Spicy Cashew Cheese (Queso de anacardo picante)

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Cupping at San Miguel Coffees in Guatemala (Photo: Stone Creek Coffee)

Well, I have failed miserably at my goal of posting one blog post per week, but I’m back nonetheless. After spending the past two months traveling for work to places like Knoxville, TN, Guatemala, and Costa Rica, I’m full of inspiration and ready to get back into the kitchen.

As I have met new people and seen new places, these past few months have been a time of immense reflection for me.  The very least I can say of this reflection is that I am eternally grateful for all of the once-in-a-lifetime experiences that I’ve been able to have in such a short amount of time.

After all, there is nothing quite like traveling out of the country for your first time, or traveling with your partner for their first time out of the country either.  There is nothing quite like tasting a fruit that you never had before.  And, similarly, yet appearing vastly different, there is nothing quite like going to your first coffee farm, or even like having a farmer show you around their land.

Although incredibly different, these experiences all share one thing in common which unites them–they only happen once.  These once-in-a-lifetime moments are momentary, but what we can learn from them is lasting.

However, learning only endures if we share it.

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A view from my friend Chepe’s farm in Chirripo, Brunca, Costa Rica.

 

I don’t feel that what I have learned means very much–at least for me–if I don’t share it with others.  Therefore, in order to grow from what I’ve learned, I’m going to make an effort to share and utilize the things that I have learned, and this blog is one of the many ways that I am going to do that.

 

One of the ways in which I am going to do this is with language.  My recent travels have inspired me to improve my Spanish.  So, at least for now, I’ve officially decided to begin writing my recipes in English and Spanish!

I hope to reach more people and make new friends along the way, as well as open new horizons in food for myself and others. As I work on this, please feel free to share any corrections or helpful suggestions.

That being said,  I’ve got a killer recipe to share with ya’ll to come back with a bang! After months of pushing off trying to make it (partly because I felt bad about cheating on dairy cheese, partly because of the price), I finally decided to try making homemade cashew cheese.

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Spicy cashew cheese on top of a bed of spaghetti squash.

Man, was I missing out! Now that I see how easy it is to make and how simple it is to alter, I’ll definitely be making this healthy, dairy-free alternative to cheese more often!

Ingredients · Ingredientes

  • 1/4 Cup Filtered water / Agua filtrada
  • 1 Cup Raw cashews / Anacardos crudos
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh parsley / Perejil fresco
  • 1/4 Cup Nutritional yeast / Levadura nutricional
  • 1-2 tsp Red pepper flakes / Hojuelas de pimienta roja
  • 1-2 tsp Himalayan pink salt / Sal himalaya
  • 1 Tbsp White wine vinegar / Vinagre de vino blanco
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon juice / Jugo de limón

Instructions · Instrucciones

  1. Soak cashews in water for at least two hours. / Empapar los anacardos en agua por lo menos 2 horas.
  2. Dry off cashews. / Seque los anacardos.
  3. Place cashews and all other ingredients in blender or food processor. / Coloque los anacardos y todos los demás ingredientes en la licuadora.
  4. Blend for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape off sides at least once. / Mezcla durante 2 minutos. Raspar los lados de la licuadora después de 1 minuto.
  5. Remove from food processor and enjoy for up 7 days. Store in refridgerator. Enjoy! / Retirar de la licuadora. Guardar en el refrigerador por hasta 7 días. ¡Disfrutar!
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Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Happy New Year!

The start of this New Year has me reflecting and thinking about my goals for 2017.  And no, these goals are not any kind of resolutions or empty “new year, new me” promises that are bound to fail from the start.  However, they are goals that I have purposefully and mindfully set in order to realize my true potential and become my best self.  They are milestones that I have set for myself to achieve, grow with, and learn from, and I can’t wait to start going down the list and checking them off!   They include, but are not limited to: competing in my first coffee competition, traveling to Guatemala on my first coffee origin trip, taking the dogs for more walks, and visiting at least three state parks with Mike that we’ve never been to before.

All in all, I anticipate that this year will be a year of exploration—and I’m ready for the adventure!  Along with this adventure, this year, my goal is to share at least one recipe (or food/beverage-related blog post) each week.  Although I’ve been notoriously bad about keeping up with my blogging in the past, I’d like 2017 to be the year that that changes.

To kick it off, I’m sharing one of my favorite go-to recipes.  It’s good on its own or topped with goodies, and it’s sure to stick to your ribs—perfect for a Wisconsin winter or a hot summer—it’s Creamy Mashed Potatoes!   These versatile mashed potatoes are quick and simple, and you’ll be wondering why they weren’t in your repertoire sooner.  So grab a few spuds and put some hot water on for mashed potatoes to remember.

And cheers to your best year yet!

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

4 washed large potatoes, preferably russet or yellow

¼ C milk

1-2 Tbsp unsalted butter (can use more or less depending on what you’re looking for)

¼ C cream cheese

1 tsp sea salt (or salt to taste)

¼ tsp ground black pepper (or to taste)

1 tsp parsley flakes

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Directions

To start, thoroughly wash the potatoes, ensuring that all of the dirt is removed from their skin.  Set two potatoes aside.  Peel the remaining two potatoes and discard of their excess skin.  Rinse the peeled potatoes once more.  Cut all four potatoes into cubes no larger than 2 inches.

Bring 2-3qts of water (or enough water to cover the potatoes) to boil in a 4qt pan.  Add a dash of salt.  Place cubed potatoes in boiling water.  Reduce heat to medium-high.  Cook about 15 minutes, or until potato falls off of fork when you poke it.  Turn off the heat on the burner.  Drain the water from the potatoes and return pan with potatoes to the warm burner.   Add the butter, cream cheese, and milk.  Smash with mashed potato smasher or spoon until mixed.   For chunkier potatoes, make sure to not over-smash.   Add salt, pepper, and parsley.  Mix with spoon until blended.    Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to one week.  Enjoy!

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Serves 2-4.