Cashew Cheese with Meyer Lemon and Dried Cherries

by Gena on December 22, 2009

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Tomorrow, I’ll be treating you all to a full menu of holiday recipes—perfect for Christmas Eve or day, New Year’s Eve or day, and the whole winter season. Today, I’m kicking off my holiday recipe fest with a perfect cocktail party appetizer: cheese and crackers. Raw cheese and crackers that is: to be precise, sweet cashew cheese with meyer lemon and dried cherries, and maple cinnamon flax crackers.

My childhood memories of cheese and crackers are not fond. As Chloe will attest, my tolerance for the smell of cheese is slim. I have been known to position myself as far away as humanely possible from the cheese tray at parties, and to beg my mother to confiscate it from our fridge—so sensitive am I to the smell of ripe fromage. Cheese is without a doubt the animal product that most of my vegetarian clients seem to have a hard time living without, but I can’t say I’ve ever understood the attachment.

When I went raw, though, I was delighted to discover the wonderful world of nut cheeses! Usually made with a cashew base (though macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, pine nuts, and sunflower seeds all work nicely, too) nut cheeses are tangy, tasty, and versatile. No, they won’t fool any cheese aficionado, but they are excellent in their own right (and if you’re like me, and you equate “cheese” with “skeeve,” they’re an incredible alternative).

As you’ve probably guessed by now, I’m a huge fan of sweet/savory flavor combinations. I, like my friend Kath, love adding sweetness and spice (that is, cinnamon, nutmeg, and so on) to savory dishes. I spice up whole grains with cinnamon and a touch of agave or stevia, I add cinnamon liberally to soups, and I often add dates to salad dressings or sauces. It wasn’t until this past weekend, though, that it occurred to me to add some sweetness to a nut cheese. The result—a cashew cheese flavored with meyer lemon and dried cherries—is a new favorite.

More on the cheese in a moment. To go along with it, I decided to put a sweet spin on my basic flax cracker recipe.

For those of you who haven’t tried making flax crackers before, do; it couldn’t be any easier! You simply soak 2 cups of flax seeds in just enough water to cover them (I begin with one and a quarter cups, and add if I need to—it usually comes to one and a half cups) and 1 tsp salt or 2 tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos. After an hour and a half, the mixture should be gelatinous and gooey. Spread it onto Teflex sheets and dehydrate for 3-4 hours at 115 degrees:

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till the top side is all dry; carefully flip the whole cracker sheet over and dehydrate for another 3 hours. (You can also use an oven set to 150 with the door slightly ajar for this process.) Break the sheet into crackers, and serve.

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Naturally, you can season the crackers however you wish to: I often add chopped herbs, some cayenne for a kick, or sundried tomatoes. In keeping with the season (and with my sweet cheese recipe in the works), I decided on Saturday to turn these into maple cinnamon crackers. I reduced the normal salt in the recipe to ½ tsp, and I added ¼ cup maple syrup and 2 tsps cinnamon to the recipe, before dehydrating as usual. The crackers emerged a golden color and heavenly scent (excuse me while I have a VeggieGirl-like moment of nostalgia, here: the smell reminded me of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal!). They were warm, fragrant, and ready to be topped with my scrumptious cashew cheese.

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Cashew Cheese with Meyer Lemon and Dried Cherries (Yields approx 1 1/2 cups)

1 ½ cups cashews, soaked 1-2 hours

3 tbsps meyer lemon juice (regular lemons are absolutely fine, but meyer lemons, though more costly, have a specially sweet flavor I love)

2-3 tbsp agave nectar (to taste)

½ tsp sea salt

¼ cup dried cherries (try to get unsulphered and unsweetened)

2 tsps meyer lemon zest

Blend the cashews, lemon juice, salt, and agave in a food processor till very, very smooth (this may take some time, and some scraping of the sides of the bowl). When the mix is thick and consistent, add the cherries and zest and pulse till the cherries are slightly broken down.

Serve the cheese over flax crackers or with vegetable crudités. If you don’t follow food combining (or maybe even if you do, as an exception), this cheese would taste lovely with fresh fuji apple or pear slices, and it would also be great over sweet oven-roasted fennel (she says, brainstorming about her next usage).

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In all, this pairing couldn’t be better for a holiday cocktail party treat. And the best news is that it may be a far cry from your standard stilton and apples, or cheddar and crackers, but it’s completely delicious and intriguing in its own right: a perfect gift for a host or hostess or contribution to a holiday spread. Enjoy!

Before I go, I wanted to respond to a few questions I’ve been getting about Paul Nison’s recent announcement that he’s no longer 100% a raw vegan. For those of you who don’t know him, Nison is a recognized figure in the raw community, and previously a very ardent raw vegan. He recently declared that he’s no longer following a 100% raw, or a 100% vegan diet. This coincides with rumors that Victoria Boutenko—also a notable raw vegan—has announced within the community that she no longer eats completely raw (steamed vegetables, apparently — gasp!!), and with Anthony Anderson’s announcement that he’s no longer vegan. To be honest, I haven’t watched the videos in which Paul explains in depth his reasons for no longer eating 100% raw vegan. I’m sure he has valid reasoning. I’m sure that, as with all issues of nutrition, there are good arguments and counterarguments to be made.

My opinion? Um, who cares? I’ve never been all raw myself, so the notion that Paul is eating some brown rice now and again (or whatever cooked foods he chooses) doesn’t freak me out. Am I sorry to hear that vegans are giving up on veganism? Yes, of course I am: obviously, veganism is a lifestyle I feel very passionate about, and a dietary model that I believe can offer everyone sustained health. But what other people do and don’t do isn’t really my business. Unless someone is asking me for inspiration or encouragement or for my professional dietary guidance, I’m not in a position to judge what he or she feels is imperative for his or her body.

What did depress me was the outpouring of public relief that accompanied Paul’s announcement, and others. Countless readers and commenters chimed in with words of gratitude, as if they’d just been liberated from a labor camp (remarks along the lines of “thank you for your bravery, your honesty, etc.—thank you for showing me feel that it’s OK not to be a raw vegan—thank you for helping me to admit that 100% raw isn’t for me,” and so on), often with immense relief.

People. Come on. If you’re that miserable on a vegan diet, or a raw diet, or any diet, it’s time to rethink your habits. Do you really need a public figure to persuade you that it’s “OK” to change your lifestyle?

The whole point of eating raw is to feel good. To feel happy. If you’re not meeting that goal—if you feel trapped, or unwell, or anxious, or deprived—something’s very wrong. Don’t wait for someone else to compel you towards change. (You shouldn’t be looking to anyone else to tell you what is and is not right for you in the first place.) Listen to your body, and try to honor it. It may not mean giving up on raw foods altogether, but simply modifying the way you practice them; it may not mean abandoning veganism, but rather shifting or adding to the way your diet is composed. But you’ll never find out what’s up until you take some sort of personal initiative. Please, do not sit around in an anxious funk, waiting for a recognizable figure to validate the way you feel. If you don’t feel well, begin taking steps to feel better. Now’s the time!

And on that note, I hope you all enjoy the winter cocktail treats above. Expect more holiday fare late tomorrow, for a special Raw Wednesday holiday edition!

xo

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{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Dan @ kitchenmonki December 22, 2009 at 9:29 am

thanks for the great recipe. my wife and i became raw foodies about 4 months ago and it has been a great experience. we are healthier and happier i find as a result. a big fan of my vita mix….

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Nanna December 22, 2009 at 9:33 am

I LOVE this. I mean – um – I love the recipes but I LOVE the last part. :) Seriously – WHY are people putting themselves through this torture – it flies in the face of everything healthy eating is really all about.

Good for you!

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Danielle (Coffee Run) December 22, 2009 at 9:38 am

I completely agree- if you feel like your depriving yourself with your diet then you need to re-think why you’re living that way.

That cashew cheese looks so good! Def. going into the recipe box :)

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Mama Pea December 22, 2009 at 9:42 am

Obviously the recipes look amazing, but what I really appreciate about this post is also what I appreciate about you in general: your openmindedness and your compassion and understanding for everyone’s dietary choices.

“People. Come on. If you’re that miserable on a vegan diet, or a raw diet, or any diet, it’s time to rethink your habits.”

I TOTALLY agree, obviously. I personally am at a level in my diet that works for me, and I have no shame or pride about that…it just is what it is. More importantly, I’m happy and healthier than I’ve ever been, and so if that ever changes, I’m more than willing to reevaluate my choices.

Thanks for your always insightful opinion. Your clients are very lucky to have you.

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Elizabeth December 22, 2009 at 9:43 am

I love to combine sweet and savory. I find by adding some sweetness to my dinner salad (usually raw honey in the dressing, but sometimes chopped apple), I don’t crave desert afterwards. It’s almost like I need that little bit of sweetness and don’t feel satisfied until I get it. Of course, I’m all about raw deserts too … but not every night.

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Jessica @ How Sweet It Is December 22, 2009 at 9:48 am

This looks so delicious! I love your take on this – one of the reasons I read your site is because you have so many fabulous ideas and I hope it leads me to add mroe veggies (which I dislike) into my diet. You are so ‘real.’

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Elizabeth December 22, 2009 at 9:48 am

Now you have me googling (unsuccessfully) to find where Victoria Boutenko says she’s no longer raw.

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Gena December 22, 2009 at 9:53 am

I actually just modified the post to be a wee bit clearer: I can’t find it online, either, but several friends in the community have told me in person that she’s no longer 100% raw, and Kevin Gianni mentioned it recently. So I don’t want to be a gossip monger, but the information is out there.

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Diana (Soap & Chocolate) December 22, 2009 at 9:50 am

Huh. Was not aware of Nison’s announcement, nor the reactions that followed. Kinda goes to show that personal judgement calls where diet is concerned are much easier said than done. And here I breathe my 12,654th sigh regarding that subject.

Anyway, I really love your cheese & crackers idea! While I do still enjoy cheese occasionally, it is only to a certain point, as I can most definitely identify with the skeeve factor you mentioned. I’ve never been entirely comfortable with cheese, save for sharp varieties like cheddar and parm. Makes sense, then, how thoroughly I enjoy nut cheeses, which tend to utilize the sharpness and saltiness I like so much about the aforementioned dairy varieties. Your recipe kind of reminds me of the cinnamon-walnut cream cheese from a local bagel place I love. It’s the ingredients and nutritionals I do not love (visions of arteries closing dance in my head), so I’m thinking your recipe is worth a try for me! All hail the nut cheeses–no skeeve factor necessary. [mops brow in relief]

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Elizabeth December 22, 2009 at 9:53 am

“People. Come on.” LOL! You don’t know how many times I wish I could say this :) (Especially to those who constantly say “I could never eat like you do!” Seriously? They’re just vegetables. I can tell you where to buy them.)

I’m thinking about making a raw version of this: http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archives/2009/12/chocolatedipped_hazelnut_marbles.php#more – I think it would be easy to make a raw nut “marzipan”, though I probably won’t use raw chocolate…I mention the recipe because I think it could lend itself to a good sweet/savory combo if you made the marzipan somewhat salty, kind of like a chocolate-covered pretzel.

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Lauren December 22, 2009 at 10:08 am

I was disappointment at Pauls announcement, not the eating cooked food part, but the veganism part. Mostly because of the whole crohns thing. I could never imagine eating dairy or any animal products, for more reasons then crohns, but it still disappointed me. Oh well, he and everyone else is free to do as they want, but I agree, it’s annoying to hear all the talk saying people are relieved.

I did eat a mostly cooked diet a few months back, but I ended up right where I started, eating raw. I feel so much happier and healthier this way.

Anyway, never liked cheese, not even the fake stuff, but I don’t mind the nut ones, for some reason, they don’t bother me. The smell of cheese kills me (ever since I was young)! Gross! Wasn’t easy not liking cheese in an Italian family. I always got “there are so many different kinds, you can’t not like ALL cheese..” YES I CAN! :)

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Lauren December 22, 2009 at 10:09 am

Hey Gina! I had an ingenious idea last night. You see, I had just made raw chocolate fudge babies (http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2009/10/13/make-these-now/) and I was searching around my fridge when I spotted the almond butter. And then it hit me. Dip the raw chocolate fudge babies in almond butter to make an inside out buckeye of sorts! Thus the raw buckeye was born. Yes, my almond was not raw, but that can easily but switched out with raw almond butter. Just thought I’d let you know of my yummy creation!

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zucchinibreath December 22, 2009 at 10:17 am

Yum. I’m going to make some sweet crackers for lunch. I happen to have some fermented cashew paste in the fridge so I’m ready to go!

As far as raw goes, who cares? we eat as much raw food as we can, right? if we live in the tropics it’s easier, in the cold places like this it’s hard to get fresh, ripe fruit etc, BUT I am terribly saddened to hear that some people are taking up killing and eating animals again. That is the tradgedy, IMO.

Thanks Gina for being an honest and real person and not a guru. I really appreciate it. I never feel like you are selling me something like I feel at other raw food websites, just friends sharing recipes and info. It’s a beautiful thing. I can’t wait for another year of it, my darling fellow blogger.

Cheers and happy solstice.

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Chelsea December 22, 2009 at 10:22 am

I had a dream last night that I was using a dehydrator for some of your recipes and I was SO excited…until it went horribly wrong. What a weird dream, huh? Love those crackers!

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VeggieGirl December 22, 2009 at 10:24 am

“excuse me while I have a VeggieGirl-like moment of nostalgia, here: the smell reminded me of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal!”

That just made my day :-D

As for the second part of the post = THANK YOU for your understanding, acceptance, and openmind, as others have already expressed.

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Ricki December 22, 2009 at 10:33 am

Gena,
First: I love these recipes. I already knew I loved flax crackers, but that cheese is inspired! I’m even thinking those dried blueberries I have might be great in it.

Second: I love your input regarding those celebs who’ve renounced raw and/or vegan. I am very much like you in that I try to support all approaches to health and don’t feel my opinion is warranted/necessary when it comes to judging what others do or don’t do in their eating habits. I do think you’re absolutely right that if anyone is (voluntarily) following a diet and doesn’t either enjoy it, feel good, feel happy, etc–then they should be able to realize this on their own and not need celebrity validation! I’m still learning to listen to what my body truly wants and needs, and it’s a tough, interesting, challenging journey, but I know that at the end, it will be worth it, and I’ll know exactly what works for me.

Thanks for the great recipes and wonderful insights. Have a fabulous holiday! (And can’t wait to see what you come up with in the next few days. . . ). :)

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marina December 22, 2009 at 10:37 am

mm i am totally going to try this recipe for christmas! thanks :)
also, i love what you said concerning the whole “scandal” of paul and victoria not being 100% raw anymore. the relief had concerned me as well. it seems that a lot of people have fallen prey to the judgmental side of the raw food world, almost as if the 100% badge is an admission to some club. i watched paul’s video- he’s going to start having raw goat’s milk and cheese, steamed vegetables, and maybe legumes or grains and lower his fat intake because his blood tests came back showing he was wildly deficient in a lot of nutrients and his cholesterol was pretty high.

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Gena December 22, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Marina,

We’re on the same page. If I were in such a scenario I’d do my best to correct it with vegan nutrition (ie, examine which whole grains and legumes might help me, or perhaps think about the occasional bit of tempeh), but in any case, the man’s doing what he believes is right. Let’s all just focus on our own bodies, shall we?

Gena

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melissa December 22, 2009 at 10:40 am

looks so delicious and gourmet! Cheese and dried fruit is such a richly satisfying combo. you done well Gena!

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katherine December 22, 2009 at 10:42 am

Thank you so much for posting a response to the Nison (and others) announcement. The blog world has been such a blessing and a curse for me. When I first started reading and writing, I felt like I couldn’t measure up to the standards other bloggers and non-bloggers had set for their diets and exercise. The holier-than-thou attitude that so many people can sometimes take regarding their dietary choices makes it so easy for people who are dabbling in, and therefore not deeply committed to, new dietary pursuasions to feel inadequate.

But, like your invaluable “what food is not” post, the most important thing to remember is that each of us has to do what’s right for him or herself and to keep our choices in perspective. To think that people have been eating a certain way and feeling so miserable, trapped and frustrated is familiar, but also very saddening to me. I’d say I wasted maybe two minutes feeling “pressured” to eat like someone else and then I dropped those negative thoughts and never looked back!

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Gena December 22, 2009 at 12:25 pm

That’s awesome to hear, Katherine! The not looking back, that is :-)

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Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) December 22, 2009 at 11:51 am

“My opinion? Um, who cares?”—Here, here!!! Love it!
I get asked, written into about, and there is so much bru-ha-ha if something is totally 100% raw or the status of things on such a minute level that it’s amazing people have time in their day to contemplate such things…so I totally appreciate your sentiments of who cares! Me too! And I echo what you and Mama Pea wrote about dietary choices and if you’re that miserable, then change it up! Hello, people!

As for the cheese…lovely sounding! I think TJ’s sells unsulphured dried cherries, I know some times of they year they do for sure. And Meyer Lemons. I was lucky enough to have a meyer lemon tree in my backyard in a 1923 house I lived in in San Diego when I was pregnant with Skylar. OMG it was quite divine and I only wish I knew then what I know now about how to use cashews! I adore making sweet spreads with cashews and agave…and this cheese of yours is on the to-make list!

And the flax crackers…so easy, so straightforward. Love. It. And with maple and cinnamon (ahh but is it raw, you know Gena maple isn’t really raw….KIDDING! but that’s what people write to me about. Im sure you get it a million times more!)

xoxo
Cant wait for the holiday recipe spread!!!

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LC @ Let Them Eat Lentils December 22, 2009 at 11:53 am

Thanks again for the Blogger Award and your comment :)

Love this insight into his announcement. I like the idea of vegan, like the idea of raw, but have certain things I’m not willing to give up (wine!) Like you said, “if you feel trapped, or unwell, or anxious, or deprived—something’s very wrong.” So true. That’s how people end up with eating disorders, forcing themselves into something that should happen naturally.

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Gena December 22, 2009 at 12:24 pm

Amen, LC. That’s precisely how eating disorders develop, and it’s a sad thing. No matter what, belief in a lifestyle has to come from within.

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Jess December 22, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Must try the cheese and crackers as I LOVE cheese and crackers.

I’m having trouble with the holiday press – my husband and his fam, whom I love to death, are fine with vegetarianism, but veganism is “too extreme” so I said if my MIL absolutely couldn’t help it, I would eat vegetarian at their place. . . she missed the if she absolutely couldn’t help it part and whenever I’m over has been making elaborate potato & dairy dishes! (I used to be the mashed potato queen.) I don’t want to offend, and I don’t want to starve, but I feel really sick afterward (not to mention guilty). How do I get them to be more accommodating? My husband thinks it’s rude of me to ask his mom to “cater” to a “preference.” ARGH.

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Alissa @ Not Just Apples December 22, 2009 at 1:35 pm

This looks truly delicious! I’m just starting to add in a few raw food recipes to my diet, and your blog is such an inspiration!

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Shelby December 22, 2009 at 1:37 pm

Mmm, amazing recipe Gena! I love the sweet/tangy combination! And your recipe for flax crackers couldn’t be any easier. Just what I need :)

My upcoming post will be touching on the same topic of dietary changes.

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Meredith (Pursuing Balance) December 22, 2009 at 1:51 pm

That raw cheese sounds AWESOME! Can’t wait to try it for myself :)

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Maggie December 22, 2009 at 2:25 pm

Yes, yes, yes!! I do not understand why some people hold themselves to unrealistic ideals in an attempt to be “healthy”, “perfect”, or whatever else they think they are achieving by being miserable. What works for some may not work for others. Health and compassion are admirable goals, but not at the expense of happiness. We all need to find some kind of balance. It takes time and practice to figure out a lifestyle that works :)

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Ameena December 22, 2009 at 2:41 pm

I think that what you said is SO true. People just need to be happy and if they are miserable with eating vegan or vegetarian, etc. than they should stop! It doesn’t matter what other people do or don’t do.

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susie December 22, 2009 at 2:51 pm

Unlike you, Gena, I *do* care what these self-styled gurus do and don’t do and say. Unfortunately, people listen to these nutters.

I have the utmost contempt for people who go back to eating animal products after riding the guru wave of veganism, espousing it for profit and then reneging. Because then it gets about that the vegan diet is not sustainable. Once again, I care, because the animals don’t have a voice, and I do.

There was nothing inherent in the vegan diet that made these people unhealthy; a balanced vegan diet will not make anyone deficient or sick. Within the vegan parameters, a lack of optimal nutrition will come about for other reasons; ie when the diet is UNbalanced, not when it is “vegan”.

If these people become a mouthpiece, then it really does matter what they say, alas. People who go back to eating animal products, blaming their ill health on the lack of them, set the whole vegan movement back and that is utterly contemptible. If they need an excuse to include animal products, I wish they would just say they like them, not they “have to” have them for health reasons.

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Bianca- Vegan Crunk December 22, 2009 at 2:58 pm

OMG, Gena! OMG! That’s all I can say about this recipe. It sounds so delicious! And since I’m doing this ACT cleanse next month, I’m gonna need ideas like this, big-time! And I’m getting a dehydrator for Xmas….so score! Thanks!

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Iris December 22, 2009 at 5:08 pm

I love your honesty, Gena and acceptance of different lifestyles! I’m not a raw or vegan foodie (although I like to think I dabble), so I didn’t hear anything about any of these people. Nonetheless I enjoyed reading your response. And that cheese looks delish!

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candice December 22, 2009 at 6:11 pm

Spices add oomph to all foods, but pairing them with savory foods is especially unique and delicious. I eat cheese with sweet things (cranberry goat cheese comes to mind), but I’ve never had nut cheese before. I’m sure it’s tasty, though!

Totally agree with the notion that people should be deciding for themselves what kind of foods they eat or don’t eat. Why does it take someone else’s confession to make you change your habits? Purposely making yourself unhappy just doesn’t make sense.

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ashley (sweet & natural) December 22, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Isn’t Florence incredible?!

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Aletheia December 22, 2009 at 11:23 pm

Somehow the fact that your sweet cashew cheese looks a lot like chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream makes me smile. Speaking of sweet and savoury combo’s – I had this sunflower pâté with cranberries at Commensal in Montreal two days ago, and it was awesome!!

I also enjoyed reading your response to this business with Paul and with Victoria, even though I had never heard anything of them… Your stance was refreshingly different than what I would have expected, and was not only proof of your remarkable insight, but also served as a gentle, personal reminder – to me, but also I’m sure to others – of why we are eating the way that we do: essentially, living the way that we live. Long live raw eats! (one lucky duck’s slogan backwards, kinda!) :)

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amber December 22, 2009 at 11:47 pm

I really need to attempt a “cheese” at home, I just love them so much when I eat them out.

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amber December 22, 2009 at 11:48 pm

oh and I LOVE flax chips and crackers, seriously the best.

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Maria (Tough Cookie) December 23, 2009 at 7:37 am

Nut cheeses are unreal! I only have them on occasion when I buy a gourmet raw meal, usually eggplant parm, but I always go back for that one BECAUSE of the cashew nut cheese. YUM!

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Veggiesmack December 23, 2009 at 8:39 am

The cashew cheese and the flax crackers look delicious! While I don’t hate dairy cheese, I’m not that attached to it, and I find nut and soy alternatives to be absolutey tasty. A vegan restaurant down the street from me (Spiral Diner) makes a raw cashew nacho cheez dip that is absolutely divine!

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Shannon December 23, 2009 at 8:46 am

ooh, that cashew cheese dip sounds absolutely amazing, i’m with you on that flavor combo :) and flax crackers! the perfect dipper.

another reason why we should avoid labels!

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Pure2Raw twins December 23, 2009 at 3:51 pm

I agree, everyone needs to have their own reasons to eat this and that because everyone is different. Thanks for sharing the recipes : ) I love sweet and savory flavors too!

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ajdowda December 23, 2009 at 6:51 pm

Great recipes and great post. People DO really need to just listen to their own bodies and their desires above all else. I DO see where people would call some higher ups in the Raw movement ‘brave’ as I am sure at some point, sometime, it was presented by them as the best way to be.

When I was first attracted to Raw, it was for my benefit…I felt I just NEEDED more Raw food in my diet. Of course, I started reading things, joining forums and such to learn more, and then got exposed to all sorts of rigid beliefs. To many raw foodies, High Raw is not good enough. What is the point if you are not going 100% and still allowing those cooked toxins and denatured nutrients into your body?! Then you go 100%, but you are eating too many nuts, or confusing your body by not eating mono meals. Then you have the 80-10-10 people who are pretty much fruitarians, and don’t even let me get started on the dogma surrounding that form of eating. I kept reading about all these people that have been Raw for 10 and 15 years or more, thinking “well, if they can do it, why can’t I? Am I too weak”?
The more I read, the more Raw was not a joyful experience for me. I just kept feeling like a hamster on a wheel and guilt about anything I put into my mouth. I still struggle with it somewhat, but I am taking back my life and my food. After my first major detox with Raw food, I had no desire to ever have dairy again, having already been a vegetarian. I feel pretty confident that I will be vegan for life, but with Raw food, I have just admitted that I can’t see how I could ever be ALL raw all the time. My aim will always be High Raw, and a healthy vegan above all else, who does not rely on soy, but not all raw…and that is OKAY. I am listening to My body.

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Laura C December 24, 2009 at 12:27 am

Not much to add but really interesting. I don’t actively follow these folks, but I commend them for forging their own paths and demonstrating that this is complex stuff. I would love to see a breakdown of what people eat who have eaten all raw/vegan for 5+ years. I have no question that there are many ways to do it healthfully and deliciously, but I think there are also many ways to do it unhealthfully, and it could be instructive to see what has worked and not worked for different people. I’m not “hi” enough anything to know for myself, but all my numbers have improved from moving in the “hi” directions :)

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leslie December 24, 2009 at 6:27 am

i’d second the comment above – that breakdown would be very interesting.

i also love what you said at the end of this post. the thing that bothers me as well – and this isn’t only from this example, but many others – is how common it is for people to collectively breathe a sigh of relief when someone admits to being “imperfect” with their diet. that reaction just perpetuates the idea that eating healthfully is a strict chore, and it isn’t. if it is, the something isn’t working, like you said. i wish that sentiment was supported more often.

on a lighter note, my mom just bought her first bag of flaxseeds, and i’m excited that i have a wonderful recipe to send her! it looks absolutely delicious (as does your christmas menu! i’d expect no less after the deliciousness of thanksgiving, of course). merry christmas eve, gena!

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evergreen(happy raw kitchen) December 29, 2009 at 11:38 am

Hi Gena! I love this recipe so much, is so easy and delicious … thanks for sharing it:)

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michelle December 29, 2009 at 6:02 pm

that cashew cheese…you wont believe me but when i saw it my jaw dropped, it looks so good. so thick and flufy at the same time. what i great pairing (the cashews with cherries) i would never have thought of that. do you have any good ideas for walnut cheeses?

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Kate December 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm

Hi Gena! I just made your cashew cheese with dried cherries and it is amazing! I am spending New Year’s in Vermont and can’t wait to take this little gem with me. I am also really excited about your cleanse in January. I just signed up for it. Thank you so much for all the wonderful recipes you create. I hope you have a wonderful New Year!

Warmest Regards,

Kate

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Laura C January 9, 2010 at 4:21 pm

I tried this cheese for a gathering Thursday and it was delicious! Thanks!

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Kristen January 10, 2010 at 11:32 am

This cashew “cheese” is a huge hit with even my picky 11-year old! So yummy!!!! Thanks Gena.

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Elisa March 2, 2010 at 3:46 am

Hi Gina,
Ive just discovered your blog and am already addicted :)
I can’t wait to try this recipe. However, isnt the dried fruit and cashew combo a digestion no-no? Or does that not count since lots of people say cashews aren’t even considered nuts?! a tad confused…

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Gena March 2, 2010 at 5:19 am

Hi Elisa,

In my own particular view of combining, nuts and dried fruits combine together.

Gena

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RhodeyGirl March 26, 2010 at 11:40 am

I feel slightly awkward saying this, but, um, I LOVE YOU!

Seriously- this post is just such a breath of fresh air. I love the idea that we should all do what is right for our OWN bodies. That is the truth. Thank you for so eloquently sharing that.

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Mer June 9, 2010 at 4:08 pm

does the cheese need to “ferment” overnight or did you serve it right away? I read several cashew cheese recipes, yours looked the yummiest but a similarity in all the others was letting it rest 24 hours after making it. I hope i have the will power!!

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Lucy October 30, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Hi Gena,

Very late to it but just found these recipes through your latest post. I was just wondering how long the crackers and “cheese” would last for? I’m trying out recipes in a distinctly basic student kitchen and don’t want to try making too much if i’m not going to eat it in time!

Anyway, thanks for the help and the amazing site. :)

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Tanya November 28, 2010 at 8:09 pm

That looks so good! I recently tried someone’s recipe for a cashew cheese (with lemon). It was nice and soft, but then I put it in the fridge and it hardened up and now it’s just all crumbly. Did I not process it enough maybe? It certainly didn’t look as “creamy” as yours. I tried heating it up just a bit, but it’s still crumbly, but much softer. Hmmm…..I should study raw nut cheese-making so I can learn a thing or two!

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Kristen July 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm

I made the flaxseed crackers first (using oven, no dehydrater here) and thought they were just okay by themselves….made the cashew cheese a few minutes ago and am amazed. It pairs perfectly with these crackers. Yum, yum, yum. Thank you Gena!

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Jessica January 8, 2013 at 2:22 pm

I should know the answer to this question :( what is the frig life of the cashew cheese spread?

Warmly

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Emilie November 27, 2013 at 9:52 pm

I’m new to veganism, and cheese is one thing that’s harder for me to live without than anything else – I seriously have never met a cheese I didn’t like! I’ve always especially enjoyed spreadable cheeses that are served as appetizers, so this recipe is a godsend for me! I just made it and I can’t believe how well the meyer lemons and cherries complement each other and the nuts. I have the flax crackers in the oven and can’t wait to find out how they taste, too! One question – for nut cheeses, are you supposed to use raw or already roasted nuts? I really wasn’t sure. I ended up using roasted but unsalted and cashews, and like I said, I loved it. But am I supposed to be using raw cashews?

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