Category Archives: Nut Cheeses

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 15

raw vegan nut cheese plate

I am very late in writing up the synopsis for the rest of my Advanced Raw Cuisine course, but here it is, better late than never… Day 15!

Day 15 marked the end of pastry week! The finished chocolate bonbons were presented today. We also started prep work for one final pastry recipe that will be completed as part of week 4, and everything came together for the final cheese plate as well. It was beautiful when everything was laid out.

Here are some red pears in the vacuum sealed bag. They are marinading in a sauce that will make them both flavorful and soft. It contains some agave, lemon juice, and spices. The texture was wonderful. The apple slices were pliable and soft, just as if they’d been poached! These are for a chocolate walnut cake that will be ready as part of week 4. 

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These are some candied fennel seed in the making. Fennel seeds tossed with a little maple syrup and put into the dehydrator to get crispy! They will also be used for the walnut cake dessert. 

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Here are the final nut cheeses after aging in the fridge for over a month! The course is only 4 weeks, but since I was working on a longer 8 week track, I had the opportunity to age mine longer. The texture was wonderful. They were soft and creamy, definitely more “cheese-like”. The flavors were so mature. It was really worth the time to let this happen. I also put some of them into the dehydrator for about 24 hours to put a bit of a “rind” on them. 

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I present to you… the finished cheese plate! This has my nut cheeses, some homemade mustard, a raw bread loaf, some raw crackers, a few slices of cucumber and pear, and a few drops of a balsamic vinegar reduction. It was so good!

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The last thing that was finished on this day was a batch of chocolate bon bons! We learned how to temper chocolate and made these wonderful filled candies. There is a green tea and honey filling in the center. 

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Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 12

Pastry week continues in Advanced Raw Cuisine! Today, we worked on prep recipes for a number of items that will be completed in the next few days of the curriculum.

We started the day with some almond flour for a linzer cookie dough, checked on our bread from yesterday, and started another fermented nut cheese that will become a mozzarella for a caprese salad. I can’t wait to try it! I formed it into rustic looking rounds in preparation for the final plating before putting it into the dehydrator. 

raw vegan mozzarella cheeseraw vegan mozzarella cheeseraw vegan mozzarella cheese

The first “finished” recipe for today was a jam that will go into our linzer cookies. We were given a base recipe and allowed to pick any fruit, preferably a berry, that we wanted. My local grocery store had raspberries on sale, and I hadn’t had them in so long because they are rather expensive, so I picked some up and made the wonderful raw jam that you see in the photo below: 

raw vegan raspberry jam

 

The next task was to make the dough for the linzer cookies. I’ve never had a traditional baked linzer cookie because of my gluten intolerance and allergies. This was a really fun project that allowed me to have something similar, which was much healthier. I used a traditional linzer cookie cutter to give them an authentic look, and it worked like a charm with the dough recipe that we were taught to make. Aren’t they professional looking? I was thrilled with the way they came out. 

raw vegan linzer cookies raw vegan linzer cookies raw vegan linzer cookies raw vegan linzer cookies raw vegan linzer cookies

Once the linzer cookies were rolled out and cut, they went into the dehydrator and it was time to work on the next project, which was to start on a phyllo dough for baklava! This was also something I never had the opportunity to try, so it was a very exciting recipe for me to work on. It’s not airy and flaky like a traditional phyllo dough, but it does hold up well to stacking and it has a wonderful flavor. I thought it was a wonderful raw translation of a phyllo dough for the purpose of stacking ingredients in layers. 

raw vegan phyllo dough raw vegan phyllo dough raw vegan phyllo dough

That’s if for day 12! Looking forward to tomorrow’s projects where we will start preparing some sauces and crackers for our cheese plates!

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 10

raw vegan tomato filet and cheese crisps

Day 10 of Advanced Raw Cuisine at Matthew Kenney academy is completed!

What a busy day! As we are nearing the half way point, the midterm exam was today! After the text was completed, it was time to check in on the nut cheeses that have been aging in the fridge.

The big yellow one in the back left position is a cashew and probiotic powder cheese with parsley, turmeric, onion powder, garlic, and black pepper. It has a wonderful rich and cheesy flavor. After it warms a bit, it is also spreadable. 

The large orange wedge in the back right position is macadamia and fermented coconut water with smoked paprika and caraway seed. This one will be smoked with the smoking gun after it is done curing in the fridge. 

In the front right position is a macadamia and rejuvelac cheese with dill, and in the front left position is a sweet and spreadable cheese of brazil and pine nut, fermented with water kefir, and seasoned with honey, cinnamon, cardamom, and dried figs. 

raw vegan fermented nut cheeses raw vegan fermented nut cheeses raw vegan fermented nut cheeses raw vegan fermented nut cheeses raw vegan fermented nut cheeses raw vegan fermented nut cheeses

After checking in on the cheeses, we put together a light and simple dish of filleted heirloom tomatoes, tossed with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, and plated with the basil butter made during the first week of the class. It was topped with the cheese crisps we made yesterday and some micro greens. I choose to use some micro basil from my porch garden. 🙂

If you’d like to make something similar there is a great recipe for “herbed crackers” in Everyday Raw by Matthew Kenney. To make them more cheesy, simply add more nutritional yeast. 

raw vegan tomato filet and cheese crisps raw vegan tomato filet and cheese crisps raw vegan tomato filet and cheese crisps

After enjoying a nice appetizer, we got a sneak peek of the pastry work that we will be doing in week 3. We started a batch of cinnamon rolls! We made a dough that was rolled out and then added a spiced paste and some crushed nuts and dried fruit. They were put in the freezer to set up, and at the start of week 3, we’ll be slicing them and warming in the dehydrator, to be served with some special sides and a surprise beverage!

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To finish off the day, we had the opportunity to design our own enhanced sauce in the form of a frozen butter that could be served with either our cinnamon rolls, or a bread loaf that we will learn how to make next week. I chose to make a spicy chocolate butter that will be paired with the cinnamon rolls, and have included the recipe below for you. 🙂

Here are some shots of it fresh out of the blender and in the silicon trays. It would also be good on its own as a chocolate sauce to drizzle over some ice cream. 

raw vegan spicy chocolate butter raw vegan spicy chocolate butter raw vegan spicy chocolate butter

Mayan Chocolate Sauce / Frozen Chocolate Butter
A warm and spicy chocolate sauce, which can also be frozen into a chocolate butter.
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Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup avocado oil
  2. 2 TB coconut oil
  3. 2 TB agave syrup
  4. 2 TB cacao powder
  5. 1 tsp chili powder
  6. 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  7. 1/4 tsp chipotle smoked sea salt
  8. pinch cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until perfectly smooth. Use immediately either as a chocolate sauce on an ice cream, or freeze into silicon molds to use as spicy chocolate butter on your favorite warm dessert for a textural treat.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 6

raw vegan beet carpaccio

Day 6 of Advanced Raw Cuisine at Matthew Kenney Culinary has been completed! This starts the second week of class where the focus is on “advanced equipment”. We’ll be learning how to use the sous vide technique for raw food, how to infuse a smoky flavor into the food via a smoking gun, and how to use the dehydrator as a hot box. I’m very excited about playing with some new kitchen toys!

To start the day, some prep work was required. I made almond milk and processed the strained out pulp into almond flour. I also made some oat flour by soaking raw oat groats, dehydrating them, grinding the grains, and sifting the flour from the bran. 

Next, it was time to harvest some herbs and season the macadamia goat cheese, which had been fermenting over the last 24 hours. I choose lemon balm, parsley, and dill. The lemon balm added a really nice flavor. It is slightly tangy like lemon, slightly sweet, and slightly bitter. It’s one of my favorite tea herbs. The parsley added an earthy quality to the mix, and the dill gave it a rich and savory quality. I love dill so much. I’d put it in everything if I could. 

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The macadamia cheese was shaped into a log by rolling it in parchment paper. It was then rolled in the fresh chopped herbs. It had a very herbal and earthy flavor, complimented by the tanginess and saltiness of the nut cheese itself. 

If you’d like to make the macadamia goat cheese, you can fine the recipe on page 48 of Everyday Raw Express: Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less by Matthew Kenney.

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Following the cheese flavoring, it was time to experiment with the sous vide technique! I was a little intimidated that our first project was to utilize beets. It’s no secret that I have a love-hate relationship with them. I try to like them, I really do. I know they’re super healthy, but they taste like dirt to me. It’s not my fault though. Science says I’m just overly sensitive to geosmin. I taste it in fresh corn sometimes too. 

Geosmin is an organic compound with a distinct earthy flavor and aroma produced by a type of Actinobacteria, and is responsible for the earthy taste of beets and a contributor to the strong scent (petrichor) that occurs in the air when rain falls after a dry spell of weather or when soil is disturbed.” [Wikipedia]

Another side effect of being a supertaster, I suppose. So there. 

I chose yellow beets for this assignment since they have a milder flavor to me. I also love they are the color of sunshine, and I live in the Sunshine State, after all. I sliced the beets on a mandolin, tossed them in some seasoning, and added some fresh herbs from my garden. They went into a vacuum sealed back, and then into the water bath.

I’m using the Anova Sous Vide Immersion Circulator. It’s pretty awesome. It clips onto any container, so you can use a big stockpot that you might already have and it stores easily since it’s basically just a metal cylinder. It stores easily if you have a small place like I do, and there’s no need to purchase a separate sous vide machine. Best of all, it’s very reasonably priced at less than $200 if you get it through Amazon.

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After this project, we made an oat crumble and put it into the dehydrator and also made an almond gelato, which was put into the freezer to set up. 

Then, it was time for a lesson about agar agar. Agar is a seaweed that has amazing gelling properties. It’s not technically raw, but as a sea vegetable, it is rich in minerals, low in calories, and a good source of fiber. It can be used as a replacement for gelatin, and it can also be re-heated and re-blended if it sets too quickly. It’s a very versatile and it’s benefits outweigh its drawbacks. We used it to make a raw vegan version of tofu, with a base of coconut and cashew. 

It had a really nice flavor and texture. It didn’t have the same weird aftertaste that traditional soy based tofu does, and it is completely soy free. If you’d like to make this recipe, it is on page 66 of Matthew Kenney’s book, Everyday Raw.

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Finally, it was time to plate the beets with the components that we’d been putting together. This dish contains the sous vide beets, the macadamia goat cheese, the lemon butter I made on day 5 and put in the freezer, some crushed pistachio, and a few microgreens or sprouts. 

If you’d like to make this dish, you can find a similar recipe on page 48 of Everyday Raw Express: Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less by Matthew Kenney.

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What a great and delicious day! I can’t wait to see what we’ll be creating next!

Advanced Raw Cuisine: Day 5

raw vegan corn and mint ravioli

I just completed day 5 of the Advanced Raw Cuisine course through Matthew Kenney Academy. What a wonderful experience my first week has been so far. We covered different types of sauces extensively every day, putting our lessons into practice with a variety of delicious recipe creations. For many of these recipes, we also learned new techniques for food preparation. 

Today, we learned about a 5th type of sauce used in raw cuisine, the “enhanced sauce”. This group of sauces is quite versatile. They are emulsified and using the basic method, they can be used to create either a light and silky smooth sauce, a butter, or an ice cream. For today’s lesson, we used this technique to create a tangy “tomato fondue”, which was used as a sauce in a raw ravioli dish that we plated later in the day.

raw vegan tomato fondueraw vegan tomato fondue raw vegan tomato fondue

While the sauce was warming and thickening in the dehydrator, we created a second enhanced sauce. We were given the option of creating either an olive oil ice cream or a basil butter. I chose the basil butter because I grow my own basil, and I love being able to make recipes with food that I’ve grown myself. This creation went straight from the blender into the freezer to use at a later time. 

basil

When the tomato fondue came out of the dehydrator, it was time to assemble and plate the rest of the ravioli components. We made the corn and mint pesto, which you can see hiding between the coconut wrapper squares  in some of the photos, and we also tossed a little baby arugula with a little olive oil, pine nuts, salt and pepper to help break up the color and spacing on the plate. I had the coconut wrapper squares that were prepared and cut up for the previous day’s lesson all ready to go! 

Bonus: The mint came from my garden. It’s really rewarding to be able to use my own herbs in these recipes!

This is the final result. The whole dish came together beautifully. I was able to put it together quickly and have it ready for lunch time. The tomato fondue was savory, tangy, and had a buttery, but light consistency. The corn and mint pesto was very slightly sweet and refreshing. The coconut wrappers were infused with a bit of carrot and also offered a subtle sweetness to contrast the tanginess in the sauce. They also contributed a more solid, but still soft texture. The arugula tossed with olive oil and lightly seasoned added just a hint of bitterness and saltiness, which nicely balanced the whole dish, both in flavor and in plating. I was thrilled with how well this turned out.

raw vegan corn and mint ravioli raw vegan corn and mint ravioli raw vegan corn and mint ravioli raw vegan corn and mint ravioli

The final project of the day was to get started on some macadamia nut “goat” cheese, which will be used in some recipes over the next few days (and probably plenty of snacking too). 🙂

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