I am a big fan of cheese. I also found that too much of a good thing can be... well - too much. Spring is approaching and there is no better time to cleanse your body, recharge and give it a boost.
Over the years, whenever I was looking for non-dairy alternatives ( especially great when I craved cheese while pregnant , but could not stomach the actual dairy) , I only came across those ridiculously rubber-tasting ones that you buy packaged at the health food stores. If you ever tried one , you know what I mean - those things make you gag. It blows my mind - I am YET to find a healthy version of anything at the store that actually tastes good - from gluten free foods to dairy free products, they are simply disgusting. Why anyone would EVER want to buy it - I have no idea.
So, after researching and experimenting , I came up with the fabulous tasting NUT cheese version. I've taken the cheese maker approach , and done the steps of maturing the dairy cheese. Except I used non-dairy base. If you have imagination - sky is the limit, and here are the few steps of basic cheeses.
- 2 cup nuts ($9.90)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice ($.50)
- 1 teaspoon probiotic powder (or a few capsules, opened) ($1.50)
- dried or fresh herbs for rolling
- In a blender, add together all the cheese ingredients except for the probiotics and dried herbs. Add more water if necessary for blending.
- Puree for several minutes until as smooth and creamy as possible.
- Stir in probiotic powder.
- Pour into a jar or other glass container and cover with cheese cloth.
- Let sit for about 24 hours at room temperature to develop a cheese flavor. As it sits, the nut "cream" will also thicken up, making it easier to handle.
- Once the flavor has developed to your liking (taste test every so often), divide in three equal portions and form into circles.
- Wrap each in the cheese cloth and place them in a colander with a weight or weighted plate on top. Put the colander in a sink or over a plate or bowl to catch any drips. A lot of the liquid will be pressed out of the cheese this way.
- Let it press for several hours.
When it has the desired consistency, remove from the cheese cloth, shape into a wheel and roll in dried or minced fresh herbs (optional).
Another one, and my absolute favorite - has a goat cheese, feta like consistency and taste. This one is from my previous blog entry here.
Absolutely fantastic! I never thought that probiotics can substitute for cheese culture so well! We did this today too ( we are having a "sunday heaven" for new recipes, and although it needs to be in the fridge for 24 hours ( and it is, but I really had to fight the kids), we tried it while making and it is fabulous! Kids are licking the bowl and forks.
Garlic & Dill Cheeze
1 cup Cashew Cheeze (See recipe below)
1 generous teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced chives
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
Finely ground almonds, dried dill and garlic powder for the crust
Combine Cashew Cheese, chives, garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and salt in a bowl. Stir until well mixed. Add fresh herbs and stir until well distributed. Taste and adjust salt, if desired.
Shape the Cheese mixture into a round or press firmly into a small container or bowl lined with plastic film. Sprinkle mixture of ground almonds, dried dill and garlic powder on top. Allow to chill for at least 12 hours or until it firms up.When firm, de-mold, turn over and transfer onto a plate. Sprinkle more dried herbs on top and sides. Store in fridge in airtight container for up to 3 or 4 days.
More recipes and ideas in my earlier post here.
And if you are why in the world you would want to make a nut cheese if you are not allergic to dairy, here is a great article about BENEFITS of nuts. And we ALL need to be healthier - in the current world and environment, I feel like this is the least we can do for our bodies.
Plus it tastes good.
Are you a health nut? What is your preference in food?