Kuntrageous! (laceyslostlove) wrote in vegancooking,

Almond Feta

I got the April (or May) issue of Vegetarian Times in the mail over the weekend and there were several recipes for vegan cheeses. Some of them looked typical (and like things I've made before), but one caught my eye. It was gorgeous and sounded delicious: The Almond Feta. I did modify the recipe a tiny bit to my liking. (I used more garlic and added white miso because in my experience, these two things really "make" a nut cheese.)

A note: this does take two days before you can consume it. This is no way means this recipe is labor intensive, it just requires patience.

Necessary tools:
* three layers of cheese cloth or one layer of an organic, white, unbleached piece of a sheet (i used sheets)
*rubber band or twist tie
*parchment paper or a silicone slip mat
*fine mesh strainer
*bowl that fits under the strainer
*baking sheet

1 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup lemon juice (it is not necessary to use fresh)
2 peeled cloves of garlic
1 t sea salt
1 t white miso
3 T Olive oil
1/2 c water

for topping:
1/4 c olive oil
fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, or oregano

Soak 1 cup almonds in 3 inches of cold water. After 2-3 hours the skins should be loose enough to easily remove by rubbing the almonds; if they're not ready, just wait until they're loose. It will happen. This step requires the most work.
The almonds need to soak for a full 24 hours total before you can proceed to the next step.

Once they've soaked, rinse them twice and toss them into a food processor. If you do not have a 4 cup or larger capacity processor, make this in batches. Add lemon, garlic, salt, miso, olive oil and water. *Do not skimp on the water. Even if you're like me and you like your nut cheese thicker, do not skimp!* Unless you have a Vitamix, you need to let this go in the processor for at least 5 minutes, no matter how smooth it looks. This mixture needs to be completely smooth or the consistency will be off.

Set your strainer in a bowl and put your cheese cloth on your strainer. Spoon the almond mixture into your cheese cloth. Wrap the sides of the cloth to form a large navel orange sized ball and secure thightly at the top with a rubberband or twisty. Set this in the fridge to drain for atleast 12 hours. Because I work, I let the almond mixture drain for a full 24 hours and I think the flavors developed nicely.

Once this has drained, preheat your oven to 200F or the "warm" setting if you do not have a 200 degree setting. Line a baking sheet with your slicone slip mat or parchment paper, then carefully unwrap your cheese. Place it in the center of the baking sheet and flatten it JUST a little bit. Bake at 200F for 45 minutes, allow the cheese to cool (or not. i ate some warm and it was delicious), then chill. Once it's chilled top with herbs and olive oil and enjoy.

This cheese stays together well and is slice-able and hold-able. I wouldn't say it tastes dead-on like feta because feta has a raunchy after-taste of mold, but this is super delicious and very close. My husband the nut hater was gobbling it up. Please do not be daunted by the 2 days of waiting you have to do before you get to eat this; it's well worth the wait.
Tags: nuts-almonds, substitutes-dairy-cheese
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