Homemade Cashew Cream
The original idea for this is from a blog that is no longer in existence (and I can't recall the name to save my life) but it's basic and easy, so not too hard to pass on. There will eventually be photos, when my camera comes back to life.
If you don't know what cashew cream is, it's AWESOME is what it is. It has a hint of sweetness to the taste, but it thickens up like dairy, like really thick, so it's a great dairy substitute for dishes that need thickening during heating, especially if the flavors blend well.
1. Soak the cashews in water. For something that you want a little chunkiness for, I've soaked it as little as 30 minutes. For something creamier and smoother, I've soaked it for over 8 hours. It's up to you.
2. Drain the cashews (you could save the water, if you like, for something else) and then blend the cashews up in a blender with new water. How much water you add depends on how thick you want the cashew cream to be. Mine tends to be thicker than store bought cashew cream if I pour the cashews into the blender and add enough water so the top cashews are only partially covered by water. Blend until it is as smooth as you want it to be. Mine tends to look like batter when I'm done.
3. This can be used immediately in a dish, or you can refrigerate it for use later. I don't know how long it lasts before going bad because we always use it up in a day or two, and I also don't know if it will thicken like it should after freezing, so I'll have to tell you about that once I try it!
We use this to add to recipes for sorbets or non-dairy ice cream, for my dairy free cream of mushroom soup, for smoothies, for vegan cheesecake...just so much. Many vegan recipes online use it, you'll find.
If you soak the cashews in broth, and blend them up with it, I understand it works well as a faux nacho cheese sauce, once it has a few spices added and is thickened a bit with heat. I'm sure something could be done with this for other savory dishes, and might make a good coconut milk substitute for some Thai dishes, although I have yet to try that.