Chef Cherie Soria
FORT BRAGG, CA
(Serves 6 to 8)
Seasoned Almond Cheese
1 cup almond cheese (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon light miso paste
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
Pinch of nutmeg
Living Light Café Nut Cheese
2 cups blanched almonds or raw macadamia nuts, soaked in water for 8 hours
1 cup or more water
1/4 teaspoon probiotic powder
1. Blend the almonds and water in a high-powered blender, adding more water, if necessary, to achieve a smooth, creamy texture.
2. Select a pint-size (or larger) strainer (a plastic berry basket works great), and line it with cheesecloth, allowing several inches of the cloth to drape down around the sides. Set the strainer on top of a shallow baking dish, and pour the nut batter into the cheesecloth. The baking dish will catch the liquid as it drains from the cheese. Fold the excess cheesecloth over the top of the cheese, and place it in a warm (not hot) location to ferment for 8 to 12 hours. (Less fermentation time is required in warmer weather).
3. After about 2 hours of fermenting, place a weight on top of the cheese to help press out more of the excess liquid. (An ideal weight is a jar of water.)
4. After the cheese has fermented to suit your taste, it may be stored in a sealed glass container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Pine Nut Parmesan: Substitute pine nuts, add 1 teaspoon salt, and blend, as directed. Spread 2 cups of the batter on a dehydrator tray lined with a non-stick sheet and dehydrate at 105 degrees for 12 -18 hours, or until crisp. Scrape the dehydrated batter off the sheet and refrigerate in a glass jar for up to 1 month. Use as a topping for pastas and salads.
2 cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon flax oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
Season the cheese and mix well.
To make the pesto, place all of the ingredients in a food processor outfitted with the “S” blade and purée, leaving the mixture a little bit chunky. Chill for an hour or more before assembling the torte.
To assemble the torte, drape a 2- to 3-cup mold with damp cheesecloth. Evenly pack a third of the cheese into the bottom of the mold. Next, layer half of the pesto into the mold. Firmly pack the pesto into place. Evenly pack another one-third portion of the cheese on top of the pesto.
Gently and firmly place the remaining pesto on top of the cheese. Firmly pack the pesto into place. Spread the remaining cheese on top of the pesto, and press firmly and smoothly into place.
To serve: Fold the cheesecloth back to expose the cheese, and invert the serving plate on top of the torte-filled mold. Center the plate carefully. Holding the plate and the torte together, turn the plate over and remove the cheesecloth and the mold, exposing the beautiful torte, now centered on the serving plate. Arrange crudités or crackers around the sides of the plate.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for four to five days.