I am very pleased to join forces with some of my favorite bloggers including, but not limited to My New Roots and Earthsprout for Fabulous Fermentation Week. A complete list of the participant's links are at the end of this post. Fermented foods are good for us and with my fellow bloggers, we will show you some of the reasons why making and eating them are a good idea. Consuming fermented foods is beneficial to our digestion and the rich enzymes in these foods provide balance to the bacteria in our gut. I could go on and on about the nuances of beneficial bacteria, but want to get started with the recipes.
People ask me all of the time how I can go through life without meat of any kind. Oddly, I don't have any interest in eating meat, but I do crave cheese from time to time. When I started to investigate the basics of fermented foods by making my own kombucha, coconut yogurt, and sauerkraut, what truly got me excited was making cheese from raw nuts. The first time I made this cheese from macadamia nuts, I could not believe how it mimicked the flavor of a soft chevre. You wont believe it either. It is easy to make, requires minimal ingredients, and only takes a day or two to achieve success. I like it served as I would any other sort of soft cheese with salads, crostini, or in this case made into a tasty tartine with shitake mushrooms and leeks.
Shitake Mushrooms are a good source of essential amino acids, B, C, and D vitamins, and minerals such as iron, magnesium, and calcium. They are anti inflammatory and have proven beneficial in regulating blood pressure, blood sugar, weight control, and treating liver disease. It is important to cook the mushrooms in order to enjoy the healthful benefits of eating them. Micro greens, unlike sprouts, are grown in soil and photosynthesize. In general, micro greens tend to have a higher concentration of nutrients and carotenoids than their their mature counterparts making them an excellent addition to any dish.
|Raw Macadamia Nut Cheese
|Makes 1 log about 2 1/2 inches in diameter and 6 inches in length.
|raw macadamia nuts
|mellow white miso
|umeboshi paste (optional)
|freshly squeezed lemon juice
|Soak the macadamia nuts in purified water for 3-4 hours.
|Drain the water from the nuts and transfer them to the bowl of a blender.
|In a small bowl, combine the contents of the probiotic capsules with 1/2 cup of purified water. Add the mixture to the nuts in the blender.
|Blend the nut and probiotic mixture until it is velvety smooth.
|Line a fine mesh strainer with a nut milk bag or double layer of cheese cloth that has been moistened with water. Set the lined strainer over a work bowl.
|*I used a nut milk bag for the initial straining and transferred it into cheese cloth after about 8 hours so it would drain better.
|Use a spatula to transfer the nut puree into the lined strainer. Loosely tie the mixture in the nut milk bag or cheese cloth, and put it in a cool dark place such as a walk in closet or cabinet for 12-24 hours.
|The cheese will be ready after 12 hours, but I like to allow it to ferment at room temperature for 24 during the cooler months of the year. The added time will give the cheese a bit more tang as well.
|Transfer the mixture to a fresh work bowl and mix in the miso paste, salt, and lemon juice. If you are using the umeboshi paste, add it in now as well. If not, you may want to add an extra 1/2 teaspoon of miso paste. Give it a taste before adding it in as you can always do so. At this point, you may also add more lemon juice if needed.
|Lay a piece of kitchen parchment on a flat surface and transfer the mixture to it so it can be formed into log. It can be used at this point if you wish, but if you want the mixture to firm up as a ‘cheese’, continue with the next simple step.
|Roll the paper over the mixture, twist the ends, and refrigerate for another 12-24 hours.
|After another 12-24 hours of refrigerated fermentation and drying, the cheese will firm up to a nice consistency. Open the package and carefully slice it for use with the following recipe.
|You can also roll the log in freshly chopped soft herbs such as tarragon, chervil, parsley, or chives and serve it with a salad or other vegetables.
|The ‘cheese’ will continue to slowly ferment in the refrigerator. It is best tasting within the first 4 days and should be discarded after about 8 days depending on the refrigeration.
|Macadamia Cheese Tartines with Shitake Mushrooms and Micro Greens
|leek, white part only, halved and thinly sliced
|4-8 depending on size
|shitake mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced
|white wine (optional)
|freshly ground black pepper
|Macadamia Nut Cheese (recipe above)
|whole grain bread
|micro greens, use what is available to you, I used arugula
|Gently heat the olive oil, in a medium size saute pan over medium low heat. Add the prepared leeks and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. Cook for a few minutes until they begin to soften.
|Add the mushrooms, stir to incorporate and allow to cook undisturbed for 3-5 minutes. Give them another stir, and if using, deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine. Remove from the heat.
|Thinly slice the grain bread. Spread about a teaspoon of the macadamia nut cheese onto each slice. Use tongs to top each slice with the mushroom mixture. Sprinkle with the micro greens and serve immediately.