Saturday, January 16, 2010

Holiday Cashew "Cheese" Log

I DID IT!!! Perfected (well, sorta, I won't say it's actually "perfect" yet) but I did come up with a vegan "cream-cheese" sorta thing that's reasonably "cheesy", creamy, spreadable and AWESOME to make into those cool-looking 1970's style "cheese logs" or rolls for parties...

The first batch got eaten right away by hungry teenagers - so much for fancy party snacks!! The second batch got served at an office party get-together-sorta thingy last week and everyone loved it and no one even batted an eye or asked "what's IN this?".

I rolled mine in pecans and cranberries but I think dried herbs, black pepper, or red paprika would be pretty too!

And I like that there's not a fakey soy-tofu-cream cheese product in the recipe. Don't get me wrong, Tofutti has it's uses, but there's something satisfying (and a bit fussy!!) about making your own from scratch.
I think (?) it could be made as a RAW "cheese" too, depending on the ingredients you use, and cooking it, in the final step, in a much lower oven - but I'm not totally up on all things raw, so don't quote me there.

Try it and let me know what you think!!!

Cashew "Cheese" Log
3/4 cup raw cashews
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
3 Tbsp fresh-squeezed, strained lemon juice
a pinch of finely grated lemon rind
1 Tbsp tahini
water as needed
1 3/4 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries

Place cashews in a large bowl; cover and soak with 3 inches of water, overnight.
Drain liquid, rinse cashews under cold water.
Puree cashews, oils, lemon juice, tahini, salt and 2 tbsp (or less) water in a food processor until smooth and creamy. (Only use as much water as needed to make it blend well).
Place large strainer over the bowl, and line w/ triple layers of cheesecloth.
Scrape cashew mixture out of food processor bowl into cloth.
Fold sides over cheese and form into a longish oval loaf, whatever fits in the strainer. Twist ends of cloth and secure w/ rubber bands like a big sausage. (You'll have to cut your cheesecloth to fit beforehand probably, I fiddled with this part quite a bit because I really wanted that "log" shape...).
Set the log in strainer over bowl, and let stand 12 hours at room temperature. Dump excess liquid.
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees F.
Line baking sheet w/ parchment paper or spray lightly. Unwrap cheese from wet cheesecloth and roll/scrape and scrape into the same log shape on a fresh pc. of dry cheesecloth. Rewrap and twist ends to secure. Put on baking sheet and bake.
Bake 35+ minutes, or until cheese becomes set on the outside but still soft, turn it occasionally. This may take longer. Cool and chill (still wrapped) in fridge several hours.
Unwrap cheese.
Gently roll in the chopped cranberries and then the pecans, pressing to adhere and keep "log" shape. Chill until serving.
Slice and serve with crackers. SOOOO yum!!


The Voracious Vegan said...

This looks incredible! I adore cashew cheeses, but this one is totally over the top fantastic. And it really does look like a show stopper. Thank you for the recipe!

Kate said...

Genius, I tell you! I'll try this for sure. I only cook for myself at the moment, so it would be a little silly right now, but next time I have dinner party, I'll make it happen.

Rose said...

This looks fantastic...adding coconut oil seems like a stroke of genius. I can't wait to try it. Thanks for the recipe.

C said...

Wow, that looks really good. I should really try that for the next party. I'm sure it would be a hit!
I also like that there is no Tofutti in it.. it's hard to get where I live!

kelli said...

oh wow! that is one pretty cheese log! looks so tasty too. i want to bite my computer screen! =)

Susan G said...

That looks so good, and no weird ingredients!

Trinity (of haiku tofu) said...

Amazing! Thanks for posting this recipe!