Category Archives: Cheesy Adventures

My Vegan, Dairy Free, Paleo Cheese Kits Are On Kickstarter

Here’s a peek of my Kickstarter Campaign for lactose-free, paleo and vegan cheese making kits. I hope you’ll go check it out. I have videos and lots of info. on there for you! You can even watch me make dairy-free mozzarella with almonds and zucchini! http://bit.ly/dfcheese

Hi, I’m Claudia!

I’m the cheesemaker behind Urban Cheesecraft. I created do-it-yourself cheese kits that make it super easy for anyone to master simple cheesemaking at home. I also teach classes and I even wrote the book, One Hour Cheese. But I realized that lots of people living the dairy-free life were missing out on the delightful world of homemade cheese. I can’t have that!

So, I turned my focus to the awesome potential of dairy-free cheese and launched a small batch of a test kit: my Dairy-Free Mozzarella & Ricotta Kit. It works for a variety of needs—including allergen-free, paleo and vegan diets.

UCC_Kickstarter.Still001

Cheese lovers may roll their eyes or cringe in disgust at the mention of this but hear me out. I love dairy, I love real cheese. I make real cheese remember?! I’ve gotten requests for dairy-free alternatives since 2009 when I opened my business but I hesitated because like you, I did not like the store-bought options I’d come across. But I experimented and approached it from the perspective of a cheesemaker- someone who still eats cheese and know what makes it good!

spreading-brie

I’ve applied my knowledge and high standards and voila! I developed GOOD dairy-free cheese recipes that use real food like nuts, seeds, vegetables, fermented foods, spices and fresh herbs for delicious results.

20160418_UCC_4595-13 20160417_UCC_4244-3

And of course, I want those in need to be able to make these cheeses at home quickly and easily. So, kits are on the horizon!

SO CLOSE KITS

You can find behind the scenes info, photos and shareable posts here- thank you for helping me improve the world of dairy-free cheese! Remember to watch the videos and tell your friends about my project. You really just never know who might be really into this idea! Thank you!

http://bit.ly/dfcheese (the kickstarter campaign page)

https://www.facebook.com/UrbanCheesecraft/

https://twitter.com/CheeseKitsPDX

https://www.instagram.com/urbancheesecraft/

I was on NPR’s All Things Considered!

I still can’t believe this happened but it did and it was awesome.

20130908-UCC_0397

So neat to hear about it from friends sitting in traffic before I even heard it myself. Listen here!  I tell the story of my Smokey Cheater. Spoiler alert, I was trying to make cheddar in one hour. FAIL. But that fail got me on this show. See? Failing can be great!

smoky-cheater_custom-5c7fad280ad0000998ff7b4b508f7a5f024c81dd-s400-c85

 

Classes are coming back!

Classes are coming back! FINALLY, I know! Sorry folks I just can’t chew gum and release a book at the same time. Now that my book and book tour are almost 1 year old (rave reviews, thank you and hooray!), I have found the head space and enthusiasm to teach classes again as well as test more recipes.

20130518-UCC_4859

Luckily my buddies at Portland Homestead Supply have welcomed me back but now I need to ask you, besides mozzarella (which is always a hit!) which cheeses would you like to learn to make? Would you like weekday evenings or weekend afternoons? On a similar note, would you like to host me? Have cheese and book, will travel. Especially somewhere charming like near the ocean, in wine country or another country even!

20141018-UCC_0086
I have taught these in the past and can also teach all of the cheeses in my book, a French style goat cheese and more…so, chime in! What cheese interests you?

Keep it cheesy, Claudia

ps. sorry, allowing comments causes too much spam on our page but our contact page messages come right to my inbox- don’t be shy :).

Vote for Urban Cheesecraft

Hi, I’ve been working my way to a post for you and I haven’t done it yet. Sorry about that, the holiday season and book touring has kept me insanely busy but I promise it’s coming. In the meantime, just wanted to send a quick plea along with some fun not-so subliminal images…

Soooo, Paypal chose 6 businesses for this contest and mine is one of them! Of ALL the businesses nationwide. Crazy right?! Please help me win 30K! It takes 5 seconds to vote, https://www.paypal-sxswduel.com/

20150203_1046I have a chance to win $30,000 to use as I see fit as well as pro business advice from Shark Tank (FUBU) fellow, Daymond John. Please vote, pass it on, share it with your audience (people who love cheese, have made cheese, used my kits or should :). My social media skills have me at 6th at this time, yikes!

Though this is not usually my cup of tea, now that they threw me in I’m not gonna lie, I’m dreaming about the snazzy how-to videos and new non-dairy cheese kits that money could help me create! Underdog coming in for the win at the end? Ha ha!

20150203_1146

Just so you know, these photos are from a photo shoot for the contest that my awesome friends jumped into last minute but the Paypal team only ended up using a close up of a kit and my friend Ben’s arm, ha ha! That’s how it goes but I wanted to share some of the photos so you see our efforts and fun times!

Your votes will get it down to 2 of us, then Daymond John chooses the big winner at the South by Southwest Music Fest in Austin this March. Quick turnaround at least! Please vote! Thank you for letting me spam you ;). Love, Claudia

20150203_1175
If you want to twitter or facebook for me here are helpful snippets for you- feel free to use any of these images for Instagram (I’m @urbancheesecraft there, follow me! 🙂 :

Twitter

  • Help my pal @cheesekitpdx get face time with @thesharkdaymond for the chance to win $30K at the #paypalduel. Vote here:http://bit.ly/1JaQljl@paypal

Facebook

sxsw_1

15 Minute Cheese, Whey Mashed Potatoes and a Coupon

Hi there and happy Autumn Feast (I renamed it to celebrate longer!). It has been a loooooong time since I put out a newsletter and so much has happened- most memorable are the book tour that took me to the west and east coast- so fun but I’m glad to have a break! As well as our HUGE kit re-design project in partnership talented local artist, Julz Nally. http://cargocollective.com/julznally/DIY-Cheese-Kits-Urban-Cheesecraft

(NOTE- I apologize for the long dead links, for some reason I can’t hyperlink right now but the photos do link to the most important sites (Julz’s work, a 15 minute cheese recipe, and the shop). Can’t let this issue stop me right now- I have a feast to get to! :).

Have you ever seen such beauty?! The instruction booklets even have illustrations that guide you step by step with cuteness! So much work, but so worth it. I am very, very proud of us and so grateful to Julz. I hope you love the new look like I do!
20141017-UCC_9934

I want to give you a little thank you gift (10% off!) for your shopping pleasure but also, let you know you that you can make a little appetizer of homemade cheese in just 15 minutes and then use that whey for your ‘taters?  Read on…

BTW, realistically, it seems I will only update you via this newsletter format once a quarter. That’s ok with me as long as we can connect about all things DIY and cheesy via other resources.

Social Connection
I am most active on http://instagram.com/urbancheesecraft (I mostly share photos of my DIY food crafts and veggie garden adventures but I also announce new kits, tour dates etc.) and it connects to https://twitter.com/cheesekitspdx and https://www.facebook.com/UrbanCheesecraft, so connect with me on any of those and never miss a recipe, coupon code, event or class announcement.

Thanksgiving Whey Use
20130217-UCC_6841

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was interviewed this week by Mary Reilly publisher of Edible Pioneer Valley and host of The Kitchen Workshop on Edible Radio- the show will be out soon and I’ll share the link but as we chatted, she mentioned that she made a One Hour Cheese and was planning on using the whey to make her Thanksgiving mashed potatoes! I just thought that was awesome- why didn’t I think of that? So there you go, make a batch of 15 minute cheese (called First Timer’s Cheese in my book) via this gorgeous tutorial using my recipe, http://www.beardandbonnet.com/make-first-timers-cheese-one-hour-cheese-cookbook-giveaway-gluten-free/ ). Add the whey to the water and cook your potatoes as usual. The ‘taters will be extra creamy with a hint of milky sweetness and you will have added minerals like calcium as well as whey protein. More nutrition and deliciousness to boot- why not? Enjoy!

10% off Gift 
Now for my little gift. I’m not one to get into the hoopla of Black Friday- can’t stand anything that manipulates us into a buying frenzy BUT, I am inspired by http://littleboxespdx.com/ so in that spirit, support a tiny business and use this code in my shop to get 10% off through Saturday evening- UCCWEBCLUB10. It’s a little extra incentive because we will likely start selling out of certain kits soon and I don’t want you, my loyal customers to delay and be disappointed in two weeks. Go! http://urbancheesecraft.com/

Signed Book and Kit Bundle
20141005-UCC_9713

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You should also know, our trial bundle of a signed One Hour Cheese book and Deluxe Kit bundle for just $60 has been flying off the virtual shelves! Grab one of the few we have left and you will have or give a complete fresh cheesemaking education. https://www.etsy.com/listing/211304232/book-and-deluxe-kit-bundle-make-20?ref=shop_home_feat_4

Yes smarty pants, you can even use the 10% off with this bundle! Find so many amazing gifts on Etsy. Maybe you can buy everyone a handmade gift this year?

Hope you have a peaceful day full of love and good food (of course including cheese). See ya out in the social media world! Claudia

ps. I have also been working on a fun Pinterest page. If Cheese-rotica sounds intriguing, check it out today before your food comma 😉 http://www.pinterest.com/diycheesekits/

My Radio Interview by Kid Chef Eliana

Lots has happened since the last time I posted! My book tour for One Hour Cheese started so that has kept me very busy. I went to Vegas, Seattle, San Francisco, Napa and more! Catch up on my events page. There are several recipes from my book shared by the bloggers on my blog tour so it’s totally worth a look if you’ve been considering buying the book. They all took beautiful photos and gave their own twists to the recipes! I love that. One-Hour Cheese 3D cover 2.4.2014

What inspired me to finally post today (other than a break from travel) is a radio show interview I did with Kid Chef Eliana! It was such a fun experience and I have to say, she was more professional than other adult operations I’ve witnessed! It blows my how much kids have at their fingertips now. To think that I never had a cookbook, a cooking TV show to watch, the internet or even foodie radio shows like hers growing up. Incredible. I had limited supplies but I had my grandma, my mom, my appetite and my hungry cousins and sister as inspiration.

 

I’m expecting some seriously good cooking (or other skills) from all you resource-rich kids! 😉 You can listen here. The first 22 minutes are all about my business and book and some fun questions she had for me like who would I share dinner with if I could choose anyone and my biggest kitchen disaster! Then at about 40 minutes, she makes my No Bake Tarts along with the Fromage Facile used to make them.

eliana_cooks-transp-revised

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a pretty cool show for any kids you know who may be aspiring chefs or just love good food- maybe even awesome to play in a classroom while kids draw or something.  It could inspire them to start their own podcast on their hobby! Just amazing that it can be done so easily isn’t it? That works for adults too btw. 😉 Super cool! Speaking of super cool, hope you’re having a great summer! Remember this is the ideal season to enjoy and share fresh cheeses like mozzarella and ricotta with fresh basil, juicy tomatoes and other summer delights. Til next time dudes, Claudia

20130518-UCC_4766

TV Cheese in 6 Minutes!

I did it! My live TV debut on AMNW happened this morning. My head, neck and stomach still hurt at 1pm! It went well enough though. We talked about my book, One-Hour Cheese, the Powell’s event this week and we made cheese- in 6 minutes!

It was fast-paced and I was nervous that the milk was not at the right temperature yet, so when they yelled, 30 seconds to air, I screamed sh*t!!!!! That’s why you hear some laughter when my segment begins.

It’s kind of a secret but I have a potty mouth under stress… I’ve tried to train myself to say cute things like cheese and crackers!, which would be especially appropriate, but when I’m stressin’ all training goes out the window! So, if you ever hear me exclaim, cheese and crackers!, you’ll know what I really mean. 😉

Hope to see you at Powell’s Books this Wednesday, 5/7 at 7:30pm. I’ll make cheese of course, you’ll get to eat and ask questions if you got ’em. This is my big book launch week in Portland, OR- weeeeeeee!

One Hour Cheese Book Tour Kick Off

As you may know, my book One Hour Cheese is complete, freshly printed and even starting to deliver early from Powell’s, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other fine retailers! Hooray!!

One-Hour Cheese 3D cover 2.4.2014

I will be kicking off the book tour at Powell’s Books right here in Portland Oregon! Hope you can come out, it’s next Wednesday, May 7 at 7:30pm. Of course you know there will be cheese! I will be making the First Timer’s Cheese included in the first few pages of the book. It’s a yummy no-fail, ricotta-like cheese for the timid or skeptical! 😉 We will also have samples of the Chevre Kisses and Triple Pepper Hack (yes, I loved coming up with names!).

20130508-UCC_1683

As if a Powell’s launch weren’t enough, I will also make my TV debut on Monday, May 5 on AM Northwest! If you’re not in Portland, don’t be sad you’ll miss seeing me sweat to make Chivo Fresco in 5 minutes, they will archive the show at 11am Pacific time so you too can laugh at me! If you are in Portland, it’s on local channel 2 KATU.

If you’re not in town here, I hope to cross paths with you somewhere in the U.S.! Check the event calendar, I’ll keep updating. Thanks so much for supporting Urban Cheesecraft! Claudia

ps. I’ll also be at Crafty Wonderland’s Super Colossal Spring Sale (crafty wedding focus) on May 10 with kits and books!

Enjoy this outtake photo that didn’t make it into the book! Aww sweet baby goat!
20131006-UCC_9147

I’m Bringing Cheesy Back!

That’s right! I’m done writing this book that nearly killed me.

One-Hour Cheese 3D cover 2.4.2014

One-Hour Cheese did NOT take one hour to make that’s for sure!! Testing recipes, soooooo much cheesemaking, writing, rewriting, editing and 3am photo sessions is not for the faint of heart, let me tell ya! But, with Jeff on photography, and the amazing team at Workman, it’s done and I’m so happy with it. You can order it now! 

That means, I’m back to teaching- hooray! I’m really excited about this mozzarella class coming up. I’ll be leading it at the Portland Homestead Supply in Sellwood, OR. Only 10 people fit and it’s a mere $35 for a new lifelong skill (includes a cheese tasting of course), so jump on it!

20130518-UCC_4808

Aside from that, I’ll be launching the book and touring throughout the U.S. soon, want to host me? Contact me and maybe we can arrange something. The tour kicks off with a TV appearance (yikes!) on AM Northwest and then Powell’s on Burnside! EX. CI. TING! I think? I’ll also be slinging kits and books at the Crafty Wonderland Spring Sale in May. It’s all on the calendar. Please visit me, friendly faces make it so much more fun.

Thank you all for the support since we opened and especially this last year. Hope you enjoy the book, our polished up website (thank you Cee!) and soon I hope, a class and new skill! Claudia

p.s. Happy spring! I hope it’s full of beautiful beginnings for you!

Winter Solstice Honeyed Ricotta

Happy Belated Solstice! Did you notice? Yesterday was the shortest day of the year which means we had just a little bit more daylight today, we will have a little more tomorrow, and on and on. Before we know it, summer sunsets will be after 9pm again here in Portland and we’ll have tomatoes up to our eyeballs to eat with our mozzarella!

For me, holidays are such a fun way to celebrate seasonal changes that although easy to take for granted, are nothing short of awe-inspiring. Of course, most of the holidays and seasons end up being celebrated with certain foods. From pea shoot pesto in spring, crisp cucumber salads in summer, to pumpkin pies in fall and spicy chai in winter…I look forward to (and naturally crave) these seasonal treats.

I hope you’re celebrating in your own special way, making your favorite seasonal treats and of course finding a way to gather with family and good friends.

If you happen to use our cheese kits with your family or gifted them for the holidays (as we often hear is the case)…thank you for inviting us to your celebrations! We look forward to hearing more about your cheesy adventures in 2014. Stay in touch! Claudia

I didn’t forget your recipe!

Honeyed Ricotta

I think not enough people enjoy ricotta in sweet recipes. This simple but addictive spread (sorry no photo) is perfect for a holiday brunch or for dinner appetizers. Use it as a spread for crostini, a fruit dip or topping for pancakes. You know those fancy brie recipes where you bake the whole wheel and top with jam and nuts? This is a lot like that!

Make ricotta, lightly sweeten about 2 cups with 1-2 tablespoons honey, grate about 10 strokes of whole nutmeg (or to taste) into it and stir thoroughly. Toast some chopped pecans in a dry pan until fragrant and melt 2 more tablespoons of honey into the pan at the last minute. Pour the honey and toasted pecans onto the ricotta (now in your presentation bowl). Dip or top away! Experiment with different add-ins or toppings…dry cranberries, anise seeds, maple syrup, pistachios, cinnamon. All delicious! Enjoy :).

cheesemaking party

Say Cheese!