Cashew Cream is the New Black (Yum)

When unpacking a box recently, I ran across my cookbook for vegan cheeses and sauces and thought I’d post about cashew cream this morning. The key to enjoying these nut cheeses and sauces  is not to compare them to traditional cheeses and cheese sauces.  They are different.  They do not taste the same….but they are very good, and if you are trying to live without or cut back on dairy, they can work very well.   That said, I guarantee you will not like them if you compare them to the “real” thing    Think of them as their own entities…These are cheeses that are new and different and they do NOT taste like “real” cheeses, ok?
Open your mind and your taste buds and you’ll be blown away, because they taste really good!
Cashew cream is the new black.  It is rich and full of flavor, but does not have the nasty side affects of dairy cream.

Cashew Cream:

  1. Add the water to the measuring cup and microwave on high for a minute, until it is steaming. Pour the cashews into the hot water and set aside for 1 hour.
  2. Pour the cashews and their water into a blender and blend on high for a few minutes until it is very smooth. Add extra water 1 Tbsp at a time to get it to flow smoothly and quickly through the blender blades. Rub it between your fingers; you should not feel any graininess. Set aside.


Here is a recipe for Cashew Cream Caramels:



  • ½ cup cashews
  • ⅔ cup water + extra if needed
  • 6 Tbsp butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1½ cups white granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  1. Line an 8×8″ pan with parchment so that it hangs over the edges. Spray with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Measure our your water in a 2-cup measuring cup and heat in the microwave until boiling. Add the cashews and set aside to soak for at least 1 hour.
  3. Place the cashews and their soaking liquid in a blender and blend until very smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer back to your measuring cup; you should have just a bit less than 1 cup of cashew cream. Add water to bring it up to an even cup.
  4. Place the cashew cream, butter, and salt in a small saucepan and place over very low heat until the butter is melted, stirring often. Be sure that it does not boil at all, even around the edges. Also, don’t do this in the microwave.
  5. While the cream is warming, place the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a large saucepan (larger than you think necessary, such as a 4-quart. A light-colored yet heavy-bottomed pan works the best). Stir until the sugar is evenly moistened. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan so that the heat sensor is immersed in the sugar mixture (but not touching the bottom!).
  6. Place over medium heat and allow the mixture to come to a boil without stirring. Let the mixture cook (again, without stirring) until it reaches 300-310F. If necessary, tip the pan to fully immerse the thermometer in the mixture to get an accurate reading.
  7. Once the mixture reaches 310F, remove from the heat and slowly pour in the warm cashew cream/butter mixture while stirring rapidly. It may spatter a bit while you do this; be careful!
  8. Once the cream is all mixed in, return the pan to the heat and continue to cook over medium heat again without stirring until the temperature reaches 245F (your thermometer may initially read higher than this; that’s because it is still coming down from when you added the cream).
  9. When it reaches 245F, quickly remove it form the heat, stir in the vanilla (without scraping the bottom) and pour it into your prepared pan (again, without scraping).
  10. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for a couple hours before cutting into smaller pieces. Wrap individual pieces in wax paper and store at room temperature for 1-2 weeks, or in the fridge or freezer for much longer!
-This recipe makes rather soft, melt-in-your-mouth caramels. If you’d like a more chewy variety, decrease the butter to 4 Tbsp and only use ¾ cup of the cashew cream.

-Make sure you use the Earth Balance original butter, not the whipped one.

So…..she made a grapefruit meringue pie instead…..

A friend said she planned to go down to Cali tomorrow, so I asked if  she  would please take my husband one of my lemon meringue pies.  John loves my Meyer lemon pies…a little on the tart side, piled high with light, fluffy meringue.  I thought it would be a nice surprise for him if I whipped one up.

I made the crust, and was all ready to start on the filling….


René Best guitarist

…when I discovered that the wonderful, organic Meyer lemons I’d just purchased were not good.  It happens.   I fervently searched the refrigerator for something else…and came up with these organic grapefruits.  “Hmmmmm….” I thought.  “I wonder…..”


René Best guitarist

“Oh…why not?”

I figured I had nothing to lose by substituting one citrus fruit for another….so I used my same Meyers lemon pie recipe, only I used fresh squeezed organic grapefruit juice instead.

The results were very interesting.  First, the pie does not taste of grapefruit except for a faint hint left on the back of the tongue once it has been swallowed.  It has a sort of citrus-honey flavor and is quite delicious….but not identifiable.  It LOOKS just like lemon meringue pie…but this is a pie that I will not be sending to my husband, because I fear he will be disappointed that the flavor is not his favorite.    Once he comes home, I’ll try it again and see how he likes it.

I uses a very simple, but delicious, recipe:

  • 1 1/8 cups turbinado sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 3/4 fluid ounces fresh-squeezed, organic grapefruit  juice
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 (9 inch) pastry shell, unbaked


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F .
  • 1 1/8 cups turbinado  sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 3/4 fluid ounces fresh-squeazed, organic grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • Your favorite 1 (9 inch) pastry shell, unbake


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F .
  2. Place sugar, eggs, and grapefruit juice in a blender; blend until smooth, about 3 minutes.
  3. Pour melted butter into the blender and blend for 30 seconds more.
  4. Transfer lemon filling to the pastry shell.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until filling is just set, 30 to 35 minutes. Allow pie to rest until completely set before serving, about 15 minutes more.



A New and Different (no crust) Coconut Cream Pie

A New and Different (less fattening) Coconut Cream Pie

All the ingredients are mixed together and poured into a pie tin, but when it cooks it forms its own crust with filling This has a coconut vanilla taste like a coconut cream pie


2 cups milk
1 cup shredded coconut
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
8 Tablespoon butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Place milk, coconut, eggs, vanilla, flour, butter and sugar in blender. Mix well.
Pour into a greased and floured pie plate. Sprinkle nutmeg on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Salt and Straw….oh, my!

Strawberry with Cilantro Lime Cheesecake…..Raspberry Lemon Basil Sorbet… or the flavor I had today…the Goat Cheese Marionberry Habanero….oh, my!

Salt and Straw is the awesome new ice cream store located dangerously close to our house.


This is serious ice cream, folks, and is not for sissies!

This summer, Salt and Straw got thousands of pounds of strawberries from deep Roots Farm located in nearby Albany, OR.  The strawberries that go into their ice cream are picked and delivered the same day they use them.  All of their ice cream is as fresh as it is delicious!

My husband’s birthday was last week.  We took him to Salt and Straw and he chose the Birthday Cake and Blackberries flavor….frosting flavored ice cream with ribbons of cake and blackberry jam.  mmmmm…  The blackberry jam is extra special because it uses Evergreen Blackberries from the Willamette Valley.  These berries are pitch black in color and wonderfully sweet.  With this combo, it might as well be everyone’s birthday every day!


How about a cup of Pear with Blue Cheese made from  delicate, sweet Oregon Trail Northwest Bartlett pears from Salem with crumbles of Rogue Creamery’s Crater Lake Blue Cheese (recently named the best in the world at a fancy competition in France) mixed throughout?   or the Freckled Woodblock Chocolate?  Woodblock is the fist bean-to-bar chocolate maker in Portland.  Salt and Straw adds in a bit of Jacobson seal salt, and then uses an old school ice cream making technique called “freckling” to suspend the chocolate in an untempered state.  Or how about the Coffee & Bourbon flavor?  This one uses Stumptown’s single-origin Sumatra coffee mixed with a little of Portland’s Holy Kakow chocolate and a lot of Burnside Bourbon from our own local Eastside Distillery.  Uh huh….It is every bit as good as it sounds.


Yes, folks, these people take their ice cream seriously.  They even have an Arbequina Olive Oil flavor!  That’s right!  This is one of Oprah’s favorite things!  After tasting more than 50 ice creams from all over the US, the folks at Opera Magazine were absolutely blown away by this flavor.  Red Ridge Farms from here in Oregon provide a rich and spicy Arbequina Olive Oil for its unique flavor.


Ingrid’s favorite flavor is Cinnamon snickerdoodle made of Red Ape Cinnamon from Eugene who donates part of the proceed to save the orangutans in Sumatra where the cinnamon is harvested.  Mine is the Strawberry Honey Balsamic Vinegar with Cracked Black Pepper….made with strawberries, jam and syrup from Oregon Hill Farms, Balsamic from a 5th generation bee keeper at Honeyridge Farms, and a pinch of black pepper…a little trick to bring out the fruit flavor.


Oh, and they have merchandise, too…tee shirts…local honey…chocolate…cookies….You name it.

Salt and Straw at 3345 SE Division Street is one of 3 locales in Portland.  This ice cream is HOT!

Day #31 – CALORIES


Photo a Day – MARCH

Day #31 – Calories

© Stacy Alexander – 2013