Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Home Grown Tomatoes presents...A Litte Bit of Genius

Cashew Cream

Home Grown Tomatoes is a weekly Vegan/Vegetarian column by Giovanina Bucci

God bless my parents, seriously. Without knowing it, they're both absolutely hysterical. And furthermore, they crack themselves up, which makes it all the more comical. Aside from the humor they provide me (and many others), they are truly the most thoughtful people I know. Which brings me to how I came to own this AMAZING cookbook, by Tal Ronnen, called The Conscious Cook.

Apparently they were having a romantic evening watching Oprah together and lo and behold, Tal Ronnen, was the guest that day. Well, I guess they heard the buzz word "vegan," thought of their beloved (and probably most favorite) daughter, and the rest is history. Complete with a note from Mom and Dad on the inside cover, this book, for many reasons, has become so influential in my culinary endeavors. The photography is stunning, the recipes are diverse, and the information provided is incredibly educational. In other words, I highly recommend this book even for you non-veganators - ideas are fresh and innovative and applicable to most any diet.

He dedicates a two whole pages to Cashew Cream and rightfully so - this stuff is GENIUS. In all those places where you may use heavy cream (or often, where I use Tofutti Sour Cream), Cashew Cream is an amazing thickener, not to mention the great boost of flavor that it adds. Mashed potatoes, creamy soups, stuffings, and the list goes on and on. There are two types of cream: regular, thick cashew cream and whipped cashew cream. Below are Ronnen's recipes for both out of his cookbook (summarized).

Regular and Thick Cashew Cream
(makes 2 1/4 C. thick cream or 3 1/2 C. regular cream)

2 C. whole raw cashews, rinsed

Soak the cashews in fresh water and refrigerate overnight. Drain and rinse cashews. Place cashews in a blender, and cover with enough cold water to cover them by 1 inch. Blend on high until smooth - of course, if you want a thicker cream, just reduce the amount of water. I have a regular old blender and was able to create a smooth, thick texture without any problem.

Whipped Cashew Cream (makes about 2 C.)

1 C. thick cashew cream (above)

1/4 C. light agave nectar

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

2/3 C. refined coconut oil, warmed until liquid

1/4 C. water

Blend cashew cream, agave nectar, vanilla extra and water until thoroughly combined. Slowly drizzle in the coconut oil with the blender on low, until all ingredients are smooth and well mixed. Refrigerate for about 2 hours before using.

Curried Cauliflower Soup with Cashew Cream (say that 5 times fast!)

I used the Cashew Cream here in this Curried Cauliflower Soup (which I, of course, did not write the recipe for). Roughly, however, I sauteed a yellow onion in a few tablespoons of (soy free!) Earth Balance. I then added chopped celery and cauliflower, followed by a can of garbanzo beans once the veggies were a bit tender. I added about 3/4 C of Cashew Cream and some Rice Milk until I achieved the thick, creamy texture I was going for. I seasoned with curry powder, onion powder, black pepper, a bit of turmeric and a dash of Bragg's Liquid Aminos. Topped with some tempeh bacon and Spanish paprika for color, and that's it!

You won't regret trying Cashew Cream, even if that means stepping out on a culinary limb - do it! Trust me. You'll be happy :) Enjoy!

1 comment:

Ouiser said...

while i am certain that Curried Cauliflower Soup with Cashew Cream is probably delicious, i can think of very, very few things that mr. ouiser would be less likely to eat. i am cracking up.

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