Cashew Cheese -Part 2 (quick and easy)

If you looked wistfully at my first post and thought “That looks interesting Leta, but I don’t have a milk bag, and I want my cheese now!”, then this follow-up post is for you!

There’s a quick and easy way to make a soft, cream cheese-like cashew “cheese” that is great for spreading on cucumber slices, celery, crackers, bagels etc.

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My recipe is a modification of Meghan Telpner’s Ginger Cashew Cheese recipe found in her book, The Undiet Cookbook.  I have a love for all things lemon and dill, so I reduced the ginger, and added lemon zest and dill.

Lemon Garlic Cashew Cheese

From: Leta’s Creative Kitchen (For a printable PDF version: lemon-garlic-cashew-cheese)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked and rinsed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ tsp dried dill
  • Juice from ½ to 1 lemon
  • Grated lemon peel from ½ an organic lemon
  • ½ piece of fresh or frozen ginger, grated (I leave the peel on)
  • sea salt to taste

Tools needed:

  • high speed blender or food processor with small cup (like a Ninja)
  • Food rasp or small zester for ginger and lemon peel

Directions:

  1. Drain and rinse the cashews
  2. Place all the ingredients into your food blender and mix until smooth
  3. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • Start with ½ the lemon juice the first time you make this so that you can adjust your consistency.  It won’t be runny with the full amount of juice, but the texture is smoother and may be too smooth for some.
  • Be careful when blending to not overhead the mix.  Stop frequently to push the contents back down towards the blade.  You can do this with a full-size blender jar, but I find it’s hard to get it smooth with the small amount of the recipe.
  • You can try this with almonds and raw pumpkin seeds as well, but the end result won’t be quite as creamy

 

Food In Jars Mastery Challenge – Salting

This month’s mastery challenge was related to salt preserving or curing.  I had already tried many of the recipes that were being suggested (salt preserved lemons, kimchi, sauerkraut, herbes salees) and was beginning to worry that I wouldn’t learn anything new this month.  Then enter salt cured egg yolks.  I had never heard such a thing!  So I went online and did a bit of research to see if this was my project for the month.

What I learned was that when egg yolks are preserved, they can be grated onto foods to add a delicate salty buttery flavour to foods – particularly pastas.  I also learned that preserving eggs has long been a tradition in Asian cultures – curing the egg yolks in soy sauce or miso instead of plain salt.

Before I started I checked out a number of different recipes as there were multiple variations.  Most used a mix of salt and sugar.  I was worried that the sugar would make the yolks too sweet so I stuck to straight salt.

I served the finished yolks grated with a microplane on pasta with a cauliflower based garlic sauce and it was just as I was promised – dairy free salty buttery goodness!  I shared the pasta with friends and dinner and they not only enjoyed trying the eggs on the bit of pasta I had leftover, but they happily grated more egg yolk on their hasselback potatoes as well.

Here’s how I made them:

Salt Cured Egg Yolks

 (For a printable PDF version click here)

Ingredients:

6 egg yolks – chicken, duck or goose

course sea salt (2-4 cups depending on your container)

apple cider vinegar (optional)

Tools needed:

Dehydrator, OR

Oven and small cooling rack

Directions:

  • Find a container large enough to hold all the yolks (approx. double the yolk size). Some have used a muffin tin and put one yolk in each hole.  Cover the bottom of the container with ½ – 1” of salt.
  • Use an egg to make a little divot in the salt to place your egg yolk in.

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  1. Crack the eggs one at a time, separating the white from the yolk. Be careful not to break the yolk.
  2. Place one yolk in each divot and cover the yolks completely with salt

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  • Leave the container uncovered and place it in the fridge (Some recipes call to cover the container.  I found the salt to be too wet and took my lid off)
  • Check the yolks at day 5. Remove one yolk from the salt and give it a gentle squeeze.  If it is the consistency of a gummy candy, you’re ready to remove all the yolks from the salt.  If not, put it back and wait 2 more days.

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  • Remove the yolks from the salt and rinse them in the vinegar to remove the stuck-on salt.
  • If using a dehydrator, place the yolks on a tray and dry them at a low setting overnight until they have lost some “squish” and are the consistency of a stale gummy candy.

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  • If not using a dehydrator, you can put them in the oven at 150 for around 2 hours or leave them in the oven for two days with the oven off.
  • Store in an airtight container.

Notes:

There are many different versions of this recipe on the web.  Some use only salt, some a mix of salt and sugar.  The timing for curing and drying varies greatly so don’t worry if you leave the yolks in salt longer or dry them longer.