Apr 15, 2013
Cashew Cream Cheese + Tea Sandwiches
When I first omitted dairy from my diet I was replacing it with processed cheese alternatives. I even suggested some of them here on my blog. I recently read the ingredients label on a cream cheese substitute. I knew it wouldn’t be good: Water, expeller processed natural oil blend (soybean, palm fruit and olive), maltodextrin, soy protein, tofu, nondairy lactic acid, blend of natural gums (locust bean, guar, cellulose, xantham, and carrageenan), organic sugar, veg. mono and diglycerides, salt.
Oil, sugar, mono and diglycerides…. what was I doing? Certainly this is not a whole food, nor even a healthy choice. Some people are going to start calling me a purist. That’s okay. They can also call me healthy! On Dr. Fuhrman’s site there is a thread in the members forum titled “You know you’re a nutritarian when…” Some of the answers are pretty funny and one that comes to mind is “You know you’re a nutritarian when your idea of eating poorly is other people’s idea of eating healthy!” It seems that is exactly what is occurring.
I recently purchased the book Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Schinner. Wow! I’m so excited to try ALL of her recipes. I’m starting with the easy ones, and one of those is cream cheese. So easy, I cannot believe it! When I first blended the ingredients I was skeptical. Okay, it just tastes like cashews. Then I let it sit, as directed… 24 hours. Sniff. Smells a little different. 48 hours. Sniff. What??? That smells just like cream cheese! Guess what? It tastes just like it, too.
Here is the recipe:
- 2 cups raw cashews soaked in water for 8 hours and drained
- ½ cup water (add a little at a time, less is better for a thicker cheese)
- 2 TBS plain, unsweetened non-dairy yogurt
- pinch of salt
- Process the ingredients: Put the cashews, nondairy yogurt, and salt in a blender. Process, adding the water a bit at a time, until smooth and creamy, occasionally stopping to scrape down the blender jar and move the mixture toward the blades.
- Culture the cheese: Transfer to a clean glass bowl or container, cover securely with a breathable cloth, like cheesecloth or a paper towel and let rest at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours, depending on how sharp a flavor you want and the ambient temperature (culturing will proceed more quickly at warmer temperatures). For use in cheesecakes that will be sweetened, allowing it to culture for a full 48 hours will create a tanginess that will nicely complement the sweetener. When it’s cultured to your desired taste, cover and refrigerate. The cheese will get firmer as it chills.
Storage Notes: Stored in a covered container, cashew cream cheese will keep for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator or 4 months in the freezer.