The two things I love most about raw food cooking:
1) I can’t burn myself
2) Using everyday ingredients in a way one wouldn’t normally use – i.e., being super creative!
Seriously, ‘normal’ cooking mildly boars me – cheese is cheese and milk is milk… nuff said. However, with raw foods, cheese is not cheese and milk is not milk… At all. Instead, it’s a collective mix of eclectic ingredients brought together in one creative dish (think: mad science). A great example of this, is fermented nut cheese – I mean, how many cooks do you know who are fermenting nuts with probiotics? My guess would be, not too many…
Besides the creative process, I love fermenting foods because it provides the body with probiotics that help with digestion and offer protection from harmful bacteria. In short, fermented foods are the healthier alternative to traditional dairy yogurt.
Probiotics can help:
treat diarrhea, especially following treatment with certain antibiotics
prevent and treat vaginal yeast infections and urinary tract infections
treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
reduce bladder cancer recurrence
speed treatment of certain intestinal infections
prevent and treat eczema
prevent or reduce the severity of colds and flus
Ok, so you get the point, right? Probiotics = yes, please.
Back to fermenting cheeses.
After purchasing some leeks at the farmers market this weekend, I decided to create a herb and leek cheese. While it is a fairly lengthy process due to the fermenting, it’s not hard at all – promise. Plus, it so delicious that it totally makes up for the time.
Leek and Herb Nut Cheese
for the base
1 C cashews
1 C brazil nuts (I use half and half, because of the selenium that brazil nuts provide)
2 acidophilus tablets (if you don’t have a high speed blender, use capsule pills that you can break open)
1 C of water
In a high speed blender, combine all ingredients. Blend until smooth.
Place an adequate amount of cheese cloth in a mason jar, and secure with outer ring lid (takes a bit of force). Scoop mixture into cheese cloth and let sit in a warm/dark place for 24-48 hours – I use my microwave to store the jar.
After 24-48 hours, the excess liquid will have drained from the nut cheese (see above).
Scoop out fermented cheese and place in bowl. Above, you can see how the cheese will shrink during fermentation.
Mmmm, fluffly goodness!
Leek and Herb mixture
1/2 C of chopped leeks
1 T fresh basil (chopped)
1 T fresh mint (chopped)
1 T fresh parsley (chopped)
.5 t sea salt
.5 t lemon juice
.5 t garlic powder
3 t nutritional yeast
Fold all ingredients in fermented cheese. Mix well by hand.
Using a ring mold, scoop mixture into ring and place in freezer for about 10 minutes. Once set, remove ring, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with fresh herbs.
Served with my herbed Italian flax crackers, this stuff is amazing… Kind of reminds me of an upscale onion spread – just lovely.
Hello, new favorite food! This is awesome with just about anything… Dirt, anyone? I’ve been eating it with plain ‘ol carrots and it’s super tasty… and, ridiculously addicting.
Any who, hope you enjoy – I’m off to bed now, as I’ve got an early appointment with the gym tomorrow morning.