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.
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.”
Makes 2 cups
2 ½ cups (20 ounces) filtered water
1 tablespoon chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 small cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound raw cashews
For garnish (optional): a sprinkle of smoked paprika or black sesame seeds, or finely chopped fresh herbs or olives
1. In a small pot, bring the water, chipotle, garlic, oil, salt and pepper to a boil. Lower the flame and simmer 10 minutes.
2. Place the cashews in a medium glass or metal bowl, pour the hot broth over the cashews, cover with plastic wrap and reserve overnight or for several hours.
3. Strain the cashews and transfer to a food processor or powerful blender. Blend in pulses until very smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times, adding a small amount of the broth as needed for taste and consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
4. To serve, mound in a bowl and sprinkle with a little paprika or a few black sesame seeds, or else shape into a ball, cover with finely chopped fresh herbs or olives, and place on a platter with crackers or crudités. Keep leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Try these other unique dips and hors d’oeuvres…
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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