Friday, March 15, 2013

Cashew & Macadamia Pesto Cheese + Raw Almond Crackers

Giving up dairy has only been hard when I'm around cheese. I LOVE cheese. Like a lot. Like seriously... a lot more than the average person!
I used to eat cheese at almost every meal, so giving it up has been a little challenging, but I'm determined to keep it up. I have been pleasantly surprised to find satisfying alternatives to dairy that completely appease my cravings. Like this super yummy nut cheese. Does it taste like brie, gouda or gruyère? Absolutely not! But it's darn delicious and it doesn't come with all the potential health issues that eating dairy does. These crackers are awesome too, but they do require a dehydrator to make them.
I should warn you: This recipe is not an instant gratification kind of recipe. The whole thing takes 2 days to make, so it's really a plan ahead type of thing!

Cashew & Macadamia Pesto Cheese:

For the Pesto:
  • 3/4 cup Basil Leaves [tightly-packed
  • 1/4 cup Pine Nuts
  • 3 Tbls EVOO
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt
  • 1/2 clove Garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Nutritional Yeast [optional]
► Process all ingredients in a mini food processor (or a regular one), leaving somechunkiness.

 For the Cheese:
  • 1 cup Raw Cashews [soaked for 2-4 hours]
  • 1 cup Raw Macadamia Nuts [soaked for 2-4 hours]
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 tsp Probiotic [I just emptied a few capsules until I had a teaspoon full. It turned out to be 4 capsules of the brand that I use]  
  • 2 tsp Nutritional Yeast 
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt 
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice  
  • Smoked Paprika [to sprinkle on top]
► Blend nuts, water and probiotics in a high-speed blender or food processer until very smooth.
► Place the mixture in a strainer that has been lined withcheesecloth and place a weight on top. The weight shouldnot be so heavy that it pushes the cheese through thecloth, but heavy enough to gently start to press the liquidout. Leave to culture at room temperature for 48 hours.
► Once culturing is complete stir or process in the nutritional yeast, onion powder, salt and lemon juice by hand or with a food processor.
► Using an oiled ring mould or a small spring-form pan, build a layer of cheese inside it.On top of that layer place a layer of pesto. Top it off withanother layer of the cheese.
► Even out the top layer and sprinkle with smoked paprika to cover the whole top.
► Place in the refrigerator tofirm up for at least an hour.
► Remove the ring mould and enjoy on some delicious crackers.... like these ones below, perhaps?

Raw Almond Crackers:

  • 1 cup Almond Flour*
  • 1/2 cup Pecans
  • 3 Tbls Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Flax Meal 
  • 1 medium Zucchini [peeled and roughly chopped]
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  •  2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
*grind 1 cup of almonds ina food processor into a fine powder to make almond flour. Do not process more once it's become a fine powder, as it will start to turn into almond butter. It's even ok if there are a few chunks, for this recipe.
► Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
► Spread thinly on a non-stick dehydrator sheet. This part is a bit tough as the dough is very thick. I wet my hands and spread everything out with my wet hands. Try to get them as thin and even as possible.
► Use a knife to score into individual crackers.
► Dehydrate for 2 hours and then remove from non-stick sheet, and flip onto other side.
► Return to dehydrator on a mesh tray until crispy... approximately 4 -7 hours, depending on your climate.

Enjoy your labour of love :)

These recipes are adapted from the Russell James "Raw Nut Cheese" eBook.


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