Thursday, July 25, 2013

FIG & FENNEL "AGED" NUT CHEESE

Nut cheese is not something I have ever been a fan of...mostly because I have never succeeded in making it taste good. But alas I have discovered the secret to dairy free cheese making and it is really quite simple (although it does take some patience). The trick is to not be weirded out by the fermentation process. The nut mixture will become slightly discoloured and this is normal. Once you make the initial "cheese" base you can add whatever flavourings you like. We decided to go with a personal favourite: fig & fennel. This nut cheese will last many weeks in the fridge. 

FIG & FENNEL "AGED" NUT CHEESE 
Adapted from Russel James

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups raw cashews
1 tsp probiotic powder
1 cup filtered water
1-3 tsp nutritional yeast
✿ sea salt (to taste) 
ground fennel seed (to taste)
chopped dried figs (to taste)
fine mesh strainer 
big mixing bowl (big enough for strainer to sit on top)
✿ cheese cloth  
✿ small spring form pan (about 5 inches) 

INSTRUCTIONS:
1) Soak the cashews for 30 minutes. Drain and rinse.
2) Blend the soaked cashews with the 1 cup filtered water and probiotic powder until smooth.
3) Line a fine mesh strainer with ample cheese cloth. Pour the mixture into the center of the cheese cloth. Cover the mixture with the excess cheese cloth to form a little sac. 
4) Place the strainer on top of a bowl to catch any excess drips.
5) Place a small glass bowl (or other weighty item) on top of the cheese cloth wrapped cheese mixture. 
6) Allow the cheese mixture to ferment for about 35 hours (give or take 5 hours). 
7) Once fermented, scoop the cheese mixture into a bowl. 
8) Mix in the nutritional yeast, sea salt, fennel seeds and fig until it reaches your desired taste.   
9) Scoop the final mixture into a small spring form pan (the one we have is about 5inches)
10) Once filled, place the spring form pan into the freezer for about two hours.
11) Once slightly frozen you will be able to easily remove the cheese from the pan by releasing the springform. 
12) Now you have two options: 
a) Place the cheese in the fridge to further harden and age. The longer it keeps in the fridge the richer the taste will be. 
b) If you have a dehydrator you can place the cheese in the dehydrator for 24 hours at 105 so that it forms a bit of a crusty rind. After this is complete you can put it in the fridge for your desired length of time.      

**Serve with bread, crackers, veggies etc.  

Song of the week: 
These guys are from Vancouver, we originally saw them in Ottawa but saw them again this past week!

Lots of Love,
Malakai  

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