July 13, 2008
This is aka Mac Cheese for short. My friend and faithful forum member, Shari, had her recipe posted on another site several years ago. Then, one of the members posted it on the forum right here. Shari said she’d take pictures to illustrate the steps but I’ve gotten a round tuit before she did. She gave me permission to post it. The following is our joint effort.
Macadamia Nut Cheese
By Shari Viger
1 bag of raw macadamia nuts (do NOT soak these nuts, they are really nasty if you do)
Note: I asked her how much was in one bag and she said 2 cups.
enough water to cover in blender
Turn on blender and blend until very smooth and creamy. A VitaMix works wonders with this, but a regular blender works well. Just make sure there is enough liquid to keep the blades turning in the “cheese.” Don’t worry if it looks too soupy, the next step will take care of most of it. (Be careful not to have a pourable liquid.)
Remove from blender into a fine nylon mesh bag that has been placed in a colander that has been put on a plate (to catch the whey). When all the cheese is in, fold the bag over itself and put a plate on top. Place some sort of a weight on the plate and put everything in a warm spot. In winter I put mine in front of the gas fireplace or at this time of year I put it in the hot water tank closet. Somewhere warm and away from drafts.
Leave there overnight or throughout one day. At the end of that time, take a taste. I like mine a little tangy and it will become that way eventually.
When it is to your liking remove to refrigerator for a day, if you like a firmer cheese. I’ve actually had batches that are so close to cream cheese people cannot tell the difference!
Now, here’s where I take over.
Get your equipment together. I don’t have a nylon mesh bag so I use cheesecloth. I think that’s rather appropriate, anyway. The saucer is to press the cheese in the colander and the larger dessert plate holds the jars. Shari has some kind of weight a friend gave her but the jars filled with water work fine.
Have your VitaMix or other high speed blender available.
Get the colander ready by lining it with the folded cheesecloth.
Measure your macadamias. This may seem to be an outrageously expensive recipe but the macs here are raw organic and cost $4 a lub. Those little jars at the supermarket are the worst way to buy them. The water should be purified.
Place the macs in the blender container and barely cover them with water. You can add more later if you need to.
I like to start out slowly and increase the speed very gradually. It seems to work better for me that way.
Blend it thoroughly until smooth but don’t let the friction of the blades heat the mixture. Add more water if it’s too thick but be careful not to get it runny. You want a fairly thick consistency.
You can tell by the way it “peaks” that this isn’t liquid. I still set the colander on the plate to catch any stray drips.
Wrap the “cheese” with the cheesecloth being careful to cover all of it.
I later reversed the saucer and put it on right side up.
The dessert plate makes a good foundation for the jars.
The setup looks precarious but it’s stable and in an out of the way place.
I put it where the microwave used to live. That’s a handy spot and pretty much draft-free. Now, all we do is wait. And wait. And wait.
I’d started this batch mid-afternoon so I waited until about 6 the next afternoon to check it out. It was ready to go! It had the right amount of tanginess and the consistency was like cream cheese.
I unwrapped it completely and put it on a plate for a glamour shot (about as close to food styling as I’m capable of getting).
Rinse the cheesecloth well, hang to dry and store folded in a plastic bag.
If you want a better look, click on the picture and it will open up larger in another window. The variations, top left to right are: large light purple kalamata olives, jalapeno and onion, tomato garnished with tomato “caviar”, and plain. Bottom left to right: small dark purple kalamata olives (that’s what I used that turned the mix pink), red bell pepper, and basil. The one in the center all by itself is Bubbies pickle relish.
And, NO! I didn’t eat all these stuffed tomatoes even though they are rather small Camparis! Here’s what I did:
I put the tomatoes in a big salad and didn’t eat ANY of the Mac Cheese that day. That isn’t to say I haven’t since. I’ve kept this “cheese” in a container in the fridge for three weeks. I don’t know that I’d try to go longer than that but it might just get better.
Here’s one more variation I came up with today. Mix the cheese with enough purified water to make raw vegan sour cream. It’s delicious!
Use your imagination and let me know what you like to put with yours!