Mercy....I have a new discovery.  This was so so good.  The other day I posted the recipe review from Candace and her delicious Vegan Cashew Cream Cheese.
Yes it is Vegan, and it is also raw.  I love it!  We used it on sandwiches as a spread, as well as a dip with crackers and vegetables - simply delicious.  And yes, it did have the texture and some flavor of it's cheesy counterpart.
Now for a confession.  I cooked it.  Yes I did - and it was absolutely fabulous!  If you miss cooking with Cream Cheese - this is the perfect non dairy replacement.
I love food, experimenting, creating and coming up with new ideas and recipes.  There are few foods in this world I will not eat.  Sushi - my soul revolts violently at the thought of raw fish.  My kids shake their heads at me - they love Sushi.  I am also not a Tofu fan unless it is well disguised and highly flavored.
I also could never be a Vegetarian.  I did try it once for 9 months.  During that time, I lost over 20 pounds, felt weak as a kitten, lethargic and had absolutely no energy.  Plus I always looked pasty white - ghastly!  After nine months of trying (and I worked very hard to ensure I had the right proteins) I dived into a cooked chicken breast and have never looked back since.  However, we still do cook Vegetarian once or twice a week - it is a delicious balance to all of our other meals.
I remember reading a fairly prominent Vegetarian Blog and she made the statement to the effect of :  "there is nothing more disgusting than looking at a slab of meat on a plate".  This was said in reference to looking at other people's blogs who are not Vegetarian.  How sad.  I would never blast anyone for the way they eat.  We are all individuals, with different needs, health issues, likes and dislikes.  Shame on her!
Could I be a Raw foodist?  Never.  That does not mean I can not enjoy raw food.  It can truly be delicious - as a way of life - it is just not for me.
The same applies for Vegan Food.  I could never personally eat that way....but believe me, I have had many a tasty meal that was totally Vegan.  In fact, there is a great restaurant downtown where we live that is totally Vegan.  If I am in a hurry at work - that is the place where I will go to have a great lunch time meal.
Back to the cooked Vegan Cashew Cream Cheese.  What inspired me to cook it was a commercial on the new Philly Cooking Cream.  The meals looks so delicious....I just had to give it a try.  This turned out to be a perfect non dairy creamy sauce. For the Raw Foodist's out there - sorry it is no longer raw....but dang, it sure was good.  Can't wait to try it as a replacement for bechamel sauce, over pasta and seafood, in lasagna, over poached eggs....mercy, my wee brain is getting carried away.
I got so excited about this recipe I grabbed a pen and the first piece of paper at hand...which turned out to be a crumpled brown paper bag.  Well - at least I wrote down the basics enough to remember what actually went into this yummy dish!
2 Tblsp. butter (to keep this vegan, use Extra Virgin Olive Oil only)
1 Tblsp. Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 crimini mushrooms - sliced
1 shallot, sliced in half, then thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, sliced, then sliced into thin slices
10 slices of fresh zucchini - about 1/4 inch thick
2 green onions, sliced on a diagonal
2 tsp. grainy mustard
3/4 cup Soy Milk
4 Tblsp. Cashew Cream Cheese
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Seasoning blend - use your favorite
salt and pepper to taste
Heat up a frying pan on low medium heat.  Add in the butter and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Saute the shallots and mushrooms until the mushrooms are golden and the shallots are soft.  Then add in the sliced zucchini - sauteing a couple of minutes on each side, until a light golden color is created.  Then add in the green onions, salt and pepper, and season blend.
Saute for another 2 minutes, then transfer to a plate.
Return the pan to the heat and add in the Cashew cream cheese, grainy mustard, garlic powder, and soy milk.  Whisk well to incorporate.  Check for salt and pepper.
Serve hot over fresh sauted vegetables and dive in ..... you will love it!

Ina Gawne


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September 16, 2012