Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Vegan Cultured Cashew Cheese Cake Bites (Gluten free!)

So... I can't eat anything right now. And it sucks. 

Or does it? 

Creamer cow seems to be on to something...

Soy and wheat and all sorts of other things are off the menu. My stomach has just been up in arms for about 3 months now so I'm trying to isolate and repair.  Thankfully, I'm not hopeless resourceful, and have managed to make some guilty pleasures to help me not die suffer through whatever this plague is.

Warning, there is a lot of down time for this recipe but shit when you can't eat anything, you got time to scheme...

Vegan Cultured Cashew Cheese Cake Bites

For the cheesecake
  • 3 cups raw cashews (soaked overnight & drained)
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 40-45 billion probiotic strains*; amount of capsules will vary. Label should state amount.
  • 1 teaspoon vegan gelatin powder (I used genutine) plus 2 tablespoons water - OPTIONAL
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup softened or liquid ghee
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
For the crust
  • 1 cup fine ground almond flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons melted ghee or coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the chocolate coating (optional)
  • 10 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil.
*NOTE* You can forgo the genutine, but you'll want to use the freezer to firm up the cheesecake, rather than the fridge.

For the filling
Blend cashews and coconut milk in high power blender until super smooth. Like, no detectable texture. If the mixture is hot (which it probably will be), let cool to slightly warmer than room temp (around 100f/38 c).  Once cooled, stir in the probiotics, cover, and leave in a warm place overnight. 

This is basically diesel vegan yogurt/cream cheese we're making, complete with delectable tang. It is done when it tastes well suited to your own tastes. It can be about 8-14 hours depending on a variety of factors.

For the crust: 
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line and grease a 5x9 loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving long flaps hanging over the sides of the pan (for easy removal later). 

In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, baking soda and salt and cinnamon. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and beat till fully combined. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden then remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Back to the filling: 

In a small bowl combine the genutine with the water and let sit for 3-5 minutes to bloom. Melt the genutine with short bursts 10 second bursts in a microwave  or warm over low heat until it is clear and all the graininess is gone. 

Put the cream cheese mixture, genutine, and the rest of the ingredients into a high peered blender and blend until smooth. If needed you can add 1-2 tablespoons more of coconut milk to keep the mixture moving through the container.

Pour the batter over the cookie crust in the prepared pan. Smooth the top if needed. Cover and chill in the freezer for at least 4 hours or till good and firm.  You'll probably have some extra batter left over. I'm still tooling with the volume.
Cutting, Dipping & Serving:
In a dry bowl set over barely simmering water, melt the chocolate and fat together, then stir till smooth and glossy. Remove from heat.

Remove the cheesecake from the freezer and run a knife along the sides of the cake to help it release from the pan. Using the parchment paper flaps, pull the cake out of the pan, placing it face down onto a cutting board with the “cookie side” facing up (as seen in the last row of pictures). Cut into 1 1/2 to 2 inch squares with a sharp knife. If the cake is too hard, heat the knife in a glass of hot water and while dry before cutting.

Use a wood skewer or fondue dipper to pierce each cake piece, then dip and coat with chocolate (as seen in the last row of pictures). The chocolate ail begin to harden quickly.

Once fully coated, place them on a chilled parchment lined cookie sheet so that the bottoms firm quickly and don’t spread out. Let the chocolate set completely then serve or transfer to a sealed container and store in the fridge. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Summer tomato salad with cashew-goat cheese, sumac, & pomegranate molasses

Summer is here! I'm awash in vibrancy.  The season is still very green, but colors are starting to peak out as the long hours under the sun.  This dish is deceptively easy to throw together (especially if you use a store bought vegan cream cheese), just takes a little time but no real finesse in spite of what the pictures may imply.   It is also exceptionally tasty, hitting many flavor points; creamy, tart, umami, bright.

Sumac and pomegranate molasses are two very underrepresented ingredients in modern cooking.  You can find them both at middle eastern markets, as well as some eastern European markets as well (think Armenian, for example). 

Summer tomato salad with cashew-goat cheese, sumac, & pomegranate molasses

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 tsp sumac, ground 
  • 2 tsp pomegranate molasses 
  • 800 g heirloom tomatoes 
  • 4 T vegan goat cheese (I don't have my own solid recipe yet)
  • Fresh greens to garnish (baby lettuce, arugula, slivered basil, etc.)
  • Salt & Pepper 
Combine the oil, sumac, some grinds of black pepper, and molasses in a small bowl or jar. Whisk or shake until combined. Set aside. Slice the tomatoes and arrange on a serving plate. Season with sea salt. Drop a little cashew cheese on each pile of tomatoes and scatter the salad leaves around. 

Drizzle the dressing over the tomatoes and leaves. Grind some salt and sprinkle some pepper atop. Serve immediately. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Raw Vegan Mother Fucking Paleo Eggnog WITH BOURBON

Since I'm really bad at taking pictures of drinks, I'm putting up "relevant enough" other photos as the header, before showing off my mediocre "this doesn't look so amazing as to inspire you to want to make it right now," liquid consumable photography.

How is the photo above relevant? It is taken at an abandoned bourbon distillery from a recent trip to the bourbon trail in Tennessee.  As for the eggnog... I guess I can share a photo, after another shot...

The recipe gets its body and creaminess from cashews, and other eggnog tip-off flavor points from nutmeg, leaving you with a product that is both vegan and kind of much less disgusting than the stuff you get at the store, with a lot more body than out-of-the-box vegan eggnogs.  The bourbon is optional, unless of course you don't know how to shoot drinks...

Raw Vegan MF Paleo Eggnog (with boozy option)

One day I'll learn to  make smoothies look like food....

Makes: 2 cups
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • 1½ cups unsweetened non-dairy milk of your choice
  • 5-6 medjool dates, pitted 
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg {optional: + more for sprinkling}
  • ⅛ tsp cloves
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • Bourbon of choice (Bulleit isn't too bad)
Soak all of the ingredients, except the bourbon, in a container overnight (or 4-8 hours).  

Blend soaked ingredients using high power until things are smooth.  Use bourbon to thin, to taste, to 

Pour into drinking vessels of your choice. Top with a few grinds of fresh nutmeg, or a tap of ground.