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  • Betcha Can’t: Vegan ‘Creamed’ Kale

    Friday, March 15, 2013

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    Betcha Can’t make a creamy, dreamy creamed kale to satisfy your vegan and non-vegan holiday guests alike? Think again!

    Have you discovered the delicious joy that is cashew “cream”?? Now, I will admit that calling anything by a name by anything other than its real identity is a pet peeve. No matter how many times anyone says that carob is ‘chocolate’, or ‘cheese’ can be made with anything other than milk from a cow, the fact is that these things simply aren’t those things. Are you following me here?

    So, by cashew ‘cream’ I mean a pretty yummy, rich and versatile ingredient to make lots of different dishes creamy and luscious without using anything from an animal. Of course there is a warning that comes with all things that involve this divine ingredient with a conscience….it’s about as fattening as, you know, real cream…like from a cow. So, while you might be tempted to put it in, on, or next to everything you eat for a while, you probably don’t want to.

    What’s so fun about cashew ‘cream’? Well for one thing, its versatility. It can be used in sweet treats (think pumpkin pie) and savory dishes (think Alfredo pasta and creamed soups). I made my first batch last week and used it in a couple of savory dishes (as a crema for tacos and as the ‘cream’ in creamed kale). Both worked really well and, the best part, this stuff is super easy to make!

    A couple of things to keep in mind. If you know that you are making a batch to use in several recipes (both sweet and savory) throughout the week, make a batch of basic ‘cream’ and flavor portions as you use them (remember, a little goes a long way). Also, you may want to make your base batch a little on the thick side and adjust the consistency as you use it in each recipe (for example, you may want to use it as a sour cream in one recipe while you may want something more along the lines of heavy cream in another). Just pop some back in a blender and add water to get to the right consistency for the recipe. Lastly, you will need a high-speed blender or food processor for this to work. Anything else and you won’t have the velvety smooth and creamy texture that makes this so lovely.

    So, go out and get a good supply of raw, unroasted cashews and get ready to be amazed!

    Basic Cashew Cream – www.kindred-kitchen.com

     

    Basic Cashew Cream www.kindred-kitchen.com

     

    Vegan Creamed Kale www.kindred-kitchen.com

    ©2013 Kindred Kitchen / Nancy Granada

    Betcha Can’t: Vegan ‘Creamed’ Kale

    servings: 6 | time: about 40 minutes plus at least 1 hour for the cashew cream

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    ingredients:

    For the Cashew Cream:
    Makes about 1.5 cups cream the consistency of sour cream (add more liquid to get desired consistency depending on how you plan to use it)

    2 cups raw, unsalted cashews
    Pinch of salt
    Enough water to cover

    For the Creamed Kale:
    2 large bunches fresh kale, large stems removed, rinsed will and chopped
    1.5 cups basic cashew cream made to the consistency of heavy cream
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
    Pinch of nutmeg
    2 TBSP. fresh lemon juice
    1 cup fresh bread crumbs
    3 TBSP. olive oil

    directions:

    For the Cashew Cream:
    1. Rinse the cashews and place in a large glass bowl with salt

    2. Add enough spring water just to cover

    3. Cover and allow to soak overnight (can be left on counter). You may have to add a bit of water before bed

    4. The next day: drain nuts and place in a high-speed blender or food processor. Pulse the blender a few times to chop nuts

    5. With the blender or processor on low, slowly add fresh cold spring water. You’ll want to increase the speed to ‘liguify’ (generally the highest setting on most high-speed blenders) until you reach the desired consistency (anything from consistency of sour cream to whole milk…depending on how you are planning to use it). REMEMBER: if you have a couple of different uses in mind, better to keep it on the thick side and thin smaller batch in the blender as you need them)

    NOTE: you could speed up the process by using boiling water instead and allowing the cashews to soak for an hour. Follow the same directions after nuts have soaked. Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days

     

    For the Creamed Kale:

    Preheat oven to 350

    1. Place the prepared kale in a large glass bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 5 minutes (this removes some of the moisture to ensure that you final dish is not soggy)

    2. While the kale is in the microwave, place the cashew cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and lemon juice in a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside

    3. In another bowl, combine the fresh bread crumbs with the olive oil. Toss to coat

    4. Place the kale in a salad spinner to remove as much moisture as possible. Spread the kale in an even layer in the casserole dish

    5. Pour the cashew cream over the kale, being sure to spread evenly out to the sides of the casserole

    6. Top with prepared bread crumbs

    7. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until bread crumbs are nicely browned and casserole is bubbling around the edges

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