I had a vegan mac and cheese at a restaurant a few months ago that I haven't been able to get out of my head. It was creamy and rich, and it totally busted all my preconceived notions about what a vegan mac n' cheese could be. The secret, the waiter told me, was cashew cream. Do you cook with cashew cream? Talk to me.
Here's what I know: Cashew cream is made from raw cashews that get soaked overnight, drained, and then blended with fresh water into a creamy paste. This mild-tasting yet quite rich paste can then stand in for dairy in a great many recipes, everything from creamy sauces for pasta to raw vegan desserts.
This sounds like a good place to start, but I'm really curious to know your experiences with cashew cream. How do you cook with it? Is there anything tricky to know? Any great recipes for newbies? Now that the weather is getting chillier, I definitely want to try my hand a vegan macaroni and cheese, but I'm eager to put it through its paces in other recipes as well.
Those of you who are vegan are probably old pros with this ingredient — please share your expertise with those of us who are only discovering it now!
(Image: Fresh Figs with Cashew Cream / Leela Cyd Ross)