Wednesday, December 21, 2011

White wine & Pecan Cashew 'Cream' Cheese Ball (Dairy Free, Vegan, RAW)


Ok, here it is the mighty CHEESE BALL!  A cashew cheese ball that is... and it IS awesome. It's dairy free and completely vegan.  I have seasoned this one with crispy shallots, garlic and my personal favorite...dry white wine. (You could easily replace the wine with water if you prefer. White wine is GAPS friendly and some Paleo people have it in moderation)

I promise, you will not be able to get enough of this cheese ball...it is THAT addictive!


White Wine & Pecan Cashew 'Cream' Cheese Ball 

Ingredients:

1 cup raw cashews (soaked for 2 hours and drained)
3-4 tablespoon dry white wine (or water)
1/2 tablespoon warmed coconut oil (this helps it become smooth and thick when chilled)
1-3 pro biotic capsule (at LEAST 10 billion organisms all together)
1 tablespoon shallot, finely minced (about 1 medium sized shallot)
1 tablespoon garlic, finely minced (2-3 large garlic cloves)
1 tablespoon chives, minced
3 tablespoon oil of choice
1 teaspoon or more coarse sea salt to taste
fresh ground pepper to taste
1 cup raw/roasted pecans, finely chopped

Method

1. Before starting, be sure that your blender/food processor, bowl and utensils are clean and dry.
Put the cashews, white wine, coconut oil and the powder from the pro-biotic capsule(s) in a high powered blender or food processor

2. Add the water /white wine. Puree the mixture stopping often to stir if needed. I find you have to do this less if using a food processor. Only add more water if you absolutely have to! The less water you use the better the cheese will 'set up' later. Blend until it is very smooth and creamy. Depending on your food processor, this could take up to 5 min. Be patient...trust me it's worth it for that creamy goodness!

3. Once smooth, transfer the mixture to a medium sized bowl and cover with a flour sack towel or or lid. Place the bowl in the oven with the light on and allow it to ferment for 12-16 hours. (I leave mine over night) If you have a dehydrator, you could put it in there as well (it may take less time to ferment in there). 

4. When the 'cheese' is ready, cook the minced onions and garlic in about 3 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Let them slowly cook for about 10 min (Unless they begin to burn). Try to adjust the stove temp so that they cook slowly the whole time. This way they will turn a nice golden color and get crispy once cooled. Drain the onion mixture and let cool on a paper towel.

5. Wipe out the pan (I always use cast iron) and pan roast the chopped pecans until they are nicely toasted. Careful not to burn them. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.

6. Stir the onion mixture into the cashew cheese, add the cooked minced chives, salt and pepper to taste, then chill the mixture (sometimes I put it in the freezer for about 10 minutes) till firm then make the ball. 

7. Press the raw/roasted pecans on the outside of the cheese ball. Wrap and chill well until ready to serve.

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