Monday, February 25, 2013

Walnut Cheese + Keys to the Kitchen Giveaway

Things I'm currently obsessing over: my daughter's growing vocabulary (even if her 'sit' sounds like a curse word), the television show Nashville, and this walnut cheese

When California Walnuts invited me to participate in their Virtual Dinner Party to celebrate their new Chefs Menu At Home series - I was excited! I was even more excited to learn Aida Mollenkamp was one of the chefs. Love her! Her book Keys to the Kitchen is a new classic. 

I sort of randomly selected Aida's Walnut 'Cheese' as a recipe to try for California Walnuts' Virtual Dinner Party. Okay, honestly, I didn't even realize it wasn't actually cheese until the first time I went to make the recipe. Fortunately I wasn't disappointed. Aida's recipe for Walnut Cheese is incredibly easy and the results are stunning. 

A long soak for the walnuts, a spin in the food processor and you have a snack as fancy as any gourmet cheese but with way more fiber, protein, and less fat. Consider me obsessed - in fact I have made this walnut cheese twice more since my first time and already have plans to make it again! 

Walnut Cheese can also be served as a dip! 

 The folks at California Walnuts have generously offered to give a copy of Aida's awesome book, Keys to the Kitchen away to one lucky reader! Please comment below or 'like' California Walnuts on facebook or follow them on twitter (just leave me a comment letting me know you did so). The giveaway will close on March 6th, 2013. 

Serves 4-6

1 cup walnut halves, about 5 ounces 
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast*
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon white (aka yellow or mellow) miso
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
Walnut oil, for garnish (optional) 

Cover walnuts withenough water to cover by 3 to 4 inches in large bowl. Soak room at temperature for at least 12 hours.

Drain the soaking liquid and then rinse walnuts under cold water. 
Process the walnuts in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade and spin until they become paste-like. Add the oil, 2 tablespoons of water, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and miso paste and process until smooth and creamy, at least 5 minutes. Stop the processor periodically to scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl.  Taste and season with salt, if desired.

You can serve this as a spread by chilling in the fridge for about twenty minutes. Serve topped with finely chopped parsley and a drizzle of walnut oil.

To make into a firmer cheese log: Skip chilling the spread and instead form it into a log. To do so, place a piece of doubled cheese cloth (roughly 18 inches long and 12 inches wide) on a cutting board and transfer walnut puree onto cheesecloth. Shape mixture into about 6-inch-long log. Fold the cheesecloth over the log to enclose and roll into a cylinder. Then twist the ends of cloth and tuck under the ends of the log.
Set the wrapped log in a fine mesh sieve. Place the sieve in a bowl and let walnut cheeses age 12 hours at room temperature (it should let off some liquid and slightly dehydrate). 

To serve the cheese log, place it in the fridge until chilled, about 20 minutes. Just before serving, sprinkle the parsley on a piece of parchment paper about the length of the log and twice the width. Roll the walnut cheese log over the parsley to coat the cheese. Gently pat any remaining parsley onto the sides and any spots where the cheese shows through.  Serve with raw vegetables and crackers.


  1. Your cheese platter looks delicious. I have never tried walnut cheese but it sounds like I should. I would love a copy of that cookbook!

  2. It sounds like a great book. I'd love to win a copy.

  3. Great post! I also have Aida's cookbook Keys to the Kitchen and love it!! Can't wait to try this recipe! :) Cheers! Alice @Hipfoodiemom1

  4. For the giveaway: I am following CA Walnuts on FB and Twitter! Woot woot!

  5. Hmmm, wasn't sure about the walnut cheese but now I'm going to try it! And yes, am now following cali walnuts on FB

  6. Wow I love the sound of this pseudo cheese...even more so because it's so heart healthy!

  7. I like them on FB!


  8. I've been wanting Aida's book! That's awesome!

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  10. What a wonderful recipe! I was just noshing on a bag of Walnuts from Harry's the other day!!! I cannot wait to try this great snack idea! This will be perfect for my next girls get-together!!!! Thanks for the great idea! You're such a talented writer and photographer as well. Keep em' coming!

  11. The Walnut Cheese looks amazing!! I'd love to make it at home and try some other wonderful sounding recipies from the book!!

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