Sunday, June 6, 2010

Quick Macadamia Nut Cheese and Tomato Tarragon Cashew Dressed Salad

There definitely seems to be a lot of doom and gloom in the blogosphere these days that seems to be contagious I really hope I don’t catch it. Generally I am a happy person and I would like to keep it that way. Those of you that know me know that I have plenty that I could get depressed about but I choose to look on the bright side. I hope those of you that are down find something to smile about very soon. I really hate to see nice people be glum.

After lunch yesterday Dan and I moved our enormous existing television downstairs. This is where exercising comes in quite handy. Not that it was why I started strength training but it did make it much easier to move that behemoth thing down the steps.

After the original television was in its new home Dan started working on installing the new TV. Binky (aka Nicco) is definitely in a mourning period at the moment. He wants his old TV back where it was with a cat tree on each side so he can climb and run ove the top of the TV. It looks like the cat mommy and daddy will be in trouble for some time over this transgression. Dan wants to lose the cat trees from the family room completely but something tells me the cats are not going to allow this. We will see who wins. My money is on the cats, LOL.

Dinner last night was nothing worth blogging about, so I didn’t. After moving the TV I was not in the mood for anything complicated in the kitchen.

This morning we made our usual trip to the farmer’s market downtown. We left about 30 minutes later than normal and arrived at 7:30am. The market was a mob scene. Needless to say we learned our lesson and will be back to our regular schedule next weekend. This is what happens when we you stay up too late watching a movie. ;-)

Since it is a weekend we had a mid afternoon meal with my parents. I think yesterday’s meal was just a tad too healthy for them so I added some fat in the form of nuts to this meal. I made a quick macadamia nut cheese to top the panelle and polenta triangles from yesterday and a tomato raw cashew dressing for the salad. Here is what I made:

Tomato Tarragon Cashew Dressing
Makes approximately 17 tablespoons


1 cup cherry tomatoes, washed
juice of ½ lemon
¼ cup raw cashews
2 olives, pitted
2 tablespoon tarragon, fresh
1 small garlic clove
black pepper to taste


Combine everything in your blender and puree until completely smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning as you desire. Refrigerate until needed.

Nutritional Information (for 1/17th of the total recipe):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 12.45
Calories From Fat (49%)-  6.12

Total Fat - 0.73g
Saturated Fat - 0.13g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 5.2mg
Potassium - 49.64mg
Total Carbohydrates - 1.35g
Fiber - 0.23g
Sugar - 0.13g
Protein - 0.47g


This dressing is light but also rich in flavor. It would make a nice dip for veggies as well as a dressing. I added the olives for salt as well as background richness. If you aren’t an olive lover you can substitute capers for the olives. Tarragon is something I don’t cook with often so I was trying to find ways to use it more and it works well with tomatoes so it was good here. The cashews made the dressing creamy without an overly fatty feel. Be careful not to add a huge clove of garlic as this could easily overwhelm the sauce. Overall this is a good dressing that I will be making again.

Next recipe:

To go with the salad I decided to add a few of the panelle and polenta toasts with some nut cheese. I wanted to make something different to show how quick and easy nut cheese really is. I soaked the macadamias briefly and only added a few seasonings. Everyone liked this including my mother who is always the hardest sell in terms of healthy food. Here is what I did:

Quick Mac Nut Cheese
Makes approximately 16 tablespoons


1 cup macadamia nuts, soaked for 30 minutes and drained
1 tablespoon mellow white miso
1 small garlic clove, peeled
1 lemon zested, juice from ½ of the lemon
white pepper to taste


Combine everything in your food processor or blender and process until smooth. Refrigerate until needed.

The nut cheese will be thick it is easier to remove from a food processor than it is from a blender. You can also make it with a mortar and pestle but that is much more work.

Nutritional Information (for 1/16th or approximately 1 tablespoon):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 63.31
Calories From Fat (85%) - 53.69

Total Fat-  6.41g
Saturated Fat - 1.02g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 40.55mg
Potassium - 37.35mg
Total Carbohydrates - 1.76g
Fiber - 0.84g
Sugar - 0.51g
Protein - 0.82g


Using macadamia nuts is quicker than using almonds since they don’t need much of a soak, though they are easier to process if you remember to soak them. I was busy at home today and forgot to soak the macadamias until there was only 30 minutes or soak time available, but that wasn’t a problem.

Nut cheeses are something that I make often. These nut cheeses are how we incorporate fat into our diet since we hardly use any oil. While we could just eat nuts, they are much more interesting as a cheese, in my opinion.

This cheese is neutral but lemony, if that makes sense. I particularly liked the flavor. It is very rich though so you don’t need much to be satisfied.

How to get your potassium:

After I posted the blurb on sodium and potassium I went back to look at where we get our potassium and found that normally we would be short without our veggie and fruit juice. Lately I have been making a fresh juice with the following:


1 beet including beet greens
2 kale leaves
1/3 pound spinach
1 red delicious apple (they are highest in antioxidants)
5 carrots
3 celery stalks
½ lemon
1 inch ginger


I run these all through the juicer and add two frozen wheat grass shots to the juice to chill it. One half a serving of this juice contains 2,640mg of potassium. We have this juice morning and evening so we have no difficulty reaching our 4,700mg of potassium per day.

Unrelated Note:

Have any of seen the new Cooking Channel? I didn’t bother to check it out until this weekend because I thought it was going to be like the Food Network. As you can tell I am not a fan of the Food Network. After you have seen the fifth “celebrity chef” prepare a dish it gets really old and tiresome. Not to mention watching clearly unhealthy people swoon over fat and sugar is not what I call fun, call me crazy. With this in mind, I actual have enjoyed the Cooking Channel this weekend. They seem to have mostly “real chefs” not cooks with TV shows. There are two shows that have stood out to me. They are “Chuck's Day Off” and “David Rocco’s Dolce Vita”. I will admit that the appeal of the David Rocco is the setting. Who would expect me to love a show filmed in one of my favorite cities on the planet, Firenze (Florence), Italy?

Since we had a late mid day meal with the folks dinner will probably happen here until after 8:30. But I will get it posted tomorrow morning if I think you will like it.

I am signing off for now to make dinner. Talk to you all later. I hope everyone is having a great weekend.


  1. That macademia cheese looks great, now to find some macademias:)

    I'm not a fan of the food channel either, one of the shows I caught part of uses mostly box or processed foods to begin with. That's not cooking as far as I'm concerned. I used to enjoy watching Alton Brown, however, I loved all the science lessons he threw in:)
    Hadn't heard of the cooking channel, I will have to check if we get that on our cable.

  2. I wish macadamia nuts weren't so pricey because I LOVE macadamia nut cheese. I'm going to have to try that dressing though, it's right up my alley.

  3. Yep, working out does pay off doesn't it??!! The recipes sound sooo good (as usual). I haven't had a chance to check out that new channel yet (thanks to vacation). Hugs!

  4. Janet,

    You can use many different nuts for cheeze. I get my macadamias at Whole Foods or Wegman's if you have either of those close.

    My hubby likes Alton too for the same reason. I agree using processed foods is not cooking. Well, not healthy cooking.

    The Cooking Channel is new from what I understand. It is much better than I expected. ;-)


  5. Krystina,

    Have you tried using other nuts to make cheeze? I love almond cheese.

    I hope you like the salad dressing.


  6. Heather,

    I agree with you completely. There would have been no way I could have held up my end of 300 pound TV without strength training. Thank goodness all the TVs not on ground level at our house are now flat screens. Moving that thing was a bitch.

    I think you will like the new channel. It definitely exceeded my expectations, it is mostly real chefs cooking original food from scratch. Go figure! ;-)

    hugs to you too,

  7. not a fan of that food chanel either. i cant stand it really.
    whats all the doom and gloom thats been going on? somebody has to keep me in the counting on im slow:( love those toasts that you make, they look so good!

  8. Michelle,

    As you know I love cooking and food, but the Food Network practically has me yelling at the TV. Blah! So glad we agree. ;-)

    Lots of bloggers are down or upset at the moment for various reasons. I just hope it isn't catchy. I really believe stress is unhealthy so I hope they all feel better soon. ;-)

    talk to you later,

  9. You mean you didn't start exercising and strength training to be able to move big heavy TVs up and down stairs, lol?! I am glad your strength came in handy :-)

    I love making raw dressings with fresh tomatoes--yours looks great. Sometimes I even add in some sun dried tomatoes along with the fresh to really punch up the tomatoeyness (that is a word, right?!). I bet the lemon and fresh tarragon were lovely in there.


  10. Courtney,

    LOL, no I didn't silly me right? Don't all women need to lift heavy things with their hubby? ;-) So glad that is over, BTW. LOL

    I love tomato dressings and like you I frequently add sun-dried tomatoes to increase the tomato intensity. You description is better. ;-) Tarragon worked well in this dressing.

    talk to you soon,

  11. I've noticed the gloom as well. . . hoping it lifts soon! And if I can find macadamia nuts anywhere around here, I am trying that cheese for sure! :)

  12. Ricki,

    I hate to see people be down too!

    Have you tried ordering nuts on line? When I have difficulty buying ingredients locally I order things from Amazon. That always works well for me.

    talk to you soon,


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