for the cheese (this version tastes best when melted and warmed)
1/2 can full-fat coconut milk (6.83 fl. oz.)
1/2 tsp coconut vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp agar powder
1/2 TB tapioca flour
1 TB nooch
for the soup
1 TB olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
a few dashes of liquid smoke
1 cup of prepared crushed roma tomatoes (I used Eden brand)
2 cups of homemade stock or Imagine brand No-Chicken broth
for the sandwich
4 pieces of sandwich bread
Earth Balance vegan butter, softened at room temperature
To make the cheese
Combine all of the cheese ingredients except for the nooch in a small saucepan. Whisk briskly continuously until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove it from the heat, stir in the nooch and transfer it to a small pyrex dish. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
To make the soup
Heat the oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add in the onions and saute until translucent and slightly browned, about seven minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low, then add in the garlic, spices and liquid smoke. Allow to saute for about 3 minutes, stirring occassionally. Now add in the prepared roma tomatoes and vegan broth. Return the heat to medium until the soup comes to a very small boil. Then dial the heat back down to low and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes.
At this point, you can remove the soup from the heat and blend well with an immersion blender. You can also transfer to a blender, just make sure that the soup has completely cooled before doing so.
To make the sandwiches
Place a 1/2 Tb of Earth Balance into a skillet over medium heat. Spread one of the slices of bread with a thin layer of the cheese, then place the bread, cheese side up, on the skillet. Swirl it around to ensure it gets coated well with the vegan butter. Spread the other slice of bread with the softened butter and place it, butter side up, on top. Allow the bread to nicely brown on one side before flipping it over with a spatula, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with a little salt on top if desired.