Bye-Bye Bounty: CSA week 12 - A summertime Mexican feast
OK, so, a confession. I love cheese, it just doesn’t love me.
It’s a sad state of affairs that has included a lot of back and forth over the years, but right now it’s safe to say that though I pine wistfully over goat cheese, eating it is a nasty proposition. My stomach freaks out and it’s just a nightmare to get it to calm back down.
So, no, I won’t die if I have cheese. I don’t have an allergy. It just hasn’t liked me ever since the little one came along. GRRR.
But that’s not a problem, because after a while, it’s true that you don’t miss it. Don’t crave it. Don’t really think much about it unless your husband is digging in to some ooey-gooey, hot and melty pizza right next to you (sigh). But, truth be told, it’s worth it to grit my teeth and deal.
Thus, I’ve become pretty good at making my own “cheese,” thanks to the “Stir-Well to Heaven” cookbook from Sandi Corder-Clootz, the executive chef of my longtime favorite restaurant, Eden Alley Cafe. I love making her “Mexican” cashew cheese — it’s quick, easy, tasty, cheap and is actually really good on pizza with the cheese scraped off (Yes, the hubby gets double the cheese — lucky him.).
But I hadn’t really had it on much besides pizza crust and sandwiches. So, when I got sweet corn last week from our CSA, and had a hankering for Mexican food, I thought I’d try my beloved cashew cheese on something a bit more involved than bread and crust.
The result is this dish that is one part salad, one part Mexican feast. It has the feeling of a taco salad without the heaviness. Plus, it’s super easy to make on a night when a toddler is at your legs begging you for MORE BLUEBERRIES NOW MOMMY.
If you followed this blog last CSA season, you know I like to avoid turning on the oven at all costs in the summer (Heat, yuck!), so it should not surprise you that you can make this without heating anything up.
That is, of course, unless you want to have it with real honest-to-god, gooey cheese. And if you don’t? I’m sharing Sandi’s cashew cheese recipe.
Yes, it sounds weird, but if you’re lactose shy and give it a try, you’ll not only be saving yourself some money over the stuff you buy at the store, you also may stand at the counter eating it by the spoonful like my son.
Um, yeah. He does that.
What’d we get in our bag this week? A huge onion, 2 cucumbers, kale, yellow squash, new potatoes, blackberries and a HUGE bag of basil.
Summer Weather Mexican Bowl
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
1/4 to 1/2 avocado, chopped
1 ear of raw sweet corn, corn removed and cob discarded
1-2 dollops of queso fresco, melty colby jack or Creamy Mexican Cashew Cheese (recipe is below)
1 squirt lime juice
1 squirt hot sauce (I use The Boulder Hot Sauce Company’s Smokey Serrano)
Salsa, to taste (I use Green Mountain Gringo’s mild)
Mix all in a bowl and enjoy! Best eaten with a spoon.
Mexican Creamy Cashew Cheese (Recipe by Sandi Corder-Clootz, “Stir-Well to Heaven: The Eden Alley Cafe Cookbook”)
1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 12 hours
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon agave nectar
3/4 cup filtered water
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Put all ingredients in a food processor and run for 5 minutes. You can add more water for a thinner consistency or less for a thicker cheese. Makes 2 cups. Store in an air-tight container. Try to use within 10 days (sometimes I halve the recipe because it makes a lot.)