Monday, March 12, 2012

Baked Almond "Feta"

This recipe reminds me of my Dad. Not because he likes it (though I am quite sure he would), has eaten it or has ever even heard of it! It reminds me of him because he loves blanched almonds and also feta cheese.



As a kid, I remember he would often soak raw almonds and leave them in the refrigerator to snack on. And,being Middle Eastern feta was a staple in our home.

I am not exactly sure where to give credit for this recipe.   I have seen several versions of it online- each consisting of nearly the exact same ingredients, some with variations on quantity, primarily salt quantity. I specifically referred to this one and this one as I made my version of the baked "feta".  I used more salt than any of the recipes I saw online as my recollection of the best fetas were those that were the saltiest.

There really are no words to describe how delicious this is!  While it does require adequate planning to make in terms of time, there is nothing difficult about this at all.  The results are absolutely spectacular creamy, salty goodness.  I cannot wait to make this again and I cannot wait to make this for my Dad whom I am certain will love it.

I think you could easily add fresh herbs into the equation while making this and I think that it would turn out similarly to some of the soft herbed cheeses you can find in the grocery store.

This is a total winner!

Baked Almond "Feta"

1 1/2 cups blanched raw almonds, skins removed*
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, rough chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until very smooth.

Line a bowl with three layers of cheese cloth ensuring the cloth is cut large enough to wrap the nut mixture completely closed. Add the feta mixture and pull up the sides of the cheesecloth and seal with a rubber band.  Place the closed cheesecloth in a strainer over a bowl and refrigerate for 12 hours.

After twelve hours  drain off the liquid, remove the cheesecloth from the strainer and set an oven to 350 degrees.

Open the cheese cloth and turn the nut mixture into a lightly greased oven proof  bowl smooth side up.  Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the top turns golden and begins to crack and dry.

Serve either warm, at room temperature or chilled.

*Note: To blanch almonds simply submerge raw almonds in water and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.  Once blanched the skins are removed easily.

33 comments:

  1. I need to get some cheese cloth stat!! My house is also feta-crazy and I'm soooo excited to try this. I tried some marinated tofu versions and have been disappointed. This gives me hope -- if someone who grew up in a Middle Eastern household approves then it must be good!

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    1. Leah, I thought it was absolutely amazing! I definitely would like to know what you think when you try it!

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  2. Sounds so delicious! Where do you buy your almonds? Do you make sure they are from the USA? My daughter is a foodie so I'm going to ask her to make this for me. LOVE IT. Thank you so much for the recipe.

    Ellen

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    1. Hi Ellen- you are very welcome! I buy my almonds in the bulk section of Wegman's They are labeled raw but I do not know if the country of origin is labeled- I am going to look next time I buy them (which will be very soon so I can make this again!). I I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

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    2. Trader Joes has great "raw" almonds from CA. Not sure if they are pasteurized but they are a staple in my house.

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    3. I did check Wegman's and they do say "product of the USA", which means by law they need to be pasteurized. As I understand it you can only buy truly raw almonds direct from the grower or almonds that come from outside the US.

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  3. Beautiful! I can't wait to make this!

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  4. I rushed right into the kitchen and set some almonds to soak, thinking I could make this for tomorrow night. Ummm, wait. I don't have any cheesecloth, and I think I've run out of garlic. Oh, well. I'll buy all that stuff tomorrow and have the feta on Wednesday. It does sound delicious! And I do have olives to eat with it.

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    1. LOL!! All good things are worth waiting for, right? And olives! Of course!

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  5. Wow. This is an exciting development in the world of vegan cheese! Thank you!

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    1. I can honestly say that this is the best vegan cheese I have had! And you are welcome!

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  6. This looks incredible and I can't wait to try it. Thanks for posting this. I will let you know how it comes out.

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    1. Please do! I hope you enjoy it! I loved it!

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  7. Oh my, vegan has never looked better! I can't believe all the amazing homemade vegan cheeses I am seeing these days. I love that your recipe is simple.

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  8. I have yet to make my own 'cheese'. It's something I've been meaning to do for a while now. I don't think I've ever had feta, but I do love almonds. I might have to try this out some day.

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    1. While it takes a bit of planning from a preparation perspective it was actually really easy. I hope you try it!

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  9. This was AMAZING... I made it today and seriously cannot stop eating it!! I will definitely be making it again it's just so fantastic!!

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    1. Lisa you have totally made my day! I am so happy you liked it as much as I did! Nothing makes me happier than to share a recipe that someone else likes! Enjoy!!

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  10. I just baked this today (after patiently waiting for it to drain in the fridge) and i have to say it is fantastic!! Its the best vegan feta i've made (and i've made a few)

    thank you for the recipe. Now i can make that watermelon and feta salad i've been craving without the dairy!

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  11. Finished making this about an hour ago and was Delish!! Thanks for posting, Will be making this again! How long does this one normally keep in the fridge?

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    1. So glad you like it! I find it keeps well in the firdge for about a week but usually does not last that long :)

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  12. This cheesecloth bundle of yum is in my fridge for 5 more hours!! The anticipation is killing me!! Smells amazing already...

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  13. A friend of mine gave me an almost identical recipe but instead of waiting the 12 hours to drain in the cheesecloth she pours it directly into a Pyrex dish about an inch thick. Works out the same, just quicker! Some semi dried tomatoes mixed through prior to baking is amazing!

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    1. Thanks! I will try that.... I often get very little liquid out of the mixture anyway and your way does sound faster!

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  14. I left the skins on (nutrients!) and it's still great but speckled. The first recipe I saw directed 200 degrees baking - never set up and then I found yours at 350 so cranked up the heat.... much better! Thanks!

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    1. Awesome! I love the idea of leaving the skins on.... and glad the increase in temperature helped!

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  15. This looks so good! I just had an amazing kale salad in Lahaina, Hawaii with almond feta and when I got back home to Wisconsin, I decided to google almond feta to see if I could find a recipe to try to recreate the salad. This looks exactly like what I need. Thanks for posting it! Now I just need to find a recipe for herbal hempseed dressing and I'm set.

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    1. That salad sounds divine!!! When you find that hempseed dressing please share :)

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  16. Really yummy! Made it with coffee filters instead of cheese cloth which didn't work so well at getting the moisture out but still great to eat.

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