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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

HERB-AND-NUT-ENCRUSTED VEGAN CHEESE LOG

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Sorry I don't have time for much more than this recipe that I've been meaning to post for a long time-- many deadlines last week and this week!  I hope you enjoy this-- it's great for Easter (or any) entertaining, or potlucks, or just general snacking.

PS: The vegan butter recipe will be unveiled very soon!

BRYANNA'S HERB-AND-NUT-ENCRUSTED VEGAN CHEESE LOG
This makes a delicious and elegant appetizer. You can play with the flavourings for this—for instance using olives instead of sundried tomatoes. NOTE: To easily measure the tofu, slice 3 inches from one end of the box.  Use the 3-inch block for this recipe and save that last inch for another recipe.

9 oz extra-firm silken tofu, crumbled
1/2 Tbs. agar powder
2 Tbs. raw tahini
2 Tbs. water
1/2 tsp organic sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbs. light miso
4 tsp fresh (or organic bottled) lemon juice
1 large clove garlic, crushed
3 large sundried tomatoes, chopped (either soak plain sundried tomatoes in boiling water to reconstitute, or rinse oil-packed sundried tomatoes under hot water to rinse off the oil and pat dry)
2 Tbs. chopped green onion ends or chives
Coating:
4 Tbs. chopped toasted nuts of choice (hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, pine nuts, almonds, etc.)
3 Tbs. chopped fresh herbs
Optional: 1/4 cup minced parsley
           
Blend the crumbled tofu, agar, water, tahini, nutritional yeast, sugar, and salt in a food processor until very smooth.  Place the mixture in a small, heavy-bottomed  saucepan and stir over medium heat until it bubbles for a few minutes and thickens. Microwave Option: Place the mixture in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on High for 2 minutes.  Whisk briefly.  Cook 11/2 minutes more. Scrape the cooked mixture back into the food processor.

Add miso, lemon juice, and crushed garlic to the cooked mixture. (Add these last because the lemon juice the acid may with the gelling of the agar if cooked with it.)  Blend briefly, then add the sundried tomatoes and green onions.  Pulse briefly.

Have ready a 1 1/2-cup-capacity storage container, preferably one 2 or 3 times longer than it is wide, lined with plastic wrap which extends over all sides. You could also use a 5 x 2 1/2” small loaf pan (called a fruitcake pan), or even a sturdy little box that’s the right shape. If the container is too long or too wide, you can stuff some rolled-up aluminum foil into the appropriate space(s).  The goal is to have it firm up in as close the the dimensions of a small "log" as possible.

Scrape the hot mixture into the prepared container.  Refrigerate for about 15-30 minutes, or until it starts to firm up.  Meanwhile, mix your coating ingredients in a clean food processor or mini-chopper and spread them on a piece of plastic wrap on your work surface.

Working quickly and using the plastic wrap to help, unmold the cheese onto another piece of plastic wrap, roll it up in the wrap and press and shape in a "log".  Unwrap the log and gently roll the log in the coating mixture, coating all over (press the coating on with your fingers if some spots are missed), then roll up again in the plastic wrap, twist-tie the ends and place back in your container.  Your "log" can be a roll, or you can square up the sides as in my photo.

Refrigerate several hours until firm. Unwrap carefully from the plastic wrap onto a serving plate. Slice and serve with whole grain crackers, crusty bread, pumpernickel slices, etc.

Serves 12
Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 53.5 calories; 50% calories from fat; 3.2g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 182.3mg sodium; 95.5mg potassium; 4.0g carbohydrates; 1.0g fiber; 0.8g sugar; 3.1g protein.

Enjoy!


9 comments:

The Nerd said...

"The vegan butter recipe will be unveiled very soon!"

YAY!

in2insight said...

Stunning!

Is there a standard equation for agar powder = agar flaks? Of course, all we have around here would be the flakes. Speaking of agar of course, not the local folks... :)

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

The rule is 6 x the amount of powder (because of the volume of the flakes), but it has to somehow be dissolved first and I don't think it would work with only 2 Tbs. of water. Could you order some from amazon? There's a link in the text and it's a good price (it lasts a LONG time).

in2insight said...

Amazon. Of course. Should have thought of that.
Thank you!

elizabeth said...

I also only have the flakes. Could I make powder in the coffee grinder?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

elizabeth, I know people who have tried that and it doesn't seem to work well. I have given up on flakes and always use the powder now. It's so much more versatile.

elizabeth said...

I ordered powder from iherb.com. Anything I can use up the flakes in? Maybe sprinkle it on the dogs food?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

elizabeth, you can use up the flakes in more liquid-y muxtures, such as vegan gelled desserts. Here's my recipe from my website, plus a chart of flakes to powder ratios. Just remember that you can add powder to thick mixtures and cook it, but you can't do that with the flakes.

**Agar-agar does not melt well, and tends to be overly firm, but you can make a nice jelled dessert by mixing it with a starch, such as cornstarch (organic is available). Here is a basic recipe:

BRYANNA’S VEGAN FRUIT JELL
© Bryanna Clark Grogan 2005
Using agar alone makes a kind of rubbery jell. If you add some starch it makes a more delicate jell.

4 c. sweet fruit juice of choice
OPT: sugar or other sweetener to taste if juice isn't sweet enough
pinch salt
OPT: some grated citrus rind. 1/2 tsp. vanilla or other flavoring , if desired
2 tsp. agar powder (OR 1/4 c. agar flakes)
1 T. cornstarch dissolved in 1 T. water
OPTIONAL: fresh fruit to add to jell

Sprinkle the agar over the juice (with sweetener, salt and any flavoring). Let soak a few minutes. Then cook over medium heat til boiling. Agar powder just needs to simmer for a minute; flakes should simmer at least 5 minutes. Add dissolved starch and stir in. Boil for 30 seconds.

Pour into a bowl or small bowls. Place in refrigerator. When half-jelled, you can stir in fruit. Let set until firm and cold.

AGAR-AGAR TABLESPOON FLAKES TO POWDER RATIO LIST

1 TABLESPOON AGAR-AGAR FLAKES = 1/2 TEASPOON AGAR-AGAR POWDER
2 TABLESPOONS FLAKES = 1 TEASPOON POWDER
3 TABLESPOONS FLAKES = 1 1/2 TEASPOON POWDER
4 TABLESPOONS (1/4 CUP) FLAKES = 2 TEASPOONS POWDER
5 TABLESPOONS FLAKES = 2 1/2 TEASPOONS POWDER
1/3 CUP FLAKES = 2 3/4 TEASPOONS POWDER
7 TABLESPOONS FLAKES = 3 1/2 TEASPOONS POWDER
8 TABLESPOONS (1/2 CUP) FLAKES = 4 TEASPOONS POWDER

Mark said...

Looks absolute delicious!

Mark