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January 31, 2011

Herbed Raw Cashew "Cheese"

It looks like we may be having our second major snow storm of the new year, which may mean two consecutive weeks of multiple snow days. I really can't complain. I don't really mind all of the shoveling, and the set back of graduating a couple days later to make up for the lost days doesn't really bother me. I probably should be using the extra days off to get more studying done, May will be here before I know it, laughing at me as I sit in a room for 4 hours taking AP tests, while she's shining her sun and warming the earth. But instead of studying, what do I do? I take time to prepare food I wouldn't have time to make during the school day. I think up little snacks that I would love to have. (Like the one I thought of today during Philosophy class: chocolate cashew butter. It would be sooo easy. And so good.) Sundays are also spent making foods for me to eat during the week. Dips and pates are the easiest, because I love munching on veggies during the day and salads aren't very ideal to be taken out in the middle of class. Some celery, or peppers, with a nice nut or bean dip, and no one even notices.

I've been experimenting with nut "cheeses" a bit lately, trying to ferment them to get that tangy cheese taste. The fermenting hasn't been too successful. I'm going to try adding more miso, and if that doesn't work then just breaking open a probiotic and adding that. So the cheese I made is not notably tangy, but it is still very good. The consistency is very smooth, and the olive oil-rosemary combination gives it a creamy herby flavor.

If you left this out for say, a couple days, it may legitimately ferment, but to be honest I wanted some good dip, and I didn't feel like waiting.

Herbed Raw Cashew "Cheese"

2 cups raw cashews
1 cup raw walnuts
1 tbls extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp miso paste

1.) Soak cashews and walnuts for at least 2 hours, or over night.
2.) Drain nuts. Puree them in your food processor until crumbly.
3.) Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until the mixture is very smooth, like a creamy nut butter.
4.) Put a cheesecloth over a small bowl, and then put the cheese mixture on top of the cheesecloth. Then put plastic wrap over the cheese mixture to keep it from drying out. I used a rubber band to hold the cheese cloth onto the bowl like a cover. The weight from the nut cheese will sink it down a bit.
5.) Let the "cheese" sit like this for 24 hours (or more) in a warm place.
6.) Put the cheese on a plate and enjoy with veggies, chips, crackers, in sandwiches, or whatever else suits you.

On cheesecloth, covered with plastic wrap.

Being enjoyed with Mom's homemade brown rice crackers.

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