ROASTED PEPPER CASHEW CHEESE HORS D’OEUVRES
A cheesy mousse-like spread made from cashews, sweet red roasted peppers, sweet onion, garlic and nutritional yeast. Spooned onto lightly broiled potato bread rounds. Half topped with strips of roasted pepper and the other half topped with Kalamata olive strips. An elegant, melt in your mouth hors d’oeuvre! Can also be used on a sub sandwich.
Makes 3-1/2 cups spread
1 c.whole salted cashews
1/4 c. melted margarine
1/3 c. chopped onion
2 c. sweet red roasted peppers
5 T. white vinegar
1 T. light brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1/3 c. juice from the roasted peppers mixed with 1/4 c. cornstarch till completely dissolved
1/4 c. nutritional yeast (locate in stores that sell bulk foods)
1 c. plain, unsweetened and unflavored almond milk
1 t. salt
1 t. dried tarragon
1/8 t. red cayenne pepper
1 loaf potato bread
roasted pepper strips
Kalamata olive strips
Place cashews in blender container and blend till powdery, pausing several times to stir with spoon, before re-blending again.
Add melted margarine and onion. Blend.
Add roasted peppers, 1 cup at a time. Blend.
Add vinegar, brown sugar and garlic. Blend again till as smooth as you can get it, pausing so as not to over-heat the blender.
Transfer to saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, for about 3 minutes, stirring often to avoid sticking and scorching.
Add cornstarch liquid, stirring continuously till thickened.
Add nutritional yeast. Stir till dissolved.
Now add almond milk. Using wire whisk, stir to incorporate.
Add salt, tarragon and red cayenne pepper. Keep whisking.
Reduce heat to low and cook 10 minutes, whisking almost continually, again being careful not to scorch the bottom.
Salt to taste, then remove from heat.
When cooled to no longer steaming hot, return to clean blender container and blend till smooth, scraping down insides with spatula.
Pour into ramekins or custard cups. Place in refrigerator and cover with waxed paper. Refrigerate for 2 days before using.
To make hors d’oeuvres:
Using a tiny biscuit cutter or the cap of a medicine bottle or herb jar, cut out rounds from each slice of potato bread. Make as many rounds as hors d’oeuvres you’ll be making. Place them on a baking sheet and broil tops till lightly browned.
Remove from broiler, and cool to room temperature.
Now, turn each round over and top the soft, unbroiled side with a spoonful of spread. Top half with roasted pepper strips and half with Kalamata olive strips. Serve.
Notes: Once the hors d’oeuvres are assembled, serve them fairly soon, so the bread doesn’t get soggy.
The red roasted peppers not only give this spread a cheese appearance, but the slight bite of the peppers gives the spread the bite of the cheese.
After the spread is cooked, the cashews soften even more and re-blending it creates the ultra smooth texture we want.
Always refrigerate for two days before using to help ‘cure’ the spread.
OTHER USES FOR THIS SPECIAL ‘CHEESE’ SPREAD:
1 – Use as a cheese spread on sub sandwiches. I fried Gimme Lean soy sausage patties and roasted peppers. Spread one side with the ‘cheese’ spread, the other with mustard. Top the ‘cheese’ side with the fried sausage and roasted peppers. Top the mustard side with shredded iceberg lettuce, pickled banana peppers and sliced onion, followed by freshly ground black pepper. Close, cut and eat. If you’ve been missing subway sandwiches, you won’t any more. Steve and I both remarked, ‘this tastes like it came from subway, only better!”
2 – Cheesy Noodle: Cook pasta ribbons in salted boiling water. Drain, place in bowl, add as much ‘cheese’ spread as desired, toss, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and eat. Tastes like a basic mac and cheese. You can add other ingredients if desired: additional chopped roasted peppers and cooked frozen petite peas, or sauteed mushrooms.
Notes: So, we got an hors d’oeuvre, a sandwich and a mac and cheese out of this one ‘cheese’ spread. Not bad for a days work!