Thursday, January 31, 2013

nut cheese

I have newish raw food book, Practically Raw, which I highly recommend. It's not just a bunch of salads and smoothies and dehydrator lasagnas--there are lots of really inventive recipes which an average person like me would never think up herself. There's a whole chapter on kale chips (chocolate! sour cream and onion!), and another on hummus. The recipes aren't entirely raw--for instance, she has three base recipes for hummus, one of them the traditional variety with cooked garbanzo beans--and she gives tips for how to use your oven if you don't have a dehydrator.

I'm currently excited about nut cheese. Vegan 'cheese' recipes are usually bland chèvre or ricotta imitations, or else nutritional yeasty sauces. The nut cheese in this book are fermented and actually get kind of a cheesy taste even before you add additional flavorings. Here's my slightly modified version:

Brazil Nut Cheese
makes about one cup, or 4 generous servings
1C brazil nuts (or use cashews if you want to have less fat and selenium)
1/2C filtered or bottled water (you don't want the chlorine to kill your germs!)
1t probiotic powder
2t nutritional yeast
1t kosher salt
1t lemon juice

Soak the nuts 6-8 hours (2-4 if you're using cashews), then drain. Whiz them in the blender with your filtered water and probiotic powder till very smooth, then transfer to a cheesecloth or nut milk bag-lined bowl. Let it rest for about an hour, giving everything time to settle and mingle, then set the cheesecloth or bag in a strainer over the bowl. Wrap the bag or cloth over the top of the nut paste, then add a little weight (I used a 5.5oz cat food can). Put in a warm place and leave it for 24-48 hours, till it's fermented to your liking. Scrape it out of the cheesecloth and into a fresh bowl, and stir in the remaining ingredients. Refrigerate.

Pictured above is the Mexican Cheddar variation, which has chili powder, onion powder and things added to give it a kind of nacho cheesy flavor. It was an excellent work treat along with some juice pulp crackers.

Friday, January 18, 2013

a couple of recipe suggestions

My computer has been broken since mid-November, so I'm going to try posting this from my tablet. It's more work, so the formatting might not turn out just right.... I just wanted to tell you real quickly about a couple of really tasty recipes I fixed from the New York Times yesterday when Ana came over to cast on for our hat knitalong and have lunch.
I made this cauliflower dish exactly as written except that I used some fake, vegan parmesan in place of the cheese. The parmesan tastes just like the kind you shake from the green can, but it worked out well with my cauliflower. The cauliflower got a pleasant, surprisingly fluffy texture from being boiled, then baked.
I also made this roasted carrot salad, and it too was a real success. I left out the olives as we were already having a lot in the cauliflower, and I had some radicchio on hand so used it in place of the arugula. It was so pretty and red and orange, I decided to make it even redder by adding some pomegranate arils. So yummy!