"Do you see it??" I asked my husband, as he stared blankly at my platter of cashew cheese appetizers. I waited.
"Yes! I see." he replied.
"It's the Steelers vs. Packers via cashew cheese apps!!" I gleefully shouted. He smiled. Then he tasted. Then he smiled wider. Success!
Why So Literal? This is my 'not-so-literal' aka abstract interpretation of this year's Packers vs. Steelers Super Bowl.
..interpreted in the form of cashew cheese crackers. Yup.
Savory Saffron Gold Cashew Cheese is the star of this appetizer platter - accented with gold, green, black and red, a la opposing football teams. As a good blogger friend of mine, NamelyMarly said in a post, "So although I may not be into the football part as much, I’m definitely a big fan of the snacking. Oh, how I love the snacks!"
..ah yes, I agree Marly. I definitely agree. Now onto my Super Bowl snacks!..
Maybe we should just call it what it is: the Snacker Bowl. So even if you're not a football fan, you can still enjoy the Super Bowl! .. or the Puppy Bowl..
-> For more vegan Super Bowl recipes, download my Dip Diva iPhone App (recently featured in TUAW, The Unofficial Apple Blog).
Onto the Cashew Cheese! If this is your first time making cashew cheese, don't fret. Just read these posts to get you acquainted with the process:
Cashew Cheese How-to with Photos (harissa flavored)
Basic Herbed Cashew Cheese
Pumpkin Spice Cashew Cheese Appetizer
..It's easy once you get the hang of it. And for this Gold Cashew Cheese I even skipped a step! I didn't strain it through a cheesecloth. This results in a lighter, fluffier, spreadable soufflé-like cashew cheese.
baked cheese (light and fluffy for spreading)..
Gold colors. To achieve my gold colored cashew cheese - perfect for the Super Bowl teams, I soaked my cashews with a pinch of saffron. This resulted in bright yellow cashews. You ave a few options though. You can use: 1) saffron 2) yellow curry powder 3) turmeric 4) nutritional yeast (milder color). And if you can think of another "gold-colored" accent, go for it.
Saffron-Soaked Raw Cashews..
Recipe Time: How Long? You can start this cheese in the AM and be enjoying it by PM. It's best to soak the nuts overnight in salted water. But if you only have time for 4 hours or so that will work. The longer you soak the nuts, the more smooth and creamy the cheese will be. The "dry bake" for the cheese will take about an hour. So once your nuts are soaked, the entire process shouldn't take more than 85 minutes (that includes the 60 minute bake time).
Who will will!!?? I dunno. I'll be busy deciding which snacks I like best, aka the Snacker Bowl..
..Vegans at the Super Bowl! Don't forget the lovely Lea Michele will be singing America the Beautiful. She recently did a wonderful "Stop Carriage Horses in NYC" campaign with PETA.
Gold Cashew Cheese Spread (Super Bowl Style)
vegan, makes 4 cups of cashew cheese
2 1/4 cups raw cashews
1/2 tsp saffron added to soaking water (or another 'gold' accent ingredient, see above)
1 1/2 cup water (for soaking)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp agave syrup
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2-4 Tbsp olive oil or grapeseed oil
dash of cayenne (more cayenne, more heat)
at least 1 cup of nut-soaking water
goji berries (red)
sliced Daikon (white circle)
lemon slice (gold)
sliced jalapeno (green)
cubed avocado (soaked in lemon juice)
pinch of dried green herbs
serving crackers (I used quinoa/corn Thins corn cakes)
1. First you need to soak your raw cashews in salted water. You should also add your saffron to the water so the color infuses in the nuts.
2. After your nuts have properly soaked (at least 4 hours, up to 2 days in the fridge) - turn on your oven to 250 degrees.
3. Grab your ingredients and head to the food processor. Add in all the soaked nuts and about 1 cup of the soaking water. Also add in the blend-in ingredients. Process this mixture until smooth and creamy. Add more soaking water if the mixture needs to blend more loosely. You can also add in more oil for a richer cheese. Since this is a spreadable (less firm) form of cashew cheese you want the mixture to be on the watery side, ad we won't need to strain it. Most of the "firming" will take place in the oven.
4. Do a taste test of the cheese. It should be sweet-bitter-spicy. This flavor will intensify and the cheese bakes. This taste test will kinda be like tasting cake batter. You can get the idea, but it's not going to taste 'good' until it is baked.
5. Pour into oven-safe servings bowls. Bake at 250 degrees F for at least an hour. I baked mine for about 2 hours because I really wanted to test the limits of my dry-baking process. I think I overdid it a tad. So I'd guess that 1-1 1/2 hours is best.
6. Allow the baked cheese to cool for at least 20 minutes before spreading onto crackers.
7. Lastly, add your garnish! You can do whatever design you'd like, but my Super Bowl motif was fun and delicious!