Lately I have felt very rushed in my day to day. It’s just that time of year when there is a lot going on…not entirely all enjoyable, and I’m trying to finish everything up prior to the end of the year with school and home. I’m now on the mandatory Christmas gift buying countdown as the boys get out of school next Friday. The kind of unpleasant shopping where I feel like I have a drill sergeant behind me yelling “go! go! go!” as I compare prices and sniff perfume samples. But once the boys are out, there is NO shopping. Taking three boys to any sort of place of commerce is as enjoyable as going to a dental appointment that you forgot to attend for say the previous two years…which I consequently also had to do this week. Like I said, not all enjoyable.
Come Saturday though, there is light at the end of the tunnel…and celebration for it. Margaritas… and a recipe for those here. Then I’ll get my holiday baking on…next week…not that same night as margaritas. That would be a disaster. I’m slightly dyslexic, and when I’m not completely concentrating on what I’m reading, numbers can become inverted, steps omitted or measurements confused. Hence my rule. Never drink and bake. I don’t really follow that, but it’s a good, trustworthy rule and should be shown some respect. But what is more likely to happen is that after the first sip of the sweet and salty greatness that is a margarita, I will simply waltz into the den, drink in hand, sit down, put my feet up on the coffee table and never get back up again. Based on reliable intelligence, the baking best to wait until Monday.
But here today, I’ve decided to start getting prepared for next week. One of the things that helps me feel more in control of life when times are chaotic is having all my “go to’s” ready in the kitchen. Whipped cream, cocktail sauce, enchilada sauce and parmesan cheese for example. These are all items we need for cooking, but to buy them at the store almost guarantees gluten, dairy, soy or egg. So by making them and having them on hand…even in the freezer for sauces, just makes life easier.
Parmesan cheese is a staple in my cooking, and yet I was without it for 5 years. I’m not sure how I survived really. After a great deal of research, I started stumbling across variations on a dairy and soy free version. I’ve seen this so many times made with walnuts or pine nuts…both of which are great. But here is the way I like it and with ratios that have worked best for me and my recipes.
Not Parmesan Cheese
1.5 cups raw cashews (These can be expensive. I buy them in bulk on Amazon and keep them in the freezer. Saves $ and they’re always there when I need them.)
.5 cup of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Nutritional Yeast
1.5 tsp salt
Mix all of the above ingredients in either a food processor or a Vitamix. I have a Vitamix and absolutely love mine….but that’s a story for another time. It turns the above ingredients into a powder in no time. Just be careful not to mix too long or it will actually start to cream your cashews into nut butter…which is not your desired effect…at least in this recipe. Check and make sure you don’t need a pinch more salt. If I go heavy on the cashews, I often need a tad more.
Then store in the fridge for up to two weeks. Although I have never made it that long. We use this on pizzas, on pastas, on popcorn, in sauces, etc. It will literally transform a dish. Worth keeping this around at all times. It really does help restore peace and calm.