Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cashew cream

I've just started this blog and I think I've mentioned cream cheese twice already. The stuff is magnificent. After I had Alli and didn't really have time to make myself lunches, I would bust out the crackers and cream cheese and go to town while I was walking her around the house in her mei tai carrier. It was fast, satisfying, and took care of my craving for chips and dip. Lets face it, cream cheese isn't exactly a nutritional power house. So that is one reason why it probably shouldn't be a daily part of my sustenance. Second, it isn't exactly cheap! Philadelphia original cream cheese also has whey protein concentrate and carob bean gum - not exactly bad things but things that I can't just pull out of my pantry. So I went looking for a substitute.

I came along a recipe for cashew cream cheese and thought I would give it a try. When I was a vegan back in college I used to make cream sauces using cashews and they always came out great. This one only had a few ingredients: cashews, salt, water, and a little yogurt. I didn't really think any miracles were going to happen, but since I like cashews anyway I thought I would try it.

You start by soaking the cashews.

Then you just drain them, put them in a blender with some water and blend them up. In hindsight, I should have used my food processor. Once I dirty one appliance though, I don't dirty another one. So I had to do some poking and proding to get it all blended up.

Then you add a few tablespoons of yogurt. The result was basically just cashew butter. It is good, but it doesn't satisfy my need for cream cheese. I think I'll eat it with some veggies or maybe put in in smoothies or something. I'll find a use for it.

Then after I made this, I realized there WAS a better alternative to cream cheese - goat cheese! Why hadn't I thought of that before? I love goat cheese, and it has that creamy consistency. There is a local farm here - Prairie Fruits Farm - that makes their own goat cheese and while it is horribly expensive, if I really need that creamy spread I should buy the stuff that at least has some nutritional value. Goat cheese, and most products for that matter, tend to be  lower in fat, higher in protein, and generally better for the human body to process.  I don't think I'll be blending up cashews anymore - they taste pretty good in nut form.

Cashew cream
2 cups cashews
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. salt
3 T yogurt

Soak cashews for over 2 hours in water. Drain, and add to blender or food processor. Blend until a paste is formed, and then blend in the salt and yogurt.

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