Thursday, February 6, 2014

Chive + Basil Cashew Cheese

I’m from Wisconsin, America’s dairy land, home of cheddar cheese and all things cheese related – including “cheese heads." Let’s face it I love cheese. And while I do have an undying love for cheese, every kind of cheese, I make a personal choice to limit my dairy intake. Why you may ask?

Did you know that 70% people have trouble digesting dairy? True statement. Humans produce an enzyme in the body called lactase which allows us to break down lactose the sugar found in dairy. As we get older our body stops producing this enzyme, or produces much less, which is why many adults are lactose intolerant and experience a host of negative symptoms (that we won't discuss right now J). This is the body’s inability to break down lactose. Crazy, right? Did you also know that people can have difficulty digesting casein and whey, the proteins found in dairy? Sometimes lactose takes the blame when really the problem is the protein! Oh yeah, and many cows are pumped with hormones and antibiotics which leads to a plethora of other problems. Lastly, did you know dairy is one of the most addicting foods and also high in saturated fat? No wonder many of us crave cheese!

* Is all dairy bad? No.
* Should you eat it in moderation? Sure.
* Do I still eat dairy products from time to time? Yes!

But...when I do eat cheese, yogurt and other dairy products I buy the best quality I can afford - organic, hormone and antibiotic free - you should too!

No cheese you say? Hardly! Cashew “cheese” is like a rebound from my breakup with dairy. The consistency is similar to ricotta or cream cheese and can be used in lasagna, on crackers, sandwiches, with raw veggies…or by the spoonful! The best part – guilt free! In this recipe I chose to add in fresh herbs to give it a delightful boost for my zucchini pinwheels. Don’t like zucchini? Cucumbers are equally delicious!

* Makes one heaping cup of cashew cheese

1 cup of raw unsalted cashews, soaked in cold water for 1-2 hours
1/3 cup of fresh cold water
Juice of one small lemon
2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil
1 heaping tablespoon of sliced green onion
1 teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar
1 clove of garlic, minced
Sea Salt to taste

* 1 large zucchini if you’re making the pinwheels

Drain the raw cashews and rinse with cold water. Transfer to a food processor or high-speed blender (I used a Vitamix).

Add the lemon juice, nutritional yeast, basil, green onion, apple cider vinegar and sea salt to the blender. Slowly add the water as you blend the ingredients. Continue to blend and process until smooth and creamy.

Place the “cheese” into a glass jar or container, add the garlic and stir.

* If you are using a Vitamix it is important not to add the garlic to the blender. Wait until it is processed and then add. I have found that the speed of the blender transforms the garlic into the spiciest thing ever!

Store the cashew cheese in your refrigerator for at least a couple of hours to thicken. I let mine sit overnight before serving J.

Pinwheel Directions
Using a large vegetable peeler or mandolin, slice the zucchini or cucumber into very thin long strips. Spread the veggie strips with cashew cheese and tightly roll up. Secure with a toothpick. 

Sprinkle with basil, sesame seeds, chili powder or anything else you’d like to make them look pretty! Enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment