Seasoned Almond Ricotta Cheeze (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Casein Free, Vegan)

Last night I posted what I thought would be part one of a two-part blog.  After an exhausting day that included everything from helping my husband tear down part of our living room ceiling to enjoying a barbeque hosted by my children’s school with about 300 other students, parents and teachers, and finally preparing our kitchen for the delivery of our new refrigerator tomorrow…well, it seems I have simply run out of time.

That being said, this post is probably better as a three-part blog anyway.  As mentioned in part one, this overall recipe is a bit more complicated than my usual delicacies, though the end result is certainly worthwhile. 

On to part two…

Before beginning my own blog, I spent much time and energy getting to know professional and semi-professional bloggers all while attempting to gain a firm grasp on what this whole blogging world is about.  Having followed casual sites where mother’s simply share funny family stories and the occasional recipe, to more serious ones driven by professional chefs or mothers, like me, who have a passion for providing healthy but delicious foods for their family; I eventually found that no matter where we are, in regard to our blogging efforts, we all rely on each other to keep our creative juices flowing…that, and most of us are a lot of fun (why wouldn’t you want to know us?)!  ;)

Recently one of my favorite bloggers, Heidi Kelly from Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom, posted a recipe that peaked my interest.  Yet, while Heidi’s Vegan Cashew Cream Cheese  is amazingly delicious, it was her reference to Carrie from Ginger Lemon Girl’s Homemade Almond Cheese that really caught my attention… Like Heidi’s recipe, Carrie’s original recipe provided the perfect base for the recipe I am going to share with you tonight. 

As did Heidi and Carrie, I also used the recipe for hummus found here for this dish, although I did not have tahini readily available to me and chose to experiment with ground flax seed as I simply was too impatient to wait for a shipment to arrive before trying this recipe.  Frankly, this substitute worked perfectly well for me though the original hummus recipe is great (and super easy) as-is and I encourage you to work with Clara’s original recipe.  (See how this whole cross-blogging experience ties together?!  What a wonderful world…)

This nut cheese version is the perfect complement to raw veggie lunches, gluten free crackers or even pasta dishes like the one I will be sharing tomorrow night.  The taste and texture is very close to seasoned ricotta and right away became a favorite snack and lunch companion for both my dairy free daughter and I. 

The most difficult part of this entire recipe is the wait time.  First you must soak the raw almonds for 12 hours, and then you must allow the cheese to strain for another 12-24 hours.  Other than that, the entire concoction took about 15 minutes to put together (including the hummus recipe mentioned above)…the end result is definitely worth the wait.

 

Seasoned Almond Ricotta Cheeze

1 ½ c Raw Almonds, soaked 12 hours, peels removed

1 ½ c Water

3 Tbs Hummus

1 Tbs Olive Oil

2 Tbs Lemon Juice

1 Tbs Fresh Rosemary

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp minced garlic

Thoroughly drain and rinse almonds in cold water, putting into blender.  Add 1 ½ c water and blend on highest setting for 3-4 minutes.  Stop blender and add remaining ingredients until very smooth, approximately 5 more minutes.

Using a cotton cloth which has been drawn taught over a large mixing bowl with a rubber band; slowly pour almond mixture into the cloth and close with a drawstring or another rubber band.  Allow cheeze to drain for 6 hours on the counter and another 6-18 hours in the refrigerator. 

When cheeze is ready, transfer to an airtight container.  Serve chilled with fresh vegetables, gluten free crackers or in the recipe I will be sharing with you tomorrow. 

I am sorry I do not have photo’s ready for the prep stages on this recipe, fortunately Carrie had some great images available on her site and even includes a photo-tutorial for making nut cheese.

 I have no doubt that this wonderful cheeze will quickly become a favorite in your recipe book.  Feel free to play with the spices and experiment on your own.  :) I will be linking back to this version in tomorrow’s post and hope you find it to be the perfect solution for your gluten free, dairy free Italian cheese craving.

Facebookers, don’t forget to share the link to your favorite recipe from my site and encourage your friends to “Like” And Love it Too!  Once we have hit the 100 follower’s milestone, I will proudly announce our first monthly giveaway.  So spread the news and give everyone a reason to have their cake…And Love it Too!