Thursday, July 14, 2011

Macadamia Caprese Salad.

Taking my cue from the Macadamia Caprese in the Conscious Cook, I put together this simple yet-not-so-simple salad. A vegan caprese with a rich macadamia nut cheese.

Nut cheese is a labor of love, but honestly, it's just the waiting that hurts. You soak, wait, blend, add probiotics to culture the cheese and seasonings, wait 48 hours, chill and PRESTO. Except if you wait even longer, like at least a week, you will be rewarded with a funky, lovely cheese that has firmed up over time.

Instead of a week, I gave it a day in the fridge after the culturing process. This is a salad you'll have to plan ahead for as the nut cheese does take 3 days. But it's only a few minutes of actual work.

For the sit back and let good ingredients do their thang part? I assembled heirloom tomato slices and slivers of macadamia cheese (which will be similar to a goat cheese in texture) and dressed them up with basil, balsamic, and organic extra virgin olive oil (OEVOO is the new EVOO).

My rule of thumb for balsamic and olive oil is that you should spend more than you would on a bottle of wine. It lasts much longer. Cheap balsamic tastes like Diet Coke gone flat. Don't do it. I recommend the Garces Trading Company vinegars - you can go in and taste all of them and they are a great value.

Add some crusty bread to sop up any leftover cheese/balsamic/oil. Or try the Macadamia Caprese sandwich-style, like Mr. Vedge did.

As an alternative to the macadamia cheese, you could try chilled lightly baked tofu cut into rounds with a biscuit cutter. This Tofu-Tomato-Basil Sandwich is one of my favorites.

Cheater's Tip: You can also order Macadamia Cheese from Organic Avenue. Which might actually be fastest and it is absolutely divine stuff...Life Lessons:  Don't trust cheaters in the kitchen. If you cheat in the kitchen then you probably cheat in real life. I say this lightly, but think about it. Food and sex are on like planes.

Invest in your salad. Find time for your salad. And yes, enjoy the salad that you're with.


Anonymous said...

hi! this looks amazing, do you have the recipe for the nut cheese posted somewhere? cheers:)

kellywhitephillips said...

Here is what I did:

Soak 2 cups macadamia nuts for 4 hours in filtered water. Strain and rinse. Blend nuts with 1 cup water and 1 tsp probiotic powder. Wrap in cheesecloth and strain over a bowl with weight on top for 48 hrs.

Next stir in 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp crushed fennel, 1 tbsp crushed caraway, 1 tbsp nutritional yeast, and 2 tsp lemon juice. Form into a log or rounds, wrap in parchment and let age in fridge.

It tastes best after 3 weeks!