• VEGAN CHIVE BLOSSOM CHEEZECAKE

    VEGAN CHIVE BLOSSOM CHEEZECAKE

    Isn't it the greatest when the garden season really blooms? Pun intended of course. I love being in the garden, it really is one of my happiest places. One of the joys of gardening is being able to be present at the exact moment something is ready to harvest and eat it there and then, naked and sun-warmed (not me, the produce!). Sometimes things ripen one at a time, sometimes the bounty is overwhelming. Currently, as I munch on carrots and lettuce and wait for the snap peas, I spy the chives. 

    Chives are fleeting - here today, gone next week and unlike carrots and lettuce, I'll have to wait until next season to enjoy them again. Two things come to mind. One - life is like that - grab the moment. You don't want to waste any time. Look at what is in front of you and be with it. Two - when life gives you chive blossoms, figure out a million ways to use them! 

    I eat the chive blossoms fresh off the plant, turn them into vinegar, toss them in my salad, dress my potatoes with them and on and on. But wait, aren't we all about cookies here? So what to do with chives and cookies? In my cookbook (Cooking with Flowers) I put a spin on "sour cream and onion" by making chive popcorn cream cheese cupcakes. How can something like that work vegan and with cookies? Enter: Chive Cheezecake with Cookie Crust. YAY!

    I like a vegan cheesecake, but I was looking for something I didn't have to eat freezing cold before it melted into a lovely delicious puddle so I turned to @Minimalist Baker who has an awesome baked cheezecake recipe that I could adapt to my taste. I made a strawberry puree to go with it. Why? well, chives are so beneficial to strawberries where they grow, so why not combine them in food? I hope you love it.

    - PS - Major shout out to the uber talented Miana Jun who photographed all the food in Cooking with Flowers. AMAZING!!!!

     

    CHIVE CHEEZECAKE

    CRUST:

    6 ZHUZH! gingerful cookies

    2 Tablespoons melted refined coconut oil

    pinch of sea salt

    FILLING:

    1 cup raw cashews

    1/2 cup chive blossoms, florets only

    2 cups boiling water

    1 cup full-fat coconut milk cream*

    1 cup vegan cream cheese

    1 Tablespoon arrowroot powder or cassava flour

    1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

    2/3 cup maple syrup

    1 lime, juice and zest

    pinch of sea salt

    COOKED STRAWBERRY PUREE

    1 cup strawberries, hulled and diced

    1/8 cup maple syrup

    pinch of sea salt

     

    Ready, Set, Go:

    1. Place the cashews and chive blossoms in a bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Cover the bowl and set aside for at least one hour and up to 8. (I left mine overnight and the chive flavor was excellent!)

    2. Preheat the oven and make the crust. The oven should be set at 350*F and you'll want to line the bottom of an 8" springform pan with parchment paper. The rest is SOOOO hard. Break out your food processor and toss the cookies, melted coconut oil, and salt in the bowl. Zhuzh it up till the cookies are all crumbled and the mix holds together just a bit. If it is too dry, you can add up to another 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil. I didn't need to. Press the cookie crumble into the bottom of the pan and slide it into the preheated oven. Bake about 20 minutes until the edges are golden. Remove from the oven and let cool.

    3.  OK - filling time. Turn the oven down to 325* Drain the cahsew/chive mixture and pop theminto the food processor. Add the remainder of the filling ingredients - yup - all of them - and zhuzh the heck out of the mixture. It took me about 5 solid minutes for the mixture to be completely creamy and smooth and I did wipe down the sides twice. 

    4. Taste the mix. If it needs a little more salt, lime, or chives, add them now. Then pour the filling over the baked crust. Tap the pan a couple of times to "de-bubbleize" it. Pop the cheezecake into the oven and bake it for about an hour, checking at 50 minutes to make sure the edges are set and the center has just the slightest jiggle to it. 

    5. Let the cake sit out and cool for about 10 minutes before refrigerating for at least 6 hours. While you are waiting, it is the perfect time to make the cooked puree. 

    6. Put a small saucepan on medium heat and add the strawberries, maple syrup, and sea salt. Cook, stirring frequently and mushing the berries until the strawberries have broken down and released their juices. Remove from the heat, jar, and wiat for cheezecake!

    7. When ready to serve, release from the springform and top with the strawberry puree and invite a friend over to eat! The cake stores well for up to 4 days covered in the fridge.

    *Place a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight. When ready to mix the cheezecake, scoop the hardened coconut milk cream from the top and spill out the coconut water.

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