Garlic Day was April 19th and I didn’t get this post completed in time but this nut spread is still a tasty addition to your treasure chest of recipes. It is easy to double the mix for special occasions and guests but in this house, with only two people, these amounts work well for us.
This style of mixture is also known as vegan cream cheese. It is a soak overnight and grind the next day process so, plan ahead. The soaking helps create a smooth consistency and also handles some of the lectins in the cashews which technically are beans.
Almost all my herbs were lost this last winter. Thankfully the chives survived and are thriving so a good harvesting was in order, just in time for Beltane. It is possible however to add other herbs or a combination of fresh herbs to your liking. Something that goes well with garlic is a good choice and speaking of garlic, there are two options. One is fresh and the other is roasted. Your choice depends on personal preference. Fresh garlic will be crisp and powerful, while roasted is a calmer, smooth finish to the dip. Having made both, I find 1/2 raw and 1 1/2 roasted for this batch size works well but as always, adjust to your taste.
Prosperity and money spells as well as improving communication are attributes of cashews. Garlic and chives’ main use is for protection and warding but all three have alternate uses you might enjoy exploring.
You will need:
1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water overnight
1 1/2 – 2 Tbsp. water, (more if needed)
1 very small raw garlic clove ( 1 small oven roasted )
1 1/4 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. fresh chives (or any other combination of fresh herbs)
1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
1/4 tsp. black pepper or to taste
The first step is to soak the nuts in water for around 12 hours. It is best to cover the nuts in water the night before and make the spread the next day. In a push you can also get away with 8-9 hours, which can work if the cashews go into water first thing in the morning.Over time the water will get cloudy and possibly a little slimy.
When ready to get started, rinsed very well (until your water runs clear) and use your hands to stir the mixture and clean the cashews of residue.Gather the additional ingredients and take a moment to appreciate the availability and use of what is being collected. We have access to so many more options from around the world than a traditional agrarian culture would have. Cashews are definitely not native to where I live and it is nice once in a while to explore beyond what grows locally. Take a deep breath and hold it for a moment before slowly releasing and bringing your intentions into the present moment. Repeat and remember that for a kitchen witch work is love in action. Begin.
Drain the nuts in a colander and give them one last rinse before transferring to a blender. I used a Magic Bullet to get the best possible processing. My Cuisinart is not quite as thorough and the Magic Bullet works for smaller amounts. Do the best you can with what is available to you but the more powerful the better.
Add all the additional ingredients and process for about 30 seconds before scraping down the sides the first time.
You are aiming for creamy and smooth but as the mixture tends to rise up the edges, leaving the unchopped halves at the bottom. It may take several scrape downs before everything mixes in.
If the mixture seems too thick or a bit chunky, add a little more water. By little I mean 1/2 – 1 tablespoon at a time. At this stage the extra water can make a big difference to the consistency.
Sample the spread and then add and adjust to your families taste preferences. Remember that over time, this spread will also adjust its taste as the ingredients have time to blend. If you have the time and patience, let the spread sit in a bowl in the fridge for about an hour to give that blending a head start.
Use in place of butter in sandwiches and hamburgers, as a layer in lasagna, for a snack or appetizer at any time. Change up the fresh herbs as the season moves along and try experimenting with additional flavours, this is a very flexible starting point.Cashew, Garlic & Chive Spread from My Kitchen Wand