Nut ‘Cheese’ Experiment, Lesson Learned

   Veganism has been on my mind for some time as partly an environmental issue and partly a health issue. It sort of loops in fits of start, stop, long pause and then start again. Meanwhile the recipe collection has been gathering more and more vegan entries.

   Reading recipes has been a past time ever since I could read. Even in elementary school I had shoe boxes crammed with recipes on a shelf in my closet. I still have some of those recipes (in nicer boxes) plus an ever expanding file on the PC hard drive; same fetish, different media.

   Thanks to being indoors recently due to weather and allergies some of the ones that are more intriguing and time consuming have made it to the kitchen. As a cheese lover the concept of nut ‘cheese’ made me wonder if that was even possible, how close was it to that flavor I so loved, and could it happen in my own kitchen?

   The process started several days ago with the purchase of raw almonds. Three days ago they went into a pan of water to soak so as to be able to remove the fibrous skin. The next day they were drained and skin removal began. It took at least an hour, likely more, and there were blisters forming on my thumbs – this was from about 1.5 cups of dry almonds. After all of the creamy white blanched almonds were done I put them in the fridge while I contemplated my sore thumbs.

   Finally, two days later, with thumbs on the mend, I made notes from several recipes, gathered ingredients and assembled the blender. (Note to self – really, really have to look into purchasing a high powered blender) It was a wrestling match, pushing down the mixture, resting the motor, keeping it from ‘walking’ on the higher speeds, and adding water after much agonizing over initial proportions. The basil was nicely distributed but when did I add pimiento? Rats! I had chipped up my favorite silicone spatula.

Ooops!

Ooops!

   Finally the mixture achieved an acceptable level of smooth. Between several layers of clean fabric, packed all into a strainer, it was set aside to drain (with silicone chips removed).

   Two hours later – no ‘draining’ observed . . . . Will this even be edible? Three hours later – the fabric is damp. It is probably time to put it in the fridge to mellow? Ripen? At least it smells fresh so hopefully this wasn’t a big waste of time.

So far . . .

So far . . .

   There are whole, natural raw almonds left in the bag. Most resources on the internet describe a very short time in hot water being the key to popping almonds right out of their skin. If (if) I try again, I will opt for this method over the long cold soak.

In the meantime I’m consoling myself with something sweet and more antihistamine chased with an almond milk chai latte.

Mom

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2 Comments »

  1. Ricki said

    Sorry this turned out to be such a negative experience for you! And rats about the spatula 😦

    I made almond “feta” even before I had a high-speed blender, and it seemed to work out just fine. . hmm! I used VERY small batches in the blender and lots of patience scraping it down. I also noticed that it didn’t drain in the cheesecloth, so I skipped that step in the future–it went straight into the over without draining, and I noticed no ill effects. I love the flavor of this stuff. . . if you can live through the preparation, I think you’ll enjoy it!

    • gfedge said

      Hi Ricki and thanks for the encouragement. I opened the ‘cheese’ this morning; the texture is amazing and the taste is very good. Now I can try your olive/onion bread. Thinking back on the blanching process – the skins on those nuts were tough! The nut inside would be in halves and moving around but it took the knick of a knife to break the skin and get the nut out . . . so maybe a different source for the almonds next time as well as the hot water treatment.

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