Saturday, October 23, 2010

almond feta cheese

We’re home!!!  And what a wonderful little getaway it was – full of laughs, adventures, and savoring our not-so-little-anymore boys.  We drove to Indy with our Hotwire deal for a room at the downtown Hilton for $59, and they ended up giving us a deluxe suite for that price, which came in VERY handy at 4.30 am when Jude decided there were white caterpillars in his pack and play and didn’t want to sleep in it.  We had nothing planned other than to enjoy one another and ReLax.  I marveled at Andy’s grace and love for us, Miles’ sense of creativity, Jack’s love for adventure and Jude’s new phrase “Look at me.  I changed my MIND!”  I ate gluten-free at 3 different restaurants (although, one literal phone conversation...ME: “do you have a gluten free menu?” HER: “do we have a WHO?”  ME: “a gluten-free menu?”  HER:  “I have no idea!”)  And, I really enjoyed my “no computer/tv days” (and may have cheated once to check my e-mail).  I plan to do the same on Sundays.  Because I keep hearing “Be still and know that I am God.” Stillness is hard to come by, especially in this stage of life, and I don't like that I’ve grown used to looking for it in the wrong places.  

This is one recipe that requires patience.  It's not hard.  It just takes a few days to make, but it's SO worth it!  I had to be dairy-free when I was nursing Jude, and this was one gem of a recipe I came across at that time, but we still enjoy it.

Almond Feta Cheese
  • 1 cup whole blanched almonds* (see below)
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1. Place almonds in medium bowl, and cover with 3 inches cold water. Let soak 24 hours. Drain soaking liquid, rinse almonds under cold running water, and drain again.
    2. Purée almonds, lemon juice, 3 Tbs. oil, garlic, salt, and 1/2 cup cold water in food processor 6 minutes, or until very smooth and creamy.
    3. Place large strainer over bowl, and line with triple layer of cheesecloth. Spoon almond mixture into cheesecloth. Bring corners and sides of cloth together, and twist around cheese, forming into orange-size ball and squeezing to help extract moisture. Secure with rubber band or kitchen twine. Chill 12 hours, or overnight. Discard excess liquid.

    4. Preheat oven to 200°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Unwrap cheese (it will be soft), and transfer from cheesecloth to prepared baking sheet. Flatten to form 6-inch round about 3/4-inch thick. Bake 40 minutes, or until top is slightly firm. Cool, then chill. (Cheese can be made up to this point 2 days ahead; keep refrigerated.)

    I think Trader Joe's rice crackers go perfectly with this.

    Source: Adapted from vegetarian times.

    * I get blanched almonds from a bulk food store.  There are directions online to blanch regular almonds.  Don't use roasted almonds, but Trader Joe's does sell slivered blanched almonds I have used before for this.

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