Last night’s Creamy Chicken Taquitos are always a family favorite. Before we went wheat free I would make them with the standard flour tortillas, and I am known to make a double batch to have plenty of left overs and extras to keep in the freezer for snacking. Last night, because we are really watching the boy’s dairy intake right now, I decided to sub out the traditional cream cheese for this Almond Cheese. Only Kevin knew my little secret, as I happily served dinner and asked what they thought. As always with this particular dinner, there were rave reviews all around. The Almond Cheese was dare I say – creamy? Didn’t taste a thing like almonds, which was my fear. By itself, it doesn’t taste a lot like cream cheese, it is made from nuts after all but I can totally see it taking on any flavors that I mix in with it, making this what I hope will end up being a great cream cheese sub when mixed with other foods. I am thinking of mixing a little with a bit of honey and sandwiching it with a little Chocolate Agave Frosting between two graham crackers for an afternoon snack. I’ll have to let you know how it works out.
1 1/2 cups raw almonds, soaked 12 hours
1 1/2 cups water
3 tablespoons hummus (hummus was made minus the tahini. We didn’t have any and I tend to not like to buy ingredients that I use just for one recipe)
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or oil of your choice) (I used grape seed oil because that is what I had)
juice from 1-2 medium lemons (I used the juice of 1 lemon, my first attempt at this was too lemony so I cut it back a bit)
1 tablespoon dill weed (omitted)
1-2 teaspoons sea salt (or more to taste)
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon pure garlic granules or (garlic seasoning of your choice) (also omitted)
Rinse almonds thoroughly in fresh cold water, drain and put into blender. (I don’t have a stand blender, so I used our stick blender. The end result is a little granular, so at some point we may be investing in a higher power stand blender) Add 1 1/2 cups spring water (filtered water). Blend on highest setting for 3-4 minutes. Stop blender, add remaining ingredients and blend until very, very smooth (an additional 3-5 minutes.) (This may be where we went wrong at this point, I don’t think that we ended up blending it long enough. We will blend longer next time.)
Open and place sprout bag or cotton cloth in a large bowl or pitcher. (I used a clean kitchen towel set on top of a strainer, which I set on top of a larger container to catch the drips.)
Pour the almond cheese mixture into the bag and close with drawstring, rubber band, or a twist tie. Place bag of almond cheese mixture in pitcher or bowl so that it will drip and strain for 12 hours. (see notes above) Place draining cheese in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours to thoroughly drip. (mine sat for more like 8 hours) You can also let the mixture ferment slightly (to further sour and develop the flavor) by allowing the cheese to strain on the counter for 6 hours and then moving it to the refrigerator to strain for the remaining time period.
At this point, I took the cheese out of the towel and put it in a storage container. It’s fairly plain and ready to be seasoned. My plan is to flavor smaller batches of it as we go through out the week, since we have discovered that it really takes on any flavor that you mix it with and the almond flavor is not overpowering at all. I may try this at some point with macadamia nuts or cashews – I would think that either would give a very creamy consistency, with macadamia nuts giving an even richer “cheese”. If I see macadamia’s on sale one day and am feeling adventurous I may give it a go.
Source: Ginger Lemon Girl