One of the things I adore about the holidays are …………..drum roll…………….wait for it……………………….. SNACKS.
You can grab your homemade cheese ball, add a box of crackers, tie on a sprig of evergreen with a piece of red and white bakers twine add a jaunty cheese spreader, there you have it. Instant hostess gift.
Dreary Sunday afternoon, chilly, damp, game on the television? Set a cheese ball on a jaunty holiday platter, surround with some divine crackers (homemade or store-bought), add a sprig of fresh Rosemary, toss on some veggies and TA DA. Instant goodness.
About 2 years ago we gave up dairy. Now, don’t get your holiday panties in a knot. If there is cheese sprinkled upon our baked potato at a friend’s home, no we don’t SCREAM, WE DON’T EAT DAIRY! We are polite, civilized guests. Of course we eat what our host has provided. If there is a bit of cheese in a ravioli at a restaurant, we don’t send it back. We just choose not to consume dairy on a daily basis.
One of the things I discovered, it is not the actual cheese ball that I was missing. Oh sure, that flavor is wonderful. It was the holiday “act” of nibblies. Let’s face it, a cheese ball on a festooned platter of goodness, just hollers holidays.
May I offer up an amazing, delicious, go back for seconds and thirds recipe that will not only fulfill that need for a holiday treat, but will satisfy our choice to stay dairy free?
2 cups cashew pieces, soak overnight (purchase in the bulk foods section of your grocery store)
1/4 cup filtered water
2 probiotic capsules (use the powder, discard the capsules)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon real salt
6 grinds of cracked pepper
2 full teaspoons fresh chopped thyme
Combine soaked cashews, 1/4 cup water and probiotic in food processor. Scrape down. Blend until smooth.
Line a strainer with cheese cloth (fabric store or Bed Bath and Beyond) spoon mixture into the cheesecloth, cover and let sit over night.
Put cashew mixture in a bowl. Stir in the thyme, yeast, S & P and garlic.
Divide into 2 balls. Roll in crushed pecans (option: add a bit of green herbs for color)
Refrigerate 2 days and serve or up to a month in the freezer.
Say Grace and indulge. Seriously, indulge. You and your family are so worth a lovely treat.