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Cashew Goat Cheese: A Love Letter

11/21/2010

Dear Cashew Goat Cheese,

My darling…how can I express what I’ve come to feel for you so quickly?  It seems only yesterday that I knew nothing of your deliciousness, you simple concoction which borders on alchemy.  Your creaminess had escaped my tastebuds, and I, being ignorant of you charms, knew no better.  My world was unfulfilled without my even realizing.

The complexity of flavors that you develop given the slightest encouragement from me is beyond astounding, and I am grateful for your devotion to my gastronomic pleasure.  I’ve been so enthralled by you that I’ve only experienced your magic on the humblest of crackers, but I envision you in salads, dressing up sauces, and adding your seductive flavor to some of my favorite soups.  The possibilities for our culinary exploration are indeed endless. How could you be more versatile?

You have secured your place as my staple cheese, so we’ll be spending lots of time together.  Being the generous soul that I am, however, I want to share you with the world…you sing your praises from the rooftops – and so I shall.

Until we meet again (when I hit publish),

All my cheesy love,

Lena

In all seriousness though, people, if you’ve never made this before, get thee down to your nearest market (or your kitchen cupboard) and grab some raw cashews, tahini, lemon and olive oil!  This recipe is really simple, but it does take a while if you want to ‘culture’ the cheese to get the full flavor.  No worries, though – your patience will be rewarded!

Pepper-Crusted Cashew Goat Cheese

Recipe source: here.
Makes 10 oz log

  • 3/4 cup raw cashews
  • 6 Tbs canola oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (Please use fresh lemon juice! I made my second batch with bottled b/c I was out, and it made me shed tears.  The flavor was off.)
  • 1 Tbs. tahini
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • parchment paper
  • cheese cloth
  • 1 tsp. cracked black peppercorns or coarsely ground black pepper

1. Place cashews in large bowl; cover with 3 inches water.  Soak overnight.

2. Drain liquid, rinse cashews under cold water and drain again.  Puree cashews, oil, lemon juice, tahini, salt, and 2 Tbs. water in food processor 6 minutes, or until smooth and creamy.

3. Place large strainer over bowl, and line with triple layer of cheesecloth.  Spoon cashew mixture into cheesecloth.  Fold sides of cloth over cheese, and form into 6-inch-long oval loaf.  Twist ends of cloth and secure with rubber bands.  Set in strainer over bowl, and let stand 12 hours at room temperature.  Discard excess liquid.  Chill.

4. Preheat over to 200 degrees F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Unwrap cheese, and scrape into 7-inch-long log on cheesecloth.  Rewrap, and twist ends to secure.  Place on prepared baking sheet.  Bake 35 minutes, or until cheese becomes set on outside but still soft, turning occasionally.  Cool, and chill.

5. Unwrap cheese.  Sprinkle with peppercorns, pressing to adhere.

Ever made homemade vegan cheese?  What’s your favorite kind?  Feel free to share your recipes!

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