oh cashews, how do i love thee? let me count the ways…
cashews kick ass, and lately i can’t seem to get enough of their creamy, protein packed flavor. it all started when the vegetarian times had a recipe for cashew goat cheese. i can bring it anywhere, re-named as ‘savory cashew spread’ and it’s devoured almost instantly. then i discovered dr. cow’s tree nut cheeses; aged for 3 months, these cheeses develop the same sharp tang as traditional cheese, making them an insanely delicious pairing with crackers and wine. i’ve always wanted to re-create them, but aging? that seems a bit too complex for my decidedly amateur cooking skills. then, i found chef tal ronnen, his book ‘the conscious cook’, and his amazing recipe for cultured cashew, and macadamia nut cheeses. it’s similar in concept to the vegetarian time’s cashew cheese; you soak raw cashews and cream them, but before flavoring and setting the cashew cream, you culture it with store-bought probiotic powder -1 tsp per 2c cashews- for 16 hours, and then let it set up in the fridge. the result is incredibly reminiscent of cream cheese; tangy, velvety, and with a hint of sweetness. i’ve been making, and devouring his recipe weekly. it’s my favorite snack with slices of apple, cucumber, and gluten free flax crackers.
i’ve also been tinkering with using it as a base for faux-ranch dressing.
next, i want to try making raw cashew cheesecake. i love the version they make at the ecopolitan, but i think culturing the cashews will add the backbone that it’s been missing!