by Jenn Chic
(Vegan Cashew Cheese recipe below! Photo by Jenn Chic)
I am what some call a “flexitarian” – I eat meat three or four times a week but for the rest of the time I enjoy bolstering my diet with nuts, tofu or eggs – protein alternatives to meat. I think it’s important to understand where the food comes from that we eat – whether it’s veggies, fruit or meat – and that it has been raised ethically and with the health of the producers, consumers and planet in mind. Shopping at farmer’s markets ensures that.
Why eat less meat? The raising of conventional meat has some pretty horrible consequences. The life those animals lead is less than ideal and eating that type of energy along with all the growth-enhancing hormones and medications is hard to digest in more ways than one. Michael Pollan, an author of many enlightening books and articles about food and the food systems we depend on, is a great resource. Vancouver’s own David Suzuki also has plenty to say about the environmental concequences of how we eat.
No matter how healthy I eat – with plenty of greens, grains and good fats making up the majority of my diets there are days when nothing but a rich and creamy dipping treat will do. Think ripple chips with french onion dip or chicken wings and ranch dressing. These treats may be taking me on a much needed trip down memory lane by attempting to satisfy an emotional craving that, unfortunately, leaves my physical being feeling a little flat, and, well, fat. I have an alternative though.
While cashews aren’t local they are full of healthy fat and oh so tasty. I choose organic ingredients to ensure that I’m not eating pesticide, hormones or chemicals. This recipe for Cashew Cheese is quick to prepare with a little bit of planning and is very versatile. Dip your homemade yams fries in for a snack, spread it on rice cakes and top with sprouts and tomato at lunch time. I mix it with pasta or rice and lots of veggies, instead of cheese sauce, for a satisfying supper.
Vegan Cashew Cheese Recipe
Place in a bowl:
1 ½ cups cashews
Cover with twice as much water and let soak for about 6 hours. Drain and rinse well. Place in blender ( I use a Vita-mix) with:
1 tbsp of miso paste
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp of olive oil or coconut oil
¼ cup fresh water
Blend until absolutely smooth. Store in a jar in the fridge.
Change the flavour by adding one or more of the following: cilantro, parsley, bell pepper, black pepper, cumin, curry. The sky is the limit!
Happy Earth Week!
About the author:
After interning at Chez Panisse, Jenn Chic cooked up a new career for herself. Already a trained chef and photographer, she began to write about all things food related. Her stories and photographs have appeared in Swerve, Edible Toronto, Western Living & Vanmag online. Wherever she goes, the scent of fresh baking is close by. Her cooking blog is www.jennchiccooks.com and photo blog is www.jennchic.com (underconstruction).
Tags: cashew cheese earth week jenn chic meatless monday vegan recipe