Sunday, August 14, 2011

Smoky Cashew Cheese


I've made the Cashew Cheddar Cheese recipe over at 101 Cookbooks countless times over the years and the recipe below is my adapted version. I enjoy this type of cheese for its simplicity and ability to morph into any shape or texture. Let me explain: the introduction of agar into this recipe allows the end product to gel and firm up perfectly, allowing the end product to be sliced, diced, grated or melted just like regular cheese. Unlike its raw cousin, this cheese can be whipped up in minutes and needs just a few hours to set. Enjoy on crackers, melted into a mac n' cheese or grated over a salad.

INGREDIENTS
3/4 cups whole raw cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 turmeric, for color (optional)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 3/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup agar flakes
1/4 cup canola oil
4 TB mellow or chickpea miso
juice from a halved fresh lemon
1 tsp liquid smoke

METHOD

Grind the cashews in a food processor until they achieve the consistency of a fine powder. Add in the nutritional yeast, onion powder, salt, turmeric, garlic powder and white pepper.

Heat the almond milk, agar and oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Once it begins to bubble around the edges, decrease the heat to medium-low, and stir and simmer for about 10 minutes, ensuring that the agar is completely dissolved.

Add the cashew powder mix to the saucepan and stir vigorously. Remove about a cup of the hot mixture and place into a small bowl. Add in the miso and stir until well combined, then add that mixture back into the pot. Remove from the heat. Add in the lemon juice and liquid smoke. Place in the refrigerator for a few hours to gel.

36 comments:

  1. Cheesemaking - that sounds like something I would enjoy! The miso and cashew flavors sound like they would be amazing together.

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  2. this looks the perfect cheese to cut into slices and eat with some crackers and spicy mustard. yum!

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  3. Thanks Caitlin! I never thought of pairing this with mustard, but it sounds fantastic. Will try today : )

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  4. must. make. this! now i am on the hunt for agar... your little cheese wheel is picture perfect!

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  5. I love you. Not in a weird, stalker-y type of way. I'm already jumped on the soft nut cheese bandwagon, and love making it. But this recipe? Hard cheese that I can make and flavor however I like? Thank you thank you. This was my last hold out that kept me from transitioning from vegetarian to vegan. I found this on the perfect day (starting the 30 Day Vegan Challenge today). Thanks for posting! (www.vegerrific.com)

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  6. Aw shucks Susan -- thanks! Yes, this recipe can really be flavored however you want, so its a great canvas for making your own cheese. Best if luck with your Day One of veganism!

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  7. i have never thought about making cashew cheese to this extent! wowzers.

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  8. Awesome..! I am going to try this soon! The cheese looks fabulous! Its going to be so much fun sneaking this into hubbs sandwiches!!

    Richa @ http://hobbyandmore.blogspot.com/

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  9. I am SO excited to have found this, and your blog! HI from another vegan blogger who loves to renovate recipes. :)

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  10. I made this last night and did pictures for my blog (which I'll update in the next few days). For the record: it is VERY easy, is actually the consistency of hard cheese, DOES grate nicely and . . . IT MELTS! I added it this morning chunked into a tofu scramble and later melted it into some quinoa with spinach. Loved it! Thanks for posting!

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  11. Susan, thanks for the feedback -- glad that you liked it! I love the idea of melting it into quinoa, I'll have to try that. Happy blogging! : )

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  12. Wow, will have to try this. Have never used the agar in the cheese!!!! Going to order agar NOW!!!! This looks like it would impress even the diehard carnivore!

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  13. Finally, I now have a use for all the agar I have. Your photo is stunning, and I miss cheese sooooo much, even after 16 years of being vegan!

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  14. Love, love, LOVE this recipe! It was super easy to make...I am super stoked to have a sliceable cheese!

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  15. How long will this keep in the fridge? Have you ever tried to freeze it?

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  16. It's only lasted about 4 days in my fridge, because I consume it so quickly, but I think it would be okay for up to a week. I've never frozen it, but I don't see why you couldn't ...

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  17. Thanks for a great recipe. Where is best (cheapest) place to buy agar? Certainly not Whole Foods

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  18. Thanks Jim. Agar is one of those ingredients that varies in quality, and you get what you pay for. Agar is even expensive in Chinatown here, whereas everything else is a fraction of the price it is at Whole Foods.

    You can get cheaper agar in bulk or online, but a high-quality (and unfortunately more expensive) agar yields much better results.

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  19. This was a HUGE success at my tasting--all in attendance (except me) were omnivores who lost their minds that this was homemade VEGAN cheddar cheese! Perfect recipe!

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  20. Thanks for making this Ni and for sharing it with others! Super-excited that it was a hit ... winning over omnis with a vegan dish is one of my favorite things to do! : )

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  21. I've yet to find a vegan cheese that tastes good, so I'm going to give this one a try.

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  22. Also regarding the agar---found it in long strands in packages in an Asian market in Burlington MA. $1.89 pkg, 1 pkg = 2 cups. It melts fine in the almond milk/oil mixture. I cut it into smaller bits with kitchen scissors. The equivalent from that giant online store that shall remain nameless here was $44.

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  23. Thanks Elizabeth! I have been meaning to check out that store, I know exactly which one you are talking about. I need to go stock up, thanks for the tip ...

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  24. I am in tears this is so amazing! I made this last night, as you know and had to substitute almond milk for soy milk--praying it would get the same result. Oh, Erin! It is beautiful! I am so amazed at how perfectly shaped a wheel of cheese it is! The firm, sliceable texture and consistency...and the taste! That smokey taste. It really does have a flavor of a smoked cheddar or Gouda! Not to mention how simple it was to make! I am in awe. I just want to look at it all day. I sliced a little wedge and was in heaven. I can't wait to try shredding and melting it into recipes as well--and can also see how you could change some of the ingredients for different flavors. Absolutely brilliant! You have now officially confirmed to me that it will be possible to be completely converted from vegetarian to vegan after all these years!

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    1. So happy you enjoyed, Leila! Isn't agar amazing in what it can do for textures? And yes, I agree, lots of different flavors could be subbed here to create different kinds of cheese. So, so thrilled that this is a good sub for real cheese for you!

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  25. Hi Erin,
    If I want to use it as a melty cheese, can I just omit the agar?
    Thanks so much!

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    1. I've never tried that, but I think it should work fine. Good luck!

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  26. Can I use nutritional yeast flakes or does it have to be powder

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    1. I have never used powder, but assume it would be more concentrated than flakes. I think either will work -- just cut back the amount a little if using powder. I hope you enjoy!

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  27. just made this-thank you-forgot the lemon and did not want o use liquid smoke as read about it and am not sure health wise, next time will add chilli and not forget the lemon! Also used macadamia oil, its great and made 2 rounds-love your web site, had friends for dinner last night and made your chickpea soft tacos, fab

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    1. so happy you enjoyed sasha! I have never tried macadamia nut oil, but now I am curious. Thanks for your feedback!

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  28. I replaced the oil with extra miso and water and it still came out great those trying to avoid oil! Lovely recipe! My son and I love it :)

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  29. I'm making this today & can't wait to eat it! Do you soak the cashews before you use them and if so, for how long?

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    1. I don't soak cashews for this recipe, but I think soaking cashews would work too.

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