Category Archives: cheese

Faux Stowe Fruit, Nut and Rosemary Crackers

My friend Brianna sent me a recipe recently (the one below this one). It is reminiscent of Leslie Stowe Raincoast Crisps – but better – and cheaper. This recipe makes 3 loaves. Use one, keep the other two frozen till you need them, or half this recipe and make two smaller loaves. I decided to give it a try however I didn’t have all of her ingredients. I simply substituted what I had in the kitchen and came up with a really nice combination. These are great paired with any kind of cheese or used for dipping. Sorry! Not a whole lot of pictures for this recipe.

Faux Stowe Fruit, Nut and Rosemary Crackers

2 cups flour (wholewheat or white or combo of)
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups buttermilk (or 2 cups milk with 2 tbsp vinegar)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup plump golden raisins
1/2 cup currants
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped pistachios
1/4 cup chopped dates
1 cup chia or flax seeds, coarsely ground
3 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
Pre-heat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, stir together first four ingredients.
Add buttermilk and honey, stir slightly.
Add rest of ingredients and stir until just blended (it will be quite wet).
Pour batter into three greased bread pans. Fill each pan to about 1.5
to 2 inches deep.
Bake for 45 minutes and let cool on rack.
Freeze for at least an hour or until a loaf is needed.


Thinly slice with a bread knife and lay on a cookie
sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, flipping crackers over halfway through
baking time. Let them cool and then store in airtight container.

OR!!

2 cups flour (wholewheat or white or combo of)
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups buttermilk (or 2 cups milk with 2 tbsp vinegar)
1/2 cup honey
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup flax seeds, coarsely ground
2 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
Cooking instructions same as above.

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Filed under Appetizers, Breads, cheese, Cookies, Dips & Spreads, Snacks, Vegetarian

Strawberry Banana Raw Vegan Cheesecake

At one point in my father’s life he became quite quite sick. At the time I was attending Fashion Design school and found going to class quite stressful as weeks went by waiting for test results on my dad’s pending diagnosis. The word cancer was thrown around and this scared all of us. With a stroke of luck cancer was not the culprit – but 2 pots of coffee a day for the last 20 or so years was. He was put on a very VERY strict diet and has been on it for the past 6 or 7 years now with great success. There is an extensive list of things he is unable and able to eat. My mother keeps him on the straight and narrow and he is healthy and active and should last around 2 more years… Just kidding… he’ll last forever now. 😉

At family events and parties my dad is given a bowl of what appears to be the only thing my mum has figured out he can have for dessert, and though it is quite tasty I would go INSANE if that’s the only thing I ever got as an after dinner treat for the rest of my life. Yesterday I did some research and found a few raw vegan cheesecake recipes. I have had to alter them for my dad as he can have no type of sweetener aside from honey. He is also unable to have soy and wheat (and a million other things). This recipe is also great for the lactose intolerant (like myself). I can’t believe how much this tasted like cheesecake. Definitely a healthy version of one – but for being made purely out of nuts and fruits I am truly impressed!… This cakes for you dad!

Raw Banana Strawberry Vegan Cheesecake
Recipe adapted from here.

Ingredients:

Crust:
1 cup walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cup of pitted dates
3 to 4 tablespoons cocoa (optional)

Filling:
1 cup raw cashews soaked overnight
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 fresh or frozen banana mashed
3 strawberries (more for garnish)
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of agave (honey for my dad)
1/2 lemon juiced (1 tsp)

Crust: Blend all ingredients in food processor. You don’t want any large nut or date chunks. Pour into 8 inch cake pan and press down evenly.

Filling: The cashews must be soaked overnight. Blend all ingredients in food processor or blender (I should have used our blender for a smoother consistency).

Pour on top of crust and spread evenly. Place in the fridge for several hours or the freezer (freezes very well) and let thaw 20 minutes before eating.

Garnish with fresh fruit and enjoy!

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Filed under cheese, Desserts, Vegan, Vegetarian

Homemade Fresh Mozzarella or Bocconcini Cheese

Bocconcini cheese? Never a favorite of mine. The cheese is often used in caprese salad (tomato, basil, bocconcini and seasoned with salt, pepper, and olive oil) and I have always found it dry and completely tasteless – until one afternoon lunching at a friends house in Seattle. He placed a caprese salad in front of me, saying that the cheese was out of this world. Well… it was. Smooth and creamy, a delicate milky flavour with a hint of saltiness. I’d never look at bocconcini the same way again knowing that it could actually taste amazing.

I have a little bit of a problem (some might call it a personality flaw, some might call me crazy) but I love to choose something kind of out there and master making it. Personally I just love having knowledge about a large variety of things, and when I get a bee in my bonnet about something I want to learn, I become obsessive till I have conquered it. Making cheese was the perfect avenue for this obsessiveness as you can start out soft and mild and work your way into the hard and stinky – cheese that is… After a recent invite to a wine and cheese party I decided that I would actually MAKE cheese. It took me two goes of it to get it to work and with further research I think I have figured out why. For the beginner, this is not something you can guess at while making. It is very VERY important to follow the directions or you’ll end up with a yucky pot of turned milk. After scouring the Internets for good instructions I have decided to combine a few of them here for anyone that is interested. If you make this and it works – TRUST me, you’ll have a hard time eating the store bought stuff ever again.

Equipment:

Glass measuring cup
5 liter pot, VERY clean, stainless or enamel with a lid
Thermometer, -20 to 110C (buy a cheap digital one!)
Sterile fine-weave dish cloth or doubled up fine-weave cheese cloth
8 inch strainer (pasta strainer)
1000 watt microwave oven

Ingredients:

1 gallon milk* (I used ROOM TEMPERATURE cow’s milk, homogenized, pasteurized, 3.5% butter fat)
1¼ teaspoon citric acid powder (from local pharmacy – Sweet Cherubim in Vancouver) dissolved in ½ cup cool water
½ tablet Junket rennet (from local supermarket – Bosa Foods in Vancouver) dissolved in ¼ cup cool water
1 teaspoon salt
* Ask the grocery guy to go in the back and get you the freshest milk they have. If using organic milk, be sure that it is NOT ‘ultra-pasteurized’ as too much of the good stuff has been cooked out.

Dissolve 1¼ tsp. citric acid powder into ½ cup cool water. Add to ROOM TEMPERATURE milk and stir well, up to 5 minutes.

Heat milk to 31C (88F).
Dissolve ½ tablet Junket Rennet into ¼ cup cool water. Stir thoroughly into warmed milk mixture. Let set UNDISTURBED for 2-3 hours, until a clean break is achieved. That means NO moving it AT ALL! Very important. Now here is where I have had a problem – getting this ‘clean break’. It is due to the fact that pasteurized milk doesn’t have the calcium content that raw milk has. Though I did not get this ‘clean break’ it all still worked for me, so don’t be too discouraged if it doesn’t look like the linked picture. As long as the milk isn’t sticking to your finger like yogurt would it should be OK.

Cut curd into ½ inches cubes.

Over low heat, very softly stir the curds and whey (whey – the yellowy green water that has separated from the curds) to keep the curds separated and temperature uniform until temperature reaches 42C (108F). Hold at 42C (108F) for 35 minutes, softly stirring every five minutes to keep curds separated and off the hot bottom. This is the hard part… keeping your temperature around 108F takes a lot of upping and downing the heat. I kept mine at the lowest setting my electric stove had. I would remove the pot from the element if I saw the temperature getting too high.

After 35 minutes, remove from heat and collect the curds with a slotted spoon into a fine cloth held in an pasta drainer over a large bowl and let drain for 15 minutes. You can lightly press down on them with clean hands.

Break up the curd and thoroughly mix in 1 teaspoon salt with your hands.

Place salted curd into a glass bowl. Microwave on high (1000 watts) for 45 seconds (adjust the time so that you get the desired elasticity). Separate hot curd from container with the back of a fork or hands and then knead to distribute heat evenly. It’s HOT, so be careful!

Stretch, pull and fold to make it smooth and elastic, much like salt water taffy is made. Heat it up 2 more times (30 seconds worked for me) continuing to pour off the watery whey (if there is any) each time and then continue stretching and pulling.

Shape into a soft ball or balls and place into refrigerator to solidify. I split mine into two and rounded them into balls and placed them into two bowls.

And that’s it! Let them cool down and firm up and then they are ready to eat!

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Filed under Appetizers, cheese