Its not like I'm going to stick to this every day, because that's obviously too organized for me, however I thought it would be nice to have a little reoccurring item, namely, "Essential Vegan Skillz." I'm talking about those things that you learned how to do only when you started cooking vegan. The innovations made by the cookbook Gods, and perfected in the kitchen and in blogosphere. The simple tricks that have made everyone's life a little easier, and tastier. My idea is to explain the concept, demonstrate how-to, and then to show a few uses, maybe using other people's recipes as well. And then, hopefully, y'all will add variations and stuff in the comments!
First up: CREAMING CASHEWS for fun and profit
Who knows who first thought of using cashews to make a creamy base for dips, sauces, and sweets, but whoever it was may have been allergic to soy. After all, us vegans had to rely on on silken tofu for all of our cream needs for years, with short interludes of coconut milk... and to be fair, it wasn't such a bad choice. But sometimes you don't want to eat tofu in a soy based sauce washed down with a glass of soymilk. We vegans need variety as much as the next fool. Thus, was born the genius idea of blending cashews.
The basic concept is generally this: take raw, unsalted cashews and place them in a container with plenty of water, overnight. (Or at least for 8 hours, like, while you are away at work. )
|Cashews soaking, next to some black beans for tomorrow's "skill"|
|Blend a lot, and scrape the sides of your container with a spatula.|
Finally you have something that looks like this (or more liquid and creamier, if you added more liquid and blended longer.) It has a delicate taste and can be enhanced to suit your sordid needs.
|Seen here as a topping for rice and beans- heaven|
In addition you can use it as a creamy base for casseroles and stove-top specialties. For instance, Isa uses cashews as the base for her awesome Mac and 'Shews. Its also the basis for her famous Rad Whip, an amazing whip cream substitute. You can even make cashew cheese as an app to serve your skeptical omni friends. (You use a cheesecloth to make the cheese more thick and creamy...yum!)
Once you have mastered the art of taming the cash(r)ew, there is no stopping what you can accomplish. Well, food-wise at least.
So that was my first "Essential Vegan Skillz" topic, stay tuned for more in the month to come!
Song of the Day: The Smiths- This Charming Man