Saturday, May 30, 2015

I Am a Full-Blown Hippie Now! (Homemade Yogurt)

I'll post more about my vegan cheese adventures, but for now, the most life-changing piece of the journey has been making my own yogurt! I make at least a batch a week, and I use it in all kinds of stuff - queso dip, ranch dip, cream cheese spread, granola berry parfaits....NOM NOM NOM
The best part is that there's no icky stuff in it - no stabilizers, thickeners, sweeteners, or flavors. 

All you need is:

4 cups soymilk
1 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup yogurt (from last batch, or any unsweetened plain non-dairy yogurt)* 

* OR Vegan Yogurt Starter (available at Real Foods, Good Earth, and some Whole Foods in the refrigerated area)

Using a high speed blender, pulverize cashews and 3 cups of soy milk. Strain through a mesh sieve to catch any hard nut chunks that survive into a medium saucepan. Add last cup of soy milk. Place a thermometer in pan, and heat until 110 degrees F. (Hotter than that might kill the culturing bacteria, and you don't want that!)

Whisk in yogurt or starter. Pour mixture into prepared glass containers in a crockpot (lined with a kitchen towel) and leave on "WARM" setting for a minimum of four hours (I've had it take up to eight hours) until the yogurt is thick and tastes tangy. Allow to cool to room temperature and cover, then refrigerate.

Here's the picture tutorial, for the visual learners like me:

Ridiculously Healthy Queso Dip

Ever crave the gooey nacho cheese product you might eat at a stadium, or maybe 7-11? Well, I've got a vegan version that you won't believe is actually (relatively) healthy! It's a mish-mash of the Butternut Squash Queso from "Vegan Artisan Cheese" and the Carrot-and-Potato cheese recipe that's been going around. Grab some chips and enjoy!

2 cups diced potato
1 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup plain vegan yogurt* (see my post about making your own - it's easy!)
1/2 cup reserved boiling water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp mustard powder
1 chipotle pepper (canned, in adobo sauce. NOT a whole can, just one pepper)

Boil potatoes and carrots in a small pot with just enough salted water to cover. When they are mushy (depending on the size of the chunks, 20 minutes or so), place in blender along with all other ingredients. Blend until smooth, adding more water if necessary. Voila!