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I made my own vegan cheese!

I took an Advanced Raw Class with Russell James last month at Organic Avenue and I was obsessed with trying to make the two cheese recipes that we tasted.

(Russell James’ Caraway, Fennel & Olive Cheese & his Cashew Cheese at Organic Avenue)

The recipes were included as part of the class and they are not for me to share. You can find the Caraway, Fennel & Olive Cheese recipe in Russell’s Raw Cheese e-book (and I suspect the “Basic Raw Cheese” recipe in the book is the Cashew Cheese recipe).

I started with the Cashew Cheese because I had all of the ingredients and a nut milk bag (during the class he indicated that he now prefers to use nut milk bags for cheese rather than cheesecloth).

I whipped up the ingredients (which included a probiotic for culturing) in Viv (my Vita-Mix) and poured it into the nut milk bag (error number one?).

I pressed it by setting a Turkish coffee pot on top.

The trick here is to have enough weight to press out the liquid but not too much that the cheese comes oozing out. I’ll confess I was obsessed with this.  I tried a few mason jars with beans and saw cheese coming through. With the coffee pot, really no liquid came out (error number two?).

The cheese was to remain on the counter for 24 – 48 hours to culture. At 24 hours I processed in the additional ingredients and transferred the cheese to a ring mould where it would sit for another 24 hours, this time in the refrigerator.  After 24 hours, it seemed fairly moist (again, pretty certain more liquid should have come out during the 24-hour culturing/pressing process) but I removed the ring mould and wrapped it up as instructed. I placed it in the back of the refrigerator (it’s supposed to be ready in one week, or up to 6 weeks) and headed to Arizona where I completely forgot about it.

I returned to New York, anxiously unwrapped the cheese and, well, it didn’t look like Russell’s.  And it didn’t taste like Russell’s.

I wrapped it back up and waited another week.

That extra week helped!  It still doesn’t look quite like Russell’s but it is tasty. It’s now two weeks old and keeps getting better! So maybe there were no errors, but…

…I bought a cheesecloth.

Last weekend I tried my hand at making the Caraway, Fennel & Olive Cheese. The base is macadamia nuts.  I blended the nuts and probiotics and wrapped up the cheese in my new cheesecloth.

See! Liquid came out!  I was feeling very positive about this experience!  This cheese cultures on the counter for 48 hours.  I had to rinse the bowl because the liquid got stinky (but not the cheese!) but mostly kept my hands off of it.

After 48 hours I stirred in the remaining ingredients and transferred it to a ring mould–the consistency was perfect, no excess liquid!

I placed the cheese in the dehydrator to form a “rind”.

The next morning…

…I nibbled.  WOW!  It was delicious!  But, I held back and wrapped the cheese up and placed it in the refrigerator — this cheese will last awhile, too — and tried it 12 hours later.

A huge success!

Long-time readers know I’m a rather short and sweet kind of cook. I like yummy food but I’d like it to be pretty simple.  Don’t let the length of this process scare you away. Making cheese is very simple. There are just a few steps along the way and patience is required.

I’m going to be making a lot of cheese in the future. And I’ll be using my nut milk bag for milk and use my cheesecloth for cheese!

Originally posted on JL goes Vegan:  Food & Fitness with a Side of Kale.

Raw Carrot-Banana Cake

Have carrot pulp?  Make cake!

Raw Carrot-Banana Cake (adapted from Healthy Simple Living)
Serves 4 – 6

PRINTABLE VERSION

INGREDIENTS

*3/4 c pecans
*4 medjool dates, pitted and diced
*1.5 c carrot pulp
*1/2 c shredded coconut
*1.5 tsp flax seed oil
*1.5 Tbsp ground flax seed
*1 small, ripe banana
*Dash cinnamon
*Dash of nutmeg

METHOD

Pulse pecans and dates in the food processor using the “S” blade. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse again until a “dough” forms.

Transfer “dough” to ramekins, filling each half-way. (I only found two small ramekins — where did the other two disappear to?! So I took the remaining dough and added it to a larger “ramekin” style bowl.)

Dehydrate on 145F for one hour. Reduce to 105F for another 3 hours. Flip the cake out of the dishes directly to the dehydrator screen and dehydrate for 4 more hours.

I made this incredible frosting and spread it on the carrot-banana cake.

This dessert was delicious!  Even the omnivore husband loved this raw, vegan cake!

Original post on JL goes Vegan:  Food & Fitness with a side of Kale.  You can follow JL on Twitter and Facebook.

Very Veggie Split-Pea Soup

JL’s Very Veggie Split-Pea Soup
Makes 6 cups

INGREDIENTS

*2 golden beets
*5 kale leaves
*6 swiss chard leaves
*1 cucumber
*1 zucchini
*6 stalks of celery
*2 T olive oil
*1 small onion, diced
*3 cloves garlic minced
*1 bay leaf
*1 t each: rosemary, coriander, saffron strands
*2 cups dry split peas, rinsed and drained
*2 cups of water
*Juice of one lemon
*Salt & Pepper to taste

METHOD

Juice the first six ingredients. This should make approximately 4 cups of green juice.

Heat olive oil in the pressure cooker. Saute onion and garlic and stir frequently for 2 – 3 minutes.  Add rosemary, coriander and saffron strands. Toss in the bay leaf and add the split peas, vegetable juice and water. Bring to high pressure and remain at high pressure for 6 minutes followed by natural release. Upon release of pressure, carefully remove the lid from the pressure cooker, away from you. Stir in the juice of one lemon and begin to add salt and pepper to taste (I went with 1 t sea salt and 1/2 t black pepper).

Remove bay leaf and serve.

Original post on JL goes Vegan:  Food & Fitness with a side of Kale.  You can follow JL on Twitter and Facebook.

Vegan Marshmallow Sandwich

Yep, I was crazy enough to do it.  I made a marshmallow sandwich.

I toasted an Ezekial English Muffin. I cut it in half and added three Sweet and Sara vanilla marshmallows, a teaspoon of unsweetened, shredded coconut and a teaspoon of Navitas cacao nibs.  I microwaved the sandwich for thirty seconds.

And then I squealed with delight.

If loving this is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Original post on JL goes Vegan:  Food & Fitness with a side of Kale.  You can follow JL on Twitter and Facebook.

Homemade HuMMMus!

I originally posted this on my blogwww.glutendairyfreedom.net in honour of my good friend Christine’s birthday as she is a vegetarian and hummus just so happens to be vegan-tastic!  But I wanted to share this with the Food-Nutters because I know you’ll appreciate a great foodie-DIY!  Creamy, zesty, mouth-watering, smooth, delicious HuMMMus.  Sure you can buy it, but you can also customize your own: more lemon? less garlic? less salt? more creamy?  Its totally up to you when you take the hummus reins into your own hands.  Once you’ve gone homemade, you won’t want to go back!  My mouth is watering just thinking about how good this is, and there’s a whole bowl of it in my kitchen right now, just waiting for me to dive into!

Ingredients:

  • Chick Peas, canned or re-hydrated.  If they are canned, rinse them well.  If you’re using dried, soak them for 24 hours and simmer for 2 hours until tender.
  • Tahini
  • Olive Oil
  • Lemon Juice
  • Roasted or raw garlic.  To roast, coat a bulb in olive oil and wrap in foil and bake until tender.  (Tip: bake along side another meal to conserve energy and save $ on your electric bill!)
  • Salt

What do I do?

  1. In a food processor, blend Chick peas with enough tahini, lemon juice and olive oil to make your desired consistency/taste.  Experiment: use a little at first and see what you would like more of as you go.
  2. Add garlic and salt and continue to blend until smooth.
  3. Taste.  If it needs more garlic/lemon/salt, make adjustments.

Store what you plan to use in the next 3/4 days in a covered container in the fridge and freeze the rest for later use.  Spread on crackers, dip veggies, spoon onto chicken GO (food) NUTS!  Full disclosure: I have been known to eat it right out of the container.  ITS THAT GOOD!  Just sayin…

Wishing you health and happiness,

Victoria

www.glutendairyfreedom.net

***Bonus Tip!  If you’re using recently boiled re-hydrated chick peas, the final product will be warm and is so divine if served right away!  However, if you are using canned chick peas, you can imitate this effect by boiling them for 2 minutes before you blend.  Warm hummus is close to heaven for me, try it and I hope you’ll agree!  (Didn’t mean that to rhyme, but kinda glad that it did!)  Enjoy!

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