Spicy Cashew Cheese (Queso de anacardo picante)

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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.

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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.

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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!

Gluten-free, Vegan Pasta Puttanesca

I created my own gluten-free, vegan puttanesca recipe tonight (based on Emeril Lagasse’s recipe found here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/puttanesca-sauce-recipe.html), and it turned out absolutely delicious! I will definitely be making this again soon!  (I made Mike his with regular pasta 😉 and he loved it too!)

Ingredients:

*try to use organic when possible*

6 cloves garlic, chopped or minced

1 28oz. can diced tomatoes, cut in half or separated by hand so that the chunks aren’t too large

3 Tbsp. tomato paste (the store I stopped at didn’t have organic, so I got all-natural, which isn’t the same, but at least there are no added sugars)

2 Tbsp. drained capers

1 4.25 oz. jar of kalamata olives, drained and with olives cut in half

zest from 1/2 lemon

juice for 1/2 lemon

1/2 C olive oil

1/2 sweet onion, diced

1 small shallot, diced

1 tsp. red chili pepper paste

salt to taste

1 8oz package gluten free multigrain spaghetti with quinoa (or use regular wheat pasta if you like)

4 dried basil leaves, crushed

6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped

Directions:

Cook pasta according to package directions.

In the meanwhile, prepare fresh ingredients.

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat, adding about 1-2 Tbsp. of water.  Add onions and salt and cook for about 6 minutes.  Add chopped garlic.  Cook for about 4 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and the remaining ingredients. Add more salt to taste if necessary. Lower heat to low. Cook for about 30-40 minutes, or until tomatoes are reduced.  Serve over cooked, drained, rinsed pasta.  Enjoy!