Spicy Cashew Cheese (Queso de anacardo picante)

guat2
Cupping at San Miguel Coffees in Guatemala (Photo: Stone Creek Coffee)

Well, I have failed miserably at my goal of posting one blog post per week, but I’m back nonetheless. After spending the past two months traveling for work to places like Knoxville, TN, Guatemala, and Costa Rica, I’m full of inspiration and ready to get back into the kitchen.

As I have met new people and seen new places, these past few months have been a time of immense reflection for me.  The very least I can say of this reflection is that I am eternally grateful for all of the once-in-a-lifetime experiences that I’ve been able to have in such a short amount of time.

After all, there is nothing quite like traveling out of the country for your first time, or traveling with your partner for their first time out of the country either.  There is nothing quite like tasting a fruit that you never had before.  And, similarly, yet appearing vastly different, there is nothing quite like going to your first coffee farm, or even like having a farmer show you around their land.

Although incredibly different, these experiences all share one thing in common which unites them–they only happen once.  These once-in-a-lifetime moments are momentary, but what we can learn from them is lasting.

However, learning only endures if we share it.

Chepe1
A view from my friend Chepe’s farm in Chirripo, Brunca, Costa Rica.

 

I don’t feel that what I have learned means very much–at least for me–if I don’t share it with others.  Therefore, in order to grow from what I’ve learned, I’m going to make an effort to share and utilize the things that I have learned, and this blog is one of the many ways that I am going to do that.

 

One of the ways in which I am going to do this is with language.  My recent travels have inspired me to improve my Spanish.  So, at least for now, I’ve officially decided to begin writing my recipes in English and Spanish!

I hope to reach more people and make new friends along the way, as well as open new horizons in food for myself and others. As I work on this, please feel free to share any corrections or helpful suggestions.

That being said,  I’ve got a killer recipe to share with ya’ll to come back with a bang! After months of pushing off trying to make it (partly because I felt bad about cheating on dairy cheese, partly because of the price), I finally decided to try making homemade cashew cheese.

Spicy Cashew Cheese2
Spicy cashew cheese on top of a bed of spaghetti squash.

Man, was I missing out! Now that I see how easy it is to make and how simple it is to alter, I’ll definitely be making this healthy, dairy-free alternative to cheese more often!

Ingredients · Ingredientes

  • 1/4 Cup Filtered water / Agua filtrada
  • 1 Cup Raw cashews / Anacardos crudos
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh parsley / Perejil fresco
  • 1/4 Cup Nutritional yeast / Levadura nutricional
  • 1-2 tsp Red pepper flakes / Hojuelas de pimienta roja
  • 1-2 tsp Himalayan pink salt / Sal himalaya
  • 1 Tbsp White wine vinegar / Vinagre de vino blanco
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon juice / Jugo de limón

Instructions · Instrucciones

  1. Soak cashews in water for at least two hours. / Empapar los anacardos en agua por lo menos 2 horas.
  2. Dry off cashews. / Seque los anacardos.
  3. Place cashews and all other ingredients in blender or food processor. / Coloque los anacardos y todos los demás ingredientes en la licuadora.
  4. Blend for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape off sides at least once. / Mezcla durante 2 minutos. Raspar los lados de la licuadora después de 1 minuto.
  5. Remove from food processor and enjoy for up 7 days. Store in refridgerator. Enjoy! / Retirar de la licuadora. Guardar en el refrigerador por hasta 7 días. ¡Disfrutar!

I Can’t Believe It’s Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

On our way home from a wedding over this past weekend, we stopped at a roadside farm stand and picked up a HUGE zucchini (for only $2!!!), and as it’s gotten a little chilly over the past few days, I figured that baking zucchini bread was the natural thing to do with it.  As I browsed the ingredients that I needed to buy in the baking aisle, I thought, “Why not try whole wheat?”  So I looked up a recipe that sounded good, and modified it to how it suited my taste…and it turned out even better than I thought it would!  I had actually never baked with whole wheat flour before, but after this success, I’ll definitely try making other things with it (and other alternate flours) in the future, and even tweaking this recipe!  (Note: I preferred the bread in the muffin format over the loaf!)

zucchini

You can make adjustments where you see fit, as well, which I have mad suggestions for below! (Substitute whole wheat flour for white, or some wheat flour for white, chocolate chips for cacao nibs, white sugar for raw cane sugar, etc.)
Ingredients:
3 C whole wheat flour
1 ½ Tbsp. cinnamon
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
3 eggs
¾ C coconut oil (vegetable or canola oil will do as well), slightly melted for easy stirring
¼ C raw acacia honey (but any variety of honey will do!), slightly melted (make a simple syrup and add about 1 Tbsp. or less very hot water and stir, which will break down the sugar and turn the honey into a liquid)
¼ C raw cane sugar (in place of white sugar, which you could use instead if preferred or if that’s what you have available to you) **
1 ¼ tsp. vanilla
3 C grated zucchini (try to remove any large seeds)
¼ C cacao nibs (or about ½ – ¾ C dark or semisweetened chocolate if you don’t have any cacao nibs or want something a little bit sweeter), optional (I tried all three ways, and the semisweet is definitely the sweetest, but the other two are delicious as well!)

**You can also add more sugar if you would like, as I have kept the sugar content pretty low in this recipe, which is surely not suited for all palates.
Directions:
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. In the meanwhile, grease your loaf and/or muffin pans. (When I made this particular batch, I made 1 loaf and 10 muffins). Next, add all of the dry ingredients except the chocolate together and stir. In the center of the bowl with the dry ingredients, make a well and pour in all of the wet ingredients except for the zucchini. Stir just until mixed, making sure not to overmix. Fold in the grated zucchini and chocolate chips or cacao nibs (reserving half of the chocolate for topping). Pour batter into greased loaf pan(s) or muffin holders and top with remaining chocolate pieces. Bake about 15-20 minutes for muffins and 30-60 minutes for loaf pans, or until a tooth pick or fork come out clean.

Enjoy!

Top with butter or coconut oil for an extra tasty treat!!!

Recipe adapted from Lisa Leake of the 100 Days of Real Food blog’s Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread: http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/06/25/recipe-zucchini-bread/