Easy Cream Cheese (Tofu and Cashew Base)

This recipe produces a velvety smooth cream cheese that rivals its commercial non-dairy counterparts; and since no culturing is involved, it’s much quicker to make than cultured non-dairy cream cheese (however, for a truly authentic and complex lactic flavor, I do recommend the cultured cashew-based Cream Cheese in my Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook). The cheese mixture is very thick, therefore a high-powered blender is recommended for efficient processing.

Vegan lactic acid powder can be obtained from ModernistPantry.com. Please do not replace the soymilk with other non-dairy milks since the curdling reaction of the lactic acid with the soymilk is essential to the final texture. This recipe yields about 2 cups.

Ingredients
• ¾ cup (3.75 oz. by weight) whole raw cashews
• ½ cup organic plain unsweetened soymilk
• ½ block (about 7 oz. before pressing) firm or extra-firm tofu (not silken tofu)
• ¼ cup refined coconut oil
• 2 tsp lactic acid powder
• ½ tsp raw apple cider vinegar
• ½ tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt

Preparation
Rinse the cashews to remove any dust or debris and drain thoroughly. In a covered container, soak the cashews in the soymilk for a minimum of 8 hours in the refrigerator.

Press the tofu to remove as much moisture as possible.

Remove the lid from the coconut oil and place the jar or bottle into a microwave. Heat until melted (about 30 seconds to 1 minute depending upon the solidity of the coconut oil); avoid overheating the oil. Alternately, place the jar or bottle into a container filled with near boiling water and let stand until the oil melts. Measure ¼ cup.

Tip: Let the cashews, soymilk and tofu come to room temperature before blending as this will make processing easier.

Add the cashews, soymilk and coconut oil to a high-powered blender and process the contents on high speed until completely smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender jar and push the mixture down into the blades as necessary (the mixture will be very thick, so use a tamper tool if you have one).

Crumble the tofu into the blender and add the lactic acid, vinegar and salt. Continue to process on high speed until completely smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender jar and push the mixture down into the blades as necessary (the mixture will be extremely thick at this point, so use a tamper tool if you have one). Transfer the cheese mixture to a container with a lid and refrigerate until chilled.

Variations: For cream cheese with onion and chives, stir in 1 tablespoon dried minced onion and 1 tablespoon freeze-dried minced chives before chilling. For fruit flavored cream cheese, mix ¼ cup all-fruit jam into the cream cheese after it has chilled and firmed.

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Sunflower Parmesano

DSC09227-001Sunflower Parmesano is prepared from sunflower seeds and is a tasty alternative to grated dairy Parmesan for those abstaining from dairy products and for those who cannot consume tree nuts due to allergies. It has a granular texture reminiscent of a grated dairy Parmesan and Romano cheese blend. While it lacks the pungent aroma of its dairy counterparts, it has its own unique identity and savory flavor. Because Sunflower Parmesano is made with miso, a fermented product or “living” food, the flavor will continue to develop during refrigeration. It will also stay fresh in the refrigerator for several weeks or more if stored in an airtight container.

Ingredients
• 3 oz. natural raw sunflower seeds
• ¼ cup white rice flour
• 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
• 1 Tbsp mellow white miso paste
• ¾ tsp vegan Lactic Acid (available from www.ModernistPantry.com)
• ½ tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
• ½ tsp onion powder
• ¼ tsp garlic powder

Preparation
Place the sunflower seeds and the white rice flour into a food processor and process until finely ground, about 1 minute. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to process until well-blended. Refrigerate in a covered container until ready to use.

Tip: If you are allergic to soy, look for miso paste made from chickpeas.

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Instant Cheddar Cheese Sauce Mix

goldencheesesauce
This instant mix is a convenient timesaver for creating a rich and tangy cheddar cheese sauce for topping hot sandwiches or pouring over potatoes, pasta, rice or cooked vegetables. This recipe yields 2 cups of dry mix which will make 8 cups of cheddar cheese sauce.

Ingredients:
• 1 cup nutritional yeast flakes
• 1 cup tapioca flour
• 3 T onion powder
• 3 T tomato powder
• 4 tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
• 2 tsp lactic acid powder (order from ModernistPantry.com)
• 2 tsp dry ground mustard
• 1 tsp garlic powder

Technique:
Process the ingredients in a DRY blender or food processor until finely powdered. Store the seasoning blend in an airtight container at room temperature in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.

To make 1 cup of cheese sauce, whisk together in a small saucepan until smooth:

• ¼ cup dry mix
• ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons plain unsweetened non-dairy milk
(soymilk is recommended)
• 2 tablespoons olive oil

Place the saucepan over medium-low heat and cook the mixture, stirring slowly and continually with a silicone/rubber spatula until the mixture becomes thickened, smooth and glossy. Taste and add salt as desired. Reduce the heat to low to keep warm until ready to serve; stir occasionally.

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Instant Cheddar Cheese Sauce Mix
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