Thursday, March 22, 2012
Recipe: Baked Almond 'Feta'
I'm going vegan.
I can almost hear the noise in your head, like a needle being pulled across a record: "What? Didn't you just go vegetarian?"
Yes and no. I finally got around to posting about it, but I actually went veg months ago.
Regardless, that is all a post for another day and I swear I will get around to it sooner than later.
Anyway, I've been scoping out vegan recipes and I admit the one thing I was having an issue parting with was feta cheese.
Then I stumbled upon this wonderful blog and this recipe for Baked Almond "Feta."
Could it be good, like real feta? I was game to try.
I got to do all sorts of new things while making this. I blanched almonds. Then I had to peel the skins off, which was kind of a PITA.
Then I got to buy and use cheesecloth for the first time. It's not as exciting as the last sentence makes it sound.
The mixture has to drain in the cheesecloth overnight (or at least 12 hours) so it's not a recipe you can whip up in an afternoon. But it is worth it.
My kitchen smelled insane when it was baking and when it came out of the oven it was golden brown and gorgeous. I measured out a half-ounce and, wow, it was really, really good.
How do almonds, salt, water, lemon juice, garlic and oil end up tasting like cheese? Damned if I know. The only bummer is it's very Points-y if you're a Weight Watcher.
Here's my math on the Points. I am terrible at math, so if I made an error, let me know. I ran the recipe through Recipe Builder and it came out to 47 Points for the whole thing. I will say, blowing my Weekly Points Allowance on this big ball of awesome crossed my mind, it is that good.
I weighed the cheese when it was out of the oven and it was 255g. A typical serving of regular feta is 1oz (28g), which means there were 9 servings in this recipe. 47 Points Plus divided by 9 servings is 5.2 Points Plus - I round down, so 5.
Regular feta is 2 Points Plus for 28g, so that's double, hence the half-ounce I tried. It was really good and if I need to veganize a recipe that calls for feta, I would definitely use this and adjust the Points accordingly. But, when it comes to, say, adding it in a salad, I could live with 14g for 2.5 Points Plus. It is very good.
After draining overnight in the not-exciting cheesecloth:
After coming out of the oven. The horizontal lines are where I smushed the ball with a fork to flatten it out before baking. Looking at Lee's picture on her post now, I realize she baked it as a ball. It looked much better her way, follow her lead. The picture at the top of this post is the feta after I crumbled it up.