So I would be lying if I pretended this was the first time I invited someone I met on the Internet to stay at my place. I know, I know, I’m just asking to be turned into a lampshade! But when you meet so many amazing vegans on the World Wide Web, how can you not invite them to come visit you in real time? (I’m referring to the time Kristin from WTF Vegan Food crashed on my couch.) This time, I invited our own Kentucky-based writer Andrew, aka the Vegan Giant, to come stay over my mother’s super cool hippie crunch farm in Connecticut as he swooped through New England. I mean, come on, it’s 2012 and I live in Connecticut—how else am I supposed to find people to come make cashew ricotta cheese with me in the woods?! Vegans unite!
So Andrew came to Sticks and Stones, the rural farm retreat my mother and her hubby run in Newtown, Connecticut. (Promotion alert: Check it out, it’s only 45 minutes from NYC and has cabins you can rent!) We hiked. We talked. We cooked. We used a ton of silly sexual innuendos, most of which made absolutely no sense. I took pictures of Andrew towering over things—he is nearly 7 feet tall, after all.
SO what did we make? We made the lazy vegan’s version of calzones. Andrew taught me how to make bread! We then smothered our bread slices with homemade cashew tofu ricotta cheese mixed with sautéed veggies, covered the whole thing with tomato sauce and rebaked it. It was sort of like an open-faced calzone. We also made a nice big salad with greens from the farm’s garden, and for dessert? Chocolate banana-based ice cream. Awww yeah.
Also, it was crazy hard to take any photos of Andrew with food if I wanted to get both the food and his face in the frame, because his head loomed a good 3 ½ feet away from whatever we were cooking. 7 foot problems!
My cashew ricotta recipe was originally Isa Chandra Moskowitz’ recipe from Veganomicon. Back in college I made it so often I stopped using the recipe, altered it to suit my own needs and now a few years later I am not actually sure how much it resembles her recipe, but I still need to give credit where credit is due. I also hate calling vegan cheese “fake” cheese, so I call it play cheese instead. So, here is my play ricotta cheese recipe, modeled after Ms. Moskowitz’. Thanks!
BIG NOTE: If you cant find unsalted cashews, don’t sweat. Use regular salted cashes and don’t add any salt to the recipe. My college roomie made the mistake of using salted cashews AND salt and it was so upsetting.
Cashew Tofu Ricotta
1 lb extra firm tofu
juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp EVOO
¾ cup raw unsalted cashews
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp oregano
big handful of fresh basil or 1 tsp dried
a few shakes of red pepper flakes
Throw in your food processor and pulse pulse pulse til thick and creamy and ricotta-esque.
While I’m not giving away my chocolate banana-based ice cream recipe yet, you can find my super simple recipe for banana peach ice cream here.