Friday, August 20, 2010

Cashew Cheese and Lucky Me!

I’m in a great mood today. First I found out I won a copy of Robin Robertson’s Vegan On The Cheap. I’ve been following Two Vegan Boys’ cook-through of this book, and all the recipes sound so delicious. Plus, Tony and I have committed to building our savings over the next few months, and I’m sure this book will show me new tricks to save money on groceries. That will be awesome, because groceries are SO expensive here. I’m still in sticker shock over “east coast prices,” it’s crazy!

Second, I was honored with a Versatile Blogger Award from the lovely Jenny at vegan and so forth. My blog is just a baby, I’m still learning how to make my posts the way I want them -- I certainly didn’t expect to get any kind of award. Thank you so much, Jenny!

The rules for this award are:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award
2. Tell 7 things about yourself
3. Pass the award on to 10 bloggers you’ve recently discovered and you think are fantastic!

7 things:
1. My favorite thing to do is travel. I love planning a trip and having it to look forward to. These days, with two little ones, we're limited to road trips, but that’s fine because we’re in a new part of the country (new to us) and there’s lots to explore. I’m pretty good at reading maps, following driving directions and orienting myself in a new city. I think delivering pizza in the days before Mapquest helped me develop these skills.
2. I’ve lived in Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, and New York. And we are hoping to move again soon -- not sure where -- it’s always an adventure!
3. I enjoy doing yoga, going to art galleries, going to concerts, cooking of course, and sleeping! I am a big sleeper, I need my 8 hours to be totally functional!
4. I'm the world’s slowest reader. I like to read, but it takes me forever to finish anything. I used to feel embarrassed because I had not read all the “classics,” but now I don’t think it has affected my life too badly.
5. I absolutely love getting all dressed up and will look for any excuse to do so.
6. My favorite movie is The Philadelphia Story, followed by The Royal Tenenbaums. My taste ranges from arty French films to Will Ferrell movies.
7. I’m blessed with a strong immune system and am rarely sick. I’ve never broken a bone, and never spent the night in the hospital until I had Jackson. On the other hand, I bump into things constantly and my legs are usually covered in bruises. Sexy!

And now I have 10 awards to give out -- how do I choose? Here goes!
1. Shorty can burn!
2. Lima’s Vegan Kitchen
3. Seitanic Vegan Heathen
4. The Shenandoah Vegan
5. Blessed Vegan Life
6. That Pain in the Ass Vegan
7. Snacking Squirrel
8. Allotment 2 Kitchen
9. Wing-It Vegan
10. Feeding Tiny Vegans

That was fun!...Now, on to the food!

I have no desire to go back to eating real cheese, but man, sometimes I really miss eating cheese and crackers! I used to snack on Wheat Thins and cream cheese practically every day. Looking for a solution to my craving, I made a batch of Basic Nut Cheese (by the way, that has got to be the most unappealing name ever for a vegan dish) from The 30 Minute Vegan, using cashews that I soaked for 2 hours beforehand as suggested.

My results were mixed at first. It was WAY too watery. I would suggest adding the 1 ¼ cups of water called for in the recipe only if you want a very thin cheese sauce. I wanted a pate' to eat with crackers, so I ended up adding another full cup of cashews to get it to the thick, creamy consistency I was after. Then it was fine. It was actually better than fine. It tasted great and I couldn’t wait to eat some. For lunch I mixed it with leftover seitan taco meat from Taco Night, along with taco sauce, chopped tomato and avocado, to make some awesome cheesy nachos.

For dinner, the main event – cheese pizza! I scattered a few chopped kalamata olives on top and that’s all that was needed. This cheese is so flavorful and it has such a creamy texture…a little thicker than ricotta, for comparison. Yum! Tony liked it too; he said it was one of the best faux cheeses I’ve made.

Note -- the recipe suggests adding some fresh herbs to the cashew cheese for flavor. I didn’t have any, so I added 1 tsp. dried rosemary. It worked fine in both my dishes. I think next time I make this cheese specifically for a Mexican dish, I’ll add some chopped pickled jalapeno or maybe some cumin. For a pizza, oregano or basil would be nice.

Whew! This post wore me out, I think I might need 9 hours of sleep tonight. Have a great weekend!


  1. oh yum! i love cashew and almond cheeses. so flavorful and not at all bad for you. thanks for the award!

  2. Awwww, thank you!!! This is so sweet of you! I will work on it this weekend.

    And as a pizza fan, I will say that yours looks great! My husband also can't hear the phrase "nut cheese" without almost barfing.

  3. I, too, missed cheese when I became vegan, so will give this a whirl. I've just posted a recipe for vegan "cheesecake", which you might like to try:-)

  4. I enjoyed your list! We're a lot alike - I would rather travel than do anything. (Fun fact that you delivered pizza!) I do love to get dressed up and HAVE to have 8 hours of sleep. I go through books very quickly, though, not necessarily the classics. Thanks for playing along!