I have my brother-in-law to thank for this recipe. He was coming to Thanksgiving dinner, and I needed a cheese to put out with the crackers before dinner that he could eat -- meaning no soy and no yeast. Now that might not seem like a tall order, but when you consider that everything that goes into or comes out of my kitchen is already gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free, and that I am ever conscious of trying to reduce or completely omit the oils from my cooking...... well you can start to see that I had a terrifically inspiring challenge.
It was late the night before. I was bone tired and about to head to bed, and I suddenly got this idea -- it was sort of a melding of several other recipes that I had seen. The final alchemy came from a conversation I had with my friend Andre a few days prior, in which he shared with me his recent experiences playing in the kitchen with tapiocha flour.
I blended some tapiocha flour with water, threw it in a pot on the stove and added a sprinkling of agar flakes to the top. I lit the fire and then turned my attention to the blender, where I put in some raw almonds and cashews and a little bits of other flavorful ingredients. After about five minutes, of boiling, I added the pot of liquid to the blender and put it on high until it was just totally smooth and creamy. Then I poured the contents into a small glass dish, covered it and let it harden in the refridgerator. The resulting "Cheeze" was simply amazing. Everyone at our Thanksgiving (which let me tell you included a very wide range of culinary preferences.) loved the cheeze.
Today, I just made the recipe a second time -- increasing the amounts of a few of the flavoring ingredients, and I think it is even better. This cheeze is very quick and easy to make. However it does call for some ingredients that some people may not be familiar with. Umboshi plum paste is found in the macrobiotic section of the natural foods store. It is a beautiful reddish pink paste with a very salty taste. My favorite is made by Eden foods. Another brand that I sometimes use is "Sushi Sonic". Miso, is salty bean paste also used in macrobiotic and traditional asian cooking. It is usually in the refridgerated section. Most miso is made from Soy beans, and some miso even has barley in it and would thus not be gluten free. But South River (http://www.southrivermiso.com/) makes a chick pea miso that is not only soy free and gluten free, but even is packaged in glass jars. It is a fantastic product. It is pricy but you only need two tablespoons of miso to make a block of cheeze that is over two cups in volume. So that comes out to be a dollar's worth of miso to make this recipe. The last "unusal ingredient is also tradtional to asian cooking. It is called Mirin. It is a sweet rice cooking wine. No mirin that I have ever tried is as good as the mirin made my Eden foods. So I encourage you to find it and not sub something else here.
Not only is this cheeze slicable, but it is delicious, creamy and satisfying. In additon it is gluten- free, vegan, soy free, peanut-free, casein-free, dairy-free, and even oil free. The only fat here is from a small amount of whole raw nuts, so enjoy
2 cups water
2 T tapiocha flour
2 T Eden Agar flakes
1/3 cup raw almonds
1/3 cup raw cashews
4 tsp umboshi plum paste
2 T chickpea miso
1 T Eden mirin
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp yellow mustard (Natural Value is gluten free)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
- Blend cool or room temp water with tapiocha, put it into a saucepan and sprinkle the agar flakes on top. Then turn on the heat and bring it to boil. Turn down heat and allow to boil slowly for five minutes.
- Place all remaining ingredients into a blender (I use a Vitamix -- but a regular blender would probably work -- but you might just have to blend a little longer.)
- Remove the water/tapiocha/agar mixture from the heat and pour immediately into the blender, put on the lid and blend on high until totally smooth and creamy. If using a regular blender, you will probably need to stop a few times and scrape down the sides and then blend again.
- Pour hot mixture into a glass bowl or other mold, cover and place into the refridgerator. In a few hours it will harden up and then can be sliced or shredded.
This recipe yeilds one 20 oz block of cheeze.
Each ounce contains about
40 calories and 3 grams of fat