Seems I had a another hankering for some good ole country potatoes this morning, which works out, since I just bought a big bag of potatoes. (And, fun fact, as I look back, this is almost the exact sentence I used to introduce the recipe for my No-Oil Air Fryer Country Potatoes, originally, in September!) But, I wanted this to be great, so I couldn’t just make the potatoes; I had to make it, um, better!
I’d mentioned in my No-Oil Air Fryer Country Potatoes recipe that most plant-based sour creams are about the same. And they are, with a few variations. The Seven Secrets Cookbook (which seems to be cheaper right now than I’ve noticed it before…hint, hint) has a good one that has silken tofu and a bit of cashews in it. But, that wasn’t my favorite, and seems to get quite hard after a few days in the fridge.
So, with help from Angela Liddon at Oh She Glows (which, the childish side of me says, “Maybe she ought to get that checked…”), I present her recipe, in typical form, slightly modified by me to be better and more amazing (of course, in my opinion!) Or something like that.
¾cupwatererr on the side of less rather than more*
3Tbspfresh lemon juice
Cover cashews with water in a bowl and soak overnight in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can do the "quick-soak method", where you pour boiling water over the cashews and soak them for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the cashews when ready to use.**
Put all ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend on high until super smooth. For me, this was 1-2 minutes. At the end, you might slowly slow down your blender until stopped to get out extra air bubbles. Depending on your blender, you may also have to stop a few times and scrape the mixture down a bit. Adding slightly more water will help it, if it doesn't seem to be blending.
Scrape out of blender and into an airtight container and chill. The cream thickens as it chills, and will last 1-2 weeks.
Angela says: You can also freeze it for up to 1 month. I like to freeze it in silicone mini muffin cups. Once solid, transfer the cups into a freezer-safe zip bag for easy grab and go portions.
*Start with barely 3/4 cup water and see how it goes. Don’t use a “generous” 3/4 cup. If you need more liquid to make it properly blend, add it, just a little at a time, until you get a good blend going. Remember, this cream will thicken in the refrigerator, and it’s best to chill before serving, as the blender can heat this up quickly!**After soaking cashews, they are a weird gray color. Don’t worry. The cream gets pretty white upon blending!
Angela’s original recipe calls for less lemon juice, and the use of apple cider vinegar. I find that the extra lemon juice makes the cream more “soury” and that the apple cider vinegar adds a strange sweetness that seems to get even stronger over the life of the cream. I don’t really want my sour cream to be sweet, so I’ve made these modifications, and find it pretty tasty, indeed.
And those country potatoes I wanted for breakfast? They were delicious! I added in diced bell peppers and yellow onions before I was done cooking, and then topped them with last week’s Plant-based Cheddar Cheese (shredded), and some salsa!
May your days be sour, and creamy! Or at least your potatoes!
If using a high-speed blender, add water, cashews, bell pepper, nutritional yeast flakes, lemon juice, coconut milk, coconut oil, tapioca starch, cornstarch, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and cayenne pepper.
Process until smooth and creamy.
Mix cold water with agar powder in a saucepan, bring to boil on medium stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and immediately add to cheese sauce.
Process until smooth.
Pour mixture into an oiled container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Alternatively, especially when using a regular blender, process all the ingredients including agar powder in a blender until smooth. Pour sauce into a non-stick sauce on medium heat whisking constantly until thick and bubbly. Immediately pour into an oiled container and refrigerate for an hour.
I find the consistency of the method using the high-speed blender better. This recipe is not like storebought processed vegan cheese. So it’s not as firm. Yes, it slices and shreds but not like storebought and tastes amazing!The recipe calls for agar powder, if using agar flakes, use 3 times the amount instead.If you prefer a sharper flavor then add extra lemon juice
I was making a double-batch, as I do have a large blending container, and if I’m going to go through the work and mess to make it happen, I might as well make enough to matter! And, although not awesome, it does freeze “okay.” So if I don’t use it, in the freezer it’ll go!
Doubling each ingredient (except that coconut oil, which I again avoided, and the first water and agar powder listed), I added them to my blender container and blended for about 1 minute, starting off at slow, but quickly working up to high.
Next, I heated the agar (which I forgot to double, but, forgetting that I had the agar/water ratio problem, added another tablespoon for good measure. So I had 3 T of agar powder and 1 cup of water.
Once the agar mixture was super goopy, I added it to the blender, and blended for about a minute again. Previously, I had prepared my tiny loaf pans to create my cheese blocks. I still love my idea of lining the loaf pans with plastic wrap, and can’t understand why you’d do it any other way! It makes for super easy cleanup; just fold the plastic wrap neatly over the cheese, and turn upside down to dump out!
Working quickly once the blender stopped, I poured the goopy cheese into my loaf pans, and then simply popped them into the refrigerator.
This was fun, and I was excited that my double recipe created 4 loaves! But, then I got to wondering, would that coconut oil really make a noticeable difference?
Now, here at the Plant-based Bear, we don’t use oils, really, at all. But the recipe calls for the coconut oil. Why put the ingredient in there for no reason, as I’ve had success without it? And, the amount of oil is quite high. But, against my instincts (or perhaps just resolve) I decided to do it anyway.
(The Plant-based Bear doesn’t use oils at home, in general, but acknowledges they’re almost impossible to not have when dining out. So, from time to time I do have some oil, although I still try to avoid oily foods and everything deep-fried. I guess this was to be one of those times.)
After repeating the whole process for my new batch and then waiting for everything to get cooled in the refrigerator, it was taste-test time!
I neatly folded over the plastic wrap, then turned over and dropped the loaf out of the pan. For longer storage, I still keep everything in zipper bags, or airtight storage containers in the fridge.
The coconut-oil cheese tastes identical, however, it does seem to have a smoother, less bubbly texture. The mouth feel is the same, although it’s slightly smoother there, too, more like Velveeta or something. It’s also possible I simply blended this batch a little bit longer.
So, to coconut oil, or not to coconut oil? NOT! The Plant-based Bear will still continue to NOT use oil as much as possible, and this experiment proved, that again, it’s simply not necessary for the amount of downsides.
Now, I have 8 little loaves of cheese for my upcoming weekend trip. I realize that sounds like I’ll only be eating cheese all weekend! But, I will take a couple of loaves on my trip, along with some homemade whole-wheat bread to makes sandwiches or whatever! Delicious!