No-Bake Cheesecake: Vegan, Rhubarb, Cardamom? Oh my!

If you have never tried your hand at raw vegan desserts this is an excellent first step! As long as you have a food processor and room in your freezer this cheesecake is even easier than the traditional recipe!
Kaycie took an old recipe from her vegan catering days and infused the market flavours of the season.

But that’s not all…we’ve collaborated with fellow blogger and sister to our own Eats of Asia owner (Jay Del Corro), Kristina Del Corro. We each took photos for each other’s blogs this week. If you like food, photography or books we highly recommend giving her site a gander.

20170502_204652

You will need:

20170502_204849

Equipment
Food processor
Springform pan
Saucepan (for the compote)

For the Crust
1 cup of Medjool Dates from Cherry Pit or Panorama Orchards (pitted and soaked overnight)
1 cup of shredded raw Coconut from Going Nuts
½ cup of raw Pecans from Going Nuts
1 pinch of Pink Himalayan Salt from The Silk Road Spice Merchant

For the Cheesecake Filling
2 Lemons from Cherry Pit or Panorama Orchards
4 cups of raw Cashews from Going Nuts (soaked overnight)
2 1/2 tbs Vanilla Extract from The Silk Road Spice Merchant
4 Tablespoons of Clover Honey from Beeland (substitute for Maple syrup or agave for true vegan)
¾ cup Coconut oil from The Vitamin Cupboard

For the Rhubarb Compote (this makes 6-8 servings of compote)
2 cups of diced rhubarb from Cherry Pit or Panorama Orchards (3-4 stalks)
2-3 tablespoons of the same Beeland honey
½ Teaspoon of Ground Cardamom from The Silk Road Spice Merchant
1 pinch of the same Pink Himalayan Salt from The Silk Road Spice Merchant
1/3 cup of water


Directions:

20170502_205256

1. Make your compote first. This will give it time to simmer-away while you process the other parts of your cheesecake:
a) Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.
b) Cook, covered, over medium-low heat, stirring, until the rhubarb has completely fallen apart. Then to ensure correct consistency cook uncovered until  (about 30 minutes total).
c) Remove from heat to let cool.

20170502_204941

2.  While your compote is simmering you can get started on your crust. In your food processor, combine all the ingredients from the crust list keeping an eye on the texture while you’re grinding everything down. You want to process these items until it looks like a crust. Too much time and it will turn to a paste.

20170502_205049

3. Empty the contents of your food processor in to your springform pan and flatten in to a crust with your hands, spoon, or bottom of a glass.

4.  Now comes the fun part, the cheesecake filling! Combine all your ingredients in the food processor and blend until creamy like cream cheese. Don’t worry if it’s taking a while, this is normal. If the texture is looking chunky add in very small amounts of water while things are running to help the nuts break down better.

20170502_220009

5. Flatten out your cheesecake by gently tapping the pan on the counter.

20170502_214925

6. Dollop your compote on the top of the cheesecake until you have the entire contents of the saucepan emptied. Then, with a butter knife, drag the cutting edge through in a swirling motion to incorporate it in to the cheesecake.

20170502_215203

7. Tap your pan on the counter again to ensure everything is level.

20170502_215336

8. As this is a no-bake cheesecake, you’ll be using freezing as your method to set everything. Freezing this overnight gives it the longest life when serving, but a few hours should be fine if you’re in a pinch.

20170502_204433

20170502_204553

9. The only thing left to do now is enjoy your creation! It’s our experience that this cheesecake is a hit on Mother’s Day… just saying.
Whatever your occasion, Bon Appetit!

Holiday Charcuterie Board

With all of the holiday parties and get-togethers, friendly gift-exchanges over rum and eggnogs, family dinners with goodies galore, and New Year’s Eve upon us, we wanted to provide you with an easy way to share delicious food no matter what festive event you’re attending.  A charcuterie board is, we think, the yummiest way to enjoy a variety of cured meats, mustards, cheeses, preserves, pickles, bread and crackers.  You’d be hard-pressed to glance at a menu in Calgary without often finding an in-house cured charcuterie on offer.  Gone are the days of a pile of salami and a chunk of havarti.  But does that mean you can’t make a mean charcuterie of your own? Absolutely not.  It’s easier than you think and there are plenty of options out there.  We’d like to show you how to throw together a spectacular spread in one stop here at the Calgary Farmers’ Market.

All you need is a big cutting board (or two) or a couple of slate slabs and a little sense of adventure…. because who doesn’t love going to a party and stumbling on something new and delicious?

Ok so let’s break it down.  A great charcuterie board has a number of delicious elements: meat, cheese, pickles/olives, preserves/jams/mustards, fruit, and bread/crackers.  Sounds like a lot?  Perhaps, but they will all compliment each other to create a symphony of awesome and your friends will appreciate that variety.  What’s that idiom?  Variety is the spice of life?  Yeah, that’s the one.

2013-12-06 05.57.44

So what kind of meat should you go for?  Anything cured is the simple answer.  So that means: pancetta, Proscuitto, salamis… we used the coppa and capicolla from Fresh DELIcious and the bison bresaola from Olson’s High Country Free Range Bison.  You can also include terrines, smoked salmon, and pâté too (we love the wild board pâté by Valbella Farms).

Ready for the cheese?  The best way to make your cheese selections is to think of balance.  You don’t want all ooey-gooey cheeses or a whack of rock-hard slabs for your guests to fight to enjoy.  Variety, remember?  Go for something like the award-winning extra-aged sharp Grizzly Gouda by Sylvan Star Cheese, an earthy Brie like the mushroomy Brie de Meaux, a triple creme soft-as-butter Brillat Savarin is a crowd pleaser, and always a blue cheese.  Never discount the sometimes pungent, stinky selection; there are LOTS of blue cheeses available. From super-stinky dirty-sock blue cheese, to milder blues like the creamy, tangy Saint Agur from the village of Beauzac in the mountainous French region of Auvergne.  We love the Moody Blue from Fresh DELIcious as it’s on the milder side and it has a subtle smoky undertone.  There are so many incredible cheeses to choose from; if you’re not sure, ask for a quick taste before you decide to take it home.

Pickles on a cheese plate?  Always.  The acidity of a perfectly pickled spear of Edgar Farms asparagus or snap pea or bean or carrot or OLIVES! Yes, pickles are a must.  Innisfail Growers has an impressive selection of pickled vegetables, choose your favorite.  Then there are olives.  Sure, not everyone loves olives.  But for those that do, they really love olives; no one is ever just on the fence about an olive.  2 Greek Gals and Soffritto have a good selection, so does LA CUCINA and Fresh DELIcious.  You have no excuse to leave them out.

No charcuterie board is complete without the preserves and mustards that compliment the cheese and meat.  It’s all about balance, remember?  A bresaola is best with a tiny dab of mustard, like the grainy Brassica mustard from Blu Seafood.  Fig jam is a common and very approachable accompaniment to almost every cheese; we added the Grand Marnier and Honey Spice Cranberry Sauce from Beeland to our charcuterie just to mix it up.  And their Roasted Nuts and Wildflower Honey is pure heaven on a hunk of blue cheese.

Fruit is also a great addition to any charcuterie board.  Figs, dates, grapes, strawberries, gooseberries, pears, even apple.  They pair well with the cheese and cleanse your palate before moving on to the next bite of “yum!”

Baguette or crisp crackers are the perfect vessels for your well thought out board.  Providing a rice cracker is must these days for your gluten-sensitive guests; we’ve gone one further and are offering the Raw Vegetable Flax Crackers from Healthy Delights.

2013-12-06 06.07.33

Only a few more notes: ‘fluff’ your meat selections, don’t just slap ’em down on the board to make your guests pick through the pile.  Don’t ever jab a knife into your wheel of brie.  Just don’t.  Provide knives for your guests to enjoy your wonderful cheese selection.  Thinly slice the fruit and bread, add dollops of mustard and preserves, and place pickles/olives around the board.  Also, it’s always nice to label your selections… unless you want to spend your night helping your guests navigate your charcuterie or listen to hushed “what is this cheese? what am I supposed to do with the honey? what the heck is this?!” whispers.  Throw ’em a bone and let ’em know what they’re enjoying.  You can even place a ‘menu’ of sorts in a frame beside your charcuterie to ease your guests’ into knowing what they’re eating and loving every bite.

2013-12-06 06.03.52