Nearly every culture has a word or phrase for food that sets the tongue on fire. That’s because these foods create an endorphin release, they bring one’s palate to life, and they add an entirely new dimension to the culinary world. They may even test one’s mettle. Whatever the case, festivals, towns, entire commercial empires are dedicated to the taste of heat … and so is the latest issue of the Vegan Culinary Experience. Inside this Free e-Magazine, you’ll find recipes and articles featuring chiles, ginger, wasabi, and more chiles, with varying heat levels to accommodate most tastes.
Chef Jason Wyrick, chief editor and founder of the Vegan Culinary Experience, wanted me to offer you a sample of what’s inside this month’s issue, so I chose the recipe for Horseradish Cheez. This dairy-free cheese alternative is dairy-free and soy-free, using a base of nuts and tahini, thickened with agar, and seasoned with a myriad of spices. I played it safe with this selection, which is listed in the “mild” recipe section. But heat-loving fans need not fear; Chef Jason has spicy recipe categories in the e-magazine that go all the way up to “Eat at Your Own Risk!”
Makes: 2 medium blocks
Time to Prepare: About 45 minutes, plus 3 hours chilling time
Heat level: Low
- 1/2 cup peeled brazil nuts
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1-1/2 cups water
- 1-1/2 tablespoons agar powder
- 4 tablespoons spicy mustard
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 4 cloves fresh garlic
- 2 tablespoons of good quality oil, such as kalamata olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1‐2 tablespoons of horseradish powder, or 1 tablespoon of fresh grated horseradish
- 1 teaspoon oil for greasing the dish
- Select a 5 cup glass dish in the shape that you want your cheese. You can also use several mini loaf pans for baking.
- Liberally oil those with oil (I used coconut oil for this step, since it stays in place).
- In a blender, pulse the brazil nuts and cashews until they are in a powder.
- Add the tahini.
- In a pot, boil the water, and once boiling, add the agar powder.
- Whisk until completely dissolved.
- Add that to the blender, along with all the other ingredients except the peppers, and the oil for greasing the pans.
- Blend until completely smooth.
- Cover and place in the refrigerator.
- Allow it to chill at least three hours, but overnight is even better.
While the water is getting ready to boil, you can pulse together the nuts and add the tahini and other ingredients to the blender to get ready so when the agar is done, you are ready to go.
Complementary Food and Drinks:
This cheese is very mild, with a small horseradish background. It would be great on a bagel sandwich with nice crunch lettuce, and tomato slices.
Where to Shop:
These ingredients can be found in most stores, except for the agar powder. You can order it online, but you can also find it in many Asian stores. If you can, you can probably save some money, as it is often cheaper there. Also, the horseradish powder can be found at Penzey’s Spices or other spice stores. If you can’t find that, just use fresh horseradish.
This is a take on a cheese I used to enjoy in the bad old days. It is creamier than the traditional cheddar I used to have, but the flavor is spot on. If you have a non‐vegan food memory, challenge yourself to make a compassionate version. You will have fun on the journey and the destination may surprise you.
Nutritional Facts (individual servings in parentheses, does not include any options):
Calories from Fat 810
Fat 90 g
Total Carbohydrates 63 g
Dietary Fiber 8 g
Sugars 9 g
Protein 34 g
Salt 601 mg
Horseradish comes from the same family as cabbage and mustard. People who tolerate heat from peppers well, sometimes do not tolerate heat from mustard or horseradish well.