Friday, June 24, 2011

Almond Cheese

This almond cheese may rock my world!
I'm on a quest for good, no – make that great – vegan cheeses. The beauty of this one is you don't need to add thickeners and it’s just two ingredients. This almond cheese is reminiscent of ricotta cheese and could go sweet or savory. I'm going to use it on a pizza and in my bean burritos. It does take a little pre-planning since it needs to sit for 12-48 hours to "tart up." And you need to blanch and peel the almonds which is not difficult but a little time consuming. Think of peeling the skins off as a project to do while watching Sex and the City reruns, True Blood, or Dr. Oz! This recipe originated from VegNews and can be doubled.

1 cup raw almonds, blanched and peeled*
1 cup kefir water (1 cup water with 2 capsules of probiotic powder) or Rejuvelac**

Reserve 1/2 cup of the water kefir and set aside.
In a high-speed blender, place almonds and 1/2 cup of kefir water and process until smooth. Add more reserved water if necessary (by the teaspooon) to form a smooth, creamy texture. Scoop into a cheesecloth-lined strainer. Allow to strain and ferment for 12 to 48 hours, until desired tartness is achieved.

Remove cheese from strainer, then refrigerate the cheese until ready to use.

*To blanch almonds
Bring pot of water to vigorous boil. Have a strainer and a large bowl with ice and water ready. Add almonds to boiling water and boil for 60-90 seconds. Drain into strainer and plunge into ice water bath until cool, just a minute or so. Drain into strainer and then place onto plate covered with paper towel. Get comfortable in front of TV or outside in the sun and proceed to take off skins by holding each almond between your fingers and pressing down. The skin will pop/slide off. This really doesn't take all that long, just sounds complicated.

**Rejuvelac is made from 3 day fermented wheat and recommended by Ann Wigmore of Hippocrates fame. Rich in lactobacilli probiotics. Here is a recipe for it. There are many more.

 Here is the almond cheese on some pizza. 
It was tasty but I think I prefer the shredded Italian Cashew Cheeze.

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