for my parentals the other night and included pears as well (mine were caramelised though!) Your presentation is exquisite πŸ™‚ xx

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 28, 2010 6:12 pm

      Your cheeses looked AMAZING as well! Good call on the caramelized pears, yum. Thanks for complimenting my presentation!

  3. December 15, 2010 1:37 am

    THIS LOOKS AMAZING. It reminds me of this restaurant in New York devoted to artisan cheese. Literally this looks like some sort of raw vegan cheese goodness frenzy. Inspiring! Drool inducing!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 28, 2010 6:13 pm

      I’ve seen grocery stores with artisan cheese sections, but never a whole restaurant, whoa.
      So glad you like the look of my cheese plate, Cliff! πŸ˜€

  4. December 15, 2010 5:32 am

    So yummy! Sometimes I really miss cheese, and haven’t come up with a raw recipe that really fills the gap for spreadable, scrumptious yumminess. I hope you post some cheese recipes when you’re all done with this.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 28, 2010 6:15 pm

      I really do feel fortunate for NEVER enjoying cheese – i.e., I’ve never really missed it. That said, I’ve really been surprised at how much I’m loving these raw cheeses. If/when my cookbook is published someday, you can bet it’ll contain a few of these creations!

  5. December 15, 2010 6:09 am

    Glad someone is enjoying wine pairings this week. My party is cancelled due to lack of interest :(.

    Ditto on hoping for cheese recipes! I received 6 free jars of raw sun-dried olives, and I’m pretty sure some of them need to be paired with cheese.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 28, 2010 6:16 pm

      That SUCKS about the party! What is WRONG with people? 😑 Well, where will you be found on New Year’s Eve? Tyler & Henry’s place, perhaps?

      Ooh, you could make a killer raw cheese with those olives. We’ll scheme up a delicious one soon πŸ˜‰

      • December 29, 2010 5:22 pm

        I have no idea about anything going on this New Year’s. I’d definitely be down for T&H’s if invited, though! Originally I thought I had the kids for New Year’s this year, so I had planned a spa and movie night for us. I was mistaken, however….so I’m totally and completely free.

      • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
        December 29, 2010 5:24 pm

        Coolness. I think Matt and I are going to his friend’s house early, then heading to T&H’s later in the evening. I’m sure you’re welcome to come.

  6. December 15, 2010 6:52 am

    Seriously, I want to be your taste tester. Yum!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 28, 2010 6:17 pm

      Wendy, if I need cookbook testers someday, you’ll be one of the first peeps I select! πŸ˜€

  7. December 15, 2010 7:38 am


    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 28, 2010 6:17 pm

      Heh, thanks Alissa!

  8. December 15, 2010 7:58 am

    Who said you cannot have wine cheese the raw way? Noone! Looks lovely!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 28, 2010 6:18 pm

      Too true! Thanks, girlie!

  9. December 15, 2010 8:59 am

    Wow, I would be so happy to order this in a restaurant! All the components are so beautiful and look super creamy and delicious!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 28, 2010 6:22 pm

      Alayna, I’m confident you’d enjoy my cheese platter πŸ˜€

  10. December 15, 2010 10:37 am

    I want some of that bread! :o) That is one gorgeous cheese platter you have made! I sure wish I was the one doing the taste testing.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 28, 2010 6:23 pm

      Shh – the bread was my favorite part too! πŸ˜› Though I’m constantly surprised how much I’m enjoying raw cheeses.

  11. December 15, 2010 11:14 am

    This post made me really want to try to make some raw cheese again. πŸ™‚ YUM

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 28, 2010 6:24 pm

      It’s heavy stuff, so I can see myself only making it occasionally here at home. But if you haven’t made any in awhile, go for it!

  12. December 15, 2010 12:53 pm

    That the only kind of cheese platter I could ever imagine ordering – even the bready stuff looks good!
    How cool to see it all brought together also.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 28, 2010 6:25 pm

      Ela, I know how much you’re like me with creamy or cheesy stuff, but I still feel sure that you’d like these cheeses πŸ™‚ But the bread was especially stellar!

  13. December 15, 2010 2:19 pm

    I’d love to devour that and the bread. The pear chips are super cute. Very festive.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 28, 2010 6:25 pm

      I didn’t expect the pear chips to get so curly, but I actually liked them that way. πŸ™‚

  14. December 15, 2010 4:15 pm

    GAH! Honey-sweetened, balsamic-glazed-fig-topped pistachio cheese? You had me at hello.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 28, 2010 6:26 pm

      Hehe! Kinda crazy, huh? Luckily, the combo worked like a dream!

  15. December 15, 2010 10:04 pm

    I’m super impressed with the cheese platter–especially the cheese ball (a good homemade cheeseball is major weakness of mine at holiday get-togethers!) Rock on with raw goods πŸ™‚

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 28, 2010 6:26 pm

      Ooh! I really should share this cheese ball recipe with you someday. It’s the weirdest, tastiest cheese concoction ever.

  16. December 16, 2010 9:50 am

    love that cheese platter! and how cool you made bread πŸ™‚

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 28, 2010 6:29 pm

      Thanks Rach! The garlic bread is my favorite πŸ˜€

  17. December 16, 2010 1:10 pm

    That bread looks so good! and the cheeseball! I’d love to try both!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 28, 2010 6:30 pm

      Thanks Emily! I wish I could email you samples of both πŸ˜›

  18. December 16, 2010 10:24 pm

    Great job on the bread, the candied nuts and, mmm, the cheese platter. The “holiday” cheeseball looks big in the closeup, but on your variety plate, it’s tiny! Very cute, though, and mouth watering.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 28, 2010 6:31 pm

      Thanks, Mom. The cheese ball on the variety plate was just a small scoop of the big one, rolled into a mini ball. There was lots left where that came from!

  19. December 17, 2010 7:30 pm

    Wow! It is truly amazing what you know how to do!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      December 28, 2010 6:31 pm

      Hehe, thank you!

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