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Cashew Gary au Poivre


Cheese! Cheese! Cheese! The last frontier before crossing the bridge to fully plant based! Pretty much everyone loves some form of cheese and the most common phrase we hear is, “I could never give up cheese.” Well, even if you don’t, these days it’s getting easier and easier to transition into dairy free with so many great plant-based cheeses available. AND if you’re picky about what you call and refer to as dairy-free cheese (since it’s a hot topic in some countries) you could adopt the name “Gary” as they do in the UK to avoid confusion. No matter what you decide to call it, if it looks, acts, feels and tastes like it and the only difference is it’s not coming from an animal, then we’re good with that.

We love that there are so many options to choose from now but be warned, not all dairy-free cheeses are created equal and some are heavily processed, high oil “cheeses” that are packed with gums, funk and other ingredients we can’t pronounce and refuse to use. Read the ingredient labels and decide what works for you.

The best kind is the kind we make at home and know and control what’s in em, they’re pretty simple to make… and today we’ve got a wicked healthy, RAW cheese recipe that is totally legit and legal and can be made in less than 24 hours.

This one starts with raw cashews that we culture with probiotics to infuse a twangy, “cheezy” flavor into the mix. Once the culturing is done in 14-16 hours, we then flavor with some herbs and then chill to firm before serving. We’re rolling and crusting this bad boy with cracked peppercorns, but it can also be left plain or finished with whatever herb or furikake-style crumb topping you like. It’s delicious with sourdough breads, crackers, fruit and vegetables or used in grilled cheese sandwiches or toast and bagels.

Here’s what we use to do it. The pieces of equipment listed below aren’t completely necessary (you can use whatever blender or food processor you’ve got), but we recommend them for the next-level cooks/chefs and their ability to create a supremely smooth and velvety texture.


Vitamix

A high-speed blender is a key component to turn any nut or seeds from its raw state into a silky, smooth, thick cream. Just remember in order to blend to the smoothest consistency you’re gonna want to add some liquid and fold while blending to ensure the thickest texture without blowing out the engine. In other words, most vita mix based cheeses, will only work well with more liquidy substances, if you are looking for a thicker consistency, you will probably want to strain the mixture with cheese cloth, press and culture, depending on the recipe.

 

Robot Coupe Blixer

Next to a Vitamix, we love this option when making non-dairy cheeses. With a Blixer, you only need a splash of water, if any, when blending, and the end result is a super thick and smooth texture, with little to no straining required.

Raw cashews

Cashew Gary au Poivre

Serves: 4-6 as an appetizer

Ingredients:

For the cheese

2 cups raw cashews soaked in water for a few hours to overnight, to soften

¾ teaspoon Renew Life Probiotics powder, or other potent pro-biotic powder dissolved in 3/4 cup warm filtered water

2 ½ tablespoons nutritional yeast, small flake

1 tablespoon onion powder

¼ t fresh powdered nutmeg

1 ½ t fine sea salt

¼ teaspoon white pepper


To crust the cheese

3 tablespoons crushed pink peppercorns

3 tablespoons chives, fine minced (optional)

½ tablespoon flaked sea salt

 

Directions:

In high speed blender, blend the soaked cashews with probiotics and lukewarm water until smooth. To achieve an optimum smooth consistency, remove the lid, and fold the mixture at medium speed. Note: if using Blixer, you will use less water and result will be a thicker product.

Scrape out with rubber spatula into a glass bowl. Allow to sit in bowl covered with towel at room temperature for 14-16 hours to culture.

After allowing the mixture to culture, hand mix in the nutritional yeast, onion powder, nutmeg, sea salt and white pepper.

Store and use as a plain cream cheese substitute, or use as a base for endless variations and applications.

Note:

Don’t have time to culture? Omit the probiotics and replace with 2 tablespoons lemon juice. The end result will be slightly different but still a similar flavor profile without the zing.

Peppercorn-crusted option:

Press the cashew cheese firmly into a small spring form pan or terrine mold lined with plastic wrap or a round mold. Allow to chill for 1-2 hours to firm up.

While still in the pan, sprinkle the peppercorn, chive and coarse salt on top, creating an even crust, then press slightly. Note: if using a spring form or terrine mold, once lined with plastic wrap, cover the bottom of the pan with the peppercorns, chives and salt mixture, and continue to press the cheese on top. This will make it easier to flip over once set, so the top is encrusted.

Serving suggestion:

This is an awesome recipe with a layer of pesto or tapenade in the center, or just drizzled with a white balsamic syrup and served with crackers of choice.

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