Dana Slatkin

Cashew Cheese with Chipotle

cashew cheese

Photo credit: livinggwg.com

…adapted from Heirloom Catering.

Spring 2013 is sure to be a defining moment in our country’s history. As our Supreme Court grapples with the legal boundaries of marriage, I find myself thinking about my own margins of acceptance.

When I was a kid, I gravitated to the familiar. It was comforting to eat the same foods every day, to be with friends who had similar backgrounds and personalities, to cling to routine.

But as I get older, I find myself wanting to try the untried. I crave new tastes, new ideas, anyone and anything that’s out of the box.

Maybe that explains one of my new infatuations. It’s rich and creamy, part cheese, part spread, with a smoky pep. And it’s just a little unconventional.

This quirky vegan recipe comes courtesy of Matt Poley, the charismatic owner of Heirloom Catering in Eagle Rock. When he joined me in my kitchen this month for a sold-out class on farm-to-table entertaining, he taught us a few ways to cook outside the box.

Here’s a lovely serving suggestion from chezbettay.com

To Poley, the creator of lasagna cupcakes who runs his car on used fry oil, vegan cooking is well-traveled territory. But for many of my students, cashew cheese pushed them through an unfamiliar doorway. Some wrote to tell me how they had surprised their families with a totally meatless feast. Others were just tickled to be craving something so clean and healthful.

Serve the “cheese” on crackers or bread slices that have been drizzled with olive oil, rubbed with raw garlic and toasted. It also awakens crudités, adds a twist to quesadillas and makes a sandwich sing.

This spring, embrace a fresh new recipe, friend, or idea. All it takes is one to point you (and your appetite) in a new direction. As President Obama famously put it, “If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.”

Try these other unique dips and hors d’oeuvres…

Savory Wild Mushroom Paté

Spring Carrot Paté

Warm Brie-Stuffed Dates

Summer Vegetable Ceviche

Quinoa Vegetable Latkes


Congratulations to the lucky winner of our March Giveaway! Steve Muir of Bellevue, Washington was chosen out of over 13,000 entries from all over the world. Thank you so much to all of you who participated. The Farmgirl is thrilled to give away this stellar knife and peeler set from Kyocera.

The April Cooking Contest will be up soon. Keep in touch and happy cooking!

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