Tuesday, September 4, 2012

*Shauna's Raw Vegan Almond Cream Cheese*

*RAW VEGAN ALMOND CREAM CHEESE*


Let me say, of course this isnt really "Cream Cheese" haha. But heck, it's creamy, and is a little sour like cheese....and it isnt bad for you or the animals.....sooo haha, there ya go. Was that just a disclamer? LoL. {{Grin}}

So, my friends, there was a glorious time when I could make this "cheese" with Raw Macadamia nuts. {{sigh}} But now that they are around $20 a pound for them (how is that EVEN possible!? Utter craziness!)....I now use Almonds. (which is GOOD, just not the same....LOVE Macadamia nuts.....love! I tell ya!)

Let me fill you in. A long time ago, I ran across a recipe for Raw Macadamia nut cheese. At the time Mac nuts were at a fair price, so I tried my hand at this recipe. It became one of my favorites. It was so simple to make and had only 3 ingredients. The taste of Mac nuts turned into cheese is ooooh so awesome. It's gotta be all that fat.....(good fat might I add) The original recipe was something like..... Raw Mac nuts (NOT soaked) blended with water and Pro-biotic powder, usually in capsule form, then set out for a bit to "ferment" (Pro-biotics can usually be found in most Drugstores, by the Vitamin or Pharamacy section, make sure that it doesnt have any milk or geletin in the product, I have made this mistake before....grumble grumble).

Ok, so now that Mac nuts are a rare delicacy......I wanted, and needed to find a way to make a similar "Cream Cheese" kinda thang.....yes thang. I thought about Cashews, but I already knew that those guys wouldnt work....good texture but not the right flavor...I went down the list of nuts, all with their own textures and tastes. The only one that would be similar to the Macs was Almonds. NOW, the huge difference between Mac nuts and Almonds is the fat ratio. Mac nuts are beautiful and fatty....which makes fantastic kick a$$ Raw Vegan Cheese. (man I miss them....people, don't send me flowers, send me raw Macadamia nuts! Haha!)
Now, Almonds, they too make great cheese, however, they are not as "fatty" and often become gritty when blended. Thus, a good blender is essential when making Almond Cheese. Which is one of the reasons I usually DON'T make Almond Cheeses....even with my high power Vita-mix blender, it takes forever to blend to good creamy texture.

BUT!.......dun dun DUNNNNN........

I finally was able to make a fan'tabulous...Almond "Cream Cheese". I even think those without a high power blender can make this! There are a couple tricks...........


Numba One!.....Soak those bad boys overnight first. Makes a HUGE difference. Basically soak Almonds in enough filtered water to cover, overnight. Next day, drain and rinse. Yep.


Numba Two!......Boil a pot of water......blanch the almonds for a minute of two, strain, rinse with cold water (otherwise you won't be able to handle them ;) ) AND then, in a bowl, pop off the skins.

Now, this process takes a moment or two.....or three ;) So, take a breath, find your Zen moment and get to pinching. The almonds should pop right out of their skins.


 A quick little note.......these babies can be slipperly little suckers. I almost always pinch an almond and have it go flyyyyying across the room. I even hit my husband with one once {{GRIN}} Soo, just laugh it off and try to get them in the bowl :)

Once shelled....I just throw the skins away. (Ya think they would go good in compost?? Hmm....)

NOW.....once the Almonds are prepared, let's get to the recipe shall we? :)

*ALMOND CREAM CHEESE RECIPE*

  • 1 Cup Almonds (prepared the way we discussed earlier)
  • 1 Cup Filtered Water
  • 1 1/2 TBS Lemon Juice.....about 1/2 a huge Lemon or whole small Lemon
  • 1/2 tsp or 2 Capsules of Pro-Biotic powder, (powder ONLY, NOT actual Capsule) (OPT)
Blend Almonds in blender, just to get them ground us a bit before we add the water. Add the Lemon juice and blend again. Now, add the water and blend until creamy. You may add more water if needed. It will be loose and kind of yogurty looking. It will thicken as it sits later.
    Once creamy. You can now, if you want.....add 1 or 2 Pro-Biotic powder capsule. NOTE: The powder ONLY...NOT the actual capsule) Once, all is mixed well. Put "cheese" into a glass bowl and cover with some cheese cloth (I use my nut mylk bag, and just put my little glass bowl inside the bag and close it up)
Let the Cheese sit on a warm counter for 8-10 hours. YES...I know, this sounds way weird and your brain is thinking....."Is this dangerous??"
NOPE :) This is the process to make it taste cheesy and get a little sour. Sitting in a warm spot on the counter will activate the fermentain process and the Pro-Biotics will help to make it into "cheese".

(The above is still a little gritty....blended some more and added a little more lemon juice)


Here is the finished product. I let my cheese sit on on the counter for about 10 hours, tasting it here and there for sourness (it was covered lightly with my nut mylk bag to let it breath and to keep any little flying creatures from getting into it...hey, they might like Almond Cheese too! Lol)

Now I have some notes and final things to do to this, once it has sat out and fermented a bit, just enough to make it sour to your liking. Here are some notes:

*NOTES*

  • SALT: The finished cheese will be bland, but should be soured because of the lemon juice and the fermentation. This is where I do some adding......I almost always add some Sea Salt, I have a grinder for my Sea Salt, so it grinds really fine crystals, makes for better blending. Now, of course, you don't have to add salt if you don't want to, but I find it gives a depth and a more savory flavor.....kinda like real cheese....a little salty, a little sour.
  • HERBS: You can also add any herbs you want at this point.....Thyme, Parsley, Red Chili Flakes (thats what I did, I am a pepper head)
  • SWEET: You can also, leave out the herbs and or salt....and drizzle the finished "cheese/yogurt" with Agave, or some other liquid sweetener. Treat it like Yogurt :)
  • FRUIT: Feel free to top off a scoop of the Almond Cheese with fresh fruit....say Blueberries? Raspberries?? Once again, you can treat this like Yogurt.
  • SOUR: Not sour enough?? You could add a little more lemon juice to the mix, it's up to you.
  • CHEESY EXTRAS: You could OF COURSE, add what ever you want to the finished product, like spices, or Nutritional Yeast. BUT, I like mine plain and simple, like a Cream Cheese. I make other kinds of nut cheeses with different nuts if I want....other kinds of nut cheeses haha ;) That sounded confusing hehe.
BASICALLY, my Raw'kers.......
  1. Eat it like Cream Cheese.....on raw bread, raw crackers, cut up veggies....you know :)
  2. Eat it like Yogurt......with fruit, liquid sweetener......however :)
  3. It gets better tasting the longer it sits and will be even better the next day.
  4. Once it has "soured" to your liking. Store it in the fridge and it will keep for 4-5 days.
SOOO MOVE OVER HIGHLY PRICED MACADAMIA NUTS......YOU HAVE BEEN REPLACED!!..........oh, no no!, I'm sorry Mac nuts, that's not true!...I still love you! Really I dooo! You will always be my number one bff Nut XoXo!

.....................but really, this is pretty darn good too ;)

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